Sport Cricket The Ashes: Australia wins First Test by 251 runs
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The Ashes: Australia wins First Test by 251 runs

Pat Cummins and the Australians celebrate the day five breakthrough. Photo: Getty
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Australia has won the First Test at Edgbaston, beating England by 251 runs.

In a remarkable comeback from the first day when Australia was reduced to 8-122 before compiling a competitive total of 284, off-spinner Nathan Lyon (6-49) and fast bowler Pat Cummins (4-32) starred with the ball as England was dismissed for 146 before tea on day five.

In what could be an good omen, Monday’s victory was Australia’s first in Birmingham since 2001 – the last time it lifted the Ashes on English soil.

Steve Smith was named man of the match.

The Second Test will be held at Lord’s from August 14 to 18.

Earlier, Australia’s bowlers had applied the pressure on the English batsmen, with spinner Nathan Lyon snaring 3-41.

At lunch, chasing 385 for victory, England was 4-85 off 32 overs with Jos Buttler not out on one and Ben Stokes on 0.

Lyon had English skipper Joe Root caught for 28 by Cameron Bancroft at short leg after earlier bowling Jason Roy for 28 and snaring Joe Denly with a bat-pad catch, also to short leg, for 11.

Nathan Lyon in top form on day five at Edgbaston. Photo: Getty

Roy was out when he attempted to attack the turning ball, while Denly wasted a review on his dismissal with the replay showing a clear nick on the way through.

Earlier bowler Pat Cummins had broken through for Australia, removing England opener Rory Burns in the ninth over.

Burns was cramped by a faster rising delivery when on 11, gloving it to Lyon at gully.

Before being dismissed Root had survived an lbw review off Pattinson when the umpire’s call was overturned after the replay showed the ball was missing leg stump.

Australia made 7-487 declared in its second innings.

On day four Australia’s middle-order batsmen helped Steve Smith star, with Matthew Wade cracking a brilliant century and Travis Head scoring 51.

Wade hit 110 – his third Test ton and first against England – while Head’s measured 51 came when the pressure was firmly on Australia.

Smith scored 142 – his second ton of the match.

He continues to torment the English bowlers, who have seen him chalk up eight centuries and pass 200 twice against them since 2013.

Smith and Wade’s knocks effectively ended England’s hopes of winning the match – a remarkable feat considering Tim Paine’s side had slumped to 8-122 on day one.

Wade enjoyed an excellent Sheffield Shield campaign for Tasmania, scoring 1021 runs at an average of just over 60 and also made three centuries for the Australia A team earlier in the tour.

However, he struggled in the inter-squad warm-up match at Southampton, posting scores of 10 and seven and was then out for one to Stuart Broad in the first innings.

Team mentor Steve Waugh hinted the squad might need to look at picking a fifth bowler for the second Test at Lord’s, with all-rounder Mitch Marsh in the frame to fill the role.

But Wade ended any discussion about his place at No.6 with a buccaneering knock that included 17 boundaries.

Matthew Wade of Australia celebrates reaching his century during day four of the 1st Ashes Test between England and Australia at Edgbaston. Photo: Getty 

“I certainly felt that my game at a stage where I could perform at this level,” Wade said.

“It’s as confident as I’ve been coming into a Test match, that’s for sure. But that’s the way we want it to be in Australia.

“We want guys piling on a lot of runs at first-class level to get an opportunity to play Test cricket and when you get that opportunity to try and take it.”

Head’s half-century from 116 balls – in addition to the 35 he scored in the first innings – vindicates the decision of the selectors to include him in the team.

Like Wade, the South Australian captain struggled in the warm-up match, scoring just one run in his two innings.

But despite falling to a poor shot to Stuart Broad on a lifeless pitch for the seamers, Head has demonstrated enough in Birmingham to suggest he can enjoy success in his maiden Ashes campaign.

-AAP

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