England hold 85-run lead at Edgbaston

Mitchell Johnson spearheaded an Australian fightback on day two of the third Ashes Test, but England steadied to boast an 85-run lead at lunch with three wickets in hand.

Johnson dismissed Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes in a sensational opening over at Edgbaston on Thursday, both men gloving bouncers to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.

England held a six-run lead at that point and were somewhat vulnerable at 5-142.

Joe Root then made the most of some loose bowling to score 63 as his side reached 7-221 at lunch.

Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad were far from convincing, but the edges raced to the rope and their unbeaten stand is already worth 31 runs.

The home side remain well placed to go 2-1 up in the series after skittling the tourists for 136 on day one.

There was a heightened sense of tension at the ground throughout Johnson’s first spell of four overs.

The left-armer troubled Root and Jos Buttler, but couldn’t force another breakthrough after grabbing his 300th and 301st Test wickets.

Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Mitch Marsh all failed to bowl with the same control as Johnson.

It allowed Root, who resumed on 30, to bring up his half-century from 49 balls.

Starc was particularly erratic, but managed to remove Root with a wide ball that the in-form batsman reached at and edged to Adam Voges at first slip.

Buttler was out for a nervous nine as England crashed to 7-190 and Nathan Lyon made it three wickets from three overs.

Lyon was confident he had Buttler caught at short leg, with Michael Clarke opting for a review only for replays to confirm there was no edge.

The next delivery, Buttler was given out lbw and decided not to review it after a short chat with Ali.

Ball-tracking technology suggested the delivery would have bounced over the stumps.

Lyon continued to trouble Ali and Broad on a pitch with a staggering amount of turn for the morning of day two.

“He’s turned himself into one of the best spin bowlers in the world,” Ricky Ponting said on Sky Sports.

“Full credit to him, the selectors and Michael Clarke for using him the way they have.”

The most-recent Australian to take wickets in each of his first three overs in an Ashes innings before Lyon was Keith Miller at Adelaide Oval in 1955.

However, Lyon and Johnson simply didn’t have enough runs to play with after Chris Rogers was the only batsman to pass 16 on Wednesday.

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