Australia hosted England in the first Ashes Test 2021-22 at their fortress Gabba in Brisbane. Fans flocked the stadium in large numbers as the Test cricket returned to the Australian shores after a span of nearly 12 months. While the Englishmen were led by their experienced top-order batsman Joe Root, the Aussies underwent an apparent turmoil before the start of the marquee series.
Tim Paine decided to step down from captaincy after a string of past messages described as the ‘Texting scandal' came into the public domain. Taking the captaincy reigns, Pat Cummins was nominated as the skipper for the historic Ashes Test series while Steve Smith was named his deputy.
Australia begin Ashes with a thumping win in the first Test
On a largely overcast morning, visiting skipper Joe Root won the toss and made a brave call to bat first. Unfortunately, the decision did not go according to plan as the tourists lost wicket on the first ball of the Test match. Rory Burns failed to open his account as Mitchell Starc saw him packing for a duck. The relentless Aussie attack didn't allow England to breathe easy as each of their three quicks made impact with the ball in hand. In form Joe Root too was dismissed for a 9-ball duck leaving his team tottering at 11 for 3.
Opener Haseeb Hameed looked to hold one end but his resolve came to an end after 75 deliveries as Cummins claimed his maiden Test wicket as captain. Making a comeback in international cricket after a break, Ben Stokes couldn't make any major impact as he was caught off Cummins at the score of 5. The duo of Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler made every attempt to lengthen their stay but couldn't resist against the Aussies attack for way too long.
Ultimately, the visitors were crippled down to mere 147 runs in the first innings of the match. Pat Cummins bagged a remarkable five-wicket-haul as a skipper.
Travis Head smashes ton as Australia lead by 278
In reply, the opening duo of David Warner and Marcus Harris took guard for the hosts. While Warner remained firm in the middle, Harris was dismissed early. Warner was partnered by Labuschagne as the duo string together a 100-run partnership to nearly wipe out the English first innings total. However, a couple of breakthroughs in a quick succession pegged the home team back. Warner was caught six runs short of his century while Steve Smith failed to get in.
It was the knock of Travis Head which proved to be the ultimate difference between the two sides. Head played a remarkable innings, empowering his side to a total of 425 runs. He scored his first Ashes ton (152) which included 14 fours and 4 sixes. He was ably assisted by the lower-order batters in form of Starc, Cummins, and Lyon.
Lyon bags his 400th scalp as the hosts take 1-0 series lead
With a mountain to climb, England once again lost their openers cheaply in the second innings. However, the middle-order did offer some fight as Root and Dawid Malan kept the Aussie bowlers at bay throughout the third session on Day 3. The duo stitched a 162-run partnership for the third wicket, leaving a calming influence in their dressing room. Hoping to restart the Day 4 with a similar plan, England couldn't really build on the momentum.
After the fall of Malan early on Day 4, the tourists yet again crumbled from 223-2 to 297 all-out within a few hours. Nathan Lyon was the wrecker-in-chief, picking up four wickets as he achieved his landmark 400th Test wicket. Both Malan and Root got out in the 80s as no other English batter could make the job difficult for the hosts.
With a mere 20 runs required to win, Australia made light work of the chase and claimed the target with nine wickets to spare. Head was named the Man of the Match for his century in the first innings. Cummins made a brilliant start to his captaincy career as Root and co. will look to bounce back in the 2nd Test at Adelaide.
Twitter reacts on Australia's win in the first Ashes Test at Gabba
The former English captain-turned commentator, Michael Vaughan was appalled by the loss of his team in the first match against Aussies. Pointing out the problem, he stated that losing sessions have always cost matches for England in the red-ball game.
Problem for England is when they have a bad session they have Test Match losing sessions with the Bat .. It’s been happening for too long against the better teams .. #Ashes
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 11, 2021
Legendary spinner Shane Warne took to Twitter to congratulate the team for slating an incredible victory against the English boys.
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) December 11, 2021
The Indian Test specialist VVS Laxman did not fail to shower the Australian cricket team with words of appreciation. Moreover, he congratulated Nathon Lyon who bagged the 400th wicket. Lyon went on to become the 17th player to achieve the milestone.
A huge congratulations to Nathan Lyon on his 400th test wicket. He’s been a terrific bowler with exceptional skills. He becomes the 17th player to achieve the milestone in men's Test cricket, joining Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath as the only other Australian players. #Ashes pic.twitter.com/f72Gdk3ziN
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 11, 2021
The Indian wicket-keeper batsman often dubbed as DK was all praise for the extraordinary captainship skills of Pat Cummins.
— DK (@DineshKarthik) December 11, 2021
The veteran English women's cricketer, Isa Guha apparently felt sad as England lost the first test match of the series. Although, she looked affirmative of England's comeback in the upcoming matches.
Horrible loss for England – a lot of energy went into that Test. Two days off might not be a bad thing. Start all over again. Need a drink 🥃. Congrats Australia #Ashes
— Isa Guha (@isaguha) December 11, 2021
Brad Hogg poured in praise for Nathon Lyon as he sealed 400 wickets in his test stint till now. His extraordinary achievement has gauged the eyes of millions of fans and experts across the world.
Wickets start to flow for Lyon again after a tough couple of spells to get the 400 milestone. Congratulations and 500 is now in reach. #ashes
— Brad Hogg (@Brad_Hogg) December 11, 2021