Does any sporting contest get any bigger than England v Australia.
Memories of test series after test series of being totally dominated by the Aussies with bat and ball come to mind, the hurt finally ended by the 2005 Ashes series. Has there been a greater test series? I doubt it.
Anyhow, after the build up which seems to have gone on forever, the day was finally here.
On a dry abrasive pitch, Alastair Cooke won the toss and opted to bat first.
A mixture of a cracking spell of bowling from Peter Siddle who took a 5for and some poor shot selection from the England batsman saw England lose 6 wickets from a position of 178-4 to 215 all out. Disappointing wasnt the word.
|Click to expand England scorecard|
However, you can never judge one innings without seeing the opposition have a bat on the same track. An inspiration spell of two wickets in two balls from Finn and a world class outswinger from Anderson, pitching on middle and hitting the top of off stump saw both openers and captain Clarke back in the hutch at 22-3. Australia recovered to a position of 75-4 at stumps.
|Click to expand Australia scorecard...|
At stumps, you could possibly say that England are still in the strongest position as they've got the runs on the board with the Aussies still140 in deficit, knowing they'll be bowling last on a very dry pitch where reverse swing and Graeme Swann's spin into the rough foot holes will play a major role in determining the result.
Without question, England need early wickets on Day 2. The weather forecast is of sunshine and good batting conditions, so the last 3 top order batsmen need to be removed quickly before Anderson & co can attempt to clear the tail. One overnight worry is the fitness of Stuard Broad, who got hit on the shoulder by a short pitched Pattinson delivery which stopped him bowling tonight. Hopefully, he'll be able to bowl tomorrow otherwise England may struggle.
Absolute key for England is coming out on top in the morning session tomorrow.