The Ashes 2021/22 – First Test Brisbane Day 1: Cometh the Game, Cometh the Man


Image: The ‘Gabba – Commons.Wikimedia





Well after zillions of words and a couple of major incidents the 71st Ashes series is at the starting post.


Typical December day in Brisbane with forecast of 30 degrees and the likelihood of a thunderstorm during the afternoon.  Where is Dean Jones with the helmets?


Bit of a green top but both captains very much aware of what happens when you send the opposition in.  Joe wins the toss and decides to bat.  Good decision according to the experts.


England wearing black armbands in memory of Eileen Nash who died during the week aged 110. Nash represented England in 1937 She also worked for MI5 during the Second World War. A remarkable woman.


WOW! what a start.  A.  ripper from the much maligned Mitchell Starc beats Rory Burns all-ends-up as he moves towards the off-stump – BOWLED! First ball duck and then Dawid Malan gets 4 next ball very streakily.


Is this what the series is going to be like?  Let us hope so as there has been a lot of pessimism around.


Not so as Hazlewood gets Malan (6) into a tentative stroke outside his off-stump and Alex Carey gets his first catch in test cricket.  England 2/11 and already in big trouble.


Noticed the two Test Umpires in Rod Tucker and Paul Reiffel officiating.  Is this the first time in Australia that 2 first class Australian cricketers have umpired a Test match?  Rod Tucker played with both NSW and Tasmania and has umpired 73 test matches while Paul Reiffel played 35 test matches and has umpired 53. A very experienced duo indeed.


New skipper Cummins, wearing a sharp haircut, comes on after 2 overs from Starc.  Obviously wants to have a piece of the action and to ease the nerves. Interestingly Hameed comes forward to him at every opportunity.


Hazlewood bowling superbly beats Root (0) and Warner gleefully takes the catch at slip.  England at 3/11 and in serious trouble. The Red Knight will need to take charge here if England are to restore some respectability.  Stokes is the talisman.


Dark clouds hovering overhead but it could not be any darker for England.


The Australian attack is well in control but Stokes and Hameed are digging in.


Stokes scores his first boundary after drinks when he pushes Cummins through the covers. He has been very circumspect and not giving anything away.  No sooner said when he pushes at a moving ball from the Aussie skipper , edges and Labuschagne takes a fine diving catch at third slip.  England 4/29.  Stokes out for 5 and all the bowlers have now taken a wicket.


The Pope is being anointed by the Australians with plenty of smoke coming out from Hazlewood and Cummins.


It will be up to the 2 tyros in Pope and Hameed to drag their team out of the fire now. Hameed has weathered the first hour against some very fiery bowling indeed.


A full house at The Gabba is enjoying every minute of the game.


Josh Hazelwood’s work has been outstanding and from 7 overs he has taken 2/3.


Cummins continues to attack and Lyon replaces Hazlewood with 4 men around the bat. Before lunch on day one.


As is the wont soon after a break a wicket seems to fall and Hameed (25) who had defied the bowling in the first session pushes at one from Cummins and Smith juggles the catch and England are half out with only 60 runs on the board.


Pope and Buttler put some semblance back into the score and started to find Hazelwood in particular easier to play.  They have put on 50 runs before Buttler (39) feathers one from Starc through to Carey.  Buttler is a very sound player coming in at seven but it was ball he could have left alone.


Pope (my tip for series best) on 35 hooked Green from a short pitched ball only to see Hazlewood dive full length and take a magnificent catch on the boundary.  Green’s first test wicket and a sound innings from Pope who could have left the ball alone.  Pope will learn, it was a pretty poor shot indeed.


Captain Cummins made short work of the tail and took all 3 wickets Robinson (0), Wood (8) and Woakes (21) to finish with 5/38.


All out for 147 looks a pretty poor (average) score but remembering they were 5/60 after lunch the tail at least put up some sort of fight.


However a fine performance by the home team led magnificently by new skipper Patrick Cummins with 5/38.  The opening bowling of Starc 2/35 and Hazlewood (2/42) I particular opened up the game for Cummins to show his mastery of the visitors.


One must also not forget the fine catching of the Australians with Hazlewood (2) ,Labuschagne and Warner all taking great catches in a great fielding exhibition.


ENGLAND 147:  Pope 43, Buttler 39, Hameed 25.  Cummins 5/38, Starc 2/35, Hazlewood 2/42, Green 1/6, Lyon 0/21


The expected thunderstorm has hit later than expected and has delayed the resumption of play and Australia’s first innings.


Well that is it for the first day of the series.  Australia’s day as they teased, bullied and had the visitors on the backfoot from ball one. Will be interestingly to see how England come back tomorrow.





  • England ‘saving Anderson and Broad for second test’ – what were the Poms thinking? This is Test cricket not some flibbity-jippit game on the beach.


  • They say the baggy green is symbolic and revered. How come Messrs Smith and Warner look like they have been painting the house in theirs. After sandpapering first of course.


  • What a great exhibition of catching by the Australians. Reminded me of the catch taken last night by the hyphen playing for the Renegades. What a ripper that was.


  • Pat Cummins lived up to all the hype with a best-on-ground on day one. Great performance.


  • Hope the new keeper for Australia Alex Carey wears ear-muffs when he goes out to field. Imagine having Messrs Labuschagne, Warner and a lesser extent Smith yapping away in the slips alongside you all day.


  • Wish the male commentators on Channel 7 would look more like sportsmen than undertakers. They look so uncomfortable.



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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    What a ball CB! I’d only settled in the chair, looked up, next thing the stumps were rattled, no looking back from there.

  2. citrus bob says

    Bomber Col – I did not even have time to sit down! A top day for Australia. England is a long way behind already with still 24 days to go!!

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Citrus. This match may not make it to the weekend.

  4. England’s 147 looks inadequate but we’ll get a better idea once the Aussies have their turn tomorrow. The late storm should keep a bit of spice in the track. Smith’s juggle aside, the catching was very good, eg Warner, Labuschagne and Hazlewood. The non-selection of both Anderson and Broad is a bit of a mystery.

  5. Liam Hauser says

    The omissions of Broad and Anderson were totally bewildering, as was Root’s decision to bat first.

  6. Strange days. Despite what the “experts” say I’d have thought it more likely to pressure the opponent on Day 1 by bowling on a bouncy wicket.
    Anderson & Broad over age and under done – not picked because likely to break down with a full Test load?
    Batting techniques showing the “benefit” of excess short form cricket. Boycott and Edrich would have been 0/40 at stumps.
    Without the intervention of rain & bad light the game would have to go to midnight to fit the overs in.
    Plan for Stokes is to cramp him up with short balls angled into him from around the wicket. Round 1 to Oz. If there is life in the drop-ins then the Aussie quicks will have a picnic. Poms could prosper if wickets are flat.

  7. The bowlers have set the tone. Now the batting.

    Smith, Labuschagne have nothing to prove. Warner has played only the one test in two years. Head a somewhat ‘iffy’ selection. Harris, Green, unproven still at test level. Carey on debut.

    Let’s see how the pich plays, how the skies are looking. You’d hope the batsmen will put the runs on the board, though that’s more hope than certainty. Stokes, Robinson, could pose a few problems. If we are 1,2 down early it will be a intriguing challenge.


  8. Daryl Schramm says

    Was in my chair for a while watching the preamble. Was out of it immediately after ball one. What an incredible start. And to think all Burns had to do was to get a bit of pad on it. Remember all the marking, scratching around at the crease he did taking guard. And still didn’t know where his stumps were. Weird.

  9. citrus bob says

    GLEN – Right on the ball as I write. Green and harris both fail! Head has just hit Stokes for 3 fours in an over and Carey looks safe but Head has looked good before in the big-time. Robinson is bowling well. Poms have come back well.
    DS – Burns has not had a good game. Should have caught Warner on 48.
    PB. I hear Lake Cullulleraine has put in their Tender for the final test. What a money-hungry lot CA is. The game should be played in Hobart full stop.

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