England pulled off a convincing victory © Getty Images

Ian Bell and Joe Root ensured that England went 2-1 up in The Ashes 2015 with an easy eight-wicket victory over Australia in the third Test at Edgbaston. Bell scored an unbeaten 65 while Root was not out on 38 as England took the vital Ashes lead. Bell, who scored 53 in the first innings, was one of England’s heroes of the match with twin fifties at his home ground, while James Anderson (6 for 47) and Steven Finn (6 for 79) were outstanding with the ball in either innings. Australia did well to take the match far into the third day after being reduced to 153 for 7 on Day Two, but they had a forgettable Test overall. LIVE UPDATES: England vs Australia, 3rd Ashes 2015 Test, Day 3

Earlier, Peter Nevill and Mitchell Starc added 64 for the eighth wicket, which was followed by productive stands between Starc and Josh Hazlewood, and Starc and Nathan Lyon, as Australia extended their lead past 100 on Day Three of the third Ashes 2015 Test against England at Edgbaston on Friday. Nevill scored his maiden Test fifty and Starc scored a half-century of his own as well. Steven Finn took his career-best haul when he took his sixth wicket, while Ben Stokes took a wicket as well. Nevill was the first man to go on the day, edging one from Finn down the leg side as Jos Buttler took a superb catch. The next wicket came from Stokes, as Hazlewood slashed one to slip with Joe Root taking an absolute gem. Starc was the last man to fall, hitting one from Moeen Ali to the man at covers for a well-compiled 58. England need 121 to win the third Test and lead The Ashes 2015 2-1. England’s openers Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth survived the two overs before lunch with Cook scoring 4 to leave England 117 runs away from victory. Live Scorecard: England vs Australia 2015, 3rd Test at Edgbaston

Finn all but assured an England victory with a six-wicket haul, helping Englnad bowl Australia out for 265. Apart from taking the wickets of Steve Smith and Michael Clarke — both for the second time in the Test — Finn also got the wickets of Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Johnson, and Nevill to complete his best Test figures of 6 for 79. David Warner was excellent on Day Two, scoring 77 off 62 balls with 11 boundaries, but he received very little support from the others. Nevill was unbeaten  on 38 at stumps on Day Two, and ensured that the match extended past the second day. James Anderson’s side strain ruled him out of the fourth Test, but luckily for England Finn ensured that his loss was not felt in the second innings.

Chris Rogers and Smith were both out early in Australia’s second innings, but Warner scored his runs at a scorching rate as Australia reached 73 for 2 at tea. Broad got Rogers out LBW for 6, while Finn got Smith out top-edging a pull. Clarke was the next to go, edging to Ian Bell at slip for 3. Voges then edged to slip off his very first delivery. Marsh survived the hat-trick ball, but was bowled for 6 soon thereafter. Johnson was Finn’s fifth victim, getting a leading edge off an attempted flick to Ben Stokes for 14. READ: Steven Finn’s dream spell spells Australia’s doom in Ashes 2015 3rd Test

Earlier on Day Two, Mitchell Johnson needed less than one over on Day Two of the third Ashes 2015 Test to wrest back the advantage from England. In a matter of three deliveries he removed Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes with ferocious short balls that left the batsmen hopping in their crease. Joe Root was guilty of playing a terribly loose drive without moving his feet, and was out for a well-compiled 63. Jos Buttler was the fourth wicket of the session, falling LBW to Nathan Lyon. Replays showed that the ball bounced above the stumps. Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad put on an unbroken 31 runs to ensure that the lead is slowly closing in on 100. Johnson, by taking the wicket of Bairstow, became only the second Australian after Shane Warne to complete the double of 2,000 runs and 300 wickets in Test cricket. He had scored his 2,000th run on Day One en route to scoring 3, and completed his 300th wicket when he had Bairstow out caught behind. READ: Mitchell Johnson completes 300 wickets in Test cricket

Brief scores:

Australia 136 (Chris Rogers 52; James Anderson 6 for 47, Steven Finn 2 for 38, Stuart Broad 2 for 44) and 265 (David Warner 77, Peter Nevill 59, Mitchell Starc 58; Steven Finn 6 for 79) lose to England 281 (Ian Bell 53, Joe Root 63, Moeen Ali 59; Nathan Lyon 3 for 36, Josh Hazlewood 3 for 74) and 124 for 2 (Ian Bell 65*; Mitchell Starc 1 for 33, Josh Hazlewood 1 for 21) by 8 wickets.

Man of the Match: Steven Finn

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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)