In a nail-biting climax to the opening Ashes test at Edgbaston, Australia captain Pat Cummins secured a remarkable two-wicket victory for his team over England. Chasing a target of 281 runs, the visitors started the rain-delayed final day on 107 for three and faced a daunting task when they were reduced to 227-8.
However, Cummins, accompanied by Nathan Lyon, staged a remarkable fightback, steering Australia towards victory with an unbeaten knock of 44. In a tense atmosphere where every ball felt like a mini-drama, Cummins hit the final boundary, capitalizing on a fumble by Harry Brook, to give Australia a 1-0 lead in the series.
Australia’s successful chase of 281 runs was the second-highest ever at Edgbaston, and it avenged their heartbreaking three-run loss against England in the 2005 Ashes Test at the same venue.
Usman Khawaja was named Man of the Match for his brilliant century in the first innings and his overall contributions.
The match showcased contrasting styles of play, with England adopting an aggressive approach characterized by unconventional field placements, innovative shots, and high scoring rates reminiscent of Twenty20 cricket. Despite England’s “Bazball” style, the decision to declare their first innings on 393-8 on the opening day came back to haunt them, given the narrow margin of victory in the end.
Stokes, undeterred by the loss, promised that England would continue to challenge Australia with unexpected strategies in the remaining four matches of the series, commencing at Lord’s in the upcoming week.