Against all odds, England hammered home their advantage over Australia in the first Test to put themselves in pole position to take the lead in the Ashes.
First they claimed Australia’s last five wickets for 44 runs on Friday morning to bowl them out for 308 and secure a first-innings lead of 122. Then they piled up 289 in the second innings which, in itself, was not a great score, but enough to present Australia with a target of 412 to win on a wicket with variable bounce and turning sharply.
Ian Bell and Joe Root both scored 60 and Ben Stokes 42 as England surged further ahead in the afternoon session to the delight of a buoyant Cardiff crowd.
And although wickets fell regularly in a frenetic finale, Mark Wood’s unbeaten 32 helped England reach the formidable score.
Only two teams in Test history have successfully chased that many runs, with Australia’s best effort the 404-3 by Don Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’ at Headingley in 1948.