First blood to Australia in Ashes battle down under

Australia took a crucial 1-0 lead in the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba, after a convincing nine wicket victory over England. The visitors never recovered from being bowled out for only 147 on the first day and losing Rory Burns first ball.

On a green tinged pitch England won the toss and surprisingly opted to bowl first. England went into the opening test without Stuart Broad and James Anderson for the first time in 15 years in Ashes history.

Not the start England were after

England were soon in trouble with Mitchell Starc bowling Burns(0) and Josh Hazlewood having Dawid Malan(6) caught behind. Hazlewood then claimed the prize wicket of the England skipper Joe Root(0) to leave England 11 for3.

The new Australian captain Pat Cummins had Ben Stokes(5) caught at third slip. Haseeb Hameed showed some resistance before perishing for 25. Surrey’s Ollie Pope (35) looked assured at the crease before top edging to be caught on the boundary.

Jos Buttler made 39 before edging behind and Chris Woakes(21) made some runs late in the innings before being caught at fine leg. The wicket of Woakes capped an outstanding day for the new Aussie skipper Cummins who finished with figures of 5 for 38.

Heavy rain comes to England’s rescue

Much to England’s relief, heavy rain ensured there was no more play as England were dismissed just before tea, with the opening day dominated by Australia.

The hosts lost Marcus Smith(3) to Ollie Robinson early on the second day, but a partnership of 156 between David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne put Australia well on top. The pair took a liking to Jack Leach’s off spin with the spinner getting hit around the park, conceding over eight runs an over as the sun continued to beat down.

Warner- dropped on eight- went on to make 94 before chipping to cover off Robinson. The Sussex seamer was on a hat trick after Cameron Green left a straight ball  to put England right back in the game as Australia were reduced to 195 for 5.

Travis Head takes the game away from England

Travis Head counter attacked to great effect and finished undefeated at the close on 112 with Australia leading by 196 on 343 for 7.

Australia added a further 82 runs to be bowled out for 425 with Head making 152 and Robinson and Mark Wood picking up three wickets apiece.

England soon lost Burns(13) to Cummins with Haseeb(27) falling to Starc, England slipped to 61 for 2. It was time once again for Root to rescue England, who found a beneficial partner in Malan. The pair put on an unbroken partnership of 159 to give England some hope. Root finished the day on 86 with Malan 80 as England closed on 220 for 2, still 58 behind.

New ball key to Australian victory

With the new ball due in ten overs, Australia were in for the kill. Root(89) and Malan(82) fell early. Nathan Lyon then terrorised England by taking 4 four 91, including his 400th test wicket as England were bowled out for 297. The visitors disappointingly lost their last eight wickets for 77 runs to leave Australia the simple task of 20 to win.

The hosts lost Alex Carey(9) to Robinson, but cantered home to victory shortly after lunch. The contest now moves on to the second test on Thursday at Adelaide, which will be a day/night test with a pink ball.

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