CARDIFF • Moeen Ali continued to be the scourge of Australian batsmen yesterday, when he struck on the stroke of lunch to dismiss David Warner after he had led a bold start to Australia's mammoth run chase on the fourth day of the first Ashes Test against England.
Warner's exit for 52 left Australia 97 for two at Sophia Gardens and needing a further 315 runs to reach what would be a new Ashes record fourth-innings winning total of 412.
Steven Smith, the world's No. 1-ranked Test batsman, was 29 not out after off-spinner Ali had Warner lbw as he shuffled across his stumps to a ball that came in on the angle rather than turned away from the left-hander.
It had seemed Australia, bidding for their first Ashes series win in Britain in 14 years, would get through the session for just the loss of opener Chris Rogers.
The most any side have made to win in the fourth innings of an Ashes Test was Australia's 404 for three at Headingley back in 1948, when Arthur Morris scored 182 and Donald Bradman, widely regarded as cricket's greatest batsman, an unbeaten 173.
Ian Bell insisted England would be anything but complacent.
Bell, who returned to form with a fluent 60 in England's second-innings 289 on Friday, said: "In Ashes cricket, anything's possible.
"I'm sure they'll back themselves to come and get close, if not knock it off, so we know we've got a lot of hard work to do."
England's pacemen put the hosts in a commanding position after they captured Australia's last five first-innings wickets for 44 runs in a total of 308 all out made in reply to the hosts' initial 430.
Bell came in on Friday with England wobbling at 22 for two, having managed just 56 runs in total in his nine previous Test innings.
But the 33-year-old batsman, appearing in his 111th Test, responded with a stylish 89-ball innings, including 11 fours. Together with first-innings century-maker Joe Root, who also made 60, Bell put on 97 for the fourth wicket on Friday.
Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who took four for 75 on Friday, insisted his side had not given up hope of victory.
"Records are made to be broken," he said defiantly.
"We've got a world-class batting line-up and we bat right down to 11 so there is no reason why we can't get these runs if we apply ourselves properly within our top order."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
ASHES, 1ST TEST
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