1st Ashes Test Day 2: England ahead despite Chris Rogers' record 95

Cardiff, July 9: England's Moeen Ali starred with both bat and ball on the second day of the first Ashes Test against Australia at Sophia Gardens today.

Match Scorecard; Rogers equals world record

Ali scored a quickfire 77 in England's first innings 430 - the first time in three Ashes series they had passed 400.

Chris Rogers, left, watched by Jos Buttler as he plays a shot during day two of the first Ashes Test

The off-spinner then captured the key wickets of Steven Smith, the world's number one ranked Test batsman, and Australia captain Michael Clarke - both out in the 30s.

Ashes-holders Australia, looking for a first series win in Britain in 14 years, were 264 for five at stumps.

That left them 166 runs behind and with much depending on their lower order if they were to prevent England establishing a significant first-innings lead.

All-rounder Shane Watson was 29 not out and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon unbeaten on six.

After stumps, Ali told Sky Sports: "We were happy yesterday (Wednesday) and then today (Thursday) with the start we had and then taking five wickets.

"A couple of wickets tomorrow (Friday) with the new ball and we're right in it."

Reflecting on his innings, the 28-year-old Worcestershire all-rounder revealed he had taken his cue from England captain Alastair Cook.

"Cooky said for everyone to play the way they play, I felt I wanted to play my shots and entertain everyone," Ali explained.

There was heartache for Australia opener Chris Rogers who set a new record for most successive Test fifties without a hundred when his seventh straight half-century ended on 95.

The 37-year-old Rogers, who plans to retire after the Ashes, tried to hide his disappointment by saying: "I don't start series well so it's nice to start off OK."

He added: "I'm old - I can feel it. Days in the field are hard work. Sometimes you think it's a young man's game."

England dismissed Australia dangerman David Warner for 17 when the opener edged James Anderson and Cook held a sharp catch at first slip. Smith drove Ali for three fours in four balls but the bowler had his revenge.

An ungainly Smith, trying to avoid being stumped after Ali spotted his charge, got a leading edge and Cook, belying his reputation for cautious captaincy, held a catch having stationed himself in an unusual short mid-on position.

Rogers was 74 not out at tea, having joined West Indies greats Everton Weekes and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Zimbabwe's Andy Flower and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara in scoring seven Test fifties in a row.

As for his dashing 88-ball innings, Ali said: "I just go out and play exactly the same way I would do batting in the top order."

Australia opener Chris Rogers marked his return to Test cricket with 95 on Wednesday, having missed his side's 2-0 series win in the Caribbean because of concussion.

His innings saw the 37-year-old set a new record for most successive Test fifties without a hundred when his seventh straight half-century ended five runs short of what would have been his fourth Ashes ton.

Rogers, who plans to retire after this series, said: "It's always disappointing when you get so close and maybe I could have done a slightly better job for the side."

As for the state of the match, Rogers said: "England might have the slight upper hand but we've got some good batting to come so if we can get a bit closer we'll put the pressure on and you never know what can happen."


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