The English weather, having prevented the opening two sessions of play – the captains emerged a little after 4pm, and play began at 17:00 – did not dampen Australian batsmen’s spirits as they ended the day on 126 for 1 following just 30 overs of Ashes 2009 cricket on the opening day at Edgbaston.
Australia won the toss, and elected to bat.
The main early drama of the day came in the Australian warm-up when wicket keeper Brad Haddin broke the ring finger on his left hand. Despite officially not having to accept the substitution, Andrew Strauss sportingly allowed Australia to replace Haddin with South Australian Graham Manou, who makes his test debut for Australia aged 30.
Shane Watson, drafted in to replace Phillip Hughes – who kindly informed his journalist followers on Twitter that he’d been dropped, before the Australian team made any announcement – had a wonderful couple of hours scoring an unbeaten 62.
The only wicket that an out of sorts England attack could collect was that of Simon Katich (46), who was given out LBW from the bowling of Graeme Swann, the offspinner rewarded with figures of 1 for 4 runs off just 2 overs on a wicket that didn’t look like it would offer much to the slower bowler. Swann is developing a habit of dismissing ‘in’ Australian openers which could secure his long term future in England elevens for some time.
England will want to prevent the Australians running up a massive total tomorrow by any means possible. Given the play they have seen today, maybe a few showers would be welcome relief from cricket which has been less than sparkling from the hosts thus far.
As ever, early wickets on Friday would certainly change things, and there are more than four days of scheduled play in which much can happen – and probably will.
Captain Ricky Ponting, who quickly got a start today, will resume tomorrow on 17 runs. If these two can put on a decent partnership, they’ll take the match out of England’s reach on day two.
Momentum always shifts in test cricket – perhaps even more so in Ashes cricket – but it is firmly with Australia at present and, with wind in their sales, the Australians don’t make a habit of letting a good situation slip. England need to establish some pressure going into the weekend if they are to get anything from this match.
Those with tickets for day two will be hoping for better than the thirty overs of play we got today – and, if they are English, they’ll be looking from more from the bowlers. The Australians will simply want their top order batsmen to repeat what they did in Cardiff on what looks like a reasonable batting pitch.