Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Broad registered his 11th five-wicket haul
England pace bowler Stuart Broad gave Australia five more reasons to despise him even more as he recorded a magnificent five-wicket haul to leave the baggy greens reeling at the end of the first day of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.
While Broad stole the spotlight with his impressive bowling figures, Australia vice-captain Brad Haddin and left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson deserve a lot of credit as well as both of them scored excellent half-centuries to help the baggy greens avoid crashing and burning.
This marked the end of months of media hype, mind games and trash talking and allowed the players to back up the comments they made in the lead-up to the series.
Both Australia and England are looking to take an early 1-0 lead in the historical series, but the baggy greens will also be under immense pressure to keep their 25-year unbeaten streak at Brisbane alive.
England meanwhile are looking to win their fourth Ashes series in a row, a feat which they have not accomplished since the 1890s.
After weeks of deliberation, England confirmed that vice-captain and wicketkeeper Matt Prior was fit to play and Chris Tremlett had occupied the third pace bowler spot.
Australia all-rounder Shane Watson was also included in the baggy greens’ squad after sufficiently recovering from his hamstring injury, while off-spinner Nathan Lyon retained his place in the side, meaning that pace bowler James Faulkner is the 12th man.
Australia Twenty20 captain George Bailey was presented his baggy green by the legendary Mark Taylor at the age of 31, making him the oldest Australian to make his Test debut in 34 years.
England batsman Kevin Pietersen was awarded a silver cap to mark his 100th Test match, making him only the tenth English player to accomplish the feat.
Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss, which was met by a loud cheer from the Brisbane crowd, and elected to bat first, stating that “the wicket looks fantastic”.
However, he would have been pondering over whether he made the right decision as opening batsman Chris Rogers dabbled at a delivery from Broad and was caught by Ian Bell at gully for just one run.
David Warner and Watson made up for the early loss of Rogers with a brilliant 59-run partnership, during which Watson recorded his 3000th Test run, before jabbing at a wide delivery and getting an edge which flew straight to second slip, where Graeme Swann took a superb catch.
Clarke failed to make a major contribution with the bat as he was caught out for only one run after being surprised by a shorter-pitched delivery from Broad.
Despite watching his partners come and go, Warner kept his composure and concentrated on keeping the scoreboard ticking, but he eventually caved in to the pressure just one agonising run short of his half-century as he smacked a delivery from Broad straight to Kevin Pietersen in the covers.
Warner’s solid knock of 49 came off 82 balls and included six boundaries.
Bailey succumbed to the debut jitters as he pushed at a ball from James Anderson without any real foot movement and it only succeeded in dropping safely into the hands of Cook at first slip.
Steve Smith managed to amass 31 runs before prodding at a delivery from Tremlett, which flew straight to Cook at first slip.
Smith’s wicket marked a milestone for Tremlett as it was his 50th Test wicket, which had taken him just 12 matches to accomplish.
With Australia looking down and out at 132/6, Haddin and Johnson came to the rescue with a fantastic 114-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Johnson was cleaned bowled to become Broad’s fifth victim of the day.
Johnson’s outstanding innings of 64 came off 134 balls and included six boundaries and two sixes.
Just a few overs later, Peter Siddle was on his way back to the pavilion after edging a delivery from Anderson to Cook at first slip.
Haddin and Ryan Harris registered an unbeaten eight-run partnership before the umpires brought play to an end for the day.
Broad was the pick of the England bowlers with his 11th five-wicket haul, while Anderson snapped up two wickets and Tremlett chipped in with one.
Australia finished the day on 273/8 and will resume batting tomorrow at 10:00 local time or 00:00 GMT.