England lost the first Ashes 2021 Test by 9 wickets.© AFP
Australia handed England a nine-wicket thrashing in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Australia proved to be superior to the visitors from Day 1 as England suffered batting collapses in both innings to surrender meekly in Brisbane. The match saw the return of England’s talisman Ben Stokes, but the all-rounder looked rusty and hardly made an impact. England’s team selection for the first Ashes Test also raised eyebrows with both veteran pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad left out of the playing XI. Speaking about that former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said he was “still staggered” by the decision.
England decided to go in with three pacers and a spinner with Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes getting the nod ahead of Broad and Anderson while Jack Leach was the lone spinner in the team.
Leach was pulverised by the Australian batters in the first innings.
“I can’t see why they would have left them (Broad and Anderson) out if they weren’t just getting them prepped and ready for Adelaide,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“I’m still staggered to this point now. If Stuart Broad and James Anderson are not better bowlers in Australia than Chris Woakes, then I’m not here. One of those two had to play.
“It might be that they’re only going to play one of Broad or Anderson in Adelaide. A lot of it might just depend on how Stokes pulls up between now and the start of the Adelaide game,” added the former Australian cricketer.
Anderson and Broad have 1,156 Test wickets between them, making them the most successful bowling pair in world cricket by some distance. England certainly felt their absence in the opening Test with Australia pretty much batting them out of the game in the first innings.
Travis Head and David Warner were the top-scorers for Australia. Head scored a magnificent 152 off just 148 balls while Warner scored 94 as Australia amassed 425 in the first innings to take a match-winning lead.
Joe Root and Dawid Malan led England’s fightback on Day 3, and it seemed the visitors were getting back into contention. But Australia blew them away on Day 4 with spinner Nathan Lyon playing a key role.
England fans will be hoping their team gets the playing XI right in the second Test that begins on December 16 at the Adelaide Oval.
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