Ashes 2015: James Anderson burst helps England take charge

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport at Edgbaston
James Anderson celebrates the wicket of Peter Nevill
James Anderson took 6-47, his best ever figures in an Ashes Test
Third Test, day one, Edgbaston:
Australia 136: Rogers 52, Anderson 6-47
England 133-3: Bell 53, Lyon 2-3

England bounced back from their Lord's humiliation to seize control of the third Ashes Test in an astonishingly one-sided first day at Edgbaston.

Feeding off the passion of a boisterous crowd at the venue where they famously ignited their 2005 Ashes campaign, England bundled out the tourists for 136 on a seaming pitch and reached 133-3 at the close.

A potent James Anderson took his best Ashes figures of 6-47, and Steven Finn marked his first Test appearance for two years with the wickets of Steve Smith and Michael Clarke after Australia had won the toss and chosen to bat.

On a day punctuated by short rain delays, the mood of England and their supporters was lifted further still by the sight of Ian Bell flaying the Australia attack around the ground under floodlights in the evening session.

Five balls after reaching fifty, however, Bell tossed his wicket away with a needless heave at Nathan Lyon that took a fraction of the gloss off England's near-perfect day.

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New match, new England

Despite Bell's frivolousness, England were unrecognisable from the meek outfit that had been bowled out for 103 on the fourth day of the Lord's Test as Australia romped to a 405-run victory.

The tourists, whose innings duration of 36.4 overs was two balls fewer than England's at Lord's, will rue some injudicious shots from their middle order.

But on a pitch offering just enough sideways movement and carry to assist their bowlers, England put themselves well on course to take a 2-1 lead in the series with two matches to play.

Unselectable to unplayable

Steven Finn stats graphic

An ankle injury to Mark Wood gave Finn the opportunity to play Test cricket for the first time since he was dropped after the first Ashes Test in 2013 and later sent home from the 2013-14 tour down under, having been deemed "unselectable" by then coach Ashley Giles.

Some 18 months later, on an overcast morning at Edgbaston, Finn was closer to unplayable as he accounted for Smith and Clarke inside his first three overs.

Smith was caught behind for seven off a gem of a delivery which moved away off the seam, while Clarke was bowled by a superb yorker for 10, making it eight innings since the Australia captain last passed fifty.

Looking every inch the bowler who in 2011 became the second fastest Englishman after Ian Botham to take 50 Test wickets, Finn continued to unsettle the Aussie batsmen with sharp, short balls and fuller deliveries that had them groping outside off stump.

Oh Jimmy, Jimmy….

James Anderson celebrates his six-wicket haul
James Anderson has now claimed four five-wicket hauls against Australia - more than against any other team

With Finn softening up the Australia batsmen from one end, Anderson began knocking them out from the other.

In an extraordinary spell of seam bowling after lunch, the Lancashire bowler - who went wicketless at Lord's - took 4-7 in 19 balls to leave Australia in ruins on 94-7.

Adam Voges and Mitchell Marsh were both caught behind, Peter Nevill was bowled without playing a shot and Mitchell Johnson edged to fourth slip.

Stuart Broad trapped Rogers lbw and found Mitchell Starc's edge before Anderson bowled Lyon to wrap up a barely believable innings.

Misfortune and madness

Adam Lyth reacts after his dismissal
Adam Lyth has now failed to pass 40 in eight of his nine Test innings

England's dismissals featured a mixture of bad luck and recklessness on the batsmen's part.

Adam Lyth fell firmly in the latter category as he swiped at a wider ball from Josh Hazlewood and was caught in the slips.

Alastair Cook added 57 for the second wicket with Bell, but fell in bizarre circumstances when a full-blooded pull off a Lyon long-hop somehow lodged in the arms and belly of Adam Voges at short leg.

Bell, promoted to three after Gary Ballance was dropped, delighted his home crowd as he drove and pulled his way to a half-century off 51 balls.

But his attempted assault on Lyon failed miserably as he lost control of his bat and ended up with it dangling from one hand as David Warner ran back from short midwicket to take the catch.

What they said

England bowler James Anderson: "We're very happy, especially after losing the toss. We created pressure to get them out for a low score and then the guys batted well. There was a large percentage of bad shots from them, but Chris Rogers was watchful and then put away the bad ball.

"Steven Finn has had a tough 18 months and worked so hard to get back in the Test side, so everyone in the dressing room is delighted for him and he looked a threat."

Australia opener Chris Rogers: "It was a very disappointing day. England put us under pressure and we didn't respond. You have to give their attack credit, but there's times when you have to fight, and some of the shot selection...we needed to have a better day.

"The pitch was quick enough and England exploited it well and hit the right lengths. It could be difficult in the fourth innings, but we're behind the game at the moment."

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on BBC Test Match Special
"England are in the perfect position. They couldn't have dreamed of this after Lord's. They will just be saying to go in and show patience, discipline and bat. But Bell and Lyth gave their wickets away and they need to stop doing that. Make them bowl you out."

Stats of the day

Stuart Broad
  • James Anderson recorded his best ever Ashes figures with 6-47.
  • Chris Rogers scored his ninth fifty in his last 11 innings. He also now has a fifty in one of the innings of his last seven Ashes Tests.
  • Michael Clarke's last 12 Ashes innings have seen him score 192 at 19.2, a best of 38.
  • Since Andrew Strauss retired, Alastair Cook's six opening partners have scored 1717 runs in 63 innings at 28.61.

State of play - echoes of 1997

England's plan could not be simpler. Bat for as much of Thursday as possible and build as big a lead as possible to truly underline their supremacy.

And with the weather set fair for Thursday and Friday, fans with tickets for the weekend may already be wondering how much cricket they will see.

Nasser Hussain celebrates his double century at Edgbaston in 1997
Nasser Hussain hit 207 when England beat Australia at Edgbaston in 1997

The match is carrying echoes of 1997, when Australia won the toss and chose to bat on the first day of the first Test at Edgbaston but were skittled out for 118.

A Nasser Hussain double hundred and Graham Thorpe's 138 gave England a 360-run first innings lead, and although Australia made 477 in their second innings, Alec Stewart and Michael Atherton steered England to a nine-wicket win.

The good omens end there for England fans. Atherton's side did not win another match until the final Test at The Oval, by which time the Ashes were safely in Australia's hands.