Australia lead England by 34 in first Test

:: Peoples Time Online ::

Australia hold a 34 run advantage over England going into day four of the first Test of the Ashes.

England ended their first innings on 374 all out, a lead of just 90 runs in reply to Australia’s 284, after a succession of early wickets at the start of the day’s play. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes did manage to slowly extend England’s advantage which at one stage was looking very slight – the home side certainly would have been hoping for a greater advantage.

But Australia managed to take a lead into day four despite losing three wickets, Steve Smith on 46 alongside Travis Head with 21. The former Aussie captain causing England concern, just as he did in his first innings.

The match still finely balanced going into day four, Australia finishing the day on 124-3.

The day started with the same raucous atmosphere that had been witnessed for the first two days of this opening Test match at Edgbaston.

It took Rory Burns almost 25 minutes to get his first run of the day as he calmly worked his way into the day’s batting, continuing with Ben Stokes at the other end. And it was the World Cup hero who made the first milestone of the day, the 28-year-old reaching his 50 off of 95 balls.

However, the very next over, Stokes was out, edging the ball to Australia captain Tim Paine. The Aussies’ with their first breakthrough of the day to end a partnership worth 88 runs.

As Burns looked to build another partnership, this time with Jonny Bairstow, the 28-year-old was dismissed by Nathan Lyon, edging the ball once again to Paine. An incredible innings for the Surrey County cricketer, the England man departing for 33.

By this point Australia were flying, as England crept to 300, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow were both out. Ali was bowled by Lyon for a duck not playing a shot, and Bairstow caught by David Warner off the bowling of Peter Siddle. Three wickets in two overs for just four runs and England were eight down carrying the smallest of advantages over Australia.

Broad and Woakes had the task of steadying things for England as Australia dominated the morning session, but lunch arrived with England on 328-8 and a lead of just 44. The game finely balanced and the visitors in a buoyant mood.

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