England are on the verge of a victory © Getty Images
England are on the verge of a victory © Getty Images

England’s pacers struck repeatedly after lunch to leave Australia on the verge of a massive defeat on Day Four of the first Ashes 2015 Test at Cardiff on Saturday. Stuart Broad started the slide by getting Steven Smith out caught at slip by Ian Bell just seven balls after the break. Broad then took the massive wicket of Michael Clarke, virtually sealing the fate of the game. England are three wickets away from going 1-0 up in the series. Live Scorecard: England (ENG) vs Australia (AUS) Ashes 2015 1st Test at Cardiff, Day 3

It was a case of Australian batsmen not being able to cope with some sensible English bowling, with Broad being the star of the show. As he has done so often, Broad bowled a decisive spell on either side of lunch, first getting Chris Rogers to edge to Ian Bell at slip and then getting rid of Smith. He was not done though; Michael Clarke was pushed on the back foot and ended up driving one in the air to point without moving his feet. Live Blog: England (ENG) vs Australia (AUS) Ashes 2015 1st Test at Cardiff, Day 4

Once Australia’s top four were back in the hut, it was always going to be a battle of survival. Adam Voges nibbled at a straightforward ball from Mark Wood and edged behind to Jos Buttler. Brad Haddin played as he usually does, looking to dominate Moeen Ali only to succumb to a wonderful catch by skipper Alastair Cook.

Shane Watson was the last man to be dismissed in the session. Unsurprisingly, he was out LBW to a straight ball from Wood. As usual, he opted for a DRS review, and as usual he was adjudged out. Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc were the two unbeaten batsmen at tea, with the former batting on 26. READ: Ashes 2015, Cardiff: Tale of Two Tails

Earlier, David Warner was dismissed at the stroke of lunch for 52. Steven Smith was in at No. 3 and ensured that runs kept coming at a decent clip.Warner looked in much discomfort in the first hour of play. He was on 17 off 41 balls at one stage before exploding against Moeen Ali, hitting him for a back-to-back six and four. That over from proved Moeen proved to be the spark that Warner and Australia needed. They managed to find a boundary off virtually every over after that. However, Moeen Ali — who had gone for 22 off his first two overs — managed to breach Warner’s defence, getting him out LBW for 52 at the stroke of lunch to ensure England ended the session on top. READ: The Moeen Ali conundrum

Half-centuries from Joe Root and Ian Bell and a late cameo from Mark Wood ensured that England ended Day Three in control. England managed to take a 411-run lead after being bowled out for 289. Root and Bell were dismissed for identical scores of 60 off 89 balls, while Wood hit some lusty blows to remain unbeaten on 32 off only 18 balls. READ: Australia paying price for being slack against England

Brief scores:

England 430 (Gary Ballance 61, Joe Root 134, Ben Stokes 52, Moeen Ali 77; Mitchell Starc 5 for 114, Josh Hazlewood 3 for 83) and 289 (Ian Bell 60, Joe Root 60; Nathan Lyon 4 for 75) lead Australia 308 (Chris Rogers 95; James Anderson 3 for 43) and 162 for 7 (David Warner 52; Stuart broad 3 for 22) by 250 runs.

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(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)