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Bell fifty helps England make it 2-1

Steven Finn named Man of the Match for his match haul of 8 for 117 in host’s eight-wicket win

Bell fifty helps England make it 2-1 - Cricket News
Joe Root and Ian Bell after the match.

Ian Bell delighted a capacity crowd at his Warwickshire home ground with a sparkling unbeaten 65 as England beat Australia by eight wickets to win the third Test at Edgbaston on Friday (July 31).

Victory, achieved with more than two days to spare, took England 2-1 up in the five-match Ashes series after its win in the first Test in Cardiff was followed by a big 405-run win for Australia in the second Test at Lord’s.

Set a modest victory target of 121, England finished on 124 for 2 shortly before tea. Bell, who took control of the innings after Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth were dismissed, had Joe Root for company at the end. And it was Root (38 not out), who struck the winning boundary off Mitchell Marsh to take England past the target.

There was a bit of concern for England when Cook (seven) was bowled by a superb swinging delivery from Mitchell Starc to leave England at 7 for 1.

But Bell hit four fours in seven balls off Starc, including one down the ground and a classical cover drive. Bell then late cut Nathan Lyon to the third-man boundary. He was, however, given a reprieve on 20 when, with England 35 for 1, he edged Starc to second slip only for Michael Clarke to drop the chance.

When Adam Lyth was lbw to Josh Hazlewood's inswinger for 12, it meant England was 51 for 2.

Root showed few signs of nerves, however, in cutting his first ball, from Hazlewood, for four.

Bell's late-cut boundary off Starc took him to his second fifty of the match, off 68 balls with seven fours.

This match represented a remarkable turnaround for England after its defeat in the second Test at Lord's. But, whereas that clash had taken place on a largely placid pitch, the course of this Test owed much to Clarke's decision to bat first on a seaming surface offering sideways movement. 

James Anderson led the way with an Ashes-best 6 for 47 as Australia was dismissed for just 136 in its first innings. However, byFriday, he had been ruled out of both the remainder of this match and next week's fourth Test at Trent Bridge with a side strain suffered while bowling on the second day.

Earlier, Australia resumed on 168 for 7, 23 runs ahead and the two not out batsmen overnight, Peter Nevill and Starc, both went on to make fifties and shared an eighth-wicket stand of 64 that boosted Australia's second-innings total to 265.

Steven Finn, recalled for his first Test in two years following an injury to Mark Wood, led the attack with his best figures at this level of 6 for 79.

Nevill's leg-glanced boundary off Finn took him to a maiden Test fifty, in only his second match, in 126 balls with six fours. Having survived one appeal for a catch down the leg side on 53, Nevill eventually fell in similar fashion when a diving Jos Buttler held a stunning one-handed chance, high to his left, off Finn.

Starc's straight six off Moeen Ali took him to an 83-ball fifty, including six fours.

It also gave Australia a lead of 100 before Moeen ended the innings when he had Starc caught in the covers.

To see the full scorecard, please click here

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