England on top at Trent Bridge

2015-08-07 14:29
Alastair Cook. (Getty Images)

Nottingham - Mitchell Starc did his best to rally Australia on the second day of the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Friday but they still had a mountain to climb just to get back on level terms with England.

Left-arm fast bowler Starc took six for 111 including a spell of three for five in 12 balls on Friday that saw him dismiss century-maker Joe Root.

But England still made 391 for nine declared, a huge first-innings lead of 331, after they had skittled Australia out for just 60 on Thursday.

At lunch, Australia were 14 without loss in their second innings - still 317 runs behind - as England eyed a win that would put them 3-1 up in the five-match series and see them regain the Ashes.

Stuart Broad, smashing through the 300-wicket barrier, had initially put England in an incredibly strong position after they won the toss on Thursday by taking a Test-best eight for 15, also the best Ashes figures by a fast bowler, as Australia were skittled out in 111 balls - the shortest completed first innings in Test history.

Root strengthened their iron grip on the game as England reached stumps on 274 for four to lead by 214 runs.

The Yorkshireman, who put on 173 for the fourth wicket with county colleague Jonny Bairstow (74), resumed on 124 not out.

Nightwatchman Mark Wood was unbeaten on two as play got underway Friday beneath grey skies in Nottingham.

Wood, belying his status, cut and off-drove and even square-drove left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson for fours worthy of a top-order batsman.

Root, by contrast, played and missed at several deliveries before edging Starc to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill for 130.

Root batted for nearly five hours, facing 176 balls, including 19 fours.

This was his second hundred of the series after he made 134 in England's 169-run win in the first Test in Cardiff.

Both Wood, after an entertaining 32-ball 28 featuring five fours, and Jos Buttler (12) were undone by Starc yorkers.

Starc's final figures surpassed the 25-year-old's previous Test best of six for 154 against South Africa at Perth in 2012.

But Moeen Ali took England to 350 when he drove Nathan Lyon back over the off-spinner's head for six.

Josh Hazlewood's wide gave England a lead of 300.

Broad (24 not out) then got in on the act, driving Hazlewood for four and pulling him for six on his Nottinghamshire home ground.

Ali carved Johnson over point for four as the bowler conceded 100 runs in the innings.

But next ball Johnson had his first wicket of the match when Ali (38) was superbly caught one-handed by a diving Steven Smith at second slip.

Read more on:    england  |  australia  |  ashes  |  alastair cook  |  cricket

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