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England win Ashes opener

CRICKET-ENG-AUS-ASHESCARDIFF: Stuart Broad led England to a 169-run victory in the first Ashes Test as Australia collapsed either side of lunch on the fourth day at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens yesterday. Australia, well-placed at 97 for one, slumped to 106 for five as four wickets fell for just nine runs in 36 balls. Chasing a record-breaking 412 for victory, Ashes-holders Australia were dismissed for 242 after tea. Fast-medium bowler Broad took three for 39 in 14 overs as England enjoyed an emphatic win in their first match under new Australian coach Trevor Bayliss.
Joe Root, named man-of-the-match for his first innings 134 after coming in with England struggling at 43 for three, had the last word in the game by catching Josh Hazlewood in the deep off spinner Moeen Ali. "This Test couldn't have gone any better and we'll enjoy tonight," said England captain Alastair Cook. "Joe Root was fantastic and the bowlers were superb."

Root added: "I think it was my most important hundred It's great to get that win, hopefully we can now back it up at Lord's (where the second Test starts on Thursday)."
Australia captain Michael Clarke said his side had been well-beaten."We were outplayed in all three facets," Clarke told BBC Radio's Test Match Special.

"England batted well on day one, we didn't take our catches and our batting let us down in both innings. We look forward to making amends in the second Test."
As if defeat wasn't bad enough for Australia, left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc-who took five wickets in England's first innings-ended the match struggling with an ankle injury.
Asked if Starc would be fit for Lord's, Clarke said: "I hope so...I'm confident the fact he bowled in the second innings means he will be fit to bowl at Lord's."
No side have made more in the fourth innings to win an Ashes Test than 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. But their two best individual scores yesterday were No 8 Mitchell Johnson's 77 and opener David Warner's 52. Australia were going well at 97 for one when Warner was lbw to off-spinner Ali (three for 59) on the stroke of lunch. Broad had bowled superbly in an opening spell of one for 10 in six overs and probably deserved more than the wicket of Chris Rogers.

However, Broad-renowned for striking in bursts-took two for five in 13 balls shortly after lunch to capture the prize wickets of Steven Smith and Clarke. He was on target in the first full over after lunch when he seamed the ball away from Smith, the world's number one ranked Test batsman, who edged to Ian Bell at second slip as, for the second time this match, he fell for 33.

Clarke, looking to lead Australia to their first Ashes series win in Britain in 14 years, then went for a mere four when he guided Broad to Ben Stokes at backward point. Cook has often been criticised for being too cautious in the field. But that this was a day when everything seemed to go right for Cook, England's skipper when they were whitewashed 5-0 in Australia in 2013/14, was exemplified by the departure of Brad Haddin for seven.

Not only did Cook recall Ali into the attack, he also clung on one-handed at the second attempt at short mid-wicket to a stunning catch off a full-blooded slog-sweep against the spinner by Haddin.

Shane Watson hung around for over an hour making 19 before he was lbw to fast bowler Mark Wood. It was the second time this match the under-pressure all-rounder had fallen leg before and the 29th occasion in his Test career.
Johnson delayed England before Root, with the aid of a slip catch by Adam Lyth via a deflection off Cook, ended his innings to leave Australia on the brink of defeat at 242 for nine. -AFP

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This article was published on 11/07/2015