The Ashes – First Test, Day 1: Is this the new Brisbane?

Brisbane, day one at the cricket would have to be the highlight of the year for Brisbanites. Surely in no other part of the world would people be arriving at the ground at 6.30am with the gates wide open. Mind you the weather at that time of the day is probably as good as it gets.

Is this the new Brisbane? A 30 piece orchestra accompanied by bagpipes opened the batting. Will the “chin music” composed by the three mouseketeers be the new national anthem?

Will England bat if they win the toss?

Will Shaun Marsh play?

Questions, questions, questions – well they will soon be answered.

The last 10 days have been full of questions, innuendos, torments and threats.

The day of reckoning has come.


Session 1

Surprise, surprise. Root wins the toss and decides to bat. He is throwing down the gauntlet to the Aussies right from the start.

It fails as Starc bowls a ripper to Cook (2) that moves away at the last moment and Handscomb takes a neat catch at first slip.

James Vince with a test average of 19 starts confidently with a lovely drive through extra cover for four. The aggro Aussies will give him hell early in this innings.

The wicket is playing well for the batsmen and does not have the pace in it that was expected. Both batsmen are playing some delightful drives and their looks to be no venom in the pitch at all.

Stoneman, as his name suggests is as solid as a rock and Vince passes his test average in style. His stroke making through the off is excellent.

Even though they have lost Cook’s wicket the Englishmen get through the first hour of the series comfortably and at 1/39 it has been a solid start.

Lyon comes in to the attack after 80 minutes. The batsmen have weathered the storm, more like a zephyr, and will now have to navigate the guile of the new mouth from the south.

A full house at the Gabba which is wonderful to see. Test cricket is still able to attract the fans. The bean counters won’t be happy but the true lovers of the game will.

The bowlers are tight but so again are the batsmen and it is test cricket at its best. Lyon, who we think will cause the most problems, is accurate but the two batsmen are getting to the pitch of the ball and smothering the turn that is already showing in the pitch.

Only 59 runs for the loss of Cook has been a good session for the visitors and they certainly have made some of the local “experts” eat their words with a very gritty display. Stoneman (25) and Vince (32).


Session 2

Rain has delayed play after lunch which will probably break the momentum that the English have gained. We wait and see.

The 30 minute delay after lunch has not worried the batsmen and they start confidently. The Australian bowlers are pitching up but the batsmen are driving fluently. Vince in particular looks very convincing. He brings up his maiden test 50 off 142 balls. A very good innings indeed.

The very watchful 100 comes up from 247 balls and both batsmen continue to be comfortable against anything pitched up to them and the short balls are like politicians’ policies (there is nothing there).

A very useful century partnership comes up and the Lion is purring. The only chance for the day when Stoneman prods at Lyon and the ball goes just wide of silly leg.

Cummins bowls a fine over to Vince who seems to have lost concentration just before tea. The mental side of the game is hard at any time but Vince has had to overcome the sledging from the Australians about his batting average and the media comments as well.

Stoneman continues with his tour form with a very patient 50 that is helping England set up a big first innings score that already says “we won’t be beaten”.

Vince (68) is dropped by Paine in his return to the baggy green of a beautiful ball from Lyon. Will the media have a ball now!

The batsmen continue to control the game for England. As I wrote that, Cummins gets one through Stoneman (54) and the fine partnership (125) comes to an end right on tea with England 2/128. Cummins has probably been the pick of the Australian bowlers as he has been able to beat the bat on a few occasions.

Well done England, you have taken everything in your stride both on and off the field and have let your respective bats do the talking.

One thing always bugs me at tea during a Brisbane test when 100 nobodies swan around on the ground, courtesy of Cricket Australia, as if they own it. Am I jealous? Certainly not. It just riles me that it occurs and particularly under the auspice of the governing body. I am sure I am not alone and I can just hear many people voicing their disapproval.


Session 3

Lyon brilliant!  Root and Vince (83) had settled in well after tea but a sharp single turned into disaster when the latter is brilliantly run out by Lyon who throws the wicket down. Vince makes the fatal mistake of watching Lyon pick up the ball instead of concentrating on the run and is out by the proverbial.  Australia are back in the game – England 3/145.

Mind you they have not been out of the game as the bowlers, whilst not taking wickets, have certainty been on the mark and England have not been able to get away with easy runs. The bowlers have averaged 2.3 runs per over. Nathan Lyon has been a model of accuracy an averaging just a tad over one run per over.

Root looks like he will always give you a chance. There is an air of David Gower about him as he goes for his shots.

Cummins gets a ripper through Root (15) and a poor decision by the umpire sees Smith review the situation and Root goes LBW.  England are now 4/163 and Australia have gained the ascendancy in this final session.

The three advertisements traversing the boundary at the moment – “Magellan Experts in Global Investing, Bet365 and the Commonwealth Bank” – talk about confusing in financial quarters.

For the first time today the batsmen start playing attacking cricket, particularly pushing Lyon through the on-side, and the score slowly mounts.  I am impressed with Malan, he looks a real fighter.

At 4/196 Smith opts for the new ball.  A brave decision considering how hard the bowlers have worked during the day. A DRS challenge in the first over – not out. Light appeal – end of play.

England 4/196  Malan (28) and Ali (13).  Cummins the best of the bowlers with 2/59


What a great day’s play.  A day worthy of Test cricket and a day that was Test cricket.

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. Day 1 Vince and Stoneman Both impressive
    2 Cook a huge worry for England
    3 Hazelwood slightly disappointing looked like he was trying to hard and underdone gee surprise surprise having played only 1 Shield game
    4 Paine yes better than Wade but understandably rusty
    Kept slightly to far back re the quicks and disappointing dropped catch snatched at it should have been caught
    Showed how bizarre it is that If he was being considered had to be keeping in state cricket ( showed again keeping is so vital and NOT a part timers job )
    5 V disappointing pitch dead as a door nail
    6 Our bowling overall just steady in general but pitch played a large part in that
    7 Honours slightly England’s way huge 1st session tomorrow Thanks Citrus Bob

  2. An intriguing day’s play on a blank canvas of a pitch, Bob. I really liked the new Englishmen, you can see why they were selected. Whether it is a bit of critical distance or something else, I wish I could say the same of the Australian inclusions.

  3. John Butler says

    Love your work Citrus.

    More and more hangers-on attached to cricket every season. Where do I sign up?


  4. Thanks very much Citrus Bob.
    I wonder what the Courier-Mail front page looks like today.

    Love your observations, as always.

  5. ER – no better than yesterday!
    JB – form is on its way
    DB – see below
    RULE – What about Maxwell?

    DAY 2
    Marsh drops catch, Paine drops catch, Bancroft makes 5 – oh for a Victorian

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