The Ashes 2021/22 – Fifth Test, Hobart Day 1: A great day of cricket at Blundstone Arena



Image: Ashes Day 1, ink and watercolour on paper, Kate Birrell, 2022 (Hugo’s Mum)



by Hugo Birrell


The fifth and final Ashes Test is being held in Tasmania for the first time ever and the beautiful Blundstone arena is the host. Even with the series being well and truly over, both sides still have plenty to fight for. The anticipation and excitement leading up to the Test brought with it high expectations, and day one did not disappoint.


The first hour was dominated by England’s opening bowlers Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson. For the first time in the whole series England were all over Australia, and the Aussies looked to be in serious strife. Warner’s uncharacteristically slow start led to his downfall, edging out for a duck from twenty one deliveries.  The Poms had an early wicket and more importantly, some hope.


England responded with two more back to back wickets with Khawaja (6) and Smith (0) leaving the Aussies at a measly 3/12. The grassy wicket proved to be perfect for the bowlers with the ball doing the most it’s done all series. Enter: Travis Head. The moment Head walked to the crease, the game turned for the Australians. It felt like Head and Marnus were batting on a different pitch to the rest of the batters. They completely shifted the momentum and showed some Aussie fight, proving offence is the best defence.


Head had already shown he deserved to be in the side earlier in the series but he wanted to prove a point. He wanted to make the nation know that the number five spot was his and here wasn’t a debate. He was crunching the ball left right and centre, showing the touring side that the Australians will never back down from a fight.


Labuschagne matched Head’s energy and struck several boundaries of his own before falling in the most bizarre fashion moments before the main break. Marnus pre meditated stepping across his middle stump but he lost his footing and ended up face flat on the turf with the zing bails flying, much to Englands delight. The incredibly entertaining first session had a little bit of everything and ended with the Australians being 4/88


The second session was owned by Travis Head and Cameron Green. Green’s innings perfectly complemented Head, resulting in a 121 run partnership between the two. Green continued to show extremely promising signs notching his second half century in a row, after a rather disappointing start to the series with bat in hand. Head reached his 4th test century and his second of this series in impressive fashion. He soaked up the moment of the Hobart crowd cheering him on as if he was a local but this did not last long as he was dismissed the very next ball.


Carey was next to the crease and the avid fans were excited to see what they would see from him after an average start to his test career with the bat, averaging only 15 coming into this innings. After the final break Carey looked to be settling in nicely, although his strike rate wouldn’t agree, and Green continued where he left off. England persisted with a short ball tactic to him after the break. After ducking several bouncers he wanted to send one into the grass stands of Blundstone Arena.


Green made good connection with the ball but held out to the fieldsman in the deep. Green’s entertaining innings had come to an end at 74 runs off 124 balls, the exact same reading as his last innings. Not long after this the rain had started sprinkling down so light you could hardly feel it, but it was enough for the umpires to call for a rain delay to the disappointment of the crowd. The light rain led the fans on to thinking it would just be a short break, but the very light rain persisted. Play was due to start back up with forty five minutes of excitement to come before stumps, however the covers were pulled out again and the umpires called stumps after a great day of test cricket.


After a disastrous start for the Australians, they had fought back into the game and were actually on top. For England, they did what they had done all series, fail to capitalise. The English simply must knock the Australians over early on day 2 if they want any chance at getting a win in the series.



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  1. Stonecold Steve Baker says

    Great wrap up of the day Hugo. Looking forward to a wrap of day 2 if you’re planning to get one written!

    As always, great artwork from Kate.

  2. Citrus Bob says

    Great work Hugo. Look forward to catching up with you 2 at the cricket. KB can I use that pic in my book? Glorious day in Hobart

  3. You could be excused for thinking Manus was attempting to be dismissed in an even more bizarre way then Rashid Khan was in the BBL the other night. Both players were bowled in ways I have never seen before and both dismissals caused much merriment from everyone. To Me, it was Head’s bold innings after Australia was in deep do do that turned the game on its head (please excuse the pun). Once again Green impressed. All augers well for day 2. As I write this , at tea on day 2, earlier we saw a great cameo from Lyon when he roared for 31 which included no less than 3 sixes, 2 in a row would you believe ?

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Nice work Hugo (and Kate). Envious of those who made it down there for the historic first Hobart Ashes Test. The conditions have made for some entertaining cricket so far.

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