Cardiff - Moeen Ali's dashing 77 helped England to a first innings total of
430 on the second day of the first Test against Australia at Sophia Gardens on
Batting at No 8, the off-spin bowling all-rounder posted his second-highest
Test score, following his 108 not out against Sri Lanka at Headingley last
year, and saw England past 400, which would have been the aim of captain
Alastair Cook when he won the toss and batted on Wednesday.
Mitchell Starc led Australia's attack with five for 114 in 24.1 overs - his
third five-wicket Test haul and first abroad.
But fellow left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson - whose 37 wickets were
central to Australia's 5-0 Ashes rout of England in 2013/14 - bowled 25
wicket-less overs for 111 runs.
Australia openers Chris Rogers and David Warner then got through an awkward
38-minute spell before lunch to take the Ashes-holders to 26 without loss.
England resumed on their overnight 343 for seven after Joe Root's well-made
134 had rescued them from the depths of 43 for three.
Ali was 26 not out and Stuart Broad unbeaten on nought, with blue skies on a
sunny day promising good conditions for batting.
It was Broad, however, who took the attack to Australia by driving Josh
Hazlewood for four and pulling him for six although the paceman's first over of
the day saw the batsman, who has struggled against the short ball, duck into a
delivery that hit him on the badge of his helmet.
Australia thought they had Broad out for 11 when he gloved a rising delivery
from Johnson to a diving Adam Voges at short leg.
Broad, heavily criticised in Australia for not 'walking' during the first
Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in 2013, appeared happy to go on this occasion.
However, the on-field umpires told him to wait while they asked third umpire
Chris Gaffaney to check if the catch was clean.
Replays indicated Voges, once a Nottinghamshire team-mate of Broad's, had
grassed the ball and the batsman was recalled.
Next over there was a suggestion that Ali, on 34, may have got the thinnest
of edges to Starc but there was only a half-hearted appeal from and the batsman
When Broad, who bats left-handed, drove Johnson past mid-off for four it
meant the bowler had conceded 100 runs in the innings.
Having previously indicated to spectators that Broad was uncomfortable
against fast bowling, Johnson was greeted by an ironic standing ovation from a
packed stand as he returned to his fielding position at fine leg, with
spectators rising to give him the reception normally accorded to a batsman who
has scored a century.
Johnson, playing up to the role of 'pantomime villain' responded by doffing
his cap and kissing the Australian badge.
Meanwhile, Ali went to a 69-ball fifty with his seventh four, a streaky
inside-edge off Starc.
Another edged four by Ali, this time off Johnson, saw England's
eighth-wicket duo complete a fifty stand in 66 balls.
But off-spinner Nathan Lyon broke the partnership with his first ball of the
day when Broad's bottom-edged sweep was caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
Left-handed batsman Ali connected, however, with a slog-sweep boundary off
Lyon that saw England past 400.
Ali then struck the shot of the morning when he cover-drove Johnson for
His fine effort ended when he drove at a Starc away-swinger and was caught
in the slips by Shane Watson.
Starc wrapped up the innings by clean-bowling tail ender James Anderson with
an excellent full-length delivery.