It’s not a surprise that the first day of the return Ashes ended in England’s favour. At 273/8, and the being pitch a batting beauty, it’s not looking very bright for the Australians at the end of Day 1.
The script that played out in Brisbane today wasn’t so different from the rest of the year. An early collapse, wickets for Broad and a rearguard action was all on offer at the Gabba today.
Stuart Broad – the nameless destroyer
4 months ago at Trent Bridge, Stuart Broad didn’t walk after clearly edging a ball. The Aussies had been waiting these 4 months to get their shot at the bowler. And when the opportunity arrived, the roles were reversed, and Broad silenced the crowd with 5/65 in 20 overs on the opening day.
The hostility had been building up prior to the start, so much so that a local newspaper, Courier Mail refused to use Stuart Broad’s name for the complete series. Instead, they’ve decided to refer to him as a ’27-year-old English medium pacer’. Interestingly, the plan was devised by legendary Allan Border, the paper claims.
But the nameless bowler struck four times, on either side of lunch break, and was the reason the top 4 – Rogers, Watson, Clarke and Warner – were back in the hut before Australia reached 100. He removed Mitchell Johnson with one that nipped back in and ended a 114-run partnership, becoming the first bowler to reach 50 Test wickets in 2013.
There was nothing Broad could do wrong today, and he wrapped up a memorable day by bringing the Courier Mail newspaper to the press conference, tucked under his arm. Don’t you just love the Ashes!
The appeal timed out
In the 49th over of the innings, Broad rapped Haddin on the pads and the Englishmen went up in appeal. Kumar Dharmasena shook his head, and there was a mid-pitch conference between Broad, Prior, Swann and captain Cook.
Cook appeared to be in two minds, lifting his hands to make that ‘T’ signal to the umpire, then letting it go. But finally, he decided to go for it, signalled the umpire, but was told that he was now too late to appeal.
The law regarding the time taken for appeal states thus:
“The total time elapsed between the ball becoming dead and the review request being made should be no more than 15 seconds. The on-field umpire should provide the player with a prompt after 10 seconds if the request has not been made at that time and the player should request the review immediately thereafter. If the umpires believe that a request has not been made within the 15 second time frame, they will decline to review the decision.”
It’s not clear whether Cook was warned once by Dharmasena or not, but England wouldn’t mind it; the ball was missing the leg stump, the replays showed, and England’s review was saved.
The focus before the match was on Kevin Pietersen who became the 10th English player today to reach the landmark of 100 Tests. He was handed his cap by the ECB chairman Giles Clarke, and his biggest contribution in the field came when he caught Warner at short cover on 49.
But it was Brad Haddin who made his landmark Test memorable by scoring a gritty 78 not out on Day 1. It was Haddin’s 50th Test and the wicket-keeper batsman’s half-century was a saving grace in an otherwise poor batting display by Australia.
His 114-run stand with Mitchell Johnson, who himself scored a strokeful 64, pulled the hosts out of the dumps which they found themselves in at 132/4.
It was also a landmark for George Bailey, who became the 435th Test player for Australia. He was handed his Test cap by Mark Taylor, but on a day of happy landmarks, Bailey had a forgettable outing.
Captain in the shorter formats, Bailey failed to perform on his Test debut, becoming James Anderson‘s first wicket of the innings, edging behind without much footwork.
The 28-month gap
When Chris Tremlett got Steven Smith to edge one that shaped away a bit to Cook, he celebrated his first Test wicket since July 2011.
The last Test wicket Tremlett had taken was against India at Lord’s in 2011. In fact, after Lord’s, this is only the 2nd Test match Tremlett is playing. Injuries, rotation of the 3rd pacer and age hasn’t been kind to the chances of 32-year-old pacer trying to cement his place in the England squad.
He wasn’t much impressive on Day 1, bowling some loose deliveries every now and then, but ending a 28-month dry period in Tests would surely be a relief.
Australia would be more than happy to take 273/8 after the man they love to hate, Stuart Broad, made them face reality in Brisbane today.
There was a buzz surrounding the Australian squad before the start. This was supposed to be Australia’s revenge series, with a better team and better resolve. But 4 months since losing the Ashes, it seems there hardly has been any work done to grow from what they currently are – the 5th best Test team in the world.