England produced a sensational first day’s performance in the Fourth Test at Trent Bridge today. In a morning that exceeded even the most ardent supporter’s wildest dreams, England bowled Australia out for an astonishing 60 in the first morning of the Test match and the Lions were even batting before lunch.

 

Stuart Broad was the hero with incredible figures of 8 for 15 in 9.3 overs, supported by Edgbaston hero Steven Finn and Mark Wood, who each finished with a wicket apiece. Wood was the only change from the Edgbaston victory, replacing record wicket taker Jimmy Anderson who was out through injury. England proved they had more than enough firepower to humiliate the Aussies in what was one of the most abject batting displays ever seen in the Ashes.

Advertisements
Advertisements

 

Australia collapse

 

The morning started in remarkable fashion with Broad taking the wickets of Rogers and world number 1 batsmen, Steve Smith, in the first over. Warner followed in the next over and by the time under pressure captain Michael Clarke was out for 10, Australia were 29-6. They later collapsed to 60 all out. Mitchell Johnson was the only other batsman to make double figures, with Extras the highest scorer on 14.

 

Australia were humbled to the shortest ever innings in test history, lasting only 111 balls. Broad’s bowing performance produced the best figures since Jim Laker took 19 wickets in a match in 1956. The highlight however was perhaps a sensational catch taken by Ben Stokes who managed to take a leaping catch, although the ball seemed to be past him, to dismiss Voges.

Advertisements

 

England in the ascendancy

 

England asserted their authority and finished on 274-4 with Joe Root unbeaten at the close on 124 not out, the first batsman in Test history to score a century on the first day with a team batting second. England recovered from the early losses of Lyth and Bell and were reeling at 34-2 before Cook made a secure 43. He was out lbw to Starc shortly before tea.

 

Cook’s dismissal brought Bairstow to the wicket and his partnership with Root took England into a position of dominance. He fell late in the day to Hazelwood, but had contributed 74 in a partnership worth 173 for the fourth wicket. With four days of the match remaining, England are already 214 runs ahead and in a good position to bat on and take Australia out of the game. They will hope to post a huge score and have to bat once only in the match.

 

It was a crucial toss to win and England made best use of the conditions, with cloud cover and a green wicket early on assisting England’s bowling. Everything seemed to go in England’s favour – they caught everything, the Australian batsmen played some loose shots and even the sun came out for England’s innings, making batting a little easier.

Advertisements

 

Stuart Broad’s first wicket was his 300th in Test #Cricket and by the end of the innings he was alongside the great Fred Trueman on 307. He is also the second English cricketer after Ian Botham to take 300 wickets and score 2,000 runs in Test matches.

 

It will be hard for Clarke’s team to come back from this and England are in pole position to retain the Ashes they lost so ignominously back in 2013. Already 2-1 up with two matches to play, Alistair Cook will be hoping his team will be able to make it four successive home Ashes wins since 2005.

 

Few critics could have predicted such an outcome at the start of the summer, especially after the disastrous result at Lords, but England seem to have found the winning formula again. As captain, Clarke already holds the record of the most defeats against England (10) and with his form seemingly deserted, the pressure is now firmly on his shoulders. If the series ends in defeat, there will be calls from many quarters for his head and it may well hasten the end of his international career.