The Ashes: Day One Tells Us To Expect the Unexpected7 min read
Day one of the much anticipated first Ashes Test didn’t at all stick to the script. The two English batsmen that many thought they would be relying on were out cheaply. The three Ashes rookies who many fans were worried about looked assured and confident. James Vince defied the critics with a wonderful 83 in which he played not only his trademark flowing front foot cover drives but some glorious back foot punches. The Gabba pitch was more of a pudding than a paceman’s dream and the Brisbane weather wasn’t glorious blue skies and searing heat.
The much lauded Australian pace attack were nullified by the pitch and although he didn’t pick up any wickets, spinner Nathan Lyon outbowled his seam bowling team mates finding impressive bounce and turn especially for day one.
What can we expect from the rest of the Test?
It doesn’t look like a typical Gabba pitch although historically they do harden up a bit on days two and three. There are plenty of runs to be had so worth looking at the first innings run lines for both teams. With Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali still at the crease and Chris Woakes still to come, England could easily get themselves over 350.
With the wicket as it is, Australia may regret not having a fifth bowler. Wickets are going to be hard work to come by and it will require patience and building pressure which, with just a four man attack, will put pressure on the three Australian seamers. Early signs from day one are that they won’t just be able to use raw pace to blow England away. England’s bowling attack looks much more balanced.
The forecast keeps changing but there is a chance of more showers around throughout the Test match and although cricket is better than it used to be at extending the days play to make up lost time, this could end up being a rain affected draw. Australia remain favourites after day one but the draw is now at
Early signs from day one are that Mark Stoneman has adapted well to the pressure of an Ashes series and although he wasn’t fluent like Vince, he showed impressive grit and determination that will stand him in good stead for the rest of the series. His technique is well suited to Australia and he could be a good value bet for leading English run scorer for the series at . Given Moeen Ali’s form through the summer and his ability to adapt and go through the gears, he is well placed to go on to score a half century in this innings.
When the Australians get to the crease, David Warner will look to go on the attack early but unless the pitch significantly quickens up, it may not suit him. Captain Steve Smith is more likely to be able to to adapt if things stay as they are and is well known to play spin well. Cameron Bancroft at the top of the order is coming into the match in good form off the back of some big scores in first-class cricket and there’s decent value to be had in him being Australia’s leading run scorer for the match at
Expect to see a lot of Nathan Lyon both throughout the rest of England’s first innings and in the second innings when he should get even more purchase and turn and could well pick up a five wicket haul in the second innings.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins did find some reverse swing as the ball got older and if the weather stays dry and the outfield and pitch become a bit more abrasive that will come into play when James Anderson is bowling probably at some point towards the end of day two or early day three. Anderson is as fit as he’s ever been and although his record in Australia isn’t brilliant, a bit of cloud cover in Brisbane and then a day/night Test in Adelaide could see him on his way towards being England’s leading wicket taker for the series – he is to do so.
Day one has set up the series very nicely indeed with an intriguing battle with both sides having periods of putting the pressure back on to the opposition. The first session of day two should be equally as intriguing, Australia took the new ball just before stumps and having been relatively innocuous for periods throughout the day, Mitchell Starc looked fired up firing one into Malan’s pads just before the umpires’ called stumps. With a night’s rest and a new ball in hand, he could be a handful and could well clean up England’s tail to give him a first innings five wicket haul.