Alastair Cook’s new England surged to a 169-run victory in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff on Saturday.
The captain could do little wrong, as bowling changes continually paid off and the tourists were all out for 242 late on day four in pursuit of an Ashes record target of 412.
Stuart Broad, with three for 39, made the most telling individual contribution and for good measure Cook played his own part in two juggling-act dismissals to ensure England prevailed as expected here, despite an admirable 77 down the order from Mitchell Johnson and a half-century, too, from the opener David Warner.
Ultimately, neither did anything more than delay what had long seemed inevitable as England’s commitment to aggressive cricket – following their miserable World Cup winter – paid off with a first step towards regaining the Ashes after their 5-0 2013-14 whitewash down under.
First England 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. – AP
The second Test starts Thursday at Lord’s.
For the full scorecard, click here.