CARDIFF • England's bowlers enjoyed a fruitful third morning of the first Test yesterday, when they dismissed Australia for 308 to take control and raise hopes of a flying start in their bid to regain the Ashes.
Australia lost five wickets for 44 runs before lunch for a first innings deficit of 122. Some of the gloss from England's fine session was taken off when captain Alastair Cook fell for 12 with the hosts on 21 for one at lunch, a lead of 143.
Resuming on 264-5, Australia were immediately put on the back foot when they lost Shane Watson (30) and Nathan Lyon (6) with the addition of just one run to their overnight total.
While veteran wicket-keeper Brad Haddin hit three successive fours from one Ben Stokes over to relieve some of the pressure, England knew they had the new ball to take. And after a brief recovery stand of 39 between Haddin and Mitchell Johnson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson was introduced.
Again finding prodigious swing, he tempted Haddin (22) to flash at an out-swinger, and a nick behind gave Jos Buttler the catch.
The last two wickets fell quickly, Johnson (14) clipping an easy catch to Gary Ballance and Joe Root pouching a superb catch at third slip to dismiss Mitchell Starc (0) and hand Anderson a third wicket.
They can thank the all-around efforts of Moeen Ali, who starred with both bat and ball on Thursday.
Ali scored a quick-fire 77 in England's first innings of 430 - the first time in three Ashes series they had passed 400.
The off-spinner then captured the key wickets of Steven Smith, the world's top-ranked Test batsman, and Australia captain Michael Clarke - both out in the 30s.
The 28-year-old all-rounder revealed he had taken his cue from England captain Cook.
"Cooky said for everyone to play the way they play, I felt I wanted to play my shots and entertain everyone," Ali explained.
Australia opener Chris Rogers set a new record for most successive Test 50s without a hundred, when his seventh straight half-century ended five runs short of a ton.
Rogers, who plans to retire after this series, said: "It's always disappointing when you get so close and maybe I could have done a slightly better job for the side."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
THE ASHES, 1ST TEST
Day 4: England v Australia, Singtel TV Ch123 & StarHub Ch236, 6pm