5 reasons why England won the Third Ashes Test

Published 08/01/2015, 7:57 AM EDT
The Edgbaston pitch had a grass cover and with overcast conditions, swing bowlers were in for a treat.


Steven Finn was awarded as the man-of-the-match.

Hosts England rattled the Aussies in the third Test of the Ashes in Edgbaston in under three days to go 2-1 up in the five-match test series. The spotlight of the match being the fierce and disciplined bowling by the English pacers. James Anderson ripped apart the Australian batting line-up in the first innings whereas Steven Finn who replaced Mark Wood, took 6 wickets to prove his inclusion in the side a master-stroke.

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Australia were outplayed in all three departments – batting, bowling and fielding by the hosts and a performance like this after a stunning victory at Lord’s was very unlikely. Although it wasn’t as much as Aussies failure to play to their strengths, as much as England’s impeccable show of skill and technique that won them the match. EssentiallySports lists the 5 reasons why England won the third Ashes Test:

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1. A turf they desired

The grass cover and overcast conditions were a treat for the swing bowlers.

Ever since the Lord’s Test, the players, the staff, the journalists and fans were lament about the pitch that was prepared, that left England toiling hard on the field before being bundled out on the final afternoon of the Test. But here we were, in Edgbaston, that produced a green pitch offering pace. With overcast conditions, it was just the icing on the cake for the English fast bowlers.

After Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat first, England bowlers were up for their task. They used the conditions to their advantage and made survival on the wicket hostile for the Aussies. James Anderson and Steven Finn created a havoc for the visitors, bundling them just within three days.

2. The master of swing bowling

Anderson took a 6-fer to rattle the Aussie batting.

James Anderson went wicket-less in the second Test at Lord’s and was determined to perform better. And what a way to do that! The 33-year-old crushed the Australian batting with his scintillating in-swingers and his disciplined line and length paid off.

After causing destruction with his bowling in the first innings, Anderson seemed satisfied as he said, “After getting no wickets the confidence takes a bit of a hit. It made me more determined to bowl better and get wickets. I knew I could bowl better than I did at Lord’s. I am glad I bowled so well today.”

Jimmy Anderson took 6 wickets for just 47 runs, as England bowled out Australia for a meager 136 in the first innings. Unfortunately, after taking out set David Warner in the second innings, Anderson had to leave the field due to a side strain. As per reports, he has been ruled out of the fourth Test.

3. Captaincy genius by Cook

Cook continued attacking the Aussies throughout the Test match.

England captain Alastair Cook was under a lot of scrutiny for the selection of playing XI and also his tactics to handle the Australian batsmen. He put them all to rest after the emphatic win at Edgbaston where he took some really good decisions coming in to the game.

Firstly, dropping out-of-form Gary Ballance and including Jonathan Bairstow was a good pick. That not only provided stability to the batting lower down the order, but also meant that Ian Bell came in at number 3, which paid off really well. Bell was finding it tough to regain form and an opportunity of coming up the order gave him enough confidence to flourish with fifties in both the innings of the Test.

Also, replacing fast bowler Mark Wood with Steven Finn was spot on. Finn gave Anderson great support in the first innings to finish off Aussie innings at just 136. In the second innings, with Anderson off the field due to a side strain, Finn bowled outstandingly well to beat the Australians repeatedly. Cook continued with an attacking field that helped England take all those chances that came up flying on the slip cordon. Cook’s happiness saw no bounds in the post-match presentation ceremony as he described the win as a fantastic one.

4. Steven Finn shedding his “unselectable” tag

Finn replaced Mark Wood for the third Test.

England fast bowler Mark Wood had some fitness concerns ahead of the third Test and captain Alastair Cook didn’t want to take any chances even with a slight niggle. Steven Finn replaced Wood for the Edgbaston Test after being deemed “unselectable” after the last Ashes tour.

Finn rose up to the occasion in style as he not only took, two and six wickets in the first and second innings respectively, but also bagged the man-of-the-match award for his outstanding bowling.

His tempting deliveries just outside the off stump deceived a lot of Australian batsmen who gave away catches at the slips. Finn also dismissed the number one Test batsman in the world right now, Steven Smith, in both the innings. Nasser Hussain rightly described the instance saying that Finn had transformed to being “undroppable” from being “unselectable”.

5. England top order finally coming together

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Ian Bell scored fifties in both innings to ensure England maintained the stranglehold.

England’s top order has been a concern for quite a while. With Adam Lyth failing to perform as an opener and Ian Bell not quite getting his strokes right, a shuffle in the batting order was a necessity. England dropped batsman Gary Ballance and moved Ian Bell at number 3, followed by Joe Root and Jonathan Bairstow.

The trick clicked for England as even though Lyth continued his poor show, out-of-form batsman Bell grabbed the opportunity of coming in at number 3, scoring an impressive 53 and ensured a healthy lead for England after dismissing Australia for just 136.

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Also, after being set up a target of 121 to win the Test, Bell scored another typical Bell-like innings of 65 runs to bring the game home for the hosts. The batting woes for England are buried for the time being.

Fans would hope that the impressive performance continues and England regain the urn in the next Test itself!

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Piyush Blaggan

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