Cummins & Lyon Rearguard Action Leads Australia To Pulsating Ashes Win

The tourists won by two wickets at Edgbaston
19:22, 20 Jun 2023

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Test match cricket isn’t full of drama! On the very same ground which delivered one of the great acts of sporting theatre back in 2005, a magnificent rearguard action from Australia’s tail earned the tourists a thrilling two-wicket victory in the first Ashes Test on Tuesday following five pulsating days of cricket.

Finely poised after four absorbing days but with the threat that rain would be the winner, it turned into a Test match for the ages after the weather had relented long enough to allow for 67 overs on the final day. And it took all but four and a half of those for Pat Cummins’ troops to get over the line having at one stage been 54 runs short of the 281 target with eight wickets down.

England’s ‘Bazball’ approach looked set to claim another victim, but Cummins (44*) and Nathan Lyon (16*) teamed up to build an unlikely winning partnership with the bat in one of the all-time great finishes.

The home side’s 393 for 8 on the opening day said much about their vision, Joe Root’s 118 not out leading an effort which saw them score at a little better than five an over. The early declaration was proof that skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum wanted to put the onus on Australia, displaying an attacking sense in the field to match what they have done with bat in hand over the last 12 months.

Stokes’ unorthodox field settings had the Aussies second guessing themselves in response, most notably when Ollie Robinson bowled Usman Khawaja for 141 on the third morning after the England skipper had formed a reverse V with seven fielders close in between point and square leg.


Then when they went back into bat they had Root playing ramp shots from the off, Harry Brook hitting a near-run-a-ball 46 and contributions right down the order as they set about leaving the Aussies a target a run shy of the 282 their 2005 predecessors almost chased down in that epic Second Test at the same venue.

But the brilliant Khawaja’s gritty 65 to add to that magnificent first-innings ton laid the groundwork, and just when his wicket – chopping on from a great Stokes delivery – looked to have checked the Aussies’ stride, the visitors’ tail did the dirty work.

Stokes almost produced a sensational catch to get rid of Lyon off Stuart Broad’s bowling but he lost a grip of the ball on the way to the ground, then Cummins and Lyon found boundaries at key times as their 54-run target started to slip away like sand in England’s fingers.

And with three needed it was left to Cummins to clinch the win with a four off the bowling of Robinson which a sprawling Brook couldn't keep from reaching the boundary rope.

Just as England’s two-run win in 2005 has gone down in history, this one will be another amazing Ashes Test remembered for generations, even if this time it’s the Aussies who have made an early statement in the 2023 series.


*18+ | BeGambleAware

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