Australia needs 98 to win as first Ashes Test comes down to final session

Australia's Travis Head trudges off after being dismissed by Moeen Ali on day five at Edgbaston,

Australia's Travis Head trudges off after being dismissed by Moeen Ali on day five at Edgbaston, Photo: AP

Australia’s first Ashes Test struggle against England will go into a thrilling final session after the tourists went to tea on day five at 5-183, chasing 281 at Edgbaston.

Already shaping as one of the best Ashes Tests of all-time, England struck twice before tea on Tuesday after rain had delayed the start by more than three hours.

Australia need 98 to win the match and England five wickets, with 38 overs left in the match and Usman Khawaja seemingly the key, holding his nerve on 56no.

Cameron Green was alongside him on 22, appearing more confident as the innings goes on.

Stuart Broad was again the hero for the hosts, sending down a seven-over spell, dismissing nightwatchman Scott Boland for a crucial 20 and building immense pressure.

It came after Broad (3-42) knocked over both Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith on the fourth night, opening the game up for England and putting them marginally on top.

Travis Head also fell for 16 on Tuesday afternoon after Australia resumed on 3-107.

Tied down for his first 19 balls, he took 10 runs off the opening four deliveries against battling spinner Moeen Ali to threaten to take the game away for Australia.

But he was caught on the fifth ball of Moeen’s spell when the finger spinner landed one on middle and leg. Head played back, tried to defend, and edged to Joe Root at first slip.

At the other end, Khawaja remained Australia’s rock.

He had spent all but 3.3 overs of the Test on the field, after scoring 141 in the first innings for his first century in England.

The left-hander didn’t look as comfortable in the second innings, but clearly adopted a plan to play the long game against an ageing England attack after soaking up 159 balls.

Australia has a horror record in close Tests in recent years, having not successfully chased down a fourth-innings target beyond 250 since 2011.

Ground staff cleared water off the surface as rain delayed play on day five of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston. Photo: AP

Earlier, play resumed after the start of a potentially thrilling final day was pushed back by more than three hours by rain.

Covers were finally removed from the Edgbaston pitch after lunch on Tuesday, before an inspection cleared play to restart at 2.15pm.

At the time Australia needed 174 more runs for victory and England seven wickets after the tourists went to stumps on day four at 3-107 chasing 281.


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