The Ashes 1st Test: Captain Cummins leads Australia to a famous 2-wicket win at Edgbaston

Toby Marshall
29 June 2023
The Ashes 1st Test

Australia may have not completely ended the style of play known as ‘Bazball’, but they were able to put to rest the painful memories of their loss at Edgbaston in 2005. The team managed to secure a nail-biting two-wicket victory on the back of a remarkable ninth-wicket partnership between captain Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.

When the two came together, there were still 54 runs needed for Australia to win, while England were looking strong after dismissing Alex Carey with a stunning reflex catch by Joe Root. Despite facing some unrelenting short-pitched bowling from Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson, who had the second new-ball, Cummins and Lyon stood firm and eventually managed to guide Australia to a victory with less than five overs remaining.

The final moment came when Cummins hit a boundary off Robinson that initially looked like it would yield only two runs needed to tie the scores, but Harry Brook’s diving effort resulted in the ball parrying over the rope in front of an ecstatic group of Australian supporters on a misty summer evening.

During the initial hour of play, only 21 runs were scored, as England delivered well-directed balls, but the pitch didn’t offer much bounce or pace to trouble the batsmen. Despite setting their field strategically, nightwatchman Scott Boland couldn’t stand his ground and fell to a bluff by Stuart Broad.

Driving at a full-pitched delivery, he edged to the ‘keeper, thus giving Broad his third wicket of the innings. Moeen dismissed the dangerous Travis Head after he scored two boundaries off three balls, edging to slip. Cameron Green was cautious and tentative initially, much like Khawaja at the other end.

Khawaja reached his half-century late in the second session, with no further loss to Australia before Tea. Alex Carey and Pat Cummins started cautiously, but Root kept them in check with his disciplined bowling. Carey attempted to attack the spinner and survived a drop on 11, but a similar shot nine runs later led to his downfall, dismissed for the third time in Tests by Root.

During the critical phase of the game, Pat Cummins stepped up to become the hero for Australia after the dismissal of Alex Carey. Despite facing criticism for his conservative approach earlier in the match, Cummins took control and smashed Root’s full delivery for a six, later repeating the same trick.

Stuart Broad returned with the old ball, and Nathan Lyon attempted a hook shot that flew towards Stokes at square leg. Despite making an effort, he was unable to hold onto the ball, which slipped away during his second attempt. Although criticized earlier, Lyon batted aggressively and hit a magnificent boundary, beating Robinson at mid-off. Finally, Cummins’ off-side push slap sent the ball under Crawley at the cover boundary, and Lyon struck another boundary by hitting Broad over the top.

After facing teasing remarks, Lyon showcased an impressive display of batting that was more akin to a top-order batsman. He hit an elegant off-drive down the ground that raced away for four runs. He then beat Robinson at mid-off by striking the ball towards his right. Cummins’ push shot on the off-side sent the ball under Crawley at the cover boundary, while Lyon’s powerful shot over the top sailed towards the cheering group of Australian supporters.

Author Toby Marshall