England v Australia, 4th Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day August 6, 2015

Broad and Root bury feeble Australia


England 274 for 4 (Root 124*, Wood 2*) lead Australia 60 (Broad 8-15) by 214 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Highlights - Broad and Root bury feeble Australia

Alastair Cook had called for England to "etch their names in history" as they sought a victory in the fourth Investec Test that would regain the Ashes and ease the memory of their whitewash in Australia 20 months earlier. But even Cook, an England captain brimming with expectation, would not have anticipated the rout that came to pass as Stuart Broad carved through Australia's batting at will in one of the most startling opening sessions in Ashes history.

Australia, utterly bereft, were dismissed for 60 in only 18.3 overs, with cricket statisticians wading through damning numbers either achieved or narrowly avoided. Broad, carrying an onerous responsibility in the absence of James Anderson, returned his best Test figures of 8 for 15 in 9.3 new-ball overs amid scenes of general delirium. Only Jim Laker, twice in the same match, has bettered that for an England bowler in the Ashes.

Then order was mightily restored. England came out, so did the sun, and the lead at their lead at the close was 214 with six wickets remaining: the Ashes surely as good as won after a single day. After Broad's feeding frenzy came Joe Root's serene imposition of reality - an unbeaten 124, sagacious where Australia had been so disorientated, his mind crisply attired for the task as he sparkled with a succession of drives and late cuts and a beaming sun taunted Australia for their inability to bat long enough to benefit from easing conditions.

Broad loves Trent Bridge, his home ground, and he must have sensed it making eyes at him on an overcast morning carrying great significance. The occasion stirred him, his competitive zeal allied to faultless execution. Long before the first drinks session of the day, he was brandishing the ball, a rudely red one only 6.1 overs old, to the crowd to mark a five-wicket haul.

Five wickets in record time: the curdled cream of Australian batting secured by the first delivery of his fourth over. Australia's batsmen were awash with paranoia. He bowled a perfect, inviting length on a good old-fashioned English seamer, finding just enough movement and leaving a systematic close-catching cordon to do the rest.

Stuart Broad saluted a turbo-charged five-wicket haul before the drinks break on the first morning © Getty Images

"Lack of batting technique leading to collapses," was the considered opinion of Geoffrey Boycott, prominently placed on ESPNcricinfo as the Test began. Australia can't say they weren't warned. Within 35 minutes, they were 29 for 6 and the batsman walking off was Michael Clarke, who had tried to stare down his lack of form with jaw-jutting defiance and who had just had an almighty swipe at a wide one.

Australia did not play and miss all that much, but they went hard at the ball, nicked often and when they did, England's catching was exemplary, nine of the 10 wickets falling in the cordon.

Broad's first wicket, that of Chris Rogers, made him the fifth England bowler to reach 300 in Tests. When Clarke departed, Broad's run of five wickets in 19 balls became the most prolific start to an innings in Test history.

Australia's inability to adapt to English conditions had never been more striking. An era where so much Test cricket is attritional on sedate pitches, and where T20 holds sway, has eaten into defensive techniques. From the first ball, as Broad scratched the crease, the brown earth revealed some residual dampness. But the movement was not excessive, not as extravagant as Edgbaston where England had won within three days.

England, for all that, won a good toss to have first bowl on an overcast Nottingham morning, aware that the Trent Bridge groundsman, pilloried for a stultifying surface officially marked as "poor" 12 months earlier against India, would feel obliged to provide something a little spicier. The Test pitch had been dug up and its replacement thought it was housing a county match in April.

Rogers has been one of the staunchest members of this Australia batting line-up but, as the series has progressed, Broad has found his measure, hounding the left-hander from around the wicket. When he found a little movement to expose a furtive push at the third ball of the morning, the tone was set.

By the time the first over was completed, one of cricket's prettiest scoreboards was looking uglier: 10 for 2. Steven Smith square drove Broad to the boundary boards - one of only seven boundaries in the innings - but then he edged to third slip. Broad had squared up left and right-hander in turn.

England preferred Mark Wood to Steven Finn with the new ball, aware of his excellent Trent Bridge record, and his insistent line was enough to draw an inside edge from David Warner to a ball that came back. Clarke, demoted to No. 5 in an attempt at protection, must have been scurrying around the dressing room for bat and thigh pad, feeling no protection at all.

Shaun Marsh, preferred to his brother Mitchell to give Australia six specialist batsmen, became the third duck in the top four, Root the latest sharp knife in the England slip box, standing at third. Adam Voges knows Trent Bridge from county cricket, but Broad knows Voges and knows he is a theory that has not come off. Resistance was beyond him as Ben Stokes flung himself rapidly to his right to hold a spectacular one-handed catch that will join Ashes folklore.

Broad ran down the pitch holding his hands to his face like a blushing deb who had just received an entirely unexpected present. England's wicketkeeper and four of the slips had all held catches in the first 4.1 overs.

Clarke's mind must have been swirling. A wideish delivery from Broad was tempting to a desperate man. Clarke was a desperate man. The ball flew to his rival captain, Cook, holding the catch above his head. It was a rash attempt to remedy matters with a single statement and it brought him only further misery. He might have fallen earlier, too, a statuesque flip-pull against Wood that fell short of Finn at deep square.

And so it went on, a collapse that was impossible to arrest. Finn joined the fun, bringing one back to strike Peter Nevill's off stump. Then three more to Broad. Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson - his 25-ball 13 the height of Australia's resistance - giving two more slip catches to Root and the final one to Stokes as Nathan Lyon became the ninth batsman to fall in the close-catching cordon.

Broad had begun the morning hoping for 300 Test wickets. He finished level with Fred Trueman's 307. And as Fred would have said, pipe a puffing, it was hard to know what was going on out there.

Consolidation for England did not come automatically. By tea, Starc had taken three wickets in return: Adam Lyth undone by late swing; Ian Bell falling into a big inswinger; and Cook, who apart from one flirtation with the slips had looked intent on batting long, so exposing Australia's four-strong attack, unaccountably falling lbw to a floaty, full one. But Australia had opted for only four specialist bowlers to stiffen their batting (so much for that theory) and two of them, Starc and Johnson, are not exactly designed for long spells.

Only a dicky back, not for the first time in this series, disturbed Root in an assertive fourth-wicket stand of 173 in 34 overs with Jonny Bairstow, his Yorkshire confrere, whose 74 was less precise but a punchy innings designed nevertheless to establish him in England's middle order before he chipped Josh Hazlewood to square leg. Root saw out the day, but as adroitly as he batted, it was a day that belonged to Broad, a day when he looked a pugnacious and quarrelsome Ashes record in the eye and pronounced himself a winner.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 8, 2015, 20:22 GMT

    Well done England , poetic justice after all,

  • M.G. on August 8, 2015, 3:20 GMT

    Well, well, well; It's surely 'Home court bully' for Eng; Where is my bro, Mr. Boycott; what he has to say now, as he did on BD lately :)

  • Tim on August 7, 2015, 15:49 GMT

    @JG2704 I was playing devil's advocate. Somebody raised the question of how you nullify home advantage and I suggested that though that is impossible (short of playing in neutral venues which would certainly kill Test cricket) you could offset that advantage by giving the away side the decision whether or not to bat first. As I said, I have mixed feelings about that idea but I believe that it is under consideration.

    Clearly the idea is to give the away side the advantage and you are correct that that runs the risk of the home side preparing dead tracks. Not sure how you get around that - though Trent Bridge was censured by the ICC after the dead wicket when India last played there. Ultimately one would hope that commercial interests would determine that wickets are prepared that encourage good cricket - but that may be naieve - in England at least counties are under financial pressure to produce five day wickets (tho you wouldn't guess that at the moment!)

  • Allan on August 7, 2015, 14:27 GMT

    @waynelarkins Khawaja is 28 and averages nearly 50 in domestic one day cricket and has been the best domestic one day batsman in the last 2 years so he deserves a call up to the ODI squad. Also really impressed witj sandhu and Coulter Nile in the Aus A squad

  • Syed on August 7, 2015, 12:50 GMT

    England has taken revenge for 5 nil series with only one innings to out Australia on 60

  • Ravi on August 7, 2015, 12:25 GMT

    The current Aussies team doesn't even match up 25% to the team a decade ago. They just don't seem have a clue against the swing bowling. I had predicted on the first session, first day of first test that Aussies are going to lose the Ashes when Haddin had dropped Root for a duck ! The momentum shifted towards England then and there. Also they got carried away with the win at Lords. Best lesson for the arrogance of Aussies. Be ready for the 4-1 bashing !

  • M.G. on August 7, 2015, 12:18 GMT

    Eng is surely playing better at home. They took on NZ and now Aus efficiently. After their WC debacle, they are on a rise at home only. Would Mr. Boycott now say: "England wins at home won't make world sit up" as he did for other SC teams?

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2015, 12:07 GMT

    Magical spell of seam and swing bowling of late. Broad took ultimate advantage. 8 for 15 is dream figure and a medal of his career.

  • John on August 7, 2015, 11:57 GMT

    @REDROSESMAN - Fair enough reasoning re alternating the award of the toss although I think in this game and the last game (which BTW Aus won the toss on) it has as much been overhead conditions - and some decent bowling/poor batting - which contributed as much. Re the toss - I clearly said "If you give the away side the toss" and not being awarded the call So please just clarify that you meant in your suggestion to award the away side the decision? If so then that is just daft as it swings the advantage even further to the away side and also encourages the home side to prepare dead pitches. Why would you prepare a pitch which would heavily favour the opposition side. So yes I can see the logic of not alternating the toss but surely winning away from home means so much more because you are conquering the alien conditions?So reading your post again you are saying that awarding the toss to the away side nullifies the home advantage but you are not advocating the idea? Strange?

  • Jason on August 7, 2015, 11:51 GMT

    @on August 7, 2015, 10:35 GM, to get 250 Aus will have to put together an innings of 640,

    The highest 3rd innings in a test at TB by a visiting team was 482/5, in 1966.

    The highest 3rd innings in recent memory at TB by any team was englands 544 in 2011.

    So its possible but really unlikely.

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