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Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 18:37 UK

Anderson haul puts England on top

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston (day two):
England 116-2 v Australia 263
Match scorecard

James Anderson celebrates a wicket with Graeme Swann
Anderson utilised the overhead conditions and swung the ball both ways

By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at Edgbaston

Brilliant swing bowling from James Anderson and Graham Onions put England in a fine position after two days of the third Ashes Test.

Australia capitulated shockingly from an overnight 126-1, losing two wickets off the first two balls of the morning, to collapse to 203-8 at lunch and eventually 263 all out.

When bad light brought a premature end to proceedings at 1745 BST, with 19 overs left in the day, Andrew Strauss (64 not out) had guided England to 116-2, trailing by 147.

Onions triggered the Aussies' demise, taking the first three wickets in the day to fall, and then the last, to finish with 4-58.

Anderson recovered from a poor showing on Thursday, and some wayward stuff early in his spell on day two, to take 5-13 in 38 balls either side of lunch for overall figures of 5-80.

But another key figure in proceedings was umpire Rudi Koertzen, who awarded Anderson two very debatable lbws and then denied Mitchell Johnson one against Ian Bell when the ball would have probably hit middle stump.

Bell, who hit the first six of the Ashes series by an England batsman, lived to fight another day, and will resume with Strauss on 26.

Graham Onions celebrates taking a wicket
Onions removed Watson and Hussey with the first two balls of the day

With the memories of a disjointed bowling display on Thursday evening still in the back of the mind, Onions gave his team - and the home fans - a massive boost with the first two balls of the day.

Shane Watson, who had cruised to 62, just 16 runs shy of his best score in Tests in his first experience as an opener at this level, completely misjudged his shot at a ball homing in on his stumps.

Failing to get his bat down in time, he gave Aleem Dar an easy lbw decision to make.

Michael Hussey, who was bowled playing no shot to Andrew Flintoff at Lord's, again left a delivery that only came back a fraction to brush his off-stump.

Though some of the 21,000 fans had not yet taken their seats, they rushed into position to see the hat-trick ball - and after the obligatory roar Onions sent a short ball just whistling past Michael Clarke's gloves.

The game settled down for a while as Clarke and Ricky Ponting used their collective nous to withstand Onions' variations on a theme of swing.

The captain picked up the runs needed to pass Allan Border and become the leading Australian run-scorer in Tests - leaving only pack leader Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara in front of him.

And when he on-drove Flintoff for four, taking the score to 159-3, Australia appeared to be entering calmer waters. But only four runs were added before Ponting, on 38, tried to pull a well-directed bouncer from Onions and edged to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

All the action was happening in Onions' tremendous nine-over spell from the City End - and he could have had Clarke out twice.

The right-hander was reprieved by umpire Dar, turning down a very good lbw shout on 18, and by Flintoff on 20. England's usually flawless second slip somehow spilt an outside edge.

But it was Anderson who picked up the wicket-taking baton in devastating fashion from the Pavilion End as Australia lurched from 193-4 to 229-9 - with Koertzen providing two prominent assists.

The South African official ended Clarke's innings on 29 (ball probably missing leg-stump) and then Johnson back for a golden duck (slightly too high, according to Hawkeye).

In between those two wickets, Marcus North chased a wide one and was well caught by a diving Prior. Anderson's fourth wicket, and the eighth of the innings, came when Graham Manou was bowled by a pearler.

Australia took lunch in dreadful shape, but their tail-enders did pretty well after the interval - although the ball was still swinging - to add 60 runs for the final two wickets. Onions finally wrapped it up, taking a richly-deserved fourth wicket when Ben Hilfenhaus speared the Durham man to gully.

By then, Peter Siddle had edged Anderson behind, giving him his first five-wicket Ashes haul, and it should all have ended on 241 when Nathan Hauritz top-edged a pull over Ravi Bopara's head.

England's backward-point had to turn to take the catch over his shoulder, but it was not a difficult chance and thus a disappointing drop.

Hauritz and Hilfenhaus each made 20, a suggestion to England's openers that batting was not necessarily as nightmarish as many of the Australians had made it look.

And when Hilfenhaus and Siddle then opened the bowling for the Aussies there was only the merest hint of swing - nothing like the lavish movement enjoyed by Onions and Anderson.


All the same, the Aussies had an ideal start when Alastair Cook lazily drove at a ball outside off-stump he could have easily left in the second over, Manou making an instant impression with a solid wicketkeeper's catch.

But with Strauss looking in good touch from the off, and Bopara overcoming a slightly nervy start to hit some scorching drives through the off-side, England recovered to reach tea on 56-1.

Intriguingly, Johnson was relegated behind Hauritz to fourth bowler on the Australian roster, and after tea was replaced by Hilfenhaus at the Pavilion End.

Ponting judged that particular bowling change well, Hilfenhaus putting Bopara in two minds with a teaser outside off-stump, and the Essex man's tentative poke deflected the ball into his stumps.

With the scoreboard reading 60-2, there was a bit of a pressure on the recalled Bell to make an impression - and he did not disappoint on his home ground.

Siddle helped him out with a couple of full tosses that were easily put away, and Bell's confidence looked in good order as he drove Hauritz over mid-on for the landmark maximum.

Strauss reached his fifty with a back-foot punch off the tiring Hilfenhaus for four and followed up with a lovely straight drive off the same bowler.

Bell was given a major lifeline on 18 when umpire Koertzen, who had already infuriated Australian fans at Lord's with some of his decision-making, denied Johnson's concerted lbw appeal.

A few balls later, Bell hit a rasping cover-drive to the boundary to exasperate a much-improved Johnson further. Australia might be glad that Koertzen is not officiating at Headingley or The Oval.

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see also
Onions hails England's patience
31 Jul 09 |  England
England v Australia photos
31 Jul 09 |  Cricket
England toil after weather delay
30 Jul 09 |  England
England bowling was poor - Swann
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Jonathan Agnew column
30 Jul 09 |  Cricket
England v Australia day one photos
30 Jul 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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