The Ashes: Joe Root, Stuart Broad Top the Charts After Four Tests

Nottingham: England’s stunning innings and 78-run win against Australia in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge saw them take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match Ashes campaign. (Clarke to Retire From International Cricket)

Here AFP Sport looks at the story of the series so far: (Root Climbs to No.1 Spot in Test Rankings | England Enjoy Swinging Time)

July 08-11

1st Test, Cardiff

England won by 169 runs

Joe Root, in with England struggling at 43 for three, is dropped on nought by Australia wicket-keeper Brad Haddin and goes on to make 134 in a first-innings total of 430.

Root also makes a valuable 60 in the second innings as England leave Australia with a stiff chase of 412 for victory.

It proved beyond the tourists, with Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali sharing six wickets between them as England win with more than a day to spare.

July 16-19

2nd Test, Lord’s

Australia won by 405 runs

Another four-day finish sees Australia utterly dominant, with Steven Smith (215) and Chris Rogers (173) both making their Test-best scores in a huge first-innings total of 566 for eight declared.

England’s alleged plan to prepare lifeless pitches in a bid to negate Australia’s quicks proves futile as they are dismissed for 312 in reply.

Worse follows when, having been set a mammoth 509 for victory, England are skittled out for just 103 in 37 overs as left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson lets rip.

July 29-31

3rd Test, Edgbaston

England won by 8 wickets

After two four-day Tests comes a match that is all over inside three.

Australia captain Michael Clarke opts to bat first on a classic seaming pitch in overcast conditions and sees his side shot out for 136 as James Anderson, wicketless at Lord’s, takes an Ashes-best six for 47.

The tourists fare better in their second innings but recalled fast bowler Steven Finn takes a Test-best six for 79 before Ian Bell, on his Warwickshire home ground, leads England to a modest target of 121 with his second fifty of the match.

Aug 06-08

4th Test, Trent Bridge

Stuart Broad takes a staggering eight for 15, including his 300th Test wicket with the third ball of the match, as Australia are dismissed for just 60 in 18.3 overs — the shortest completed first innings in Test history — despite Anderson being out with a side injury, after England captain Alastair Cook wins the toss in overcast, but not ‘unplayable’ conditions.

England pile up 391 for nine declared in reply with Root (130) scoring his second hundred of the series.

All-rounder Ben Stokes (six for 36) then becomes the fourth England bowler in as many innings to take six wickets before Durham team-mate Mark Wood has Nathan Lyon playing on in the final act of England’s second successive win inside three days.

To play:

Aug 20-24: 5th Test, The Oval

Ashes 2015 by the numbers:

Leading run-makers

England – Joe Root (443)

Australia – Chris Rogers (437)

Leading wicket-takers

England – Stuart Broad (21)

Australia – Mitchell Starc (18)

Best batting performance

England: Joe Root (134, Cardiff)

Australia: Steven Smith (215, Lord’s)

Best bowling

England: Stuart Broad (8-15, Trent Bridge)

Australia: Mitchell Starc (6-111, Trent Bridge)

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