Cardiff: Joe Root made Australia pay for dropping him on nought by making 134 as England scored 343 for seven at stumps on the first day of the first Ashes Test at Sophia Gardens here on Wednesday.
Moeen Ali was 26 not out and Stuart Broad unbeaten on nought.
Root came in with England wobbling at 42 for three before lunch after skipper Alastair Cook and Ian Bell had departed in quick succession. But together with the gritty Gary Ballance (61) he staunched the flow of dismissals, the Yorkshire duo added 153 for the fourth wicket on a sluggish pitch as England got through the second session without any loss.
England batsman Joe Root celebrates after reaching his century during play on the first day of the opening Ashes cricket test match between England and Australia at The Swalec Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
Earlier, despite the overcast conditions, Cook decided to bat first after winning the toss as England began their quest to regain the Ashes having been whitewashed 5-0 in Australia in 2013-14 — a series where Root was dropped for the concluding Test in Sydney.
Josh Hazlewood struck with just his sixth ball against England when he had fellow Ashes debutant Adam Lyth, aiming legside, well caught low down by a diving David Warner at gully for six. Australia captain Michael Clarke, bidding to lead his side to a first Ashes series win in Britain in 14 years, lived up to his reputation for ringing the changes by bringing on off-spinner Nathan Lyon as early as the 10th over. Try as he might, Cook couldn’t get Lyon away and the 14th consecutive ‘dot ball’ he received from the spinner proved his undoing, an edged cut caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
Cook was out for 20 and England were 42 for two. That became 43 for three when experienced batsman Ian Bell’s run of low scores continued when he was lbw for one to a rapid, full-length and swinging delivery from left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc.
Bell’s exit meant he’d scored just 56 runs in his last nine innings. Root almost went lbw to Starc first ball, spared by a thin inside edge, and next ball he was dropped by a diving Haddin, the keeper unable to hold a right-handed chance.
During the 2013 Ashes Test at Lord’s, Haddin dropped Root on eight before the Yorkshireman went on to