Australia began the day at 311/5, with Usman Khawaja standing tall on an unbeaten 126. Khawaja, who had been denied an Ashes century in England for a decade, continued his patient innings, frustrating the English bowlers. Together with Alex Carey (52), the pair led Australia’s recovery from a shaky position at 67/3.
As it happened: 1st Ashes Test, Day 3
Although Khawaja had been fortunate, surviving a Stuart Broad no-ball when on 112 and being dropped by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, he made the most of his chances. His elegant stroke play and steely determination were on full display, as he countered the English attack with confidence.
However, England finally managed to dismiss the resilient left-hander when Ollie Robinson (3-55) bowled him while attempting an unorthodox shot against an unusual “umbrella field.” Khawaja’s gritty knock of 141, comprising 14 boundaries and three sixes, eventually came to an end after a remarkable 321-ball stay at the crease.
The final four wickets for Australia fell rapidly, adding a mere 14 runs to their total. James Anderson (1-67) claimed the crucial wicket of Carey, bowling him between bat and pad.
However, Cummins, the lower-order batsman, launched an aggressive assault, smashing two sixes off Moeen Ali and one off Broad to boost Australia’s chances of equalising England’s first-innings score.
Resuming the second innings with a deficit of just seven runs, Australia continued their dominance with the ball. In reply, England had a solid start, reaching 27 without loss. But a brief 20-minute passage of play before heavy rain interrupted proceedings saw them lose both openers.
Cummins led the charge with his fiery pace, dismissing Ben Duckett (caught by Cameron Green) and then Zak Crawley (caught behind off Scott Boland). England’s top order faltered, leaving them at 28/2 in their second innings, with a slender lead of just 35 runs.
The rain delay proved crucial, as it provided ideal conditions for Australia’s formidable pace attack. Dark clouds loomed over Edgbaston, and the floodlights pierced the gloom as the players resumed play. The overcast skies and moisture in the air favoured the Australian bowlers, who wasted no time in exploiting the conditions to their advantage. The ball swung and seamed, making life difficult for the English batsmen.
Joe Root, who scored an unbeaten 118 in the first innings, along with Ollie Pope were yet to open his account when play was called off for the day. The rain poured down heavily at 1450 GMT, sending the players off the field and preventing any further action. The umpires made the decision to abandon play for the day at 1713 GMT, leaving both teams eagerly waiting for the weather to clear and play to resume on the fourth day.
With the match delicately poised, the rain interruption has added an additional layer of uncertainty to the opening Test of the Ashes series.
(With inputs from AFP)