Ali's innings vital as Johnson takes his 300th wicket

Mitchell Johnson takes a tumble on his way to 2-66. The tourists’ spearhead became only the fifth Australian bowler to take 300 Test wickets, even as England established a 145-run first-innings lead.
Mitchell Johnson takes a tumble on his way to 2-66. The tourists’ spearhead became only the fifth Australian bowler to take 300 Test wickets, even as England established a 145-run first-innings lead. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - Australia's Mitchell Johnson took his 300th Test wicket but England built up a useful first-innings lead in the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston yesterday.

A fighting innings of 59 by Moeen Ali helped England to 281 all out, after skittling Australia out for just 136 on the opening day to take a first-innings lead of 145.

England began the day's play at 133 for the loss of three wickets, with Joe Root 30 not out and Jonny Bairstow unbeaten on one.

Bairstow gave England the lead when he square-drove Josh Hazlewood for four in the first over of the day. But in the next over, Johnson put Australia right back into the match with two wickets for no runs in just three deliveries.

Bairstow had been recalled after England dropped his Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance following Australia's mammoth 405-run win in the second Test at Lord's.

But despite averaging more than 100 for county champions Yorkshire this season, Bairstow was dismissed for just five as he gloved a brute of a rising ball from Johnson to wicket-keeper Peter Nevill.

It was a fitting way for spearhead Johnson to become the fifth Australian after Dennis Lillee, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee to take 300 Test wickets.

Two balls later, a similar delivery saw Ben Stokes caught behind for a duck and England were 142 for five. Root, who made a century in England's 169-run win in the first Test in Cardiff, regained the initiative with a flurry of fours. His pull off left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc took him to a 49-ball 50.

England had seen Ian Bell (53) give his wicket away against off-spinner Nathan Lyon on Wednesday. Root was also responsible for his own downfall on 63 when he chased a wide ball from a wayward Starc and edged straight to Adam Voges at first slip.

England were in even greater danger of not capitalising on their excellent first day when Jos Buttler was lbw for seven to Lyon to leave the home side at 190 for seven.

England, despite their situation, opted against a review, even though replays suggested a challenge could have succeeded.

Lyon took three wickets for three runs in only 14 balls before Ali's crucial half century extended England's lead.

Chris Broad took the first Australian second-innings wicket, removing Chris Rogers to move to 299 Test wickets.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, TV TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2015, with the headline 'Ali's innings vital as Johnson takes his 300th wicket'. Print Edition | Subscribe