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Major Talking Points from First Ashes Test at the Gabba

Normal proceedings were restored in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba as the Aussies stormed past their arch-rivals England by nine wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Gabba has always been a tough place to start a tour on and England felt the heat of Brisbane in this game as they bundled out for a mere 147 in the first innings. And then, the new Australian cricket era under Patrick Cummins started on the best possible note.

There were plenty of moments that unfolded in the four days of cricket we witnessed in the first Ashes Test, and here are the top ones the world is talking about.

 

MITCHELL STARC SETS THE TONE FIRST UP

The first ball of the Ashes is always an important moment and it sets precedents for the rest of the series. There have been plenty of high-profile first balls of an Ashes series that are talked about till now, just ask Steve Harmison. But the one delivered by Mitchell Starc to Rory Burns, where the fast bowler literally bowed the English opening batter around his legs is surely going to be a key moment that will be watched on repeat for some years to come.

 

BATTING A HUGE CONCERN FOR ENGLAND

Apart from Joe Root, no English batter has averaged more than 30 in this calendar year in Test cricket. The sheer dependence on Joe Root is getting more than what the England captain would like and if Root fails, then the whole batting order collapses. We saw this unfolding in the first innings of this Test. Root has to bat out of his skin if England have a chance to come back in this series. But a thing to remember here is that Root’s record in Australia is well below his usual high standards and he is yet to register a century Down Under.

 

JOE ROOT GETS THE TOSS AND THE TEAM WRONG

Sticking with Root, the England captain in hindsight would regret winning the toss at the Gabba. It seemed that sort of a day where both captains would love to lose a toss as normal cricketing sense would force you to bat first even though you may know that conditions may be in the favour of the bowlers for the majority of the first day. But to cut Root some slack, we’ve seen some previous England captains opt to bowl first at the Gabba and it had gone horribly wrong for their sides. The ghost of Nasser Hussain loomed on the current English captain and hence he chose to bat first on a green Gabba top that had been under the covers for a majority of time leading up to the Test match.

It wasn’t just at the toss where Root got it wrong, the team selection also seemed to leave people speechless. Not having either of your two best bowlers in Stuart Broad and James Anderson in the XI is beyond explanation. The duo would have loved to have a crack at the fragile Australian batting lineup in conditions that were more English than Australian.

 

NATHAN LYON GETS HIS 400TH

For more than a year now, Nathan Lyon had been stuck on 399 wickets. At one point during this first Ashes Test at the Gabba, it felt like Lyon may not even pick a single wicket throughout the game. But the Australian off-spinner came on the fourth day with a renewed vigour. He got his field placements spot on and bowled at lengths that were difficult to hit for the English batters. On the fourth day, Lyon picked up four wickets thereby getting his 400th scalp in Test cricket. It’s been a remarkable journey for Lyon, from a member of the ground staff at the Adelaide Oval to picking 400 wickets for your country. Fairytale stuff.

 

TRAVIS HEAD IS A STAR IN THE MAKING

Travis Head was a man under pressure leading up to this first Ashes Test. Usman Khawaja had scored plenty in Shield cricket and Head’s form in Test cricket wasn’t great. The biggest concern with Head was his ability to convert starts into big centuries. This seems like something Head had in mind leading up to this game as he became the first Australian to get an Ashes century in a single session. For his 152 in the first innings, Travis Head was the recipient of the man of the match award.

 

 

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