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

From a captain to a debutant, nerves all round

32

Emotional overload?
Andrew Strauss chuckled on the eve of the Test when asked the inevitable question about Steve Harmison's Gabba shocker back here in 2006. "I don't think it's overly helpful to mention that first ball four years ago," he said, although the issue was less the fact that Harmison missed the cut strip with that infamous delivery, but rather what it said about the nerves that take hold at the start of such a massive series. And as it turned out, even a player as phlegmatic as Strauss couldn't keep on top of his emotions - or the ball - as the series started with its now-inevitable bang. The first two balls were negotiated safely enough, but the third was shorter and straighter, and climbed off the deck as Strauss sized up the cut. Mike Hussey at gully didn't twitch a muscle as the ball thudded into his palms, and suddenly the serenity of England's start to the tour had been obliterated.

Slipping through the spinner's fingers
Xavier Doherty's introduction to Test cricket was going pretty well in the circumstances. His first delivery, in the 21st over, gripped on a good length and turned back in to Alastair Cook, who left it watchfully outside off stump, and within three balls he was jousting with Kevin Pietersen, the man whose fallibility against left-arm spin is one of the major reasons why Doherty had been preferred ahead of the offie Nathan Hauritz. Though Pietersen came after him right from the start, the rookie was holding his own ... but one ball after completing his second over, he was jolted out of his comfort zone. Cook, on 26, squirted a cut off Watson towards point, but Doherty's leap was fractionally mistimed. He got both hands to the offering, but nothing more, and a priceless breakthrough went begging. Ricky Ponting, to his credit, rushed up to give his young charge a quick pep-talk, before striding purposefully back to business.

Birthday bonus
Peter Siddle was a surprise choice for this Test match, given how effective Doug Bollinger had been for Australia throughout the past year. But when push came to shove, Ponting preferred to back the wholehearted aggression of a man whose endeavours had fallen short in England during last summer's 2-1 defeat. So in came Siddle for his first Test since January, and what an impact he made. Bowling wicket to wicket, he found enough movement to end an ominous innings from Kevin Pietersen, then did the same to Cook as his failing outside off undermined a priceless innings. After that it all happened too quickly for England. Matt Prior's loose waft found nothing but thin air, and with a raucous Gabba baying for blood, Stuart Broad was clearly unready as he rushed belatedly to the crease and tried to find his composure. Siddle, however, marked his 26th birthday with a perfect first-ball yorker, and a futile use of the referral couldn't deny him his hat-trick.

Swinging on to the straight and narrow
Shane Watson's first over was the ultimate mixed bag. His first delivery was swinging on to the pads, and Jonathan Trott helped it effortlessly through the leg-side for four; the second was a rank wide as Watto tried to readjust his line but over-compensated badly, and two further powder-puffs underlined the impression that he wasn't quite at the races. But then, just like that, he nailed his line and length. The fifth ball zipped off the deck to serve up a warning, before the sixth was simply too good for an uncharacteristically loose Jonathan Trott. Full and fuller, and angling in all the time, it burst through the gate of an unbalanced drive, to set in motion a day of rattled timbers for England.

Wayward wicketkeeper
Don't ask Brad Haddin if you're an Australian considering an umpiring review. Haddin's record in this regard remains unchanged after he backed up Siddle's roaring lbw appeal to Trott in the fourth over. Siddle had angled one in and was fluttering his arms liked an over-enthusiastic dancer at Aleem Dar, who ruled it not out. Ponting conferred with Haddin, who gets the best view, but rarely makes the right decision on reviews. The replay showed the ball was just brushing leg stump, leaving the call with Dar, and Australia were down to one challenge within 20 minutes.

Short-handed by short-leg
Simon Katich didn't do any better when he convinced Ponting to ask for the second referral when he thought Ian Bell had edged behind. Katich was at short-leg, on the other side of Mitchell Johnson's delivery, and was the only one who really believed. The slips cordon offered no initial support - not even Haddin - and Bell soon moved on smoothly from 18.

Sign of the times
There are so many sponsorship boards at the Gabba that there isn't much space free for the witty scribble on a bed sheet. Spectators have to resort mostly to strips of cardboard but even those have to be trimmed when they invade on the corporate space. One home-made sign was raised at the fall of the second wicket: "Just another Kevin to get rid of." Australia's prime minister Kevin Rudd, whose constituency includes the Gabba, was cut down earlier in the year and today Peter Siddle removed Kevin Pietersen on 43. As Pietersen departed the name on the note was replaced by "Cook".

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo, Peter English is Australasian editor.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 25, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    @Foxtrot I am sure you have forgotten the pitch on which Aus was bowled out for just over 200 in the second test of the Ind -Aus test series !

  • safwan_Umair on November 25, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    im a pakistani, yet i believe that Ashes in the last 5 years has produced the most thrilling cricket played anywhere. True, england have been bowled out for 260. 10 years back, Australia would have posted 500 in reply and rolled england over. Now, things have changed radically. England posses the best spinner in all the game, Swanny could turn this game on its head first thing tomorrow morning. This is precisely why Ashes over the last 5 years has been deeply intriguing.

    on another note, i want to congratulate aleem dar. The guy is a fantastic umpire. some of his decision making on the first day was top drawer. ONLY if simon taufel too could umpire his home country's test matches. that would be some combination!

  • on November 25, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    Good Match !!! After A long time!!! Yeah i would say " Congrats to Siddle for his classical effort but Pointing cant handle his team now in 2010 and 2011 world cup , as we can see that when bell used to hit him some , and so pointing spread his field all over the ground and when he used to stop some deliveries all field used to come back - what game planning is this . I think its england captain and their XI were exicted about previous victories They are gone foolishly Yet we should not forget that England also make comeback in their Previous Ashes after their 1st Test, So England are still Good Team , But some how they loose actually england will lose their moral for world cup and aussie will regain their cup... So We Have To See This Ashes more exciting !! Pakistan Zindabad !!!:D From Osama Akhter

  • wagon_wheel on November 25, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    @foxtrot... I guess it is difficult for you to digest the fact that we subcontinent people score more than you. Subcontinent pitches too offer results, case in point being the recent 2-0 loss of Australia in India. Also its not as if Australian pitches do not provide draws, or else west indies would have lost all test matches when it last played in Australia. Also the sub continent heroes have those humongous number of runs on the back of their run scoring ability on all kinds of pitches and are not only shirt front bullies. Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Mohammed Yousuf, Sangakkara are what they are because they have scored all around the world. Australia since the retirement of Hayden, Langer, Martyn and the two Waugh brothers are struggling for the lack of talent in the run scoring department and not because they do not get shirt fronts often....

  • Dr_Anand on November 25, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    someone...umm...yeah...foxtrot..say again....hype up indian batsmen test averages?...batting stats?....aussies batted on the same pitches din they?....what hypocrisy...lol..well all the best to england...they r going to win and take back the urn to where it belongs.........ABA

  • true_cricket_fan on November 25, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    Every single person is wriring off Poms now! come on people, its just test 1 day 1 and 260 is not a very bad score either, agreed England should have got more after winning the toss, but the game is not at all over yet!

  • vparisa on November 25, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    @sagnik - You can have dinner all year along with your family,but dining with them on a festive occasion is what counts or what is remembered.. if you miss visiting grandparents on diwali or thanksgiving.. they will never forget it.. similarly.. Cricket can be played everywhere.. but Ashes is special which cannot be matched neither by the brilliance of Aus-India test matches nor by the tension of the Indo-pak matches

  • CricketToronto on November 25, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    I am an Indian, and for the first time in my life I find myself rooting for Australia...there must be something wrong with me...

  • Beertjie on November 25, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Sure, it's too early to tell, but I admit to being suckered by the Pommie press's hype. Keep it up, Punter, and all will be forgiven. Don't count on the lower order - do it yourself. Give us a big century, like you used to do and shut those whingeing Poms up real good. Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie!

  • on November 25, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    Agree 200% with everything that Davo47 said. I am glad Siddle has proven us wrong, because I always liked the guy but wanted Bollinger in this test. Time to drop Johnson, the Marcus North of bowling. Showed again today that when he doesn't get wickets, he's giving away too many runs. He continuously gave the momentum back to England when he was bowling. Hilfy will go better if he pitches it up more, he was a bit short today. Heartiest congratulations to Peter Siddle today, a true Aussie performance. Aggressive, pumped-up, acknowledging the crowd, and doing it all against the Poms. Well done.

  • on November 25, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    @Foxtrot I am sure you have forgotten the pitch on which Aus was bowled out for just over 200 in the second test of the Ind -Aus test series !

  • safwan_Umair on November 25, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    im a pakistani, yet i believe that Ashes in the last 5 years has produced the most thrilling cricket played anywhere. True, england have been bowled out for 260. 10 years back, Australia would have posted 500 in reply and rolled england over. Now, things have changed radically. England posses the best spinner in all the game, Swanny could turn this game on its head first thing tomorrow morning. This is precisely why Ashes over the last 5 years has been deeply intriguing.

    on another note, i want to congratulate aleem dar. The guy is a fantastic umpire. some of his decision making on the first day was top drawer. ONLY if simon taufel too could umpire his home country's test matches. that would be some combination!

  • on November 25, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    Good Match !!! After A long time!!! Yeah i would say " Congrats to Siddle for his classical effort but Pointing cant handle his team now in 2010 and 2011 world cup , as we can see that when bell used to hit him some , and so pointing spread his field all over the ground and when he used to stop some deliveries all field used to come back - what game planning is this . I think its england captain and their XI were exicted about previous victories They are gone foolishly Yet we should not forget that England also make comeback in their Previous Ashes after their 1st Test, So England are still Good Team , But some how they loose actually england will lose their moral for world cup and aussie will regain their cup... So We Have To See This Ashes more exciting !! Pakistan Zindabad !!!:D From Osama Akhter

  • wagon_wheel on November 25, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    @foxtrot... I guess it is difficult for you to digest the fact that we subcontinent people score more than you. Subcontinent pitches too offer results, case in point being the recent 2-0 loss of Australia in India. Also its not as if Australian pitches do not provide draws, or else west indies would have lost all test matches when it last played in Australia. Also the sub continent heroes have those humongous number of runs on the back of their run scoring ability on all kinds of pitches and are not only shirt front bullies. Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Mohammed Yousuf, Sangakkara are what they are because they have scored all around the world. Australia since the retirement of Hayden, Langer, Martyn and the two Waugh brothers are struggling for the lack of talent in the run scoring department and not because they do not get shirt fronts often....

  • Dr_Anand on November 25, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    someone...umm...yeah...foxtrot..say again....hype up indian batsmen test averages?...batting stats?....aussies batted on the same pitches din they?....what hypocrisy...lol..well all the best to england...they r going to win and take back the urn to where it belongs.........ABA

  • true_cricket_fan on November 25, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    Every single person is wriring off Poms now! come on people, its just test 1 day 1 and 260 is not a very bad score either, agreed England should have got more after winning the toss, but the game is not at all over yet!

  • vparisa on November 25, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    @sagnik - You can have dinner all year along with your family,but dining with them on a festive occasion is what counts or what is remembered.. if you miss visiting grandparents on diwali or thanksgiving.. they will never forget it.. similarly.. Cricket can be played everywhere.. but Ashes is special which cannot be matched neither by the brilliance of Aus-India test matches nor by the tension of the Indo-pak matches

  • CricketToronto on November 25, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    I am an Indian, and for the first time in my life I find myself rooting for Australia...there must be something wrong with me...

  • Beertjie on November 25, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Sure, it's too early to tell, but I admit to being suckered by the Pommie press's hype. Keep it up, Punter, and all will be forgiven. Don't count on the lower order - do it yourself. Give us a big century, like you used to do and shut those whingeing Poms up real good. Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie!

  • on November 25, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    Agree 200% with everything that Davo47 said. I am glad Siddle has proven us wrong, because I always liked the guy but wanted Bollinger in this test. Time to drop Johnson, the Marcus North of bowling. Showed again today that when he doesn't get wickets, he's giving away too many runs. He continuously gave the momentum back to England when he was bowling. Hilfy will go better if he pitches it up more, he was a bit short today. Heartiest congratulations to Peter Siddle today, a true Aussie performance. Aggressive, pumped-up, acknowledging the crowd, and doing it all against the Poms. Well done.

  • on November 25, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    I told you so! England's preparations had gone a bit too well & they were heading for a fall. Strauss set the tone - maybe for the whole series - with his horror shot, belying pommie overconfidence

  • Foxtrot210789 on November 25, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    This day sums up perfectly why Australia is one of the best countries to play test cricket in. 300 runs and 10 wickets in a day, you know a result, or a VERY hard fought out draw will be the end. You don't see Australian curators making roads so we can pump up our batsmen's stats, the curators in the sub-continent should have a good look at this as an example of how to make a good cricket wicket.

  • on November 25, 2010, 11:04 GMT

    Personally I had thought Bollinger should have played, but boy am I glad I got it wrong and boy am I glad Siddle is playing!! I think Doherty is a good choice, he bowled well and did not bowl boundary balls like Haurtiz was doing despite being an off spinner and traditionally off spinners can keep it tight. I think Strauss played a nervous shot and Pietersen looked ominous. I know that English supporters will say that it is just day one, but it is an important day and the beginning of a test series that has been preceded by a lot of hype and if one were to believe whatever one read about the English team, the series was already over, so well prepared were they! Of course the series is not over, not by a long shot ! Australia too might not find it easy as their batting is fragile. But it is all about confidence and momentum and it is certainly Australia who were ahead of a great day of test cricket sridhar

  • sonjjay on November 25, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    You aussies are being a lil harsh here. Most cricket fans here in India like to watch the ashes.Nice to watch some test cricket with a morning cuppa tea before heading out for work.

  • manoj.c on November 25, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    @sagnik sinha..no worries.. we know you're from different world named India..coming to test..that was wonderfull start to the series..like to see a gud fightback from England..Test cricket is still alive..!!

  • simon_w on November 25, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    Great start to the Ashes. Bell was great, but Siddle was brilliant. That's been the main difference. England behind the eight-ball a little now, but a not so far that a decent day tomorrow won't bring them right back into it. I would have had England 55%-45% favourites to win the series (a bit stronger to retain the Ashes, since a drawn series would do), so the first day going to Australia is perfect for the series, imo.

  • SPC75 on November 25, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    Where are all the doomslayers slagging off Aussie cricket?? I thought this would happen, good old England getting too cocky! I reckon the Poms believe they have already won the series and aren't prepared to do the hard yards! Hoping the Aussies cna keep up the pressure and no repeat of those middle order collapses which have proved so costly. Especially in the 09 Ashes. Go Aussies

  • on November 25, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    Only the first day, so a long way to go, but what a first day! And history does tell us that the first day at the Gabba often sets the tone for what is to come. Oh yeah, more of that please.

  • Celtics24 on November 25, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    Because, Sagnik Sinha, Australia and England are historical rivals and the Ashes is always a massively hyped series, it's the series all the players from both teams want to compete in. The Fans from both countries get really excited about it as well, I couldn't sleep last night! Ashes are a massive deal, if you don't like it then don't watch! Far more entertaining series than ones involving india on flat pitches infront of empty crowds.

    Great day for Australia, hope we don't have one of our usual batting collapses tomorrow!

  • Dr.Vindaloo on November 25, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    I'm a bruised Pom this morning but have to agree with the rabid Popcorn that it was an electric day (night in my case) of cricket. Well done to Sid Vicious, more than just a big mouth evidently. But on today's evidence I do think Aus will struggle as the series goes on. Johnson still looks woeful, Hilf ordinary, and I don't think young Dougherty will set the series on fire. @Sagnik Sinha - you'll never get it!

  • immortalpop on November 25, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    "why all the hassle about Ashes.... its like any other test series isn't it.... its not like the cricket played is of a different level.... all the hystorical hype!!!!"

    sagnik sinha go and watch some IPL and leave the greatest cricketing contest in the universe to those who understand it.

  • on November 25, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    Happy birthday Siddle!!! Well done. Keep this on. Still don't think Johnson is in any good form. Hope Aussies play well. Aussies go!!!.

  • David47 on November 25, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    Okay - I'll be the first to admit it - I didn't want Siddle in the 11. I clearly got it wrong - he bowled beautifully today. Now he's got his tail up he needs to keep it going. So I put the mocka on him and he's come up trumps; now I'll have a go (again ) at Mitchell Johnson - he needs to go back to domestoic cricket until he finds some real form. Dougie needs to come in for the next test, unless Johnson does something outstanding with the ball in the second innings. There, I've done it - England are stuffed now. And selectors, don't forget to keep monitoring the fitness of the best fast bowler in the land - Ryan Harris.

  • SupernDutta on November 25, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    It was Awsome the way Aussies bowled today..Full Marks to the line and length touched by Siddle thruout...

  • popcorn on November 25, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    What a superb start to ourAshes campaign!Day One at the Gabbatoir sets up the remainder of the summer! Sid Vicious is now the most feared bowler by the Poms.Sensational hat- trick and a 6 fer! Congratulations, Selectors,for a brilliant side chosen! And what can you say about debutant Xavier Doherty! 2 wickets on debut, great aggression against KP,and praise from the Master of Spin, Shane Warne! Well done, Ricky Ponting - superb bowling changes and field placements. Lovely touch you showed to comfort Xavier Doherty when he dropped a difficult chance from Cook! And well played,Simon Katich,boundary,boundary off Graeme Swann! Australia couldn't have written a better script for this Ashes series!

  • DiggersRus on November 25, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    Australia well on top day 1. Let's see what the poms have got tomorrow. My guess is not a lot. They looked nervous and out of their depth, except for Bell.

  • anver777 on November 25, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    Punter's gamble to go with Siddle in this match had really worked. Ponting u'r a WINNER with a bonus!!!! & also very rare & special birthday present for Siddle (A TEST HAT RICK)....Well done !!!!!

  • JB77 on November 25, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    Glad to see Ian Bell's cringe-worthy innings didn't make the list. Honestly, it was as if someone was shooting 'Matthew Hayden: The Movie' but they'd cast Justin Beiber in the role of Hayden. Bell's new-found 'aggression' (walking at the bowler, puffing out his chest etc) just made him look ridiculous - if you're going to do that you need to power to back it up. The slow-mo footage of his 'intimidating glare' when Katich appealed for the suspected caught-behind was priceless: 'I'm ever-so-cross at you right now!'.

  • on November 25, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    why all the hassle about Ashes.... its like any other test series isn't it.... its not like the cricket played is of a different level.... all the hystorical hype!!!!

  • Something_Witty on November 25, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    What a turn-up from Siddle and what a ripper of a day to start off the series. Runs, wickets, wonderful bowling from Siddle, some good stodgy blocking from Cook and a priceless counter-attacking innings from Bell. - This is what all test matches should be like.

  • phoenixsteve on November 25, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    Forgot to say WELL DONE PETER SIDDLE - GREAT, GREAT STUFF! History has been made! COME ON ENGLAND!

  • phoenixsteve on November 25, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    What a great start to the Ashes? Australia proving that they have some fight and that they are still a good side. Well played Australia and maybe Fortress Gabba is going to work out for them? There's still a lot of time for England o turn around a disappointing performance. Summary day 1 Aussies 7 out of 10.... England 3 out of 10 ! Wel played Aussies. COME ON ENGLAND!

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  • phoenixsteve on November 25, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    What a great start to the Ashes? Australia proving that they have some fight and that they are still a good side. Well played Australia and maybe Fortress Gabba is going to work out for them? There's still a lot of time for England o turn around a disappointing performance. Summary day 1 Aussies 7 out of 10.... England 3 out of 10 ! Wel played Aussies. COME ON ENGLAND!

  • phoenixsteve on November 25, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    Forgot to say WELL DONE PETER SIDDLE - GREAT, GREAT STUFF! History has been made! COME ON ENGLAND!

  • Something_Witty on November 25, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    What a turn-up from Siddle and what a ripper of a day to start off the series. Runs, wickets, wonderful bowling from Siddle, some good stodgy blocking from Cook and a priceless counter-attacking innings from Bell. - This is what all test matches should be like.

  • on November 25, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    why all the hassle about Ashes.... its like any other test series isn't it.... its not like the cricket played is of a different level.... all the hystorical hype!!!!

  • JB77 on November 25, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    Glad to see Ian Bell's cringe-worthy innings didn't make the list. Honestly, it was as if someone was shooting 'Matthew Hayden: The Movie' but they'd cast Justin Beiber in the role of Hayden. Bell's new-found 'aggression' (walking at the bowler, puffing out his chest etc) just made him look ridiculous - if you're going to do that you need to power to back it up. The slow-mo footage of his 'intimidating glare' when Katich appealed for the suspected caught-behind was priceless: 'I'm ever-so-cross at you right now!'.

  • anver777 on November 25, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    Punter's gamble to go with Siddle in this match had really worked. Ponting u'r a WINNER with a bonus!!!! & also very rare & special birthday present for Siddle (A TEST HAT RICK)....Well done !!!!!

  • DiggersRus on November 25, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    Australia well on top day 1. Let's see what the poms have got tomorrow. My guess is not a lot. They looked nervous and out of their depth, except for Bell.

  • popcorn on November 25, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    What a superb start to ourAshes campaign!Day One at the Gabbatoir sets up the remainder of the summer! Sid Vicious is now the most feared bowler by the Poms.Sensational hat- trick and a 6 fer! Congratulations, Selectors,for a brilliant side chosen! And what can you say about debutant Xavier Doherty! 2 wickets on debut, great aggression against KP,and praise from the Master of Spin, Shane Warne! Well done, Ricky Ponting - superb bowling changes and field placements. Lovely touch you showed to comfort Xavier Doherty when he dropped a difficult chance from Cook! And well played,Simon Katich,boundary,boundary off Graeme Swann! Australia couldn't have written a better script for this Ashes series!

  • SupernDutta on November 25, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    It was Awsome the way Aussies bowled today..Full Marks to the line and length touched by Siddle thruout...

  • David47 on November 25, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    Okay - I'll be the first to admit it - I didn't want Siddle in the 11. I clearly got it wrong - he bowled beautifully today. Now he's got his tail up he needs to keep it going. So I put the mocka on him and he's come up trumps; now I'll have a go (again ) at Mitchell Johnson - he needs to go back to domestoic cricket until he finds some real form. Dougie needs to come in for the next test, unless Johnson does something outstanding with the ball in the second innings. There, I've done it - England are stuffed now. And selectors, don't forget to keep monitoring the fitness of the best fast bowler in the land - Ryan Harris.