Australia finished the third day of the first ash test at Edgbaston on 124/3 with a narrow lead of 34, but with Steve Smith at the crease approaching a towering half-century.
Ben Stokes and Rory Burns returned to the opening session, and while Stokes was in his 18th semester, his release from Pat Cummins triggered a collapse.
From 282/4 England went to 300/8, the last three of these gates came in the space of 10 balls for the price of four runs.
When the Edgbaston pitch offered an extravagant twist, Nathan Lyon gathered Burns’s outer edge, and Tim Paine reached behind the stumps to send England’s centurion on its way.
Moeen Ali’s horror run with the bat went on when he left a ball alone five balls later that dropped his stump. Jonny Bairstow then went into the crisis of England and hoped for a significant decline in leadership, as Australia experienced an impressive morning.
Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad wrestled against the initiative with an important partnership. While the orthodoxy of Woakes slowed the Australian attack, Broad’s desire to sweep hard proved equally frustrating to the visitors. Together, the pair put on an important 65 before Cummins’ shot of short balls at Broad saw the left-hander catching James Pattinson on the beautiful leg.
James Anderson came out to beat despite a calf injury, and was the last man to drop when England finished his innings on 374, holding a 90-run lead.
Broad’s opening had put Cameron Bancroft’s defense to the test, but it was David Warner who set out to become England’s experienced sailor, a rating from skipper Joe Root that showed Bairstow an advantage behind the stumps. Bancroft himself did not survive long and found the secure hands of Jos Buttler on short legs to give Moeen a wicket.
From there, Usman Khawaja and Smith stopped the prospect of collapse and found their groove on a slow field. Smith suppressed the rotation of Moeen, while Khawaja was fluent. The introduction of Stokes into the attack shook the situation when he found out that Khawaja’s inside edge offered Bairstow another dismissal, the left-hander went for a 48-ball-40.
Smith, basking in the glory of his first hundred innings, kept total control and brought Australia next to Head to Stumps, bad light until the end of the game.