Aust thumped by 169 runs in Ashes opener

Mitchell Johnson entertained with the bat in Cardiff, but it only delayed the inevitable as England recorded a resounding 169-run win in the Ashes opener.

The hosts wrapped up victory on day four, needing 70.3 overs to skittle Australia for 242.

Johnson smacked 77 runs off 94 balls on Saturday, when his top order crumbled meekly.

Stuart Broad removed Steve Smith and Michael Clarke amid a shocking collapse of 4-9.

“We tried to play our natural game … whatever we tried today didn’t work,” Clarke said.

“We have to play better at Lord’s.”

Joe Root was named man of the match, having scored 134 in the first innings after being dropped on zero.

The tourists started the five-Test series as strong favourites, with pundits tipping them to win the Ashes in England for the first time since 2001.

They must now reverse an 18-year trend to achieve that feat.

Australia haven’t won an Ashes series from behind since 1997, when Mark Taylor’s men dropped the first Test in Birmingham by nine wickets.

Having been set a victory target of 412 runs, the visitors were always going to struggle.

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.

Australia started positively on Saturday.

David Warner and Smith both looked set, leaving their side reasonably well placed at 1-97.

When Warner was at the crease, the visitors’ hopes of victory were slim but existent.

Offspinner Moeen Ali put paid to that, engineering the all-important breakthrough with the final ball before lunch.

Ali, who had been hit out of the attack earlier in the morning session, trapped Warner lbw with a ball that stayed low.

It unravelled spectacularly for Australia after the meal break.

Broad, who started the day with three maidens and bowled magnificently, found the edge of Smith’s bat with his fourth ball after lunch.

Ian Bell snaffled the catch in the slips cordon, having done the same to dismiss Chris Rogers off the bowling of Broad.

Clarke went soon after, awkwardly driving a ball straight to Ben Stokes at point.

Adam Voges was caught behind, stuck on the back foot against Mark Wood, while Brad Haddin fell victim to a spectacular catch from Alastair Cook.

For the 29th time in his Test career, Shane Watson was trapped lbw.

The allrounder reviewed Marais Erasmus’ decision, only for ball-tracking technology to judge it ‘umpire’s call’.

Johnson and Mitchell Starc halted the slump in a 72-run stand, with the former hammering 17 runs off one over from Root.

It was temporary respite for the tourists.

Root dismissed both Johnson and Starc then claimed a catch in the deep to finish the match.

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