Ashes Test
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The first day of an Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane usually makes history, and today was no exception.

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Rory Burns is bowled by the first delivery after all the discussion, anticipation, and enthusiasm.

Andrew Strauss got out fourth ball in 2010 and England went on to save the game with a thrilling draw, so all is not lost, but getting bowled out for 147 is clearly a dreadful start.

Given that England has not played a single day of first class cricket as preparation, this is hardly surprising.

This isn’t about making excuses; it’s about being pragmatic.

Because of the lack of cricket that England has had, there was always a chance that they would be rolled over like this.

It would have been tremendously frustrating if they had played three warm-up matches before being bowled out like this. This, however, is unsurprising.

England’s batters were like rabbits caught in headlights as Australia bowled a superb length, fuller and drawing the batsmen forward.

Going into the game, there was no rhythm and no confidence. They’ll all be wondering if they’re in good shape or not – it’s difficult to tell in the nets.

Burns had gotten himself into a terrible mess. Mitchell Starc bowled a great full and quick ball, but it was a nasty piece of batting as he exposed his leg stump.

After all the build-up, he returns to the changing room after one ball. Cricket can be a brutal game, and it must have been heartbreaking. The deflation in the England camp was palpable right away.

That happens, Joe Root nicking off for nought to Josh Hazlewood.

Hazlewood also bowled an excellent delivery to Dawid Malan, and Pat Cummins’ bounce outdid Ben Stokes.

It can happen if you haven’t played much and are up against a high quality attack on a pitch that provides some assistance.

If you’re not used to this type of bounce, you’ll get yourself into difficulty, either falling behind or getting caught in the slips.

Jos Buttler was the only one who appeared to be at ease.

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In his 39 off 58 balls, he played some attacking strokes and took advantage of a few of moments when Australia’s bowlers wandered a little.

‘Broad should have played over Leach,’ says the coach.

However, England’s tactics are incorrect; I would have preferred Stuart Broad to Jack Leach

Broad dismissed David Warner, Marcus Harris, and Travis Head 13 times in the 2019 Ashes for a total of 94 runs.

When you’re bundled out as England was today, you’d probably want Broad to come in and tease the left-handers like he did two years ago.

Green on a bouncey pitch, combined with Broad’s record against Australia’s top five, I’m sure the hosts couldn’t believe it when they found out he wasn’t playing.

It’s always wonderful to play a spinner, and once Leach was chosen, England had no choice but to bowl first, but I’ll be surprised if he leaves an indelible mark on this match.

Because of the weather, the pitch, and other factors, the only way you think Leach will bowl is if Australia builds a large lead or England requires wickets.

I can understand why there is no James Anderson; his record at Brisbane is dismal – he averages 70.

I don’t think England will miss him as much in this game, and they clearly didn’t want to risk him ahead of the day-night Test in Adelaide, where he has the ability to bowl brilliantly.

But my concern is that they will give the pink ball to Anderson and Broad in Adelaide and expect them to win the game for us.

Both of them will have never played before and will be completely unfit for a match.

England will be up against it; if they do not bowl Australia out for less than 200 runs, the tourists are likely to lose the game.

 

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