England must recover from horror show in Brisbane – day one of the Ashes series

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  • Joe Root
    Joe Root
    English cricketer (born 1990)

England must bounce back quickly after enduring a dispiriting start to their 2021-22 Ashes campaign which saw them slump to an underpowered 147 all out as Australia’s pace attack ran riot in Brisbane.

Here the PA news agency rounds up the alarming day-one events at The Gabba.

History repeating

When Rory Burns was skittled by the first ball of the series it was a dramatic and dreadful moment for England, but not an entirely unprecedented one. In fact, it was the second time they had kicked off an Ashes campaign with an immediate wicket – Stan Worthington caught behind off the bowling of Ernie McCormick in December on the same ground in December 1936. Back then, Worthington’s team-mates rallied to 358 and won the game at a canter. Burns can only cross his fingers for such an outcome.

Mountain to climb

England's lowest first-innings totals in a Test in Australia
England’s lowest first-innings totals in a Test in Australia (PA Graphics)

England have it all to do on Thursday after recording their ninth lowest first-innings total in a Test in Australia, but Ollie Pope offered an optimistic outlook after sharing a bright stand of 52 with Jos Buttler. He said: “It’s a long tour, a long series, so we’re going to keep the spirits high and come out fighting. We don’t know how this wicket is going to react tomorrow. We’re going to come back stronger and hopefully put a good score on the board second dig after knocking them over.”

Root’s risky call

The past errors of Nasser Hussain (left) may have influenced Joe Root (right) in Brisbane.
The past errors of Nasser Hussain, left, may have influenced Joe Root, right, in Brisbane (Mike Egerton/PA)

Nasser Hussain’s decision to send Australia in to bat after winning the toss at The Gabba in 2002 is remembered as one of the biggest captaincy blunders of modern times. By the end of the first day, Australia had racked up 364 for two and the wheels were off for the tourists. But Joe Root should not have feared making the same call this time, with overcast skies, an unsettled forecast and a green pitch to make use of. They are the kind of conditions an English attack dreams of Down Under and Root’s decision to give the opposition bowlers first use backfired badly.

England did not see that Cummins

Pat Cummins took five wickets against England for the first time as he marked his debut as Australia captain with fine figures of five for 38. “It was a dream start really,” said the quick afterwards, with a broad smile. His opposite number Root will hope his bowlers can get off to a similar “dream start” on day two.

Picture of the day

England’s Ollie Pope dives in to make a run at The Gabba
England’s Ollie Pope dives in to make a run at The Gabba (Jason O’Brien/PA)

Storm warning

The second day is scheduled to start early, but more wild weather is expected on Thursday, with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology warning of a risk of “possibly severe” storms, and a 70 per cent chance of showers.

Magic number

Tweet of the day

Australians up and down the country could not resist revelling in their side’s dominance, up to and including the emergency services.

The Barmy Army’s night shift

With England’s travelling fans shut out of the tour, a group of hardcore supporters from the Barmy Army met in a London establishment to cheer the team through the night from several thousand miles away. It all got a bit much for the resident trumpeter, who took a chance for 40 winks after a demoralising first session.

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