England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Cardiff, 1st day July 8, 2015

Australia caught cold by Haddin's drop


Play 01:30
'We're not used to dropping catches' - Hazlewood

Josh Hazlewood has admitted Australia's bowlers did not respond well to the unexpected sight of Brad Haddin dropping Joe Root on the first day of the Investec Ashes series, granting England's No. 5 an opportunity to wrest control of the day after an unpromising start.

Had Root been dismissed for a second-ball duck by Mitchell Starc, England would have been 43 for 4 in the hour before lunch, but Haddin's drop of a half-volleyed edge allowed him and Gary Ballance to establish a bridgehead with a series of counterpunches that threw the Australians off balance.

After a Test series in the West Indies where the tourists held just about every chance that came their way, Hazlewood said they needed to be more focused in the aftermath of a miss. "I don't think we're used to dropping catches at the moment, and hopefully we don't," he said. "But in that situation I think we've got to deal with it better and keep bowling those balls in the right areas and creating those opportunities.

"Those ones are always tough. More than often it actually is a catch, I think you can see by the way it flies off the bat. They're really tough those full ones, and Hadds usually takes more than he drops, so hopefully he can improve and catch the next one."

While Hazlewood bowled decently in his first Ashes match, the more experienced Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc leaked runs as Root and Ballance change the course of the day. "I think they bowled well in patches, they're both attacking bowlers so they can go for runs on different occasions," Hazlewood said of the two left-armers. But they certainly created quite a lot of opportunities and hopefully we can take them next time.

"The conditions suited us in that first hour and we probably made the most of it there, but we didn't stick to our guns I guess for the next couple of sessions. We built pressure and then leaked the runs and the pressure went away. But I think we got better throughout the day."

Starc left the field late in the day and was unable to take the second new ball, and it later emerged that he had complained of ankle soreness. He will be treated overnight.

For his part, Root said he had responded to the circumstances with calculated aggression, taking that gamble that by putting pressure back onto Australia's bowlers, life would be made easier for England's batsmen. So it was to prove.

"I think whenever you get the opportunity to put a side back under pressure or try and shift that momentum, you've got to try and take it," Root said after making 134. "There will be times when it doesn't work, when it doesn't quite come off and you look slightly stupid or you play what looks like a horrendous shot and get out. But they're the sorts of risks we're taking by playing this positive, attacking cricket.

"At the minute it's working really nicely, I'm sure it won't always be like that, but we want to continue to do that and really put sides under pressure whenever we can."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Faan on July 9, 2015, 19:16 GMT

    Sums the man up very well Dielo. A trusted warrior, but no class.

  • Craig on July 9, 2015, 15:07 GMT

    Warner looked settled before he got a beauty from Anderson. Cook took a screamer. He had every right to drop it. The nab was so good. Aussies in a reasonable position at tea. Would have been stronger if Smith had have been able to rein himself in against Moeen Ali. He got out in a a similar fashion in the Caribbean. Perhaps he needs to take a different approach to playing spin?

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2015, 12:25 GMT

    If Neville clean catches Knicks from Lyons bowling, bring him in!

  • Craig on July 9, 2015, 12:10 GMT

    More of the same this morning from the Aussie quicks. Too many loose balls. Starc did get two spot on to get his five for. Johnson went wicketless for over 100 runs. The steadier Hazlewood finished with three English scalps. The Aussie openers have made lunch unscathed. This Sophia Gardens deck is a little quicker than yesterday with no uneven bounce evident.

  • Doug on July 9, 2015, 9:21 GMT

    Good game so far. The bowlers were rusty, and off target, but they'll get it right. Even while bowling a lot of wayward deliveries, there were still good ones which created chances. When they get the consistency back, they'll be tougher for the English batsmen to face. It was the worst bowling I can remember for a long time. Root played very well, England have a decent score so far, but if they don't add too many more runs then Australia will feel very confident. The pitch is very slow, I hope the players can even play on it on days 4 and 5 considering there is so much variable bounce on day 1.

  • a on July 9, 2015, 8:28 GMT

    Haddin and Watson are waning and the fact that they are still playing creates weak links in the Aussie side. Rogers may also turn out to be a weak link. Butler is not yet better than Haddin with the gloves but has played too well with the bat in his test careerto be regarded as a weak link overall.

  • Ricky on July 9, 2015, 8:27 GMT

    "...He just doesn't have the mindset for big pressure matches anymore...." Absolutely, although apart from one series, Ian Bell never handled pressure well, always got his centuries against weaker teams or when the top order had already got off to a great start.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2015, 8:03 GMT

    HADDIN has become old. Can't say much about his keeping bcz Aus selectors always persist with him. But as far as his Batting is concerned He is an average batsman.

    Better bring in new faces like Ben Dunk, Sam Whiteman, OR Mathew Wade, Tim Paine. I think these are far better Wicketkeepers than OLD Haddin.

  • Richard on July 9, 2015, 7:40 GMT

    Re YGKD's comments on Haddin - the same could be said of England's keeper who is far from being the best in England - in the third test in Barbados he missed a stumping that may well have cost us thee match. He plays by virtue of a few superb innings in ODIs which supposedly makes him an "exciting talent". One day the powers-that-be will wake up to the fact that he is not worth a place in the test team.

  • Prasanna on July 9, 2015, 7:23 GMT

    How irony is this - the biggest let-down on Day 1 have been those who played a big role in the revival of Aus fortunes in Ashes 2013/14 - Johnson and Haddin. Too early to say if the drop is going to be costly - but it is time for Haddin to go , probably after this series. And for Johnson, wonder how he hits the extremes with ease !!

    Root made good use of his luck all day - a dropped chance, escaped a leg-before because of an inch or two, found edges dropping in vacant real estate and so on and so forth. Not his fault either !!

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