15/08/2022

Australian captain Pat Cummins was electric with the ball as he and his fellow quick bowlers skittled England for 147. Image: cricket.com.au

Australia's fast bowlers dominated on Day one at the Gabba as England made interesting calls at the selection table and the toss before rain brought play to a premature close

Pat Cummins’ start to life as Australian Test captain is off to a fast start on the first. On the first day of the Vodafone Ashes Test series.

Pat Cummins led Australia on his first day as Test captain to a rousing rout of England’s XI, bowling out the tourists for 147 after 50.1 overs before the rain and the Brisbane weather brought play to a premature close.

Here are the moments that mattered from Day 1 at the Gabba.

First hour perfection from Aussie quicks

Ashes series can so often be defined by the first play on the first morning of the first match. Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat, determined not to make the same mistake as Len Hutton and Nasser Hussain did before him, opting to bowl on a gloomy day in Brisbane and it backfiring, It may have backfired in a different way.

For Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Australia, they couldn’t have asked for a more perfect start. Starc steamed in and knocked over Rory Burns first ball of the series. The first time since 1936 where a wicket fell on the first delivery of an Ashes series.

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Australia owned the rest of the first hour of play, dismissing Dawid Malan not long after, the captain Joe Root was walking back to the pavilion having been dismissed for a duck. Josh Hazlewood dismissed the England captain for the eighth time in test cricket. More times than any other bowler in Test cricket.

With England reeling at 3/11 after the first 6 overs, New skipper Pat Cummins brought himself on not long after that to keep the pressure on and saluted with the wicket of English lynchpin Ben Stokes who he had caught at third slip just after the drinks break for his first scalp as test skipper.

Selection gambles and decisions

There was intrigue leading into the toss about the makeup of the England XI and the composition of the bowling attack. The decision to ultimately omit Stuart Broad from the starting line-up, especially with fellow veteran James Anderson missing this match and being carefully managed.

When you consider that between the two of them carrying the drinks they have accounted for 1,156 test wickets, it’s intriguing to think that England opted against the experience of Broad and putting their best-rounded team on the park first up, regardless of how the coin toss fell.

Not to mention Broad’s success in bowling to David Warner and the left-handers the Australian line-up, leaving a big load for selected quicks Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, and Ben Stokes.

Cummins era dynamic begins

Many wondered how the dynamic of a fast bowling captain the calibre of Cummins would operate. He said when he was announced as Australia’s 47th skipper and only second fast bowling captain in Australian history that it would be a collaborative approach with vice-captain Steve Smith, watching it in action on the first day.

Constant messages would be run out to Cummins from the 12th man and substitute fielders while he was in the middle of a bowling spell, fielding at fine leg recovering. When Nathan Lyon was brought on to bowl, both Cummins and Smith were directing traffic on both sides of the field. 

The big fast bowler set the tone on his own though, taking 5/38 in 13.1 overs as he lead his bowling attack running roughshod over England.

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England was bowled out for 147 in 50.1 overs after electing to bat.

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Milestone moments on Day 1

A great day for Australia was made even more special with a couple of milestones among the team. Alex Carey received his baggy green cap from Adam Gilchrist before play and didn’t need to wait long to pouch his first catch as Australian test keeper, safely catching a Dawid Malan nick behind off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling.

Meanwhile, it was a first Test wicket to savour for Cameron Green who finally opened his account in the wickets column for his country thanks to a tremendous outfield catch by Josh Hazlewood.

Green bowled 44 overs across his first 4 Tests last summer but was unable to find a breakthrough against the Indians. He didn’t have to wait long this summer as he claimed the wicket of the set Ollie Pope to set him on his way with a bowling average.

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While there were few highlights for England with the bat on day 1, the moment which would have made English fans smile most was the official return to the cricket field of Ben Stokes- who made his triumphant return to cricket on the same day he was commemorating the first anniversary of his father Ged’s death. Following a time out of the game to deal with injuries and mental health issues, Stokes’ return to the park is a triumph for all.

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