Australia were 75 for four in reply to England’s first innings 215, a deficit of 140 runs, at stumps on the first day of the first Ashes Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge yesterday. Steven Smith was 38 not out and Phil Hughes seven not out after fast bowler Steven Finn (two for 37) took two wickets in two balls and James Anderson (two for 25) clean bowled Australia captain Michael Clarke for nought.
Earlier, Australia fast-medium bowler Peter Siddle took five wickets for 50 runs in 14 overs as England were bowled out cheaply after winning the toss. No England batsman made a fifty, with Jonathan Trott’s 48 the top score. This is the first of a five-Test contest with England bidding for a third successive series win over Australia — something they last achieved in the 1950s — after their 2009 and 2010/11 Ashes triumphs.
Meanwhile, a mixture of errant shots and increasingly skilful use of awkward conditions from an Australia seam attack led by Siddle undermined the hosts after Alastair Cook had taken a gamble with the elements by choosing to bat first. Under heavy cloud cover but on a dry pitch expected to deteriorate by the weekend, England were unable to repay their captain’s faith as no one managed a half-century in an innings which lasted only 59 overs.
First-change Siddle was the scourge of the specialist batsmen, despite half-century stands between Jonathan Trott and Joe Root and then Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow. It was often tough going for England, especially in the afternoon when four wickets fell as the tourists took better advantage of favourable conditions than they had before lunch.
In only seven overs after tea, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson then made short work of the tail once Stuart Broad’s short-lived counter-attack was done. Australia did not start particularly well this morning, Pattinson betraying his early nerves as the first ball of the series was called a wide by Aleem Dar when the young fast bowler served up a loopy bouncer to Cook.
Starc did not test the England openers as much as his captain would have hoped either, but his lines were tighter than those of his new-ball partner. It took until the final delivery of the ninth over for Pattinson to make the lateral movement count, drawing Cook into the drive for a routine edge behind. Siddle’s first four-over spell, replacing Pattinson, cost 27 runs - but when Michael Clarke switched him to the Radcliffe Road end, the move was immediately successful.
With his first ball, Siddle cut short Root’s first attempt as a Test opener — bowling him off-stump with a cunning, outswinging yorker. Top-scorer Trott batted well either side of lunch. But after Kevin Pietersen pushed away from his body at Siddle and edged to second slip, England’s reliable number three also had cause for regret when he aimed a crooked cover-drive at the same bowler and chopped on two short of his 50.
Stuart Broad was unable to take the new ball for England after failing to take the field for the start of the Australia innings. Broad received treatment after being hit high on the arm by James Pattinson.