So here we go then, the first day of the 2019 Ashes series is now upon us and time when all of the talking and all of build up is now in the past and only actions on the pitch actually matter. At least that what it would normally be during an Ashes series, as the build up to the one has been at best muted and worst non-existent. Now whether this is due to the recent World Cup tournament and the euphoria for England in actually winning a 50 ball tournament or the possibility there might be a bit of Ashes fatigue, especially with neither team being as strong a units as they have been previously, it has been noticeable how the build up to this series has been little more than a whimper.
Still here we are, with International Cricket’s biggest rivalry upon us and the players thrust into the limelight at what will be a vociferous crowd at Edgbaston, it remains to be seen what type of hangover either or both sides have after the World Cup. I am going to try and liveblog the action throughout the day, as it is the first day of the Ashes and the opening exchanges could be key to revealing what will happen for the rest of the series. It is just me on my own today and I do need to run a number of errands too, so don’t shout at me if I inadvertently miss any of the action. As a small reminder, we aren’t the BBC and don’t have the technology to refresh automatically, so please manually refresh for updates.
9:30am: England have pretty much gone with the team that most expected them to go with, even if many of us didn’t want them to go with. Jimmy Anderson comes in for Stone and Buttler and Stokes are back after resting for the Ireland Test Match. As for Australia, it looks like they have dropped Mitchell Starc from the team with the main battle appearing to be between Siddle and Hazelwood for the opening bowler slot.
10:15am: Despite the odd cloud, the pitch looks a belter and should be an easy choice to bat first if you win the toss. That being said, does Joe Root trust his opening batsmen not to make a horlicks of this should he win the toss.
10:30am: TOSS – Australia win the toss and choose to have a bat. Bit of a no brainer to be fair. Siddle plays in place of Hazelwood. England need to get the line and lengths right quickly on this pitch.
11:00am: Out come the ‘sandpaper siblings’ to bat. Sir Jimmy has the new ball and more importantly I am armed with a cup of tea. Here we go then..
11:04am: Decent opening over from Jimmy, even if the first couple of balls were on the short side. Maiden.
11:06am: Broad with a wide one going down leg. Bairstow appeals but no-one else seems to be interested but there appeared to be a noise. Oh hello, England should have listened to Bairstow there, ultra-edge shows a tickle behind from Warner. Lucky boy. Will England rue missing that opportunity.
11:13am: Decent opening spell this from the England bowlers. They have often been guilty of wasting the new ball by bowling too short, but they have been full and on the money so far.
11:15am: Broad bowls round the wicket and strikes Warners on the pads. Dar says not out, England review and the ball is missing the stumps by some way. Not a great review at all, seems like a retrospective review from Broad there.
11:19am: WICKET – Warner is the man to go. A far better delivering by Broad, pitched up and swinging. Looks plumb to me and Warner walks off without reviewing. A big big wicket for England there.
11:22am: Haha, Warner should have reviewed. Missing leg stump according to DRS. Sort of makes it even funnier.
11:31am: Couple of loose deliveries from Broad that over and a boundary each for Bancroft and Khawaja. A bit of pressure relieved for the Aussie batsmen.
11:34am: Shane Warne into the commentary box and TV sound is immediately muted. Another probing over from Jimmy who has got his line and lengths right this morning.
11:38am: WICKET – Got Im’. Bancroft pushes at a slightly wide one and edges straight to Root at slip, who pouches a relatively straightforward catch. The Aussies have lost both their openers for not many. Game on. In comes Steve Smith:
11:48am: Jeez, Broad is bowling well. There was some talk in the build up to the Ashes whether he might be the fall man in the English attack. I think this puts this to bed. Quick, hostile and on the money. Piggy Smith struggling.
12:00pm: Woakes hasn’t exactly looked threatening since he joined the attack. Not hitting the pitch hard and too many floaty deliveries. This is the criticism I have with Woakes at times.
12:02pm: Drinks. I’m off the make myself another cup of tea too. England’s morning so far, but could do with removing Khawaja or Piggy before lunch.
12:12pm: Woakes to Khawaja and Woakes thinks he has an outside edge. Root reviews, but that the looks speculative in my opinion.
12:13pm: WICKET: Well what do i know! There’s a tickle behind and England have got the Aussies 3 down this morning. Great review by England this time.
12:19pm: Stokes bowling his second over, but looks particularly rusty with the ball. This really is some dross from Stokes. I’d bring back Jimmy who has only bowled 4 overs so far and can test Head in particular, who can be a bit tentative playing forward early on in his innings.
12:30pm: England are slightly lucky that the umpires don’t particularly want to call a wide as there have been some perfect contenders in this spell. As for the umpires themselves, they have had hardly covered themselves in glory, especially Aleem Dar who used to be one of the best. Meanwhile a poor over from Woakes allows the Aussies to steal some easy runs.
12:36pm: This really is some poor bowling from Woakes and Stokes, both of whom have looked pretty innocuous. This really should be the time for England to exert pressure on the Aussie batting line up, but there are too many poor deliveries. Head hits another 4 off Stokes, who really should be told to have a breather..
12:39pm: Moeen into the attack now and he is taken for a couple of boundaries by Head. Meanwhile, there seems to be growing concern about Jimmy:
12:44pm: This has not been a good spell for England who are undoing all of the good work they did in the first hour. If indeed Jimmy A isn’t fit, someone from the England management team really needs to answer why they’ve risked him for the First Test.
12:52pm: Buffet bowling from England here. Stokes looks as bad as i’ve seen him bowl and there is virtually nothing in the pitch for Moeen. Not great signs.
12:54pm: Meanwhile, Beefy looks like he’s put on a fair bit of timber. No doubt enjoying his vineyards in France during his holiday…
12:58pm: Woakes bought back into the attack, but not much happening. Jimmy back on the field now, but still a huge concern. Can they fit in another over before lunch? Yes they can. Moeen to bowl.
13:03pm: LUNCH. Australia 84-3 off 27 overs (3 short). England without doubt had the best of the first hour but once the openers went off, England’s bowling has been poor. Australia will be quite relieved to head into the pavilion with that score after being 3 down for not many. The biggest concern for England is the fitness of Jimmy Anderson, who has bowled only 4 overs and been off the field for the majority of the session.
I’m also going to go out and find some lunch. Be back in 40 minutes or so.
If you’ll excuse my language. Why the Fucking Fuck have England picked a Fucking injured Jimmy Anderson for the Fucking First Test knowing this could endanger his participation in the rest of the series. Meanwhile there’s a puff piece Harrison interview on Sky if you feel like tearing your eyeballs out of their sockets.
13:40pm: What is with England’s medical team? Time and time again, they pick bowlers who are injured. If Jimmy has re-torn his calf muscle, then England are truly up the creak without a paddle. I’d rather have Dr. Death managing the players fitness. Stuart Broad to open up proceedings after lunch.
13:51pm: Yep of course it is. England’s medical team desperately trying to cover their asses here. Meanwhile, not too much is happening in the middle.
13:54pm: This pitch is starting to look very good for batting. Ball has stopped swinging and England’s attack starting to look a little innocuous. Great straight drive from Head goes for 4.
14:02pm: Broad keeping things tight, but Piggy Smith is starting to look in ominous form. Broad tries the ‘old ball has gotten out of shape’ trick but is quickly dismissed by Aleem Dar.
14:08pm: WICKET – Got Im’. Woakes with a straight ball wrapping Head on the pads. Head reviews but that is hitting off stump. England absolutely needed that.
14:12pm: Did that carry? Stokes is looking pensive. Nope an edge from Wade falls short. Suddenly England’s intensity is back again.
Meanwhile, Tom Harrison’s interview isn’t going down exactly well with English cricket fans:
14:15pm: Broad bowls at Piggy Smith and pins him on the back with no shot offered. Umpire’s fingers goes up but Smith reviews. Not out, missing off stump. Boooo
Meanwhile, it seems that Aggers was offering more loose half volleys to Harrison than even Nasser Hussain managed. They know who pays their wages…
14:20pm: WICKET. The umpires have got another one wrong. Woakes hits Wade’s pads in front of the wickets and then reviews after it is given not out. That was plumb. Australia 5 down now. What a change of fortunes for England this afternoon.
14:23pm: It may have been a mistake for these umpires to have taken advice from S.Ravi in hindsight.
14:29pm: How long can England keep Broad and Woakes on for. With Anderson out of the attack injured, if Australia can survive the next few overs, they can feast on Moeen and Stokes.
14:34pm: The answer is not long. After a brilliant over by Broad, Moeen is bought into the attack. The one thing I am really enjoying is the analysis by Kumar Sangakkara. A brilliant batsmen in his day and someone who knows the game inside out. Far more enjoyable than listening to the rubbish Warne is spouting.
14:40pm: WICKET – can you believe that? Broad bowls one short and Paine picks out Burns at deep square leg. Terrible shot, that he won’t want to see again. England now in charge.
14:44pm: WICKET – Broad has hit 4th and that looked out at first look. Pattinson trapped in front and the umpire gives him out straight away. I’d have probably reviewed that with the umpires in the form that they currently are. Australia are in deep doo-doo here.
14:46pm: Haha, Pattinson should have reviewed it, DRS shows it was missing leg. This has been a day of truly awful umpiring. Broad won’t care a jot mind.
14:51pm: Surely it’s fair to question why Piggy Smith didn’t help his mate there. Probably had the best view of the delivery and would have seen that the umpires are having a shocker. That being said, perhaps he is saving an ego review for himself..
14:56pm: Broad finally takes a breather after a wonderful spell of 8-2-22-2. Can Stokes bowl better than he did this morning, which granted couldn’t be difficult…
15:00pm: WICKET – Stokes does bowl better. Stokes follows a couple of out swingers followed by a booming in swinger which wraps him on the pads. Height may be a question but that looked out to me in real time. Australia in trouble here, real trouble.
15:06pm: Stokes looks like a completely different bowler in this spell. Stokes beats Smith all ends up but there’s a noise and a big appeal. Not out and a good decision from Aleem Dar as Smith seemed to clip his front pad rather than the ball.
15:11pm: Jeez, another clanger from Joel Wilson. Woakes strikes Siddle on the pads and Wilson gives him out, but you could have heard that inside edge from the Hollies. This is a really damning indictment on the level of Test Match umpiring.
15:16pm: 50 for Piggy Smith. Has played well considering the carnage around him. England will want to wrap this innings up quickly (as will those who enjoy the art of batting).
15:28pm: Siddle hunkering down in support of piggy. I suspect that’s what the rest of the Australian batsmen were supposed to do instead of leaving it to the number 10. Intensity has dropped a little as we head to tea.
15:37pm: England have to be careful here. Smith looking like he is going on the counter attack with Siddle locking down the other end. Another 40 or 50 on the board could make all the difference in this Test.
15:40pm: TEA – Australia are 154-8 after 53 overs (7 short). England’s afternoon without doubt especially without their talismanic opening bowler, but whilst Smith is still at the crease, then Australia are still in the game. I’m off to get a brew myself. See you in 20…
15:50pm: We have rain, and looks like plenty of it. Looks like a delayed restart unless it clears very quickly. Meanwhile on TMS:
16:04pm: Well it looks like we are off for the foreseeable future at the moment, whilst the rain continues at Edgbaston. I’ll be back on air as soon as we have some play again by which time, Danny might also be around to post.
16:06pm: Restart at 4:20pm, providing we have no more rain.
16:14pm: In other news, it looks like this will be both Gower’s and Beefy’s last series in the commentary box for Sky. I’m not terribly sad as both are past their sell by date, but how on earth is Bumble being spared? The guy is more clown than commentator these days:
16:19pm: The rain might have done England a favour here as it will have given Broad and Woakes a little longer to recover from their lengthy spells in the afternoon session. Broad to once again open up against Siddle.
16:23pm: Decent opening over from Broad who once again looks lively. Woakes with a real loosener than Siddle puts away for four. In the meantime, Ramprakash doing what Ramprakash does best:
Never one to admit culpability was our Mark, both for his batting and his coaching.
16:30pm: Peter Siddle is one of those annoying tailenders that are really hard to shift. He looks comfortable out in the middle and his technique looks better than most of those in the Aussie middle order. This partnership is becoming a real annoyance for England.
16:31pm: Another rain break. Joe Root not looking particularly happy about it and we are back out again. It’s like the hokey cokey at Edgbaston..
16:34pm: Anyway, Danny is now back from work and is joining me on the live blog. Over to you Danny.
16:37pm: Afternoon everyone. Danny here. What did I miss?
16:42pm: I’ve been watching ten minutes and this partnership is already worrying me. Facing the two wicket-taking bowlers, Smith and Siddle both look pretty comfortable and the partnership has already reached fifty.
16:51pm: England are bowling with a misshapen ball. Sounds painful, and certainly isn’t helping them to bowl these two out…
16:57pm: FFS. Australia are going to win this, aren’t they? We all know what happens after a team’s key bowler is injured near the start of an Ashes series, after all.
17:06pm: Stokes replaces Woakes and is bowling a lot of short balls to Siddle, but it’s not worrying the Australian at all. I imagine England are hoping for some rain so they can start fresh tomorrow.
17:10pm: Smith falls on his wrist following a tight run, and the umpires call an early DRINKS.
17:14pm: Denly has replaced Broad, at least technically speaking. If Denly bowls more than 20 overs in this series, we might as well just give up and give Australia the Ashes urn now.
17:26pm: No news is good news, or so the saying goes. I’m not so sure. Sky is reporting that there won’t be any updates on Anderson’s injury today. As (I think) Botham points out, if it’s an existing injury (as seems to be the case) then England shouldn’t be able to use a fielding substitute under the current laws.
17:31pm: WICKET – Moeen comes in and draws an inside edge from Siddle to Buttler at short leg. That brings to an end the partnership of 88 runs, which could be huge in this game. Australia on 210/9. England might want to take their time, because I doubt their openers will want to face an hour session tonight.
17:43pm: Steve Smith is farming the strike to keep the pressure off Lyon, and it’s worked. Australia have already added an extra hundred runs for their last two wickets. Poor from England, notwithstanding Anderson’s injury.
17:52pm: CENTURY – Steve Smith smacks one through the covers, and is now on 103*. Kisses the badge on his helmet too. God, I want to throw up…
17:57: Honestly, watching him today, I think Smith will more centuries in this series than the England team combined. With England a bowler down in this game, and potentially missing Anderson for the rest of the series too, these are ominous signs for England’s hopes of reclaiming the Ashes urn.
18:04pm: Broad calls for a REVIEW with Steve Smith going across his stumps to a full ball. Live, I thought he’d edged it onto his pads. In fact he had missed it, but it was sliding way past the leg stump. England will have to take their last wicket without a DRS appeal. Given today’s performances by the umpires, that could be an issue…
18:07pm: Apparently, due to rain delays, today’s play can go on to 18:52pm. I didn’t realise this when I agreed to do the live updates to the close. This is what happens when you’re not paying close attention. It’s looking more and more like Smith will bat out the day, although he is going for more aggressive shots now that he’s batting with Lyon.
18:15pm: The commentators are talking about how Joffra Archer could be useful in this kind of situation. Personally I’d prefer Adil Rashid, even on a first day like today. Australian batsmen, even tailenders, are accustomed to pace. Leg spin, not so much.
18:22pm: Chris Woakes bowling 79mph bouncers to Smith. I’m a fan of Woakes, and he’s done well today, but I don’t think that’s going to work.
18:35pm: WICKET – Steve Smith goes for a wild swing and misses a full, straight ball from Stuart Broad. Broad ends up with 5/86 and clears up all three of the players returning from abrasive-related bans. Australia have reached 284 after being 122/8 earlier in the day. England are facing two or three overs today, and I bet they wish Leach was available to call in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Broad or another bowler acting as nightwatchman though.
18:45pm: Nope, Burns and Roy come in to face the two overs. Cummins to bowl the first over.
18:50pm: First over survived. Roy missing a wild pull though, maybe time to put that shot away for the day, Jason? One more to go.
19:04pm: England reach the close on 10/0, 274 runs behind the tourists. Smith’s huge 144-run stand has put Australia in what might be considered the lead after wickets were falling like dominoes earlier in the day.
We seem to have lost 5 overs today, although that may be due to the short rain delays and excess of DRS appeals rather than England’s tardy bowlers. This is notable because, with this game being the very first in the World Test Championship, teams can be docked league points for being slow in bowling their overs.
Tomorrow’s forecast seems fair, with no rain expected. Good batting conditions, you might think, but England have shown themselves capable of collapsing in even the friendliest of situations. It will certainly be a nervy first session for England fans as they try to post a first innings lead.
That’s me (Danny) and Sean signing off the live blog. Comments on the game, coverage, or anything else below.