Ian Bell guided England to an eight-wicket victory over Australia in the third test at Edgbaston to put the hosts 2-1 up in the series with two matches to play.

Bell (65 not out) and Joe Root, with an unbeaten 38, anchored the chase after England were set to 121 to win on the third day at Edgbaston where a dominant performance banished memories of a heavy defeat at Lord's.

England lost Alastair Cook (7) and Adam Lyth (12) to set a few nerves on edge but Bell, dropped on 20 by Australia captain Michael Clarke, made his second 50 of the match to spark raucous celebrations after Root hit the winning runs.

Victory at either Trent Bridge, in the fourth test which starts on Aug. 6, or The Oval in the last match would guarantee England winning back the Ashes which they so dismally surrendered in a 5-0 loss in Australia in 2013-14.

England's celebrations will be tempered, however, by the major blow of losing leading bowler James Anderson for the fourth test, and possibly the rest of the series, the paceman ruled out with a side strain.

Anderson, who took six for 47 in Australia's first innings as the tourists were skittled for 136 on the first day, aborted his run and walked straight off the pitch in the evening session on Thursday.

Australia's tail wagged on Friday, adding 97 to their overnight total before they were dismissed for 265 just before lunch.

England had hoped to quickly take the three remaining second-innings wickets but Australia pushed their lead to 120 before Moeen Ali removed Mitchell Starc.

Starc had led Australia's resistance with some big hits in his 58, sharing an eighth-wicket stand of 64 with wicketkeeper Peter Nevill (59) who held up England for 147 balls in compiling a maiden test half-century.

Steven Finn eventually made the breakthrough when Nevill was caught down the leg side, the paceman taking a test best 6-79 on his recall after a two-year absence.