England were given no chance at redemption with the ball after wet outfield and bad light combined to end the day’s play
England 147 (Buttler 39, Cummins 5-38) vs Australia
A thunderstorm then washed out the early part of the final session to pour salt into a gaping wound, as England were given no chance at redemption with the ball. A wet outfield and bad light combined to end the day’s play.
Root won’t be lambasted for life for the decision at the toss in the manner that Len Hutton and Nasser Hussain have in Ashes Tests of the past at the Gabba. Cummins admitted he might have batted too despite a distinct green tinge to the surface and some moisture both in the pitch and in the atmosphere.
He also may regret leaving both James Anderson and Stuart Broad out of the side for the first time in five years and the first time in an Ashes Test since 2006, as England’s top order capitulated on a surface that gave the bowlers plenty of assistance. But some played their own part in the procession of wickets that fell in the first hour after slumping to 26 for 4.
Burns lost all bearings of where his stumps were stepping way outside off to expose leg stump to Starc who did shape the ball back down the line after it looked to be veering down leg. But Burns will rue the day as his error could be replayed for decades to come. He also claimed two regrettable records, becoming the second man in history to fall first ball of an Ashes series while registering his sixth duck of the calendar year, the most of any Test opener.
Hazlewood then went to work testing the defence of England’s top order and they were found wanting. Dawid Malan nicked a ball he could have easily left alone on length handing Alex Carey his first Test catch, while Root wasn’t allowed to breathe for eight unwavering deliveries before one straightened off the seam to catch his outside edge.
Ben Stokes entered at 3 for 11 needing to produce another Ashes miracle. He was undone after the drinks break by Cummins from around the wicket, squared up by a ball that climbed from a length and Marnus Labuschagne held a very sharp chance diving to his left at third slip.
But neither could lay a glove on Hazlewood who bowled seven overs in the first session and conceded just three singles while collecting the scalps of Malan and Root.
The lunch break did Hameed no favours as Cummins struck again. He went wide of the crease and angled into off stump forcing Hameed to play, a hint of seam movement away caught the edge and again it was well held at slip, this time by vice-captain Steven Smith.
The pair shared a 52-run stand and Pope passed 1000 Test runs in the process becoming the sixth-youngest English player to do so.
But Starc returned and dismissed Buttler with a superb delivery that threatened to shape in but left him off the seam to catch the outside edge. Cameron Green then claimed his first Test wicket to raucous celebrations after going wicketless all last summer. Pope failed to control a hook shot and Hazlewood ran in from fine leg to complete an outstanding diving catch. It was the first of two for him in the deep as he took another to help Cummins complete his five-wicket haul. Cummins returned to take the last three wickets of the innings as England lost their last five for just 32 runs.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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