Image: The Sincura Group
[Kieran Burman | Head of TV]
A nervy start and a maiden first over was exactly what everyone in England hoped wouldn’t happen. Lyth (6) was dismissed early shortly after finding the first boundary of the series. Captain Alistair Cook and Gary Ballance got England away with a stable 36* frustrating Australia early on, who used 4 bowlers in 13 overs which included 6 fours.
A huge blow for England after drinks. Alistair Cook was dismissed (bowled Lyons caught behind) for 20. The England Captain will again have his future in doubt. 42-2 was the score at the time, with Ian Bell heading into the crease.
Aaaaand Ian Bell left almost as soon as he arrived, bowled lbw for 1. Australia on top and England under pressure as Joe Root joined the action at 43-3. Root, arguably England’s best batsman in the past year got underway superbly with fine 4 down the ground but not before being dropped on 0 by Haddin.
— Joe Root (@joeroot05) July 8, 2015
Lunch came and went with England starting to get a hold of the game. Ballance continued his steady scoring while Joe Root smashed the ball around the park with an average strike rate of 100. A few appeals from the Aussies have been turned down by the umpires who look like they have got everything spot on so far.
Root battled through to his 50, getting it in just 56 balls. Cheers of “Roooot” echoed around the stadium. The confidence of the youngster is riveting and he hasn’t let any of the Australian pace bowlers get to him, flourishing whilst batting at number 5.
Ballance struggled against the bouncers, especially against Mitchell Johnson in the middle overs with the bowlers increasing the pressure on the batsmen throughout the game. He definitely wasn’t comfortable against them.
However, Root continued to put on a masterclass for the rest of his team mates, spraying the ball all over the pitch whilst Balance kept it secure at the other end with half the strike rate, but doing his job almost perfectly.
50 was finally reached by Ballance in 127 balls (Root 88 (95)) as Root and Ballance closed in on a 150 partnership, causing the Aussies lots of problems early on in this test match.Ballance played a pivotal role in keeping the scoreboard ticking at his end while a flurry of runs came from the other.
Ballance then fell for 61, he had a fantastic start to this series but fell short of that 100 that he would have wanted. Stokes, in for Ballance, started quickly and matched Root’s tempo creating a flurry of runs.
One hundred runs was struck by Root who was proving again that he is currently England’s best batsman whilst at the tender age of 24, well before a cricketer usually reaches their prime.
Root and Stokes quickly got to a 50 partnership – I thought they were playing 50 over cricket, but alas it was still the first Ashes Test.
The player of the day and early candidate for player of the series was then bowled out for 134 – a marvellous effort from the Yorkshire lad.
Stokes then joined Balance and Root, reaching his fifty but his celebrations were cut short when he was bowled soon after by Starc.
Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler kept up Root and Stokes tempo however, getting 26* and 27 respectively at run rates of 68 and 80 before Buttler was dismissed just before the close of play– ending the day on 343 for 7 with Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali to face Australia’s pace attack in the morning.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 8, 2015