By Stephen Giles
- Australia won the toss and chose to bat first
- Australia 136 all out: Rogers 52, Anderson 6-47, Finn 2-38, Broad 2-44.
- England 133-3 at stumps, trailing by 3 runs.
BIRMINGHAM, UK – The Ashes took an unprecedented swing back into England’s favour after a James Anderson-inspired attack skittled Australia out for 136 on a rain-effected opening day in Birmingham, before advancing to 133-3 in reply.
Barely a week after England were bowled out embarrassingly at Lord’s, the hosts produced the perfect response by taking complete control as Anderson (6-47), Steve Finn 2-38 and Stuart Broad 2-44 ripped through the Australian batting line-up in favourable bowling conditions before Alastair Cook and a sublime half-century from Ian Bell led the England response.
After winning the toss, Australian captain Michael Clarke elected to bat, however his decision was to spectacularly backfire.
Anderson struck first with the wicket of David Warner (2) with seven on the board as he trapped the opener lbw and brought captain Clarke to the crease much earlier than he would have hoped.
Steve Finn, replacing the injured Mark Wood and playing in his first Test after a two-year absence, struck twice in his first three overs, bowling Clarke (10) with a full-length out-swinger and then drew Steve Smith (7) into nudging at a ball which took a leading edge and was gratefully caught by Cook at second slip.
Chris Rogers (52) battled hard yet unconvincingly hit a half-century before he was trapped lbw to Broad, as his fellow countrymen around him succumbed to the England seam attack.
When rain cleared after lunch, Anderson wasted little time as he took over with a superb demonstration of his talents, taking 4-7 in 19 balls to tear apart the Australian middle-order and leave the tourists shell-shocked on 94-7.
In doing so, Adam Voges (16) and Mitchell Marsh (0) were both caught behind by Jos Buttler, Peter Nevill (2) was comprehensively clean bowled and Mitchell Johnson (3) edged to fourth slip. He soon claimed his best ever Ashes bowling figures by bowling tail-ender Nathan Lyon (11) to conclude the Australian innings to a stunned yet delirious Edgbaston crowd, with that man Anderson leading the team off to a rapturous applause.
In response, Adam Lyth (10) fell cheaply as he drove loosely at a Josh Hazlewood delivery, edging towards second slip, only for Voges to gather at the second attempt. A clearly dejected Lyth trundled off disconsolately. It was a careless shot after such a promising start.
After a counter-attacking second-wicket stand of 57 between Cook (34) and Bell, the former fell to a freak catch at short-leg where Voges flinched yet somehow held on to a ball which was fiercely pulled at him.
Bell (53) played beautifully on his home ground and hit 10 boundaries in a near run-a-ball 50, before thrashing a Lyon ball straight into the air towards midwicket, only for an advancing Warner to take a simple catch.
Joe Root (30 not-out) and Jonny Bairstow (1 not-out) eased towards stumps before rain stopped play, with England eventually closing on 133-3 at around half past six.
England will look to heap more misery on the tourists tomorrow, but one thing is for sure after day one – England have put themselves truly well on course to take a 2-1 lead in the series with two matches to play. Unpredictable.
Day two continues tomorrow starting at 11:00am BST. Follow the action with Britwatch Live Scores