‘Horrific umpiring’: Farcical calls ruin day 1
STEVE Smith scored 144 on his return to Test cricket after a ban for ball-tampering as Australia recovered from 122-8 to 284 all out against England on the opening day of the Ashes series on Thursday.
England openers Rory Burns (4 not out) and Jason Roy (6 not out) survived two overs to reach stumps at 10-0 in the first test.
Smith and Peter Siddle came to the rescue of Australia's first innings with an 88-run partnership for the ninth wicket at Edgbaston, and Smith then shared 74 runs with Nathan Lyon (12 not out) for the last wicket in an extraordinary turnaround.
Russell Gould looks at five things we learned from day one of the first Test.
LOWER ORDER RUNS GONNA BE CRUCIAL THIS SERIES
Talking to former Aussie opener Chris Rogers before the Ashes, he said every batsmen had to understand they would be in trouble "a lot of the time". That's especially real for those batters who have to attend the first 25-30 overs.
Those are the top order guys and it was a real battle in Australia's first innings for them. It also means those guys who come in a bit later, when the ball is a bit older, the bowlers more tired, making it do less, have to cash in.
The 88-run partnership between Peter Siddle, Australia's number 10, and Steve Smith, and Nathan Lyon's 26-ball stay could yet keep their team in the game.
Australia's lower order has to find a way to maybe not get big runs, but get some runs, and hang around. "Tail runs can change the course of a game," Steve Smith said. He's right.
SHOULD UMPIRES BE REPLACED DURING GAMES?
Being stung by a bee in the last session should have been the worst part of umpire Aleem Dar's day. Unfortunately the Pakistani had already been slammed by most experts watching at Edgbaston for a series of horror calls that had a significant impact on the Australian innings.
Dar gave David Warner not out when he was out, gave Warner out when he wasn't, gave Steve Smith out when he wasn't, and James Pattinson too.
He also gave both Usman Khawaja and Matthew Wade not out when they were.
Former Aussie batsman Mark Waugh called it "village umpiring", Shane Warne said it was "horrific".
Dar's partner Joel Gibson got in on the act with an LBW call when Peter Siddle smashed the ball in to his pads, then next ball called for a review of his own not out decision, to reveal a significant bump ball Siddle guided to the slips.
The umpires had a horror, a shocker. They have four days to correct themselves, and they need to.
THERE'S A BIT LEFT IN STUART BROAD YET
In the past 12 months veteran English seamer Stuart Broad has become the most expendable of a group of the country's fast bowlers and has found himself anything but the certain selection he has been for 95 per cent of his Test career.
He played against Ireland last week, because so many of England's World Cup heroes weren't available. But the 33-year-old, who started the Test with 444 wickets, saves his best for Australia. Of that 444, 95 had come against the Aussies, eight of them in one innings. Remember Trent Bridge 2015?
And while he wasn't his team's best bowler on day one at Edgbaston, he set the tone early, and put the tourists on the back foot. He got rid of David Warner, then Cameron Bancroft inside the first eight overs. He finished with 5-86, now has 100 wickets against Australia, and with a calf injury likely to sideline his long time bowling partner Jimmy Anderson, Broad will remain a thorn in Australia's side for some time yet.
TIM PAINE WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE LACK OF FEAR FACTOR IN THE CROWD?
They booed, they wore Steve Smith masks, and sort of funny T-shirts which had a go at the Cape Town trio. But the so-called "Fortress Edgbaston" had no influence on the game.
They went so quiet when Smith and Travis Head were making runs, it took a rare play and miss to fire them up again. When Smith was swatting fours late in the day, through fielders on the boundary who didn't know where to look, the Barmy Army couldn't incite them to any more than groans of shame.
The Aussies have been all "it is what it is" when it comes to the crowd, and when Tim Paine said there were 15 more intimidating crowds around the world, the offence taken by the local media was palpable. What a curious thing to be proud of. As Paine also said, the Barmy Army don't bat and bowl. They sing and chant, it can be cutting, but not if you don't care, and the Aussies don't.
WE CAN'T GLOSS OVER THE TOP-ORDER FAILURES
Test matches can often be won by one brilliant innings, or one brilliant bowling display. Steve Smith provided that for Australia, but second innings runs will be required from the rest of the Aussie bats because they all know even Smith can't do what he did all the time.
Selectors took a punt by dropping last-start century makers, and even Marcus Harris who looked every bit a Test opener during the home summer. They had to make room for Smith and Dave Warner, but both Cameron Bancroft and Matthew Wade, who did earn their shots through weight of runs, now have to reward the selectors by getting some first at Edgbaston, then as the series goes on.
The bowling was good, but not that good. Some poor efforts put Australia in the mire early, and no doubt coach Justin Langer will remind them that can't happen again.
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