England favourites after setting Australia 412 to win

Ian Bell (left) and Joe Root (right) put on a 97-run stand as England have set Australia a target of 412 in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff.
Ian Bell (left) and Joe Root (right) put on a 97-run stand as England have set Australia a target of 412 in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff.
©REUTERS / Action Images

England 430 & 289 (Bell 60) v
Australia 308 (Rogers 95)
First Test, Cardiff, day three

Joe Root and Ian Bell struck pretty half-centuries as England ended Australia’s first innings quickly and then scored a brisk 289 to set Australia a target of 412 at stumps on day three of the first Test in Cardiff.

Australia resumed the day on 264 for five after 70 overs. However, the English bowlers did a remarkable job on the morning of day three to clean up Australia’s lower order.

Stuart Broad (2-60) got Shane Watson (30) lbw in the second over of the day and Mark Wood (2-66) trapped the nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (6) lbw couple of overs later.

Brad Haddin (22) got a move on with three consecutive fours off Ben Stokes (1-51) in the 78th over to take Australia to 283 for seven.

England took the new ball as soon as it was available and James Anderson (3-43) swung it beautifully.

He first got Haddin with an out-swinging delivery nicked to Jos Buttler. Broad got Mitchell Johnson (14) the next over, as he flicked a nice half-volley on the pads straight to short mid-wicket.

Mitchell Starc (0) edged one to third slip before even opening his account ending Australia’s innings on 308, trailing England by 122 runs.

England had a tricky time before lunch and lost Alastair Cook (12) in the seventh over, driving straight to backward point where Lyon (4-75) took an excellent catch. England went to lunch at 21 for one after nine overs.

However, Josh Hazlewood (2-49) got Gary Ballance (0) with a brilliant short ball, in the first over in the post-lunch session.

Bell (60) looked in good touch, stroking two gorgeous fours off Starc (2-60). Adam Lyth (37) hit a couple more the next over from Starc and Hazlewood went for two fours as well during a brief period when England went from 27 for two to 63 for two in three overs.

However, the 51-run partnership was ended with a splendid catch by Michael Clarke at slip holding on to a low edge to his left from Lyth off Lyon’s bowling.

Root (60) added 97 for the fourth wicket with Bell to stave off the immediate danger.

Bell brought up his half-century in 75 balls with a four off Johnson (2-69) having hit two of them off Hazlewood a couple of overs prior to that. England went to tea 149 for three after 36 overs.

It was Johnson who got the key breakthrough with a sharp delivery angling away that knocked out Bell’s off stump.

Root found his defence breached as well by a ball from Hazlewood that kept low and England were 207 for five at that point.

Buttler (7) tried reverse sweeping and gloved a simple catch to Haddin and Stokes (42) missed out on his second fifty in the Test by dragging one on to his stumps.

England were 240 for seven after 59.1 overs at that point and 245 for eight the next over with Broad (4) holing out to long-on.

However, Wood (32 not out) played a fine cameo towards the end as Moeen Ali (15) added 43 with him for the ninth wicket.

Eventually, Ali and Anderson (1) were cleaned out in quick succession as England finished the day 289 all out in 70.1 overs. Australia need 412 to win the game with two days remaining in the game.

© Cricket World 2015