Australia couldn’t have asked for a better way to begin the
Ashes in Brisbane as the hosts rolled England for just 147 in the first
innings. Pat Cummins enjoyed the dream start to his captaincy career, finishing
with figures of 5 for 38 after Joe Root had won the toss and opted to bat first
on a green deck.
Mitchell Starc set the tone for the day – and potentially
the entire Ashes summer – by uprooting Rory Burns off the very first ball of
the series. The English opener shuffled way outside off stump and missed a
thunderbolt from Starc that swung round his legs and crashed into his leg
It was the first time since 1936 that a wicket fell off the
first ball of an Ashes series and England never recovered from that early
setback. Josh Hazlewood wreaked havoc in the opening session with his
metronomic line and length, conceding just three runs in his first seven overs
of the day to go along with two wickets. Hazlewood found the edge of Dawid
Malan with a delivery that angled across him before removing Joe Root for a
duck with the perfect set-up. The pacer got one to tail back into the England
captain before removing the number one ranked Test batter with a delivery that
seamed after pitching and tickled the outside edge on its way to first slip.
Ben Stokes played a couple of booming drives on his comeback
to the side, but Pat Cummins squared up the Englishman with a back of a length
delivery that flew to Labuschagne at third slip, leaving England in tatters at
29 for 4.
Haseeb Hameed and Ollie Pope temporarily weathered the storm
for the visitors, before Jos Buttler launched a brief counter-attack in the
afternoon session, creaming the pacers through the off-side to share a
half-century partnership with Pope.
However, Starc returned to dismiss Buttler with an excellent
delivery that shaped away after pitching, nicking Buttler off to the keeper for
a well-made 39. Buttler’s wicket opened the floodgates for Australia, with
Ollie Pope gifting Cameron Green his maiden Test wicket with a reckless hook
shot that was superbly caught by Josh Hazlewood at deep fine leg.
Pat Cummins ran through the rest of the English tail, taking
the last three wickets off the innings to become the first Australian captain
since Richie Benaud in 1962 to pick up a five-wicket haul in an Ashes Test. To
make matters worse for the visitors, the thunderclouds arrived in the final
session, denying England a chance to make amends for their horror start to the
series with the ball.