The Ashes 2019 – First Test: The Edgbaston blog

Australia look likely to make changes to their front line pace attack, but much uncertainty remains about the final composition of both XI’s. Those on the scene describe the Edgbaston pitch as brown in appearance, with the possibility of some rain and overcast conditions during the match (it’s England).


Australia have memories of beating England comprehensively at home, but recent Ashes tours have shown that may well count for nothing once the English pitches and Duke balls do their thing.


How well will the banned trio of Smith, Warner and (potentially) Bancroft settle back into the Australian dressing room? Will Joe Root bat at three? Who will get the nod in either pace attack? And where will Australia decide its famous ‘line’ is drawn this time?


All will be revealed over the next five days (or less).


Tell us what you think, folks.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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  1. Par score on a hard looking pitch? I think 300-350 would make it tough for the Poms.

    Good toss to win.

  2. Dumb arse review England.

  3. Cannot believe Warner did not review

  4. Colin Ritchie says

    Very tentative the Aussies!Broad bowling fuller and bowling well. Smith and Khawaja need to hang around for awhile, play the ball that’s got to be played and leave the rest. Might be a few runs there later on.

  5. If Smudge gets to Lunch, he will go big

  6. If these two get to lunch they could have a ball. But they have to survive a very tricky hour.

    agree Smoke especially given Broad’s angle.

  7. Colin Ritchie says

    Head looking good. Hope I haven’t put the mozz on him!

  8. John Butler says

    Bancroft’s technique about as convincing as his post ban self-analysis.

    Warner’s feet and balance askew.

    Ussie strong on the pads and iffy around off stump.

    Steady as she goes then.

  9. Warner should have been out caught behind but Poms didn’t review. Did Warner deliberately refuse to review for his lb dismissal because he knew he should already be back in the pavilion? Knowing him, probably not.

    Bancroft lucky to survive for as long as he did. Khawaja out to another lazy looking shot when he appeared in control.

    Let’s hope Smith and Head can build a partnership – if not I fear we’ll be fortunate to make 200.

  10. Mark Duffett says

    Healy speculating that Anderson was injured after bowling only four overs in the opening session was on the money. Could be a game if not series turner.

  11. Minjee Lee threw away a good round in the British Womens Open with late bogeys. She has made more birdies than anyone on the LPGA Tour this season but her attacking style creates misses.
    (Just thought I’d keep you all informed on the most important event in UK sport this weekend).
    I like JLee6 for the tournament.

  12. Colin Ritchie says

    Tail looks rather long for the Aussies! Smith standing tall.

  13. Colin Ritchie says

    Yep, that tail looking mighty long!

  14. Col – all tail. No dog in the fight. Or vice versa.

  15. Daryl Schramm says

    Australia back in the game thank goodness. Mighty effort by Smith. No Anderson a big factor. Our tail is better than conveyed above. Perhaps consider extending it for an extra bowler!

    Re the golf, last year’s winner Georgia Hall is in the mix. I think a Jutanugarn will win. I like Danielle Lang in many ways.


  16. Booing by the Poms is appalling. Especially as they have had their own ball tampering issues in the past. But I reckon it fired Smith up.

    I wasn’t sure that everyone in the crowd was all that comfortable with the booing either. A few camera shots showed some lily whites squirming a bit in their seats. But I suppose the sandpaper-gate boys just have to cop it.

    We need to get the Poms for under 300 as they will be a bowler short. Then if we get 250-280 in front it would make life awkward for them. That would shut the barmy army up.

  17. Colin Ritchie says

    What a wonderful surprise to wake and check the score after going to bed with the Aussies at 7/112. A mighty effort from a mighty fine cricketer in Steve Smith. We’re back in the game!

  18. Those poms are a bit chirpy for my liking.

  19. I was keeping up with the score on the app, occasionally flicking over to watch an over but the scoreline was not helping my indigestion. Then I settled into Escape from New York. That film holds up well. Carpenter is an exceptional director (and musical composer). And who could not like Snake Plissken! That finished about 11.30 and still the wickets tumbled. So we watched episode 11, Season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale. I won’t spoil it for you except to say, best episode of this season! Yes, it’s finally firing. And man does it deliver. Just before bed, checked the scores and thought well at least Smith is still in but he’ll run out of partners for sure. Anyway. Apparently I missed what was described on the ABC this morning as one of the best centuries and (several) partnerships in the last twenty years. If only I had stayed up. That would have been a triple treat of great narratives and top notch performances. Cheers

  20. hands up all of you who thought I was being facetious when I suggested that imp from the 5th dimension, Superman’s antagonist, Mr MXYZPTLK could turn up as an umpire in this test.

    Now all they have to do is trick him into saying his name backwards, KLTPZYXM, TO RETURN HIM FROM WHENCE HE CAME.

    Come on Aussie, come on

  21. Smith’s innings was possibly the greatest I have had the fortune to witness.
    In early at 2 fa not many, then gone at 8/122.
    An unforgiving crowd.
    This is a man who had not played a first class match for 17 months!
    What a player he is.
    He has served his penance. I’m glad he is ours.

    The booing when he got to 100 was a joke. I wonder how the punter who Ben Stokes sucker-punched feels about all the vitriol toward Smith

  22. Andrew Starkie says

    Didn’t agree with Bancroft selection. Yes, he has been playing well with Durham, however his technique isn’t up to test standard in my opinion. Harris is a test player.

    Pressure will build on Paine over his captaincy and place in the team if he and the team struggle. His dismissal was a brain fade.

    Same old problem with the moving ball. Batsmen falling over their front pads. Should’ve challenged two around the wicket decisions to Broad.

    Sidds was a surprise selection but he’s been bowling well for Essex and Starc is struggling. His support for Smith was superb. And he’s a True Roo.

    Anderson is a big loss and obviously now a mistake selection as England knew he was injured.

    Smith: wow. One of the great innings and may be crucial not just to this Test but series overall.

    Pitch will settle today so our bowlers need good lines and every chance needs to be taken. Their top 4 is fragile.

    C’mon Aussie!!

    PS: keep booing Poms.

  23. Daryl Schramm says

    Geoff Lemon’s comment covers last nights extraordinary happenings well.

    Also re the golf, I meant Danielle Kang (not Lang).

    Big task ahead to get the first 10 wickets for around the same score give or take 50. I will back (again) who have been picked.

  24. Andrew Starkie says

    Daryl, great article.

  25. Agree – great article. G Lemon is in good form himself.

    But really.
    SPD Smith was selected as a Test Match #4 batsman.
    He did his job.
    If nobody expected that was possible, why select him?
    He hasn’t cured cancer.

    Australia win the toss and bat. 284 all out would be below par.

  26. DBalassone says

    Thank god Siddle was reinstated to strengthen the batting.

    Seriously, what a knock by S. Smith. Monumental given the circumstances i.e. his return, hostile crowd, wickets falling, ball seaming, 8/122, etc. I love the acceleration of his innings and how by the end of the day he was going the tonk, getting every possible run he could. I now see that he has 24 tons from just 65 tests. Only one man in the history of test cricket has a better ratio of centuries to test matches.

  27. Andrew Starkie says

    Remember how much he battled when he first arrived in the Test team. I recall the Poms laughing at him.

  28. Fantastic innings by Smith,Luke Reynolds messaged me saying how good,Head was looking.I replied unfortunately I can’t trust him as to how many times he gets a start and gets out he was dismissed,2 balls later we’ll bowled,Luke.Good fight by the tail we need it to be cloudy or I fancy,England will build a substantial lead

  29. Hope the obnoxious morons in the verbal lynch mob formerly known as the Barmy Army watch their boys stumble tonight. Love to see Pattinson rout them!!

  30. With all the stupid booing going on, I’ve suddenly remembered an old boss of mine, Toby Neale from the Reserve Bank, many years ago. During Ashes Cricket Series he would often say, “There are two things in life I detest – racial prejudice and Poms”. He was noted for his quirky sense of humour

  31. E.regnans says

    I remember that too, A Starkie.
    Love watching SPD Smith bat.
    So natural. Like watching an eagle fly. Or a cheetah sprint.

    I remember he made his first ton v England. It was the 5th Test of 2013. I remember because I felt the weight of reporting on a day’s play for the first time for the Almanac and I wanted it to be a good one. Reading it now, I see it was the debut match of CR Woakes. And that Anderson & Broad were also bowling for the Poms.
    And I note that SPD Smith was originally left out of the touring party for 2013 – in the time of that Mickey Arthur/ Darren Lehmann/ homework fiasco. Well played SPD Smith.

  32. Colin Ritchie says

    Nice to see Lyon on early, and the ball turning! May have a big influence on the game.

  33. Somehow I fear 284 won’t be nearly enough to keep those pesky poms in check. Burns and Root need to be separated soon or the Aussies could well be rooted.

  34. Daryl Schramm says

    Must have a wicket before they get to 134.
    Not yet convinced by Head (even as a SACA)
    Field for Lyon not attacking enough.
    Smith looked shithouse early. Maybe bowl him just now . . . .
    Haven’t checked the golf in last hour. I feel we could get a wicket any ball soon.

  35. I cannot believe they did not review the Lyon LBW. Lyon should have been more forceful. Looked out from the couch.

    And now it becomes a matter of patience all round.

  36. Daryl Schramm says

    Smith ‘sh’ his first test. Not early last night.
    Unfortunately it is now slipping slowly away for us. Need a couple of wickets very very soon. We are not bowling badly by any stretch.

  37. Daryl Schramm says

    England definitely on top now. Stokes looking dangerous and Burns somehow still there. Looked to be lbw from my chair too jth. The top 6 will have to perform in the next dig whenever that will be.

  38. Fortunately, I went to bed at the lunch break and missed being bored to death watching the Poms bat. After reading the day 2 match report, I am convinced all appeals should be reviewed by the third umpire and the correct decision given.

    There is no doubt that this match has been spoiled by bad umpiring decisions.

    Need I say it, the Aussies appear to be ROOTED.

  39. Not a great show of judgement by our players when reviewing.

    Warner, Wade, should have kept their wickets. Lyon should have a wicket.

    Day 2 has a drearingly familiar look to it. Mark Taylor said it was important we knock over their top four as apart from Root they were unproven at test level. We know the ability of Stokes, Butler, Bairstow and Ali when they have a bat in their hands, thus important to have them in early. 4-267 at stumps not what was required.

    Ohh for the halcyon tours of 89, 93, 97 , 01, not to forget 75.


  40. Colin Ritchie says

    Fab morning session by the Aussies, 4 wickets, Lyon looking dangerous. Must not let Broad and Woakes get easy runs.Back in the match!

  41. Keiran Croker says

    Very interestingly poised here at Edgbaston at end of Day 3. Balanced in favour of the Poms. Though if Smith can go big again with some support from Head, Wade & Co we might be able to set a target of around 200, then it could be game on with Lyon the key on a wearing wicket.

    It’s been an interesting experience observing the mob behaviour of the Barmy Army. Much of it is good natured, some of it obnoxious.

    It’s been enjoyable so far and am looking forward to a competitive final two days.

  42. Once again Bancroft and Warner scored the BOOby prize. Let’s hope once again Smith will have the Barmy Army going BOO-HOO-HOO (crying in their beers) as he piles on the runs. Obviously Head needs to support him and not get himself out at least not until he has his own ton (here’s hoping)

    Wade and Paine will need to put their fingers out as I don’t really expect Siddle to score many runs this time around. Let’s hope that our boys can prove AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT

  43. Both openers have had poor matches. Warner following a superb World Cup.

    Bancroft did not set the world on fire in his previous incarnation as a test opener, nor did Harris really grab his chances over summer. Harris test average slightly superior to Bancroft: 32.7 to 30.9.

    Would Warner and Khawaja be a better opening pair ? Lamuschange or Wade at 3? I hear the drums beating loudly for M Marsh to get a recall. Apparently he strengthens the bowling options. FFS !


  44. Any talk that Marcus Harris did not do enough to keep his spot is ridiculous.
    This is a bloke who did the hard yards against a rampant India team last summer.
    He “only” scored 258 runs in the four tests, but guess what? That was the most of ANY Australian player.
    What is more, he scored 1188 (yes you read that correctly) runs in the Sheffield Shield. Enormous.
    On the Australian A tour of England, his scores were: 141, 23, 109, 12*, 34, 50.
    In the meantime, Bancroft is parachuted back into the Test team on the back of a score in a warm-up game on a dodgy wicket at Southampton, and runs in the county B Grade for Durham.
    It is a farce.

  45. Daryl Schramm says

    Very evenly poised now. Wade and Smith have just got 50 between them. Feel a wicket will occur very soon with some strange things happening, multiple reverse swipes an example. Bancroft, Warner and Wade will hopefully get another opportunity at Lords, then changes to be made if unsuccessful. Anderson missing has helped our cause immensely. I’d give our attack a good pass for the first dig. Hopefully they can get us 1 up going into Lords. A draw here is almost as good as a win for me.

  46. Daryl Schramm says

    Now in front at Headingly. The LGPA British Open is very, very interesting. Four are tied 1st at -13 and PB’s pick Lee6 one shot behind (was a 5-way tie). My 4 have fallen well away.

  47. Colin Ritchie says

    Fantastic effort once again by Steve Smith, a true champion, and well supported by Wade to put the Aussies in a winning position. It certainly has/ will shut those cocky Poms up. Now for Lyon to spin some magic on the last day! Go Aussies!

  48. Andrew Starkie says

    What a day’s play. Come on Aussies.

    keep booing, Poms.

  49. Andrew Starkie says

    Yes Smoke, harris should’ve played.

    C’mon Roos, btw

  50. E.regnans says

    Reasonable contribution from SPD Smith.

    Australia should send more than a box of chocolates to the room of JM Anderson.
    Perhaps a calf.

  51. John Butler says

    England’s inability to get Smith out did their heads in completely. It was fascinating to watch.

    At the same time as he was driving the Poms mad, Smith is becoming even more OCD in his mannerisms and actions.

    Australia’s positive approach when 2 down and still in arrears deserves much applause. Uzzie’s 40 was important at that moment. He was unlucky to feather a great delivery from Stokes.Then Head and Wade were great support acts.

    But did Australia bat too long?

  52. Daryl Schramm says

    I too enjoyed the “suck on that” moments last night JB. Also would have been happy to declare 2 overs after the start tonight WITH 500+ on the board. I think Wade will bat on after Lords now.
    Very droll ER.
    Stokes is a real competitor isn’t he.
    We didn’t bowl well last night. AQ bit anxious maybe. FFS Nathan, TOSS THE BALL UP!
    Looking forward to Hamish’s take on the golf. Would have been great to watch the last two hours – np pay TV in this house unfortunately.

  53. Last night I pondered whether to watch AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT or the cricket. Well the cricket won and, much to my delight, AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT also over there in Pommie Land also. What a delight to see Smith, Head, and Wade make the Poms squirm, shut up even. I missed Paine’s knock – my bed – e – bye called.

    John, whether they batted too long will probably be defined by the Pommy weather. It’s all on our bowlers now, let’s hope Lyono can floor them whilst Cummins and Pattinson put the wind right up them.

  54. What time did the coverage start ?

    Having pay TV i expected the whole day on 501. Bangaldesh V Sri Lanka. On free to air al i could find was rubbish. I went to bed @ 22-00, (10-00pm),not having seen any play. Up @ 04-00 this morning i caught the early news for an update. Damn pity i’d seen none of it !


  55. Glen, it was on 9 Gem free to air right from the start. As I’ve said elsewhere the Barmy Army should now stick to their BOOZE and forget the BOOS.

  56. Hello Fisho.

    Having pay TV, 9 Gem and 7 thingamajig are not available.

    The cricket channel 501 spent Sunday evening focused on and in the sub continent and caribbean.


  57. Glen, I too have pay TV (Fox) and I can get all 9 , 7 etc channels. 9 has exclusive rights to the ashes. I watched till 11:15 and then retired for the night.

  58. Glen, on my Foxtel 9Gem is Channel 192. 9Gem has not always been available on my Foxtel package, but it is now – something I found out last night when I realised the cricket was not on Channel 9.

    Similarly Channel 24 ABC News Channel on digital has not been available on my Foxtel but it is now at Channel 642.

    I’m not sure whether this helps.

  59. 85/4 at lunch. Buttler 1*, Stokes 0*

    PM Siddle superb.
    All bowlers excellent.

    Love the explanation by N Hussein of the fielding change that drew JJ Roy down the wicket to NM Lyon.
    Commentators adding value.

  60. Just finished watching the cricket at lunch on channel 192. Great to see Nathan taking the Lyon’s share of the morning’s wickets. Not too many ghosts booing in the Barmy Army – they certainly don’t frighten the Aussies.

    Let’s hope the weather remains good for I’m sure the Poms will make it difficult to dismiss them. When Smith receives his inevitable man of the match award I sincerely hope the mob with show respect – we” see.

  61. Daryl Schramm says

    Not long now. Terrific effort from our team. Nearly ready for leaving Wed night to get to Lords and Headingly. 9 months ago it wasn’t looking like a good idea. Much more comfy now.

  62. Keiran Croker says

    Well the view from over here at Edgbaston was simply magnificent. Garry, Paddy and Sids were superb today. What a comeback!
    Of course S.Smith was a class above the rest and firstly kept our head above water, then enabled the rest to thrive – Wadey with the bat, then the bowlers today.
    Of great satisfaction was the opportunity to throw back the chants to the Barmy Army. It was a privilege to be here.

  63. Channel 192 Fisho ? Frustration rules supreme at our places as despite having 9 on free to air, plus the dedicated cricket channel 501 on pay TV, we’re not able to see any play : again !

    Something very wrong re the TV coverage of such an important cultural event.

    Ohhh for the days of the national broadcaster, 2, covering the Ashes so every household can view it. Not the way it is now.


  64. Ta JTH. Sorry i skimmed over your comment earlier.

    Will investigate re 192.


  65. Andrew Starkie says

    You beauty Aussies!

    What a turnaround from 8/122 day 1.

    Reckon we won two sessions days 1-3. Poms were lacklustre morning of day 4, which left door open for Aussies.

    Smith, Sidds, Lyon, Wade, Paddy – brilliant.

    To Lord’s.

    No changes, although I prefer Harris.

    Keep booing.

  66. Fellow Almanacas, what a glorious day to wake up to and read the final result. The Poms were 7 down when I went to bed. Whilst I wanted to continue watching (on Fox 192) I was way too tired to remain glued to the TV.

    What a great team effort. Really pleasing to see Lyon and Cummins among the wickets again with superb support from Siddons and co. Now, as Paine said, there can be no resting on our laurels, the job’s not done until the ashes are won (very poetic).

  67. Continuing on with Paine’s comment, we mustn’t sell these English men short. Remember the World Cup. After some inglorious defeats, the Poms came back to take the chocolates (although in controversial circumstances).

    Hopefully those Barmy Army types will keep booing, thus inspiring the Aussies to even greater deeds.And yes, Andrew, I too prefer Harris.

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