5 talking points from England vs Australia day one as new captain Cummins stars

Pat Cummins enjoyed the perfect start to his reign as Australia captain, picking up 5-38 as England were skittled for just 147 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test

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England ‘s bid to win the Ashes in Australia for just the second time since 1987 could not have got off to a worse start.

Rory Burns was bowled by Mitchell Starc off the first ball of the series and England collapsed 29-4 in the 13th over, with star men Joe Root and Ben Stokes both out.

Haseeb Hameed and Ollie Pope briefly threatened to put on a partnership, with the pair sharing 31 runs before Hameed was dismissed right after lunch for 25.

Jos Buttler then proceeded to mount a mini counter-attack, sharing a 50-run partnership with Pope. However, Buttler fell for 39, getting caught behind off Starc.

After making an impressive start to his innings and passing 1,000 Test runs, Pope became Cameron Green’s maiden Test wicket, getting caught on the hook for 35.

Australia took the remaining three wickets for just 29 runs, with captain Pat Cummins taking a five wicket haul as they bowled England out for just 147.

England were hoping to have a bowl at Australia in some gloomy conditions to end the day, but rain delayed their chances before bad light brought a premature end to proceedings.

Here are five talking points from the day’s play.

Pat Cummins enjoyed the perfect start to his reign as Australia captain, picking up 5-38 as England were skittled for just 147 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test


Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Picking Leach over Broad

Having already left James Anderson out of the team, England also made the huge call of not picking Stuart Broad, instead favouring the spin of Jack Leach.

Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood made up England’s seam attack, with the returning Ben Stokes offering more balance to the side.

The decision to rest Anderson is understandable, with the veteran seamer dealing with a minor calf injury, having a poor record at The Gabba and a day-night Test being on the horizon.

However, picking Leach over Broad is a particularly brave call given the weather conditions are expected to suit seam bowling and Broad’s excellent record against left-handers – Australia have four in their top seven.

Explaining the decision before the start of play, Root said: “We are blessed with a very good seam attack and it was a difficult decision to make. There’s five Tests and it’s important they’re ready to go when called upon at any time.”

Root decides to bat

Root’s decision to win the toss and bat first did not seem like a terrible decision at the time, but England’s fragile batting line-up was blown away by Australia’s bowlers inside the first session.

Starc bowled Burns with the first ball of the series and that set the tone, with Dawid Malan, Root and Stokes also falling for single figure scores.

England were ultimately bowled out for 147 in their innings, with Root’s decision to bat first backfiring spectacularly.

England captain Joe Root was dismissed for a duck in the first Ashes Test at The Gabba, getting caught by David Warner off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood


Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Root out for a duck

With the dismissals of Burns and Malan leaving England 11-2 in the fourth over, it was once again down to the England captain to try and rescue them.

Root is the number one ranked Test batter at the moment and has already plundered 1455 Test runs this year, more than 500 runs more than anyone else.

However, Root was unable to dig England out of trouble for the umpteenth time, with Josh Hazlewood getting him caught by David Warner at slip for a duck.

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, former England bowler Steven Finn said: “It’s the exact scenario England wanted to avoid.

“The lengths Australia have bowled have been great. He’s tempted Root forward. England are in big trouble.”

Stokes’ return

Stokes’ return to the England side dominated much of the build-up to this series, but the all-rounder has not batted competitively in four months and the poor weather has robbed him of the opportunity to find some rhythm in the warm-up games.

He did make 42 off 56 balls in the second practice match, but it was his only innings before being thrust right into the thick of things at The Gabba.

With England 11-3 when he walked to the crease, Stokes battled hard for 21 deliveries.

However, he too departed for a single figure score, getting caught at slip for five off an excellent ball from Pat Cummins.

Ben Stokes was dismissed for five in his first competitive innings in four months


Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Captain Cummins leads from the front

Although a lot will be made of England’s fragile top order and Root’s decision at the toss, Australia’s three-man pace attack is simply outstanding and their new captain Cummins led from the front brilliantly.

Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins are three of the best in world cricket at the moment and they have consistently delivered for Australia over a number of years.

Aside from Burns’ dismissal, the rest of the England wickets were the result of some exceptional bowling from Australia rather than poor batting.

Hazlewood’s relentless probing brought him figures of 2-42 at the close of play, while Starc hit back at his critics with 2-35

However, it was Cummins who was the star of the show, picking up 5-38 in his first Test as skipper

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