Aussies 2-97 at lunch in Ashes opener

Australia’s hopes of a record-breaking heist in Cardiff suffered a major setback on the stroke of lunch during day four of the Ashes opener.


The tourists were 2-97 at Saturday’s meal break, having been set a victory target of 412 runs.

David Warner and Steve Smith looked settled in a 78-run partnership, only for Warner to fall for 52.

Moeen Ali, who had been hit out of the attack by Warner and Smith, returned to bowl the last over of the session.

Ali needed three deliveries to claim the crucial breakthrough, trapping Warner lbw.

England are extremely well placed to go 1-0 up in the five-Test series.

Don Bradman’s Invincibles are the only side to have pulled off a similar run-chase in Ashes history.

Bradman and Arthur Morris scored tons in Leeds during that Test in 1948, chasing down 404 with seven wickets in hand.

Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson picked up where they left off in the first innings, bowling magnificently with the new ball in Australia’s second innings on Saturday.

Broad started with three maidens and a handful of unplayable deliveries at Warner.

However, the pugnacious opener enjoyed a moral victory when Alastair Cook wasted a review during the spell.

Broad’s trademark one-two combo of exuberance and indignancy proved ill-placed, with replays confirming Warner had not edged the ball.

Anderson was warned for running on the pitch in an eventful session, but regularly threatened both openers.

Broad created the first breakthrough when Ian Bell snatched a low catch at second slip to dismiss Chris Rogers for 10.

Rogers lingered at the crease momentarily, unsure if the ball had carried.

Drama continued to build during a communication breakdown between third umpire Chris Gaffney and Kumar Dharmasena, but there was no doubt about the catch.

Nobody celebrated more than Joe Root, who put down a catch at third slip when Rogers was on four.

Warner and Smith steadied, decisively going after Ali.

Ali, who claimed the scalps of Smith and Michael Clarke in the first innings, was taken off after just two overs.

Warner heaved a half-tracker over the fence, while another two loose balls were dispatched through the covers for four.

When Cook next opted for spin, it was part-timer Root instead of Ali.

However, the allrounder enjoyed the last laugh when Warner misread a ball that stayed low.

Nathan Lyon, speaking after day three, suggested his side would not be intimidated by the mountain ahead of them.

“Records are made to be broken. We’re remaining positive,” Lyon said.

“We’ve got a world-class batting line-up and we bat right down to 11, so there is no reason why we can’t get these runs if we apply ourselves properly.”