ENGLAND PREVAIL IN DRAMATIC ASHES OPENER
England secured victory at Trent Bridge with an ironic twist as DRS confirmed the faintest of edges on the inside of Brad Haddin’s bat as he nicked the ball through to Matt Prior, with Australia needing 15 just more runs to finish the job.
Haddin’s 71 off 147 provided the steady anchorage Australia required in their second innings, building a 60-run partnership with No.11 James Pattinson, to get his side back in with a shout of taking a 1-0 series lead to Lord’s.
England’s first innings total of 215 had a disappointing theme of batsmen getting in but failing to go on. Trott’s 48 from 80 balls included nine fours, the most of any England player, and finished in an uncharacteristic attempt to drive a wide delivery from Peter Siddle – who finished with figures of 5-50 – and only succeeded in inside edging the ball back onto his stumps.
Fourteen wickets fell on day one, with Australia’s first innings defined by individual batting exhibitions. Steve Smith began the show with a much-needed 58 from 79 balls including a quick skip down the pitch to Graeme Swann before sending the ball over the long on boundary for six.
With Australia on 117-9 and Phillip Hughes on 21, debutant Ashton Agar played the innings of his life, from No.11, to pull Australia back from the brink of humiliation. The 19-year-old’s 98 from 101 deliveries broke the record for the highest score by a No.11, eclipsing Tino Best’s 95 against England at Edgbaston last year. Agar and Hughes built a record-breaking 10th wicket partnership of 163 to take Australia to an innings total of 280 and a lead of 65.
England looked to be standing firm in reply, with Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen batting solidly with 50 and 64, respectively. Ian Bell played with his usual style for his 109, elegantly playing late cut shots to pierce the field with pinpoint accuracy to the third man boundary. But the match was marred by some desperately poor umpiring decisions.
Third umpire Marais Erasmus overruled Aleem Dar without the aid of the side on Hot Spot camera – which was still processing Joe Root’s dismissal the ball before – and the technology would have shown that Trott had inside edged the ball onto his pads, as Dar had correctly identified on the field.
Frustration then changed hands to infuriate Australia. With Stuart Broad having already used two lives – Ed Cowan missed a difficult one-handed catch and Hughes was unable to set himself beneath a ballooning shot to deep mid wicket – he nicked Agar through to slip, but somehow umpire Dar failed to see the edge.
With Australia having used up all their reviews, it was up to Broad to walk in the ‘spirit of cricket’ but without moving a facial muscle he headed down the pitch to Bell at the non-striker’s end. That was all the walking Broad would do.
Broad’s 65 kept the scoreboard ticking over with 26 singles and eight fours, leaving Australia chasing 311 to win. But with Anderson ending with match figures of 10-158 – at the ground where he is the most successful international bowler of all-time with 49 wickets – victory for England was always the most plausible outcome.
Blogger: Sofia Westaby