Thursday, November 25, 2010

Numbers for Ashes

As anyone who knows me knows, I'm not a one for numbers as a rule. However today's first day of the Ashes has been a good statement of intent for Australia, and some of the numbers tell a lot of the story.

As in the previous post, 1 wicket on the 3rd ball for 0 runs was a good start for Australia, and given it was their captain, tough on England.

Summariser Kerry O'Keefe (left) laughs with Englishman Johnathan Agnew ('Aggers') and the ABC scorer. ABC Grandstand.

By the day's end Mitchell Johnson's 0 wickets for 66 and England's reasonable morning session had been wiped from the memory by a stunning performance of Australia's newest great fast bowler, Peter Siddle. Returning with his first match in the team after being sidelined with stress fractures to his back, his 26th birthday today proved to be the kind of day few could hope for. A Sixfer for 54 runs isn't anything to sneeze at, but in the middle of it was a hat trick of carefully crafted cunning wickets, a trio of England players who didn't know what hit them.

Siddle is only the 11th Australian to take a hat trick at this level (the last being another Victorian bowling great; the inestimable Shane Warne) and the first person to do it at Brisbane's Gabba. Whatever Siddle's career holds from here, his achievements today have put him in an exclusive group of record-setting bowlers. As well as the aforementioned Warne, by returning after back injury more cunning and fiery, he joins another great Australian bowling hero, Dennis Lillee.

Xavier Doherty's two late wickets on debut (or dayboo, as it's pronounced here) likewise were eclipsed, despite their merit. A tough day for England, ending as depressingly as it started with Australia's unthreatened openers putting on 25 runs after the Aussie bowlers had dispatched the entire England side for 260.

It's early days (1/25th in!) but Australia are going to be pleased, and England looking to damage control on day 2. One other overshadowed achievement was England batsman Ian Bell's well crafted 76 while at the other end his team mates fell like ducklings to a fox.

Honours on day 1 don't reflect how a series turns out, but it was certainly a hard fought and terrific day's cricket. Any other sport's both briefer, and well...

The ABC commentary box webcam awaits the takes of tomorrow at the end of day one. ABC Grandstand.

... just isn't cricket.


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