Ashes 2015 began in great style as the fortunes fluctuated from one side to the other one day one. Alastair Cook won the toss and without second thoughts opted to bat first on a flat wicket which had minimal assistance for the seamers early on. The Australians struck thrice in the first session to put the hosts on the back foot. However, Joe Root and Gary Ballance stitched together a resilient partnership and ensured that England got back in the game. In the meantime, Root made a fine ton with Ballance making a half century.
However, some sheer brilliance from Mitchell Starc meant that Root and Stokes, two well set batsmen were dismissed. Day ended with England being 343- 7, with Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler out in the middle.
We have a look at the top 5 things which shaped up day one:
1. Exclusion of Mitchell Marsh:
Michael Clarke delivered a shocker at the toss when he said that Mitchell Marsh wasn’t a part of the playing XI. This was definitely a shocking decision as Marsh had been in great form. He has already made two tons on the tour so far in the warm up games. To top it all, he got a five for as well. His exclusion was surely too shocking.
2. Early introduction of spin:
The wicket at Cardiff was unresponsive for the pacers and Michael Clarke soon understood that. He played a masterstroke by introducing Nathan Lyon in the 10th over. Lyon found great help from the wicket as he spun the ball well. He soon dismissed the in form Alastair Cook and that was a great advantage for Australia.
3. Haddin’s drop:
Joe Root was dropped by Brad Haddin on just the second ball he faced. It was a full length ball outside the off stump to which Root played with hard hands in an attempt to squeeze it. The ball took the leading edge, but Haddin put it down. It turned out to be a big blunder by Haddin.
4. Root’s ton:
Joe Root continued his brilliance in Test cricket as he notched up another ton. The Yorkshire batsman looked in great nick and he played an array of delightful strokes throughout his innings. He played with great audacity and with a heart of a lion. He was not afraid to drive freely and he scored freely. His ton got England back in the game from a situation of utter misery.
5. Starc’s twin strikes:
Everyone had termed Mitchell Starc as the bowler to look out for in the upcoming Ashes. He surely didn’t disappoint his fans one bit as he struck thrice. But his twin strikes to dismiss the well set Joe Root and Ben Stokes were critical. Stokes and Root were playing aggressively and could have snatched the game away from Australia, but Starc didn’t let that happen. His twin strikes got Australia back in the hunt.