First day, First Test, The 65th Ashes 2009, Cardiff
The 301th Ashes Test, the first of the 65th Ashes and the first Test at Cardiff, Wales commenced with Australia leaving out Stuart Clark in favour of Nathan Hauritz. England play two spinners in Panesar and Swann, the wicket will take spin and the fourth innings musthave been weighing down on their minds as Ponting and Strauss went out for the toss, with a medal instead of a coin. Ponting calls wrongly and so England batted first.
The Aussie bowlers Mitch Johnson and Hilfenhaus started off proceedings bowling at a brisk pace, and Hilfy got Cook out for a paltry 10 runs, courtesy a fantastic snatch from Mike Hussey. Johnson unfurled a furious bouncer and dismissed Strauss for a patient 30. Bopara showed glimpses of his form in a nice little 35. He survived a slower ball before falling to another from Johnson.
Kevin Pietersen and Collie played safe and held fort till tea, by which time they had put on 102 runs for the fourth wicket. They were satisfied to score lightly, and KP had scored just 12 off his 51 runs off boundaries. Collingwood fell after tea on 64, a lapse of concentration followed by a brilliant take from Haddin did the trick for Hilfy. The 138 run stand finally came to an end and KP soon followed Collie. KP had some discomfort in the second session, but played and moved freely. He played in a un-KPish manner to collect his runs, and was outscored by Collie during their stand. But he suddenly threw caution to the winds and tried a wild sweep, the top edge comfortably pouched by Katich. He had played an untypically sedate innings of 69 off 141 with four hits to the fence, and was furious at his momentary lapse of reason. He had enough luck earlier, and scored many runs off edges. Many in the crowd were hoping for an encore, but his dismissal brings in another wildly popular player.
Andrew Flintoff joined Matt Prior at the crease, and was welcomed with a huge roar. He settled down soon, and Ponting took the new ball after 80 overs with Mitch and Hilfy taking it up. Prior played some pleasing strokes and reached his 50 off 54 balls with three boundaries and plenty of twos and threes. Freddie’s entertaining 37 came to an end when he was bowled off Siddle. He tried to make a drive out of nowhere and edged the ball to the stumps. Anderson came out as nightwatchman to join Prior who is more of a batsman than a wicketkeeper, his Test average has passed 50 today.
Hilfenhaus bowled the first wide of the Ashes in the 88th over, but bowled a few great deliveries towards the end. Hilfy and Mitch have bowled really well and got wickets, but Siddle has been unlucky in this Test so far with too many edges leaking runs. Siddle got one through Prior finally in his last over of the day, Prior was unlucky to get an unplayable inswinger and departed for 56 with England at 329/7. Stuart Broad played his first ball for a boundary, and Siddle bowled another wide, the second of the day. These days, you must be really wayward or giving everything if you bowl wides in Test matches. The Aussies did the latter. Johnson bowled the last over of the day which Anderson survived and got two runs to his name. England ended the day evenly poised, after an oscillating first day at 336/7.
It’s been an intriguing day of Test cricket so far, a perfect day of swinging fortunes: early dismissals, careful middle order recovery, an entertaining lower middle order and some late wickets.
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