The eagerly anticipated first day of the Ashes series between England and Australia kicked off on Thursday morning. What a tightly contested first day of cricket it was.
Both sides came into the game at the back of an enthralling World Cup semi-final. England being the World Champions needed to show once again why they’re the best while Australia needed to get revenge.
Smith’s Return Welcomed
The opening day of the Ashes would have convincingly belonged to England had it not been for the stubbornness of Australian batsman Steve Smith. He saw off a strong English attack and hostile Edgbaston crowd to guide his side to a respectable total. Smith scored a brilliant and much needed century to rescue his from yet another poor batting performance by the Australians continuing from the World Cup.
Still One Of The Best
Smith’s performance was what was needed, especially since he has had to repay his country after his lengthy ban last year March. This was so often his role before being banned which really cost Australia. Nevertheless he was the only Australian batsman that stood tall in Birmingham, guiding his side to 284 all out. Smith scored a hard fought 144 and was undoubtedly the highlight of day one. This was incredibly his 24th century, once again proving why he is still one of the best batsman in the game. Scoring the century clearly meant a lot as he couldn’t hold back his emotions, despite the hostile crowd he saluted his teammates.
Umpires Cracking Under Pressure
Since the World Cup there have been continuous debates surrounding the calls of umpires. The standard of the umpires has not been the best and it has upset several in the cricketing world. This trend has continued into the Ashes with day one consisting of many controversial decisions. All the experience that the umpires possessed never helped as both Australia and England both had to rely on the Decision Review System (DRS). There were a total of 7 wrong umpiring decisions made in the game and 5 of those were overturned.
Warner And Pattinson Unlucky
The most unfortunate ones were for David Warner and James Pattinson, they were given out and chose not to use DRS even though that they were in fact not out. Warner was also lucky once when he bottom edged a shot that the umpires missed and England never reviewed it either. Matthew Wade making his return as well was also caught on the wrong side of DRS as he was trapped LBW but the umpires deemed it not out only to be overruled once again by a review. The umpires need to better their calls desperately and quickly with day two approaching. If this continues it’s going to be a long series for both teams. Umpires calls could cost either country a win when every game means so much to them.
Anderson Injury May Prove Costly
An even bigger concern for England is the fitness of fast bowler Jimmy Anderson who was sent for a scan on his right calf after his opening four over spell. He returned later to the field but is clearly not 100%. This is a huge concern because England need someone with his experience and he is after all their record wicket taker.
Day two should be an interesting one and could be a very decisive day for this test match should either side kick on.