In a thrilling first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, Australia secured a nerve-wracking two-wicket win over England following a resilient unbeaten knock of 44 by skipper Pat Cummins and a crucial partnership of 55 runs for the ninth wicket with Nathan Lyon (16 not out).
After being set a target of 281 to win in the fourth innings, Australia were in deep trouble at 227/8 after Alex Carey for dimissed for 20. However, Cummins’ leadership skills played a vital role in guiding his team to a memorable triumph.
Despite losing the first session due to rain, England, who declared their first innings at 393/8 and were bowled out for 272 in their second innings, had a chance to win the match as they required just two wickets while Australia still needed 54 runs.
Nevertheless, Cummins and Lyon formed an unbeaten partnership of 55 runs for the ninth wicket, steering Australia towards a winning start in their quest to reclaim the Ashes on English soil after several years.
More of this please!
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) June 21, 2023
Cummins’ arrival at the crease initially favoured England’s chances, but the skipper contributed 18 runs alongside Alex Carey before playing a crucial role in the match-winning stand with Nathan Lyon, leading the opening Ashes encounter to a thrilling climax. Cummins, unbeaten on 44, struck the winning runs and was warmly embraced by Lyon, who remained unbeaten on 16.
Due to rain, the entire first session was washed out, resulting in a compressed day’s play. When the match eventually commenced on a cloudy afternoon, Australia resumed their innings at 107/3, with all outcomes still possible.
With a target of 174 runs to win, Usman Khawaja and Scott Boland made England toil for an early breakthrough. However, Stuart Broad managed to induce an edge from the nightwatchman, dismissing Boland for his highest Test score of 20.
Australia displayed patience, and Travis Head weathered a spell of short-pitched bowling. However, Moeen Ali, grappling with a finger injury throughout the day, delivered an exceptional ball that troubled Head, resulting in a sharp catch by Joe Root at first slip.
At tea, Australia found themselves in a solid position with five wickets down. Yet, England gained a glimmer of hope when Cameron Green’s resilient innings ended as he chopped an Ollie Robinson delivery onto his stumps, departing for 28.
Usman Khawaja, displaying determination, faced 197 deliveries for his gritty knock of 65. However, he fell victim to a slower ball from England captain Stokes, resulting in an identical dismissal.
England delayed taking the new ball, a decision that paid off handsomely when part-time spinner Root successfully held onto a sharp caught and bowled chance, removing Alex Carey for 20. Australia still required 54 runs to win at that point.
Tension mounted as England tried every possible strategy to claim the remaining wickets. However, Cummins and Lyon remained composed, sealing a memorable victory for their team.
This result gives Australia a 1-0 lead in the series, with four Tests remaining. The second Test is scheduled to be played at Lord’s from June 28. Thie result marks the first points earned in the new cycle of the World Test Championship, with defending champions Australia off to an impressive start.