James Anderson is England's last-action hero
Hosts take lead in Ashes series after nail-biting final day that saw Australia's tail-enders almost snatch victory from jaws of defeat
James Anderson took five wickets to inspire England to a nerve-wracking 14-run victory over Australia on a dramatic final day of the first Ashes test at Trent Bridge yesterday.
Australia's Brad Haddin and James Pattinson shared a superb last-wicket partnership of 65 to put their team on the verge of an astonishing win.
But Anderson, who dismissed Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle in the morning, returned to force Haddin, on 71, to nick a catch through to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
The England fielders celebrated but umpire Aleem Dar did not raise his finger, forcing captain Alastair Cook to call for a review.
Amid unbearable tension, the third official reviewed the incident and, after a lengthy delay, told Dar to give Haddin out, prompting scenes of joy around the ground.
"I'm delighted with the way things went," man-of-the-match Anderson said. "We stayed calm even when they were getting closer and closer.
"I wasn't sure [if Haddin hit the ball] to be honest but Matt Prior and Cookie were convinced.
"I'm just delighted we could review it and sneak home... I'm lost for words, it's been an amazing five days."
It was perhaps inevitable that the final act of a gripping and enthralling match would be decided by the Decision Review System, which has played such a significant role in the game.
England fell foul of it when Jonathan Trott was wrongly given out lbw after an operator failure in the Hot Spot system meant the third umpire was unable to see that he had hit the ball with his bat.
Australia were incensed when Stuart Broad refused to walk after edging the ball to slip but were unable to send the decision to the third umpire because they had used up all their referrals.
"The bottom line with the review system is that you do get more decisions right," Cook said.
Australia captain Michael Clarke admitted that he must improve they way he uses the system.
"I need to get better," he said. "Unfortunately if I had used my reviews better it would have helped our team."
No team had ever chased more than 300 to win a test match at Trent Bridge but Haddin and Agar, who resumed on 174 for six, batted comfortably for 55 minutes until Anderson removed Agar for 14.
England had taken the second new ball and the 19-year-old, who made 98 on his debut in the first innings and shared a test record last-wicket partnership of 163 with Phil Hughes, edged a catch to Cook at first slip.
Anderson struck again to dismiss Starc for one, also safely pouched by Cook.
The England skipper then dropped a routine catch off Peter Siddle but he soon made amends to Anderson with a superb diving catch to dismiss the Australian fast bowler for 11.
Anderson bowled 13 overs in a row from the Radcliffe Road end before being replaced by Steven Finn who conceded 15 runs off his first over.
The experienced Haddin reached his fifty off 115 balls, including seven fours, and Pattinson looked increasingly comfortable at the crease.
The fast bowler hoisted Graeme Swann over mid-wicket for six and the pair brought up their fifty partnership off just 46 deliveries.
Haddin was nearly run out after being sent back by Pattinson and Finn dropped the Australian wicketkeeper when he was on 64, a very difficult chance on the backward square leg boundary.
England had taken the extra half hour with Australia nine wickets down but in an atmosphere of extreme tension the players had to leave the field for lunch with the match still firmly in the balance.
Australia needed 20 runs at the start of the afternoon session and they eked out another five before Anderson trapped Haddin to complete match figures of 10 for 158 and bowl Australia out for 296.
"Australia fought incredibly hard, but we just hung in there," Cook said.
"Jimmy [Anderson] was outstanding. He always wants one more over, 13 was quite a lot. He's a world-class bowler and sometimes you just use him. It happened to be Jimmy's day and Jimmy's game."
While disappointed with narrow defeat, Clarke said: "Our guys can hold their heads high.
"It was a roller-coaster ride and there were things we could have done better but we will learn from them.
"We were full of confidence this morning and knew it was going to be a fight to the end. I don't think it will be difficult for us to bounce back."
The second test starts on Thursday at Lord's in London.
Reuters, Associated Press