England claim victory in first Ashes test

The first test of the 2013 Ashes has proved to the world that Test Cricket is alive and definitely kicking.

England and Australia toiled away at Trent Bridge for 4 and half days with the advantage swinging from side to side throughout the test.

England on the way to victory in the first test. Photo: gingerchrismc (via Flickr)
England on the way to victory in the first test. Photo: gingerchrismc (via Flickr)

Day 1 and England opened the batting and thanks to some slack Aussie bowling, they made a reasonable start. However, it didn’t last long.

A combination of more accurate bowling and poor decision making cost England as they were scuttled out for 215 on the first day. The Australian batsman performed even worse on the bowler friendly Trent Bridge pitch. At a pitiful 117-9, Australia were looking beat, but cometh the hour, cometh an unsuspecting, untested, uncapped 19-year old man who’s only played 10 first class matches before this test.

Ashton Agar achieved the highest ever score by a number 11 in test history by scoring 98. His last wicket partnership of 163 with Phil Hughes rocketed Australia’s score to 280.

England began their second innings badly going down to 11-2 before the end of the second day but a steady partnership between Peitersen and captain Alastair Cook strengthened England’s chances.

Annoyingly, England again let it slip and found themselves at 174-5. Ian Bell stepped forward and made a tenacious century and in a 138 run partnership with Stuart Broad, England batted through Day 3 and into Day 4.

Stuart Broad’s innings was extremely eventful though. It appeared that he had thick edged a ball from Ashton Agar to slip but the umpire missed it.

Luckily for England, Michael Clarke had already wasted his referrals so could not appeal the decision.

That was not the problem though, Broad’s decision not to walk was criticised roundly by people on twitter and many cricket journalists. However, some people, notably former cricketers defended Broad, saying it’s the umpires job to give you out and if they don’t you’re not out.

Personally, I reckon Broad did the right thing. If you a true professional, you will try and succeed in any way possible, as long as it’s not blatant cheating.  Broad did not blatantly cheat. He waited for decision that didn’t come so he was legitimately allowed to continue his innings. He didn’t punch a ball into the back of the net or test positive for a banned substance. All he did was follow the rules by waiting for the umpire to make his decision. The umpire did and Broad wasn’t given out. End of story.

At the end of their second innings, England racked up an impressive total of 375, setting Australia a total of 311 to win.

Aussie openers Watson and Rogers made a great start; scoring 84 runs until eventually Watson was caught lbw by Broad.

England continued to blast their way through a helpless Aussie batting line-up leaving them teetering at the end of Day 4 needing 137 runs to win, with only 4 wickets in hand.

England took Agar, Starc and Siddle, leaving Australia on 231-9.

Then Pattinson and Haddin dug in and made life incredibly difficult for England.

Broad, Swann and the terrific Anderson couldn’t find the way through and with Finn bowling absolute “pies”, it was looking like England might let it slip right at the end.

Lunch came and England still needed one wicket to win but the Aussies only needed 20 runs.

6 runs later and finally, through the help of DRS, Jimmy Anderson took his 5th wicket of the innings and 10th wicket of the test to seal the victory for England.

It may have only been the faintest of edges but it was enough for the 3rd umpire to give Haddin out on referral.

4 and a half days of exhilarating cricket was decided ultimately by the team who used their referrals better.

Clarke was too cavalier with them, while a levelheaded Cook was able to use them at exactly the right moment, and the last moment meant victory for England.

On to Lords on Thursday. If we’ve learnt one thing from this first test, the Aussies are going to make it hard for England.

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