England set 121 to win Edgbaston Test

2015-07-31 14:07
Alistair Cook (File)

Birmingham - Peter Nevill and Mitchell Starc both showed up Australia's top-order batsmen with defiant fifties as England were left with a target of 121 to win the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston on Friday.

Wicket-keeper Nevill (59) and fast bowler Starc (58) combined well in an eighth-wicket stand of 64 during Australia's second innings 265 all out on Friday's third day.

They also managed to do something that eluded five members of Australia's top six in the innings by reaching double figures, with left-handed opener David Warner's 77 the only major contribution by a specialist batsman.

England fast bowler Steven Finn, recalled for his first Test in two years following an injury to Mark Wood, led the attack with his best figures at this level of six for 79.

Finn's return surpassed his previous Test best of six for 125 against Australia at Brisbane in 2010.

In the two overs of their reply that were possible before lunch, England moved on to four without loss -- all their runs scored by captain Alastair Cook.

England suffered a setback before play started when James Anderson, their all-time most successful Test bowler, was ruled out of the remainder of this match and next week's fourth Test at Trent Bridge with a side strain.

Anderson, whose Ashes-best six for 47 in Australia's meagre first innings 136 extended his record England haul to 413 Test wickets, suffered the injury while bowling on Thursday.

Australia resumed on their overnight 168 for seven, with Nevill 37 not out and Starc seven not out.

Nevill's leg-glanced boundary off Finn saw him to a maiden Test fifty, in only his second match, at this level in 126 balls with six fours.

Having survived one appeal for a catch down the legside on 53 by opposing wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, Nevill eventually fell in similar fashion when the diving England gloveman held a stunning one-handed chance, high to his left, off Finn.

Nevill, understandably, reviewed umpire Aleem Dar's decision but replays confirmed a thin inside edge.

Starc, however, continued to strike the ball well and his straight six off spinner Moeen Ali saw the left-hander to an 83-ball fifty, including six fours.

It also gave Australia a lead of 100 but they then lost their ninth wicket when Josh Hazlewood (11) was superbly caught by leaping third slip Joe Root off Ben Stokes's second ball Friday.

Ali ended the innings when he had Starc caught in the covers by substitute Josh Poysden.

Read more on:    england  |  australia  |  ashes  |  cricket

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