The Ashes – First Test: England fade away, Australia left in charge.


Australia 328 (Smith 141 no, Marsh 51, Cummins 42, Broad 3-49, Anderson 2-50, Ali 2-74 and  0-173 (Warner 87 no, Bancroft 83 no) defeated England 302 (Vince 83, Malan 56, Stoneman 53, Ali 38, Cummins 3-85, Starc 3-77, Lyon 2-78) and 195 (Root 52, Bairstow 42, Ali 40, Hazlewood 3-46, Starc 3-51, Lyon 3-67)


Australia maintain its dominance at the Gabba and go one-up in The Ashes with, in the end, a clinical victory. In some regards a flattering margin given the test match was on a knife’s edge at times, but Australia won the key moments going back to the first day after the dropped catch by Tim Paine looked like it was going to be important. But a brilliant piece of fielding by Garry Lyon to run out Bernie Vince proved decisive. Pat Cummins then beating Mark Stoneman and Ellen Root with sheer pace was sensational. England attempted to have a war of attrition and wear the Aussie bowlers down but, in the end, just weren’t good enough being bowled out for 302 with Lyon bowling superbly extracting a huge amount of spin. It may be the best 2-77 in cricket history.


Australia started poorly and were 4-76 losing Warner to a poor shot, Khwaja was yet again shown up as a putrid player of off spin, debutant Cam Bancroft, Peter Handscomb to a lbw inexplicably given not out by Aleem Dar originally. Hell even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder would have given it out. Enter Shaun Marsh on his 8,167th chance (now being serious what ever happened to the old adage re the line ball selection fielding being the deciding factor for mine from the outside you have to wonder if there was more than just cricket in Maxwell’s non-selection)  a vital partnership occurred with Steve Smith putting on a master class of concentration refusing to bow to the short-pitched barrage and just waited for the ball to arrive in his scoring zone. And yes I have to admit Shaun Marsh batted well again at 7-206 the Aussies were in big trouble. Enter Pat Cummins who is very good technically, a 66 run partnership and then contributions from Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon hanging around with Steve Smith resulted in a vital 1st innings lead of 26 it gave the Aussies a chance to go full bore at the English batsmen.  Alastair Cook wasn’t good enough to resist (will he last the series?) Hazlewood also removed Vince but Starc with a fearsome venomous delivery struck Joe Root in the head – a concerning period waiting to see if Joe was ok, also psychologically it was important.


On day 3 each time England looked to be building a partnership and putting the Aussies under pressure a wicket fell. Nathan Lyon bowled superbly to the left hander.s Joe Root out lbw in both innings when he didn’t play straight enough and again didn’t convert a half century into a ton. I couldn’t understand the supposed controversy re Tim Paine’s stumping of Moeen Ali and for mine Michael Clarke did not know or understand the laws of the game. Was any part of Ali’s foot grounded behind the line? Clearly it was not. Just blatantly out. A brain fade from Jonny Bairstow getting caught at fly slip and then Starc again just being too good blasting away the tail resulted in one of those low run chases where sides quite often panic or get the runs easily. The latter occurred. A superb opening partnership resulted in a dominant 10 wicket win.


Tim Paine while a controversial and bizarre selection in some ways apart from one error showed he is a natural keeper. Thank goodness we didn’t go with the part time keeper as some people were suggesting. It ruined Wayne Phillips and would have ended up doing the same to Cam Bancroft or Peter Handscomb. Just ridiculous suggestions.


Re Steve Smith why do people get technique mixed up with looking stylish? Smith’s head is still and he is perfectly balanced when the the ball is delivered yes unusual grip but not weird technique – huge difference.


Personally I was really impressed with Joe Root’s captaincy in the 1st innings good to see some one thinking and experimenting with field placings if Steve Smith hadn’t been so disciplined we may have been hailing him a tactical genius and it was great to see Steve Smith follow suit in England’s 2nd innings not always his strong point.


So it’s off to Adelaide for the pink ball test match I am desperately hoping Chadd Sayers is given a chance. The king of swing deserves it big time I fear that with the comprehensive victory in the end the Aussies will be unchanged while clouds surround the English side not only form-wise but with yet another bizarre off-field drama re Bairstow. Are Ball and Woakes good enough? Is England’s bowling attack good enough to capture 20 Aussie wickets? Your thoughts?


Today marks the 3rd year of Phil Hughes passing I would like to quote Darren Berry:


“Our lives were enriched for spending a short period of time with this great young man. Forever in our hearts.” (Superbly put Chuck)



Presenting The Tigers Almanac 2017. Read all about it HERE.

Purchase The Tigers’ Almanac 2017 HERE.





  1. Excellent report Book. Loved the Lyon/Vince AFL reference, but who is Ellen Root?

    The romantic in me wants to see Sayers in Adelaide too, but unquestionably our best bowling lineup is the NSW quartet – they are amazing and only injury or ‘player management’ will separate them.

    Jury still out on our batting – with you on Usman unfortunately – but at least he knows where he needs to improve. SMith to #3 and Maxwell #5? Maxwell needs the faith that was shown to Symonds – that’s the template for the selectors there. Warner can be Maxwell’s Matt Hayden.

  2. Good write up RB. Smith’s commitment to playing a patient innings was remarkable and hopefully noted by all the youngies who think test hundreds not scored at a run a ball is boring. The slow run rate leaves more time for classic commentary from KOK. Bring on Starc with the pink ball at 8:30pm this saturday.

  3. Nice work Book. The Poms were a combination of stodgy and erratic (Bairstow’s dismissal in the second dig?). You can’t win Tests with a run rate of 2.5. Not often anyway. I know the Aussies scored at a similar rate in the first inning but that was mainly because of Root’s war of attrition field settings.

    Poms must be really regretting the loss of Stokes. He’s a game changer.

  4. The Aussies (in order of performance – most influential to least impact)

    1. Smith
    2. Cummins
    3. Marsh
    4. Starc
    5. Warner
    6. Lyon
    7. Bancroft
    8. Hanzlewood
    9. Paine
    10. Handscomb
    11. Khawaja

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Agree with your thoughts on Lyon’s 2/77. Tbought he was the best bowler in the match.

    Still plenty of questions over our team, but hard to be too critical when a 10 wicket win is achieved.
    Look forward to your Adelaide reports, would love to see Sayers play.

  6. Another great write up, decent start for the Aussies bring on the test in Adelaide

  7. Bill Drodge says

    Very good report Malcolm.

    Apart from Smith’s innings, I was pleased to see Warner and Bancroft not get sucked into chasing the runs last night. They paced their innings in a sensible fashion, and kept England out in the field longer (a point missed by the likes of ex Captain Channel 9 Commentators who incessantly chortled and called for Warner to go after the runs last night).

    If the blue baggers bowling cartel are all fit, then it’s hard to see a change for Adelaide.

    Smith should not be moved up to 3, to bring someone else in. His best results are at 4.

  8. Jeff Milton says

    A very good write up. England on top for the first half of the Test but their bowlers couldn’t finish off the Australian first innings. Would love to see Sayers play in Adelaide but all 4 bowlers did enough in Brisbane to keep their spots

  9. Great stuff Book!
    Enjoyed the Test immensely.
    Enjoyed your write up almost as much ;-)
    I’m flying over for a couple of days of the Adelaide Test – hope to see you in Members,

    Arson Garson.

  10. Good write up Mal.
    I’m a fan of Tim Paine and cringed after the dropped catch, but thought he kept really well after that.
    I agree with you on the stumping, not sure what replays Michael Clarke was watching.
    I’d love to see Sayers bowl in Adelaide but not sure if they’ll change the lineup, barring injury.
    Thought Bancroft was fantastic at the top of the order too.
    Usman still a major worry.

  11. Cameron Glenn says

    The Gabba dominance continues with Australia winning another test in the QLD capital not having lost a test there since 1988. Did well to win the match and should go on to win the Ashes.

  12. Great summary Book!

  13. Peter Tisato says

    Sayers for Cummins in Adelaide should be considered seriously by selectors. Five tests in a short period of time is a lot of cricket. Considering Cummins injury history testing him in Adelaide might help him get through the season in one piece. Bird probably also deserves somewhere in the other tests.

  14. Mark Duffett says

    Barring injury, hard to justify a change in the bowlers. But if there were to be one, bear in mind it was Jackson Bird, not Chadd Sayers, who was man of the match in the concurrent SA v Tas Shield match at Adelaide Oval.

  15. Roger Mortier says

    Very good read. Usmin is a bit of a worry now. Not getting much of a chance at the crease in the past is starting to play on his mind now. Just a short 1st innings stint with this test too. We have the best bowling attack I’ve seen for awhile and doesn’t need to be changed. The only worry with that is that all the pace bowlers are injury prone and the lack of that all rounder might tell on their fitness in a few tests time. Hope they don’t grinded into the ground

  16. Mark Duffett, Jackson Bird was Man of the Match in Adelaide because our selectors kept Sayers in Brisvegas carrying drinks. Give me strength. Poms had only 2 bowlers, rest were pie throwers and they will need more than that over 5 Tests.

  17. Martin Rumsby says

    Would love to see Sayers get a go in Adelaide, but I agree with Steve that the selectors are unlikely to change a winning team, especially when each of the bowlers made a contribution at various stages of the first test. Usman Khawaja would be keen to do well in the next test otherwise his place will be in jeopardy.

  18. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Model Root re Ellen Degeneres,agree totally re Maxwell I totally agree re Usman and S Marsh jury out both very average fielders as well for me that is crucial.Raf couldn’t agree more,Smith superb concentration and discipline and yes we saw how destructive,Starc can be with the pink ball a few balls like he bowled to Lehmann and the test will be all over agree totally re KOK especially when he commends people for pointing out,Cowan backs up in the wrong hand.Dips it seemed like the pomms aim re batting in the 1st innings was just to make the aussies bowl and bowl with v little intent yes the pitch didn’t help but they didn’t try and work enough singles and yes Smith was a lesson for all not to get frustrated and just keep batting funny how it is easier to make runs in the middle rather than the pavilion.Stokes only himself to blame and should receive a huge suspension and be barred from playing cricket.Danny interesting debate I have Lyon far higher he was our best bowler over the whole test and his brilliant piece of fielding was vital also ( Ussie in front of Cook ? ) thanks Luke I thought it was arguably the best I have Lyon bowl.thanks Campbell.Bill it’s a hard one re Smith 3 or 4 agree 4 may be best but balance of the side may be pushed up to 3 thanks Milts yes hard to disagree but ironically Cummins didn’t bowl that well in the Shield game here with the pink ball the stupidity was Sayers not playing against South Africa here.thanks Arson Garson depends whether I come up with a ticket.Steve yes while the catch was disappointing from Paine how refreshing was it to see a actual keeper completely flummoxed re Clarke convinced he doesn’t no or understand the laws of the game.Bancroft v good in the 2nd innings yes Usman technique deficiency against off spin a huge concern.Cameron gabba record is remarkable thanks folks

  19. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Tc aka Stormtrooper of love,Peter I’m torn re the rest period when now we seemingly have more fast bowlers break down than ever before not sure that lack of bowling may contribute fiercely also
    I desperately hope Chadd plays no one deserves a baggy green more.Mark Chadds record re the pink ball is incredible he deserves it.Roger yes a lack of a Watson type of bowler could be telling yet if I was a batsman in Aust I would have been working on my bowling something chronic.Bucko yep and yes I wish Chadd had been bowling here in the Shield game,Bird has a reasonable record but Chadd has smashed the door down demanding a opportunity he can’t do any more agree the pomms bowling does fall away but could well be different with a pink ball in hand.Martin unfortunately hard to disagree but Chadd does make the pink ball talk not that I am unbiased thank you

  20. A nice insight into the First Test, Rulebook! Steve Smith’s innings was vital to Australia’s win, but Past Cummings 42 in a 66-run partnership with Smith is not to be understated. Also, Nathan Lyon’s bowling was crucial and in contrast to Moeen Ali, you can see the benefits off having a quality spin bowler in your team. Separately, Joe Root looks like he’s going to struggle with the bat in this series. His mode of dismissal (getting caught on the crease because he has failed to read an inswinger) shows stark similarities to Michael Clarke’s batting woes several years ago- head not over the ball. I predict Joe won’t score a century for the remainder of this series.

  21. Good article RB – a couple of observations – I think Tim Paine did enough to vindicate the selectors. Also, given the history of the GABBA for the POMS and the likelihood that they were desperate not to lose it – and yet, they still got smashed – I think says a lot about this team and the future of this series. Thirdly, Aussies are playing some dirty tricks (e.g. Bairstow head-butt thing), but compared to what the POMS serve up when the Aussies tour Pommieland I cant help but feel a sense of schadenfreude.

  22. Peter Warrington says

    would like to have seen more counter-attacking from the Aussies eg Paine 13 off 37 against the trundlers then out to the new ball anyway.

    Ponting picking up Khawaja’s technical fault was brilliant. But I don’t see how he can fit it in time – I would wave him bye-byes. Get Maxwell in, this is his Damien Martyn moment. Purest form he will ever be in.

    I would go with Bird and Sayers, and Haze, and Cummo. Starc to me seems always to be struggling for rhythm. Then he snags a few. ‘

    4 quicks, Maxwell. can only get Lyon in if we play 12 : ( maybe Bancroft to keep just this once… or Handscomb, let Bancroft focus on opening?

    OR go for broke and drop Petey and play Paine at 6? f we go 2-0 we are just about home.

  23. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Paul totally agree re Cummins and Lyon I haven’t written off Root yet from making a major contribution
    ( I have re Cook ) Tim agree overall re Paine and England deserve any and every dirt trick they will do any thing and even the fact that it seems like they are considering,Stokes is unfathonable I wonder re whether it is because of the late,David Hookes that we seem to have higher standards of morals and basic decency.Peter disagree re Paine we have got so used to frantic paced test matches that we have forgotten it is a battle of attrition which Steve Smith receives a gold star and no thanks re part time keeper most important role in the game imo thank you

  24. charlie brown says

    Lyon was superb. The English lefthanders had no clue. If he’s not the best spinner in the world at present then he must be close. Not sure many people would have predicted that 18 months ago. Root’s captaincy was in general excellent with his creative field placings vs Smith both thoughtful and effective. Pre-test match I thought Paine was a poor selection. I was wrong. Adelaide is the only test venue where the Poms will get close to taking 20 wickets.

  25. Adam Sheridan says

    In my view Roots tactics were rubbish. That leg side field simply didn’t work, although I agree he did think outside the box.

    Starting with a deep point to Warner in the second dig when they were searching for wickets. Bringing Moeen on so soon as he did with a sore finger was also a clanger, relieved the pressure of the run chase. To not get turn and bounce on that wicket shows he’s not a front line spinner.

    Bancroft looks to be that tough gritty character that The Australian public have been waiting for.


  26. Is it too left field to suggest that, in view of Khawaja’s effort in Brisvegas, that we would lose very little by playing Sayers instead of Khawaja?

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