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Recapping The First Three Tests of the 2023 Ashes Series

Recapping The First Three Tests of the 2023 Ashes Series
Image by Chillibibi from Pixabay

With England keeping the Ashes Series alive with a crucial victory over rivals Australia at Headingley to make it 2-1 last time out, things are heating up ahead of the final two Tests at Old Trafford and the Oval. 

The visitors are still the favorites in the Ashes odds 2023 as they only need a win or draw from the remaining two games in Manchester and London for a fifth-successive retention of the urn. Still, time will tell if the Headingley triumph has swung momentum in England’s favor.

Brendon McCullum’s side would become just the second team in Ashes history after the 1936/37 Australian outfit to come back from 2-0 down should they achieve the unfathomable feat, but after the first three Tests, it’s hard to call what is going to happen between now and the end of the Series.

So, as we wait with bated breath to see how the remained of the Ashes is going to pan out, let’s have a quick recap of three Tests thus far.

First Test: Edgbaston – Australia win by two wickets

England has been regarded as one of the best Test teams in the world since McCullum took over as head coach, and his attacking style of play known as ‘Bazball’ was tipped to give the hosts the edge as they aimed to regain the Ashes for the first time since 2015.

The task started so well at Edgbaston, with big scores from Zak Crawley (61), Joe Root (118), and Jonny Bairstow (78), meaning England were in a position to declare at 393 in the first innings. Things looked even better when Australia were bowled out for 386, and England left them with a run chase of 281 in the second innings.

Rain reduced play on the final day in Birmingham. Still, a patient Usman Khawaja scored a crucial 65 runs off 197 balls, and captain Pat Cummings sealed the unlikely victory further down the batting order as he scored 44, including four fours and two sixes, in a ninth-wicket partnership worth 55 runs with Nathan Lyon. 

Second Test: Lord’s – Australia win by 43 runs

With Australia taking a 1-0 lead at Edgbaston, it was imperative that England didn’t allow the visitors to increase their advantage to two at Lord’s. But Andrew McDonald’s side was clearly fired up after their captain’s heroics in Birmingham as they set a huge first innings score of 416 at the ‘home of cricket.’

England could only strike for 325 runs, and Australia’s second innings tally of 279 left the hosts needing a lucrative 371 to win. It seemed out of the question when top-order batters Crawley and Ollie Pope both fell for three before Harry Brook was sent back to the stands having scored just four.

Ben Stokes has pulled England out of tricky situations many times in the past, and their captain looked inspired once again as he scored 155 from 214 balls. However, it was a step too far this time as Australia made sure they were all out for 327 to give them a 43-run victory.

Third Test: Headingley – England win by three wickets

Needing a win at Headingley to keep the Series alive, Stokes and McCullum had some big decisions to make, and they opted for changes to the squad — leaving out Jimmy Anderson and Joshua Tongue and calling up Chris Woakes and Mark Wood for the first time. 

That proved to be a stroke of genius, as Australia couldn’t weather the storm of Wood’s rapid deliveries, and the 33-year-old took five wickets in the first innings, along with Woakes’ three and Stuart Broad’s two to bowl the Aussies out for 263. England fell short with the bat, though, scoring just 237.

The hosts needed another big innings from their bowling attack, and Woakes (3), Broad (3), Wood (2), and Moeen Ali (2) got Australia all out for 224. Two hundred fifty-one seemed a manageable target, but England’s opening batters fell for low scores as the visitors plucked through their top order. Luckily, local lad Harry Brook stepped up with 75 runs for England, and they secured a nervy three-wicket win. 

Featured Image by Chillibibi from Pixabay