Australia sealed a comprehensive ten wicket victory at the gabba after a very brief final day of the first test, going 1-0 up in the Ashes series. There was little to cheer about but the Barmy Army tried their very best to lift English spirits belting out every tune in their armoury.
Broad and Anderson opened the bowling as-per-usual with Bancroft and Warner still in overnight. The England bowlers found little entry to the innings with both batsman showing no signs of weakness.
This prompted Root to then bring on Ball and Woakes. With the leg side field stacked for Warner and the slips and offside packed for Bancroft. England attempted to take the wicket of Warner by bowling at his legs and dropping the ball in short, both exploited by other teams, South Africa in particular. In their attempt to to send Bancroft back to the Pavilion, Ball and Woakes pitched the ball up full to emulate the first innings dismissal. This almost worked with Ball nearly taking Bancroft but for the ball flying too wide for Cook at slip.
Not long after, the batsman ramped it up deciding enough was enough, putting England out of their misery. the final couple two overs went for 5 and 9 ending the game swfitly and putting the bullet in England’s head that they really deserved. Well played Australia.
Cook 2.5/10. Very little impact on the game apart from giving Vince a chance and taking two catches.
Stoneman 4/10. Great first innings but threw his wicket away in the second in a shot really not needed.
Vince 5.5/10. Excellent in the field and saved the England first innings. Ran himself out and truly threw away his wicket in the second.
Root 4/10. only batsman who looked like he would stick around in the second innings and his dismissal in the second was an absolute peach of a ball from Hazlewood. Constantly found tactics that worked before abandoning them.
Malan 4/10. The other man who saved England’s first innings. Fantastic knock on the first innings but got absolutely done by Lyon in the second.
Moeen Ali 5/10. Got two starts adding valuable runs late in the innings but his bowling was atrocious. Didn’t get bowled in the second innings much after injuring his index finger but had 5 spells struggling to find any sort of length or width. Looked part time.
Bairstow 5/10. Kept superbly taking two superb catches. Another player who just gave his wicket away in the Second innings getting a well needed 42. Again showed that he could be a top order batsman.
Woakes 3/10. Easily dismissed in both innings and was average with the ball. Nipped the ball back finding the right sort of areas but with no wicket threat.
Broad 5/10. Took 3 in the first innings and very unlucky to not take more. Batted well in the first innings and incredibly unlucky in the second. Really got on the nerves of the Australian batsman and crowd. Fielded incredibly well stopping possibly 20-30 runs.
Ball 1/10. Mark Wood returning to the Lions side and seemingly close to match fitness means that Ball needs to have a good second test. Was just completely poor with no variation. Gave away 5 or so runs in the field. Another player who gave up on the match.
Anderson 4/10. Found the right areas for a lot of the match and if it wasn’t for a suspected injury could have taken more than two wickets. Was very economical as well. England need him to stay fit badly.
Positives: Vince, Stoneman and Malan’s batting in the first innings. Showing that they weren’t a one man side. Broad and Anderson looked very good in the first innings and the fielding was second to none.
Negatives: The second innings as a whole. Batted appallingly and bowled like they had resigned to losing the match. They had the game in the palm of their hands but bottled it. Not much more to say.
Verdict. 3/10. Need to sustain their performances through all 5 games.
Bancroft 6/10. Fielded well, proving he was very good shortstop. But most impressively made sure there wasn’t a second innings upset batting extremely well but played a poor shot in the first innings proving in both that he can be got out very easily if you move it around a bit in the corridor of uncertainty.
Warner 6.5/10 Got a start in the first innings before throwing his wicket away and batted superbly in the second. Fielded exceptionally as well.
Khawaja 2/10 Little impact in the game yet again proving that he cannot play spin at all.
Smith 9.9/10 The .1 being removed because of his bowling. Wasn’t amazing. But his batting and fielding was phenomenal. Improved his average as captain to 73 with 141 N/O. He faced 326 balls over 520 minutes playing and missing only 14. And not to mention the 4 catches he took. Man of the match and yet again captain fantastic.
Handscomb 2/10. Little impact in the game but another notable fielding performance.
Marsh 6.5/10. Stepped up when his side needed him and surprised everyone. Especially in that position. Awful nothing shot getting himself out but a really composed 51. Still dropped Broad in the first innings allowing England to get a few more runs.
Paine 6.5/10. May be a bit surprising to some reading this but he kept fantastically. The highlight of which being a legside catch which was taken inexplicably quickly. Great stumping of Ali. #wobbylinegate. Got himself out a little bit too easily.
Starc 5.5/10. A starc contrast from the first innings to the second. (See what I did there.) Took 3 wickets in the first and 3 more in the second but that was mostly up to him being the “mop.” Known for taking away the tail, but had such little impact early in the second, his only early memorable moment really being playing Root some chin music.
Cummins 7/10. 3 wickets In the first innings but was so unlucky in the second to get just the one. Batted really well in the first innings looking more like an opener than a number 9.
Hazlewood 5/10. Hear me out. Bowled a top spell in the second innings but it was such a vast improvement from the first where he looked simply poor. At times even halting the Australian momentum.
Lyon 7.5/10. Kept the runs out in the first innings but with periods of no wicket threat offering England the chance to dig in. Caused the left handers significant problems in both innings, particularly in the second. Even pitched in with some runs
Positives. Many. They were the ones expected to bottle it a lot more than England but held their composure. They fought their way back into the game several times with dogged determination. Bancroft getting runs in the second innings was a huge positive as well.
Negatives. Bailed out my Smith again. I don’t know if it is actually possible to get him out but if England can get him out for under 20 it will leave Australia’s middle and bottom order exposed. The bowling was very inconsistent as well. Maybe lacking an extra bowler.
Verdict. 8/10 Would be more but the thrashing they promised England was mostly down to the visitors throwing the game away. Again the problem of Smith bailing out the team sprung up again. The ten wicket victory slightly flatters them but in reality England were just terrible.
Yet again the Gabbatoir has struck. Australia have dealt a huge blow. Not just in the series but in confidence because England looked dejected and shaken as they left the pitch. 1-0