England batter Harry Brook was at the receiving end of a ‘freak dismissal’ during Day 1 of the first Ashes Test against Australia in Birmingham on Friday. Brook looked in fine touch but was ultimately bowled by Nathan Lyon in a stunning fashion. A delivery from Lyon hit Brook’s thigh pad and went up in the air. Both the fielders and Brook were not aware of it for some time but the ball ended up dropping between the batter and his stumps. Unfortunately, it came in contact with Brook’s back leg and crashed into the stumps. Both fans and experts were left stunned with Ricky Ponting‘s comment going viral.
A freak dismissal.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) June 16, 2023
“I’ve seen many types of dismissals, nothing like this,” Ponting said on commentary.
Starc played in Australia’s 209-run World Test Championship final win over India at The Oval last week, a match Hazlewood missed with side and Achilles injuries.
But even though left-arm express quick Starc offers a real point of difference in an otherwise right-arm pace attack, the experienced Hazlewood — with 222 wickets in 59 Tests — has been restored to a team facing a packed schedule of six Tests in seven weeks.
“We need to rotate our bowlers,” said Australia captain Pat Cummins at the toss. “It was a really tough call on Mitch, but it’s a nice problem to have with someone like Josh to come in.”
A straw-coloured pitch allied to sunny skies encouraged Stokes to bat for the first time after winning the toss in a Test match in England.
“It looks a really good wicket,” said Stokes, who has presided over 11 wins in 13 Tests since joining forces with coach Brendon McCullum last year. “It’s a good toss to win but we’ve got to get some runs on the board now and make the most of it.”
England had already named their side on Wednesday, with Stuart Broad getting the nod over paceman Mark Wood after leading the attack in a 10-wicket win over Ireland at Lord’s — a match where James Anderson and Ollie Robinson were rested with niggling injuries.
Stokes had previously spoken of his desire to have a bowler with outright pace.
But Broad, with 582 Test wickets, was selected although his inclusion did leave England with three right-arm seamers of similar, 80 mph, pace.
Broad’s inclusion meant the 36-year-old would once again be confronting Australia opener David Warner.
The combative Australian floundered badly against Broad in 2019, when the Englishman dismissed him seven times in 10 innings.
England have not won an Ashes series since 2015, while it is 22 years since Australia last triumphed in an Ashes campaign in England.
The corresponding Ashes clash at Edgbaston four years ago saw Smith mark his return to Test cricket after a ball-tampering ban with twin hundreds in Australia’s dominant 251-run win.
But the 2019 series ended all square at 2-2.
(With AFP inputs)
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