Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day November 25, 2010

Siddle hat-trick gives Australia control


Australia 0 for 25 (Katich 15*, Watson 9*) trail England 260 (Bell 76, Cook 67, Siddle 6-54) by 235 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ashes history is littered with some extraordinary opening days and Brisbane produced another as Peter Siddle, a controversial selection for this match, gave himself a birthday to remember by claiming a hat-trick and a career-best 6 for 54, which removed England for 260. Alastair Cook played calmly for his 67 and Ian Bell produced one of his finest international innings, but the visitors will feel they've let a golden chance slip and Australia closed on 0 for 25.

Siddle's moment of glory came in the final session after England had reached 4 for 197 and Australia had gone into a holding pattern. He was recalled to the attack and in his second over back persuaded Cook, after 168 balls of concentration, to push outside off and edge to first slip. That was followed by a full, fast delivery that Matt Prior barely had time register and the hat-trick ball was again homing in on the stumps but instead struck Stuart Broad's boot. The atmosphere at the 'Gabbatoir' was electric and just to add to the drama Broad, who clearly wasn't prepared for the clatter of wickets and was rushed to get ready, reviewed his decision, but there was no escape.

It was some way to mark a Test recall - Siddle hadn't played since January after suffering a stress fracture of his back - and was an emphatic tick for the selectors, who'd preferred him over Doug Bollinger. He showed how to bowl on a slow surface, pitching the ball a touch fuller than is normal in Australia. Even before his hat-trick, Siddle had justified the call with the key scalps of Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, which set England back during the afternoon. His sixth wicket came when Graeme Swann played round a straight ball and he was only denied a seventh when Brad Haddin spilled James Anderson.

Around the mayhem caused by Siddle, Bell played a wonderful innings that highlighted his development as a Test player. Left with the tail, he opened up in a manner rarely seen at the highest level, producing a string of a purring drives through the off side until lofting Xavier Doherty to deep cover to hand him his first Test wicket.

The drama of the final session will grab the headlines, but the series had also been given a lively beginning as England managed to write another entry into the list of Ashes horror starts. After events on this ground four years ago all eyes were on the first ball of the day and the opening delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus sailed harmlessly past off stump. However, it didn't take long for the series to burst into life - two balls later Strauss tried to cut one that was a little too close to his body and picked out Mike Hussey at gully.

The England captain stood there, head in hand for a moment, before turning for the dressing room as the Gabba erupted to the cheers of the home support. Strauss had made two hundreds during England's near-perfect warm-up period and Australia knew how vital the scalp was. It took the visitors until the third over to open their account and that was an edge to third man by Jonathan Trott, who then had to survive a heart-stopping referral when Siddle's lbw shout was sent to the third umpire.

However, he and Cook steadily evened the scales. Trott provided some impetus but was also rather skittish at stages as he edged short of second slip and got a leading edge towards point trying to work through midwicket, before giving his innings away with a loose drive at Shane Watson. England believe they can target Watson as a weak link in the Australian attack, so providing him an early wicket will have been a disappointment, but Watson's full length was a lesson to heed on this pitch.

Cook was one of England's batsmen to enter this series with an unflattering record against Australia and shouldn't have survived the first session when he was dropped at point on 26 by Doherty. That, though, was his only mistake until his dismissal, as he refused to chase anything wide and waited for the bowlers to drift towards the pads. He pulled Mitchell Johnson through midwicket for his first boundary then started after lunch with a sweet clip and picked off Doherty with ease.

The game settled as Cook and Pietersen added 76 to take England into the period where batsmen traditionally dominate in Australia once the ball has gone soft. However, Siddle had been picked because of his ability to unsettle batsmen on good pitches and proved his worth. He made one move a fraction to find the edge of Pietersen's drive and produced a very similar delivery to have Collingwood taken low at third slip.

Collingwood is known to be a dodgy starter but Pietersen had looked in fine fettle, as good as he has at Test level since before his Achilles injury. Pietersen's first boundary was a sweet straight drive and he wore the expression of a man on a mission as he picked off a further five fours. He also seemed intent on attacking Doherty during an intriguing mini-battle and Australia were relieved to end it when they did. Slightly surprisingly, Siddle was rested after a four-over burst, but his impact on the day was far from over.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    Big treat for the Birthday boy....

  • Andrew on November 26, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    As I write this #2 - Oz have done what I feared they might do - & that is blow it. Punter out legside started the rot. The big problem Oz had at Lunch was they hadn't dominated the Poms. Oz were better then the Poms on Day 1 & the 1st session Day 2 (I would say they won the sessions 4-0 at this stage), - but had not too much to show for it. Poms take 4 wickets quickly & I think they are now on top. Desperately need a Hussey special - a ton from haddin wouldn't go astray!

  • Andrew on November 26, 2010, 2:24 GMT

    @popcorn - well said - credit to Punter for good captaincy this time around. As I write this (Lunch Day2), Oz have firmed their hold on the match but.... the one thing the Poms have done right is manage to keep the r/rate low, - this has been helped by only bowling 26 overs before lunch. By keeping Oz to about 1/70 for the session means, that should they have a session today where they take 3 wickets - they will be back evens with Oz. Oz will need to be mindful of not letting the Poms create pressure thru tight bowling. @Truemans Ghost - LOL re: curse.

  • Luke on November 25, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Great captaincy by Ricky Ponting.... good team selection.... weldone guys...

  • Vishwanath on November 25, 2010, 23:00 GMT

    well done to siddle - i rarely go for aussies, but his performance was all brains and deserves to be commended. to be fair, though, i still fancy england's chances, because people don't get hat-tricks every day, and when you factor in the fact that strauss, prior and broad usually add 150 + between them (all out for ducks), and that bell didn't get any support, england have a batting team to score around 400 consistently, and have the bowling to keep a lid on the aussies. so i still fancy england's odds. it'll be fairly tight though !

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2010, 22:48 GMT

    I am very impressed with the umpiring on the first day of Gabba Test. Good job be Messers Dar and Doctrove. None of the challenges were successful. I believe with UDRS umpires concentrate better and pay more attention to their judgment because clearly their reputation is under immediate scrutiny. Umpiring standard is definitely better if UDRS is in play. I believe that New Zealand could have avoided an innings defeat against India if UDRS were in action. Similarly, Pakistan-South Africa series would have been more exciting if UDRS were in action. Can the fans insist that for the sake of fair competition UDRS should be mandated by ICC? Does ICC listen to fans? Does ICC care about fans?

  • Mohammad on November 25, 2010, 22:47 GMT

    Mr. Doogius, pls read your comments again and i am sure you won't understand what is meaning of your comments. I am also fan of Australia, and it is universal truth that India won't keep no 1 test ranking, it is 100%. They have held no 1 because of unbeliable ranking rules and systems.

  • Michael on November 25, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    Well i'm enjoying my slice of humble pie after bagging the selectors for choosing Siddle over Bollinger, it has proved a masterstroke, however can we now get Doug Rug in to play instead of Johnson-they could have had England out for even less than 260 had Dougie played instead of Johnson-Johnsons bowling is atrocious-bet now that i have said that he will bag a 5 for in the 2nd innings.

  • sajjad on November 25, 2010, 22:22 GMT

    ??? English team ??? -------->> I looked at the details on the English and I swear half of the players are South African. <<<--------Now this is not fair to the home grown England players is it ? Why are they not picked ? because they are not good enough ? This is sad. England are currently at the 5th spot in rankings - would it be accurate to assume that they would be along side Bangladesh if all the players showed their birth places to be in England ?

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2010, 21:59 GMT

    Top days cricket, good pace and line always troubles batsmen, disapointed with the eng bowlers, perhaps trying too hard.

    anyways i still don´t understand why strauss did not declare after reaching 230 it is more than enough. ;)

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