I have to say watching the first day of the Ashes 1st Test I couldn’t help but feel that England were going to fail miserably.
After Cook’s dismissal at 27 runs my heart sank BUT I was hopeful that it could just be put down to a nervous captain & everyone else would pull us through.
We hadn’t, however, counted on Siddle being so damn good! In the end his head count was 5-50, which should be applauded (but we won’t as he’s playing for the other team!)
It seemed Australia had it in the bag once we were all out for a pitiful 215 BUT the Ashes has a way of making life interesting.
Finn & Anderson were up & they made the most of it. England gained momentum & energy & the wickets began to fall.
Cowan & Clarke were both out for 0, my hopes were raised, the game was back on!
Then out came the 11th man Agar, England thought this would be an easy wicket but little did anyone know what was in store.
Agar proved himself to be a talented batsman (one who it has been argued should be higher in the order). He kept a calm head & won over the crowd.
His total of 98 runs is the highest from an 11th man in Test cricket which isn’t bad for a 19 year old on his Ashes debut!
Australia were bowled out for 280 giving them a lead of 65 runs.
Cook faired better in England’s 2nd innings reaching 50, though he was then promptly dismissed! Root & Trott we our for 5 & 0 respectively & my heart sank again.
It’s hard for English fans when our team makes it so difficult for themselves!
Pieterson & Bell moved the run rate on a bit, though Pieterson went for 64 after being bowled out by Pattinson.
Bairstow & Prior didn’t fair too well & England were left hanging on for dear life with Broad & Bell in bat.
We needn’t have worried, however, as Bell kept chipping away to gain 109 & Broad 64 before they were dismissed. We were all out for a respectable 375.
Now it was down to the Australian’s could we keep the wickets flowing & stop them from gaining on us?
The Australians seemed happy enough to take things slowly & calmly as England struggled to look close to getting any wickets.
Then after drinks Broad got Watson lbw, after reviewing it Watson had to concede he was out & unhappily walked off the field.
Could England go forward with this breakthrough?
It would seem not, as Australia got comfortable again hitting a few boundaries & narrowing England’s lead.
Root gave all he had in the last over before Tea, bowling to Cowan who nicked the ball to Trott & was caught.
After Tea the game plodded on with near misses adding to England’s frustration.
Then Anderson bowled to Rogers who hit the ball to Bell & is out for 52.
Anderson is given a rest & Finn came in to bowl. He’s not had much luck of late could he find some inspiration?
England’s luck seemed to have faltered a little but all was forgotten when Clarke nicked the ball & was caught by Prior. He wasn’t keen to leave the field & used Australia’s last review to (unfortunately for him) prove he was indeed out.
The excitement wasn’t over on the next ball Swann dismissed Smith lbw!
England seemed to have their fire back.
Minutes later Swann dismissed Hughes for a duck lbw.
On the last day England needed to shut down Australia’s batsman & play an offensive field.
Agar showed signs of nerves with a lot to live up to after his 1st innings & was caught by Cook for 14.
With 100 runs still required Anderson bowled Starc for 1 & the game looked firmly in England’s favour.
Cook made up for dropping Siddle earlier by keeping hold of an amazing flying catch to take him for 11.
Haddin was a harder nut to crack, however, plugging away to 50. He seemed to hold confidence that Australia could still win this Test.
As only 1 wicket remained lunch was delayed by 1/2 hour.
England became panicked chopping & changing the field as Haddin continued to hit boundries & chipping away at England’s lead.
Frustration was added to the mix of emotions when Finn dropped the final wicket required.
As England didn’t seem any closer to getting that all important wicket, lunch was taken.
Once back out England seemed tense.
The Aussie’s in the crowd had renewed hope that they would snatch this Test from England’s grasp.
Then came the most tense moment of the match. Haddin seemingly clipped the ball & is caught but he refused to move & the Umpire didn’t call it. England looked bemused & used their final review.
Thank goodness for hotspot!! The faintest of white marks showed Haddin had hit the ball (though to be fair you could hear he’d made contact in the replay!). England had done it with only 14 runs to spare making it the 1st time in 16 years that England have won the 1st Test.
Lets hope the next Test isn’t quite so nail bitingly close!
My men of the match:
Australia – Agar for his 98 on debut & Haddin for keeping calm under pressure in the final innings.
England – Anderson for his 10 wickets & Bell for his 109 in englands 2nd innings which we sorely needed.