The Day 1 of the first Ashes Test match between England and Australia saw more than 400 runs getting scored with most experts insisting that the pitch in Birmingham was quite flat with little to no help for the bowlers. Former Indian cricket team opener Wasim Jaffer also took a sly dig at the pitch in Edgbaston as he compared it to a highway. Jaffer posted a edited picture of the Edgbaston pitch along with elements found on highways. The caption read – “Closer look at the Edgbaston pitch”.
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) June 16, 2023
England were in danger of squandering the advantage of winning the toss on a good pitch as they fell to 176-5 after losing two wickets in quick succession.
But former England captain Root was 118 not out — the 32-year-old’s first Ashes hundred in eight years and 17 Tests — when Stokes called a halt to give his side 20 minutes in the field against Australia before stumps.
But despite Broad taking the new ball on Friday, Warner survived to be eight not out in a total of 14-0 at stumps.
Earlier, Root received excellent support from Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow, who made a run-a-ball 78 during a sixth-wicket partnership of 121.
Australia’s Nathan Lyon was taunted by sections of a capacity 25,000 crowd.
But he still took 4-149 as he moved to within nine wickets of 500 in Tests after bowling 29 overs — an unusually high number for an off-spinner on the first day of a Test.
England have won 11 of their last 13 Tests, with an aggressive approach, dubbed ‘Bazball’ in reference to coach Brendon McCullum‘s nickname, exemplified by the aggressive run-scoring that was a hallmark of Bairstow’s innings.
And Crawley fell for 61 off what became the last ball of the session, when paceman Scott Boland produced a superb delivery that leapt off a length and brushed the glove, with England 124-3 at lunch.
Harry Brook was out for 32 in bizarre fashion when he shouldered arms to Lyon, with the ball looping off the thigh pad and spinning into the stumps after Brook had lost sight of it.
Stokes then lasted just eight balls, caught behind on the drive off Hazlewood.
Australia thought they had the prized wicket of Root when he was given out lbw to Lyon, but the batsman’s immediate review confirmed he had gloved the ball.
Bairstow, who hit twin hundreds in England’s seven-wicket win over India at Edgbaston last year, thrashed Hazlewood for four.
But having been dropped by a diving Alex Carey on 68, Bairstow was dismissed when he charged at Lyon only to be stumped.
Moeen, in his first Test for nearly two years since retiring from red-ball cricket, had made 18 — including a pulled six off Cummins — when, just like Bairstow, he was needlessly stumped off Lyon.
But Root, who reverse swept both Boland and Cummins for extraordinary sixes, took a single off Lyon to complete a 145-ball hundred that included seven fours.
England are bidding for a first Ashes series win since 2015, with Australia aiming for a first Ashes campaign victory in England in 22 years.
(With AFP inputs)
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