England limped to 147 after losing their first three wickets in the first half-an-hour of play at the Gabba, giving Joe Root’s side a mountain to climb already in the first Ashes Test
England won the toss and batted first, but Rory Burns’ wicket was taken with the very first ball of the series – setting the tone for what was going to be a painful watch for those Brits who stayed up overnight.
After that opening salvo from Mitchell Starc, it was the turn of Josh Hazlewood to rip out England’s heart as Dawid Malan went for six before Joe Root was caught by David Warner at slip – the skipper out for a duck.
It left the tourists at 3-11 in one of the most disastrous starts in England’s Test match history and, though things improved slightly thanks to a bit of resilience from Haseeb Hameed, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler, they were bowled out for 147 to the delight of the Gabba crowd.
While England were experiencing a nightmare start to the series and were grateful for the storm which swept in to curtail the day’s play in Brisbane, the Australians loved every second.
Among those from Down Under mocking the visitors for their dismal display was Queensland Police, which Tweeted: “Queensland Police are launching an investigation into a group impersonating a Test batting order at the Gabba.”
Instead, captain Root was hammered for his decision to bat first on a pitch which suited Australia’s pacemen down to the ground.
Under overcast skies, with a grassy pitch and a bit of moisture in the air, the hosts seamers and fast bowlers ripped through the England batting line and were done by teatime on day one of the first test.
Hazlewood and Starc took four batters between them, while there was also a maiden Test wicket for Cameron Green as the young man took out Pope, who faced the most deliveries of any England player with 79.
But it was Pat Cummins who stole the show, leading by example by bowling half the England team in his first game as Australia’s Test cricket captain.
He was the man to remove Hameed, who had been the visitors’ only form of early resistance, after taking out the talisman Ben Stokes who walked for just five.
And that was the same number of runs as Cummins recorded wickets, as the skipper also took Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood.
England, while hoping the weather frustrates the Australians, must now pull off a miracle to get anything from the first Test – and they must do it without the supreme bowling talents of Anderson and Broad.