Australia won a thrilling Ashes opener by two wickets at Edgbaston on June 20 as captain Pat Cummins’ six-smashing 44 not out and Usman Khawaja’s patient 65 combined to give England’s “Bazball” cricket revolution a lesson from Down Under.
Cummins hit two sixes and four fours, and shared a match-winning ninth-wicket partnership of 55 with Nathan Lyon (16 not out) in the last hour of the final day.
Chasing 281 to win, Cummins hit the winning boundary against Ollie Robinson — which Harry Brook failed to stop at the rope — and Australia finished on 282-8 to disappoint a raucous crowd that sensed another memorable victory at the Birmingham ground after a two-run win in the second Ashes test in 2005.
“We are, of course, absolutely devastated,” England captain Ben Stokes said. “The lads are in pieces up there. But if that’s not attracting people to the game we love then I don’t know what will.” Jubilant and possibly surprised Australian fans at the stadium chanted “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi” after their team’s remarkable win.
Khawaja, who hit his first test century in England in the first innings, faced 197 deliveries as he anchored most of Australia’s successful run chase before being dismissed by Stokes. Khawaja was taking the game away from England with Australia at 209-6 but Stokes’ fiery delivery was hit onto his stumps by the batter.
Eight wickets down, Australia was still chasing the win — with very good reason as it turned out — and Cummins smashed Joe Root, who was bowling spin while Moeen Ali was nursing a hurt spinning finger, for two sixes in the 83rd over.
England delayed taking the new ball at 227-7 and it worked perfectly as Root claimed Alex Carey (20) to make the score 227-8 with Australia still needing 54 runs.
Cummins and Lyon then came to the crease and never left it.
England must win the five-match series to retake the Ashes from Australia.
The morning session was lost to rain and players took an early lunch.
Australia takes the bragging rights into the second test at Lord’s but both teams achieved their aim of making the series opener a showpiece for the longer format of cricket as it fights to keep players and TV viewers from focusing on franchise cricket.