Birmingham, June 19 ( 0 England gained a minuscule advantage in the opening Ashes Test against Australia by gaining a seven-run first-innings lead but the visitors edged ahead by grabbing two early wickets on a rain-truncated Sunday at Edgbaston.
Seven wickets fell before rain curtailed day three on Sunday with England 28/2 and leading by 35 runs with two days of the first Ashes Test remaining.
A mini-spell between rain delays saw Australia send back both the England openers to set the game up perfectly heading into Monday’s day four, with Joe Root and Ollie Pope set to resume with both yet to score.
Resuming at 311/5 on Sunday morning, Australia had hopes of building a first-innings lead, but James Anderson struck with the first blow of the morning, cleaning up Alex Carey for 66 as he claimed his first wicket of the match.
Australia skipper Pat Cummins and centurion Usman Khawaja bedded in as England opted for some unusual bowling tactics to slow the scoring.
And a particularly odd field helped unsettle Usman Khawaja when he was yorked by Ollie Robinson to depart for 141.
England wrapped up Australia’s tail quickly, with Robinson removing both Nathan Lyon (1) and Cummins (38), with Stuart Broad taking the other wicket to fall Scott Boland for a duck.
The five wickets fell for just 75 runs, with Robinson ending up with the pick of the figures for England with 3-55, and Broad finishing with 3-68.
Hoping to build on the advantage, England steadily began their second innings, with Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett still there when the first shower of rain came.
But a dry period allowed a sharp 3.4 over session before the rain set in again, and Australia sent back both openers with the ball moving around, Cameron Green brilliantly catching Ben Duckett in the gully off Pat Cummins for 19, and Scott Boland dismissing Zak Crawley for 7.
Only 32.4 overs were possible on Sunday, thus depriving the fans of an engrossing day of cricket. umpires inspected the ground on a couple of occasions as the rain subsided, but could not find enough reasons to summon the players into the ground.
England 393/8 decl & 28/3 in 10.3 overs (Ben Duckett 19; Pat Cummins 1-9, Scott Boland 1-1) lead Australia 386 all out in 116.1 overs (Usman Khawaja 141, Travis Head 50, Alex Carey 66; Stuart Broad 3-68, Ollie Robinson 3-55, Moeen Ali 2-147) by 35 runs.