Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Cummins five-fer headlines memorable opening day for Australia. Cummins ripped through England with a five-for
Cummins ripped through England with a five-for
It may not turn to be quite as dramatic as Nasser Hussain's ‘we'll have a bowl first' from 2002 but on evidence of the two sessions of play possible on the opening day of the 2021-22 Ashes series, England's fears of a similar apocalyptic narrative panning out aren't entirely misplaced. Having opted to bat, the visitors were bowled out for 147 before dark clouds gathered in a symbolic representation of their fortunes and washed out the final session in Brisbane.
Orchestrating England's opening day rout was an Australian skipper, who on his captaincy debut had also wanted to bat but had that decision taken away from. Pat Cummins returned figures of 5 for 38 and in the process, became the first captain since Bob Willis in 1982-83 to take a five-fer.
Root admitted that the decision to bat first wasn't straightforward given all the weather around Brisbane in the build up to the game. But given that batting has been England's concern for a while, the call and the subsequent collapse will ensure that the harsh spotlight will shine on that decision for a while. The pitch, true to form for the Gabba, offered significant seam and bounce. Neither of those two were conspirators to Rory Burns' dismissal off the first ball of the series. The left-hander shuffled across and missed a full ball from Mitchell Starc to be bowled round his legs. It was the fourth time a wicket had fallen off the first ball in an Ashes and the first time to mark the start of a series since 1936.
Josh Hazlewood, starting from the other end, may not have matched Starc for the theatrics but was just as, if not more, effective in his first burst that read 7-4-3-2. First, he had Dawid Malan nicking off to a ball angled across him. And then he went back to troubling England's captain and the No.1 Test batter by going in and out at him. After setting him up with a nip-backer, he delivered the coup de grace with a full ball that left Root late and had him nicking off to first slip for a nine-ball duck. Australia's seamers had the ball on a string and England were tottering at 11 for 3.
Cummins got into the act a little late but wasted no time in joining the fun. He reeled in the other big fish, Ben Stokes. The all-rounder, eager to drive the full balls, was squared up by a back of length delivery that left him and flew to third slip. England ended the first session wobbling at 59 for 4.
But even Cummins, a new Australia captain brimming with expectation, would not have anticipated the rout that came to pass as he carved through the visitors' batting at will in the second session. The obdurate Haseeb Hameed fell in the first over post Lunch, dragged out by a full ball that left him late to take the edge.
A brief counterattack followed as Jos Buttler and Ollie Pope added 52 for the sixth wicket, 39 of which came off the former's bat. Buttler was happy to play the cover drive on the up and hit it over the ring fielders, an approach that took him quickly to a run-a-ball 20. But his enterprise was undone by the returning Mitchell Starc. The left-arm seamer, used in short bursts by Cummins, got a delivery to angle across Buttler, forcing the batter to play and nick off.
All-rounder Cameron Green claimed his maiden Test wicket immediately after by getting Pope to mistime a pull and Cummins barged the door open by claiming the final three wickets of the innings for a memorable start to captaincy. No play was possible in the final session after incessant rain allowing England a chance to reflect and Australia the opportunity to relish a frankly one-sided start to the marquee series.
Brief scores: England 147 (Jos Buttler 39; Pat Cummins 5-38, Mitchell Starc 2-35) vs Australia