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Dhaka Tribune

Australia take 1-0 Ashes lead after dramatic two-wicket win

Cummins hit the winning boundary to finish on 44* after Khawaja had made 65 to follow his 1st-innings 141

Update : 21 Jun 2023, 02:11 AM

Australia captain Pat Cummins led his side to a dramatic two-wicket win over England in the first Test at Edgbaston Tuesday.

The Ashes holders were 209/7, still 72 runs shy of a victory target of 281, when fast bowler Cummins came in to bat after first-innings century-maker Usman Khawaja fell for a painstaking 65.

And after Alex Carey was out to leave Australia 227/8, the tourists still required another 54 more runs.

But Cummins and Nathan Lyon's unbroken stand of 55 saw Australia home in a match to rival the tension of England's two-run win in a celebrated 2005 Ashes clash at the same venue.

Cummins, who finished on 44 not out, hit the winning boundary when he edged Ollie Robinson to third man where a diving Harry Brook knocked the ball over the rope.

Lyon, whose missed run out contributed to England's stunning one-wicket win at Headingley in the drawn 2019 Ashes series in England, was 16 not out.

Victory left World Test champions Australia 1-0 up in the five-match series as they bid for a first Ashes campaign win in England in 22 years.

Cummins had promised Australia would stick with their traditional game rather than get caught up in the hype surrounding England's aggressive “Bazball” approach.

"One of the beauties of this series is the totally contrasting styles," Cummins said after the nail-biting win.

"We both played to our strengths. You don't necessarily know which style is better but it makes for good entertainment."

Australia's method was exemplified by player of the match Khawaja, with Cummins saying: "He showed composure in both innings, playing at his own pace, playing his own method and didn't get caught up in anything else."

This was just England's third defeat in 14 Tests under captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

England were left to rue a series of missed chances throughout the match, none more so than when Lyon was dropped on just two by Stokes at square leg, after the skipper failed to hold a one-handed diving chance from a pull off Stuart Broad as he hit the turf.

Stokes had made a surprising decision to declare before stumps on the first day at 393/8.

But the unrepentant all-rounder told the BBC: "Scoring 390 and then being able to declare sends a message to Australia about how we want to take them on...

"We've managed to stand up to Australia and being in control for most of it makes it hurt a little bit more that we've lost, but there are four more games left."

After Tuesday's morning session was washed out by rain, Australia resumed on 107/3 with veteran seamer Broad having removed Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, the world's two top-ranked Test batsmen, late on Monday's fourth day.

But Khawaja was still there on 34 not out as the 36-year old opener became only the second Australian, after Kim Hughes at Lord's in 1980, to bat on all five days of a Test.

After nightwatchman Scott Boland fell to Broad, spinner Moeen Ali, struggling with a finger injury, struck on his Birmingham home ground.

Moeen's first ball of the day, a rank long hop, was pulled for four by Travis Head.

But his fifth was a classic off-spinning delivery to the left-hander, taking the outside edge on its way to Joe Root at slip as a near capacity crowd erupted in celebration.

Australia reached tea at 183/5, but were quickly reduced to 192/6 when Robinson had all-rounder Cameron Green (28) chopping on to end a stand of 49 with Khawaja.

Meanwhile Stokes, capable of swinging the old ball at a lively pace, brought himself on to bowl as the floodlights came on.

Stokes struck when he had Khawaja, who made 141 in Australia's first innings, chopping on to end a 197-ball stay.

Part-time off-spinner Root dropped two tough and caught bowled chances offered by Carey and Cummins.

But he made no mistake with a third chance as he clung on to remove Carey for 20.

Cummins, however, reignited Australia's pursuit by launching Root for two straight sixes before finishing the job himself.

The five-match series now moves to Lord's where the second Test will get underway next Wednesday.

1ST TEST

England 393/8 dec (Root 118*, Lyon 4/149) & 273 (Cummins 4/63, Lyon 4/80) lost to Australia 386 (Khawaja 141, Robinson 3/55) & 282/8 (Khawaja 65, Broad 3/64) by two wickets

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