July 11, 2013
Choice of game
An easy one, no explanation needed. Day one of the Ashes, and I just had to be there. Trent Bridge is one of the best grounds in the country to watch cricket and being from the south west, this was my best chance to see Ashes cricket.
I'm a patriotic England fan and genuinely believe they could win the Ashes both home and away this time. I am hoping for a repeat of the legendary 2005 Ashes, which ignited my passion for cricket.
As an England fan it's hard to look past Steven Finn's bowling, however Peter Siddle's spell after tea was difficult to beat. He consistently asked questions of England's middle order and bowled at a lively pace. The Aussie supporters love to get behind their man from Victoria and were not afraid to back him from the stands. He clearly relishes an Ashes contest and his bowling today was superb.
Face-off I relished
I particularly enjoyed watching the battle between Stuart Broad and James Pattinson. Pattinson came roaring in from the Pavilion End and bowled short and with speed. The crowd reacted as Broad responded with his trademark back-foot drives and cuts over the slips. Pattinson had his man in the end and wasn't afraid to let Broad know about it as he left the field. Will Pattinson be made to regret the bouncers when it's his turn to bat?
Without a doubt it was Michael Clarke being clean bowled by Jimmy Anderson. Australia were already struggling and Jimmy was bowling well with the crowd right behind him. The reaction as the ball was replayed on the big screen from the crowd was one of amazement. How had Jimmy done it again?
The noise as Steven Finn came to take his place at fine-leg in front of the Hound Road stand was immense. He clearly loved the attention and was running on adrenaline. He took the adulation with the class of an old-school fast bowler as he doffed his cap to the applauding Poms and stunned Aussies.
Shot of the day
There were several memorable shots from Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow, and even Steven Smith, but for me Jonathan Trott's cover drive off a fired-up Pattinson early in his innings stood out. It summed up Trott's innings today. For once, he was positive in defence and scored quickly. Comment in the stands around me turned to Trott's merits as opposed to his negatives; a rarity in the last year.
A couple of things I'd have changed
I would have loved to have watched Kevin Pietersen score runs and come to the fore in an Ashes series yet again. It was disappointing we were denied the chance to see him take on Australia's new left-arm spinner Ashton Agar. The only other disappointing element was the weather. While the rest of the country basked in 25 degrees sunshine, Nottingham was cloudy, cool and for most of the day, dark.
As you would expect it was a full house and the atmosphere throughout the morning session was electric. There was barely room to move during the customary lap of the ground at lunch. As England began to struggle the crowd died down considerably and it was only the celebrating Aussie tour groups drowning out the sounds of the front-row locals lamenting the absence of James Taylor. Although the same bunch of locals were on their feet with the rest of us roaring in Finn for his hat-trick ball. The atmosphere for that ball was as good as anything I've ever experienced, including the MCG.
I reckon the ECB has blown its entire Ashes budget on the pre-game entertainment at Trent Bridge. Not only were there the customary anthems but also a chorus from the Cold stream Guards and some very dodgy fireworks. This was followed by a man who looked suspiciously like Nick Knight (from a distance) belting out Jerusalem along with 15,000 screaming fans. And just when you thought it had finished there was a rumble as the Red Arrows appeared overhead heralding the start of the Ashes. In-match entertainment was provided by a couple of Aussies nearby chanting for England's demise all afternoon. However they soon changed track and were roaring Jimmy in to bowl at 30-3 and calling on Clarke to declare 'to make a game of it'.
Tests v limited overs
Not contest for me. Tests are the ultimate examination of a player's skill and can ebb and flow, as the first day of this series has shown.
An excellent start to the series and Trent Bridge once again lived up to its reputation as one of the best grounds in the world to watch cricket. The atmosphere in the evening was electric and even a few whinging Aussies couldn't dampen my spirits after a great day.
Marks out of 10
9. The day lived up to the hype for me. The ground delivered and so did the fans. The only downside was the weather, but you can't really complain at 20 degrees celcius and cloud in England. It is summer after all!
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