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Brilliant Broad basks in Brisbane cauldron

By Matthew Sherry

Pantomime villain Stuart Broad's five-wicket haul ensured England got their Ashes defence off to a stunning start after losing the toss at the Gabba.

The paceman, greeted by a chorus of boos when he marked his run, bowled with pace, swing and aggression, using short deliveries to outstanding effect for figures of 5-65.

Broad’s tally began with Chris Rogers, taken at gully by Ian Bell in the fourth over. David Warner and Shane Watson looked in good touch thereafter, but Broad returned on the stroke of lunch to have the latter held at second slip.

Not content, he forced skipper Michael Clarke to lob a catch to short-leg immediately after the interval and then snared David Warner for 49 via a loose cut to cover.

James Anderson and Chris Tremlett - the latter selected along with fit-again Matt Prior - soon got in on the act, accounting for Test debutant George Bailey and Steven Smith respectively, with Alastair Cook catching both batsmen at first slip.

Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson rebuilt with a fine century stand, yet Broad bowled the latter for 64 after England claimed the second new ball.

Haddin would ultimately finish unbeaten on 78 but Peter Siddle succumbed to Anderson late on, giving Cook a third slip catch, as Australia reached stumps at a hugely disappointing 273 for eight given the wonderful surface.

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Evening Session

Watch the highlights from the evening session, which includes another wicket for Stuart Broad

7.28am - STUMPS! Australia 273/8; Haddin 78, Harris 4 - Anderson ends a fine spell with a good over that brings little reward - not that England will be too disheartened after a brilliant start to their Ashes campaign. Join me again tomorrow to see if they can continue in the same vein.

7.16pm - WICKET! Siddle c Cook b Anderson 7; Australia 265/8 - To say this is a deserved wicket would be something of an understatement. Having beaten the edge over and over again, Anderson finally gets his man as Cook clings on at slip.

7.09am - Bizarre-but-effective shot from Peter Siddle, who - having been beaten on both edges in the last two overs - short-armed jabs a ball well outside off stump through leg for four. Anderson narrowly misses the edge to complete the over, much to the Lancastrian's frustration.

7am - Good response from Haddin, who manages back-to-back fours: an edge through slip followed by a fine straight drive.

6.54am - WICKET! Johnson b Broad 64; Australia 246/7 - What a way to bring up an outstanding five-for. Broad, who is swinging it both ways, follows up one that beats the edge with an inswinger which bowls Johnson all ends up. It's been some day for Broad and England. 

6.52am - Just as I say that, Johnson responds by crunching Broad through cover for four.

6.49am - Two overs in with the new cherry and there have been some good signs for Broad and Anderson. Another breakthrough prior to the close would cap a wonderful day for the tourists.

6.15am - FIFTY! Johnson (115b 5x4 2x6) - Another stupendous shot from Johnson off Swann as he heaves over midwicket for four to move to 49. His fifty does not take long to come thereafter as, following Haddin's straight-driven four off Tremlett, Johnson finds another boundary over cover.

6.15am - FIFTY! Haddin (100b 9x4 1x6) - The fightback goes on. After Mitch pumps Swann for another six, his partner reaches a fine half-century. He's nothing if not a fighter is Haddin.

6.11am - And there's a maximum for Mitch. Straight as you like, or dislike if you are called Graeme Swann.

6am - The game has just entered something of a lull as England keep things tight with the new ball just over 10 overs away. As I type that, Johnson drives Swann confidently over mid-off for four.

5.46am - Even amid the odd scare, Haddin and Johnson go on, the latter bringing up their half-century stand.

5.29am - This has been a good riposte so far from Haddin and Mitchell Johnson, although Jimmy is starting to find a little movement with the old ball.

5.11am - Cracking stroke from Brad Haddin, who effortlessly swivel-pulls James Anderson for six. Australia need a few more of those.

5.03am - Graeme Swann gets us back under way with a low-key opening over. 

Afternoon Session 

Watch highlights of the afternoon session from the Gabba

4.41am - TEA! Australia 153/6; Haddin 24, Johnson 12 - Dream session for the tourists; nightmare for the hosts. Haddin and Mitchell Johnson have plenty to do after the interval. The latter will be boosted by a big six over long-on in the session's penultimate over, sent down by Swann.

4.29am - Almost our first review of the day as Broad raps Haddin on the pad. However, after Cook gets the 'T' out, umpire Kumar Dharmasena advises the skipper he's too late. Good job as well; the ball was missing leg by a distance.

4.09pm - WICKET! Smith c Cook b Tremlett 31; Australia 132/6 - And now Tremlett is in on the act! Having been pulled for four by Smith, he responds by having the number five caught at first slip later in the over.

4.06am - Mixed bag against Swann as Smith sees a huge inside-edge just beat Joe Root at midwicket before Haddin swipes a better-timed stroke over the same area for four.

3.57am - Smith is looking in good nick here amid Brad Haddin also proving a steadying influence.

3.46am - Time for a drink on both sides of the world. I'll pop the kettle on and be back with you in a moment...

3.34am - A sobering tale for those, like me, who are getting too excited... 

3.27am - WICKET! Bailey c Cook b Anderson 5; Australia 100/5 - It just goes from bad to worse for Australia. After Smith pulls Chris Tremlett for two boundaries in an over, Anderson has debutant Bailey taken low at first slip. The previous delivery beat the edge, too, and that's deserved reward for a fine spell.

3.15am - James Anderson may be casting an envious glance in his partner in crime's direction as a George Bailey edge falls just short of slip - something I didn't deem possible on this pitch. Steven Smith plays one of the day's best shots in the next over, crunching Broad through mid-off.

3.04am - WICKET! Warner c Pietersen b Broad 49; Australia 83/4 - Wow. England are suddenly on fire! Warner, who started like a steam train and slowly ground to a halt, is heading back to the pavilion as he cuts Broad straight to cover. Poor end to a fine innings, although Broad deserves everything he gets. Wonderful stuff.

2.47am - WICKET! Clarke c Bell b Broad 1; Australia 73/3 - There's the big one and it's that man Stuart Broad again. He sends in a sharp delivery to Clarke's ribs and the Australia skipper can only inside-edge to short-leg via his hip! Huge, huge moment.

2.44am - Good start to the afternoon from Graeme Swann, who threatens David Warner's outside edge. Later in the over, Michael Clarke gets off the mark.

Morning Session 

Watch highlights of the opening session from the Gabba

2.01pm - LUNCH! - Australia 71/2; Warner 42, Clarke 0 - A good opening session comes to an end with England enjoying the momentum following Broad's strike. Warner, though, looks in fine fettle.

1.57pm - WICKET! Watson c Swann b Broad 22; Australia 71/2 - Cracking stuff from Broad, who strikes on the stroke of lunch. A slightly back-of-a-length ball finds Watson's edge and Swann takes a good, diving catch at second slip.

1.53pm - Well, that shot sums up the past hour or so for England. Watson drives expansively at Broad and edges through the cordon for four. Swann, meanwhile, is bowling nicely.

1.42pm - Thankfully, Anderson is OK. That reminded me horribly of the Simon Jones incident here a few years back. In other news, the ball is set to be changed.

1.31pm - Quite a response from Warner, who shuffles down the pitch to Swann's second ball and clubs him down the ground for four.

1.24am - With Warner and Watson seeming at ease against pace, Alastair Cook has turned - see what I did there? - to Graeme Swann. 

1.10am - Even Warner is playing circumspectly after a thrilling start, although he did offer a reminder of his class with a fine cover drive prior to drinks. England will be keen to keep things tight.

12.52pm - After a frenetic start, things have become a little more subdued. It looks a cracking pitch and there will be much work ahead I think.

12.39am - Amid a calmer period, here comes Chris Tremlett. Good to see him back.

12.26am - Shane Watson, who got off the mark with a streaky edge over backward point, is looking shaky. Warner, meanwhile, is already on to 14 having driven another boundary off Broad, which followed four leg-byes.

12.16pm - WICKET! Rogers c Bell b Broad 1; Australia 12/1 - Oh, but he loves that! After Anderson causes Chris Rogers and Warner problems either side of being driven for four by the latter, Broad strikes. The paceman digs one in at the ribs and Rogers edges to gully, whom his partner had seen an edge fall just short of in the last over. Perfect start.

12.11am - He may not like that quite so much. Broad oversteps first up and is hooked for four by David Warner. Good start from the opener.

12.06am - The ever-dependable James Anderson gets us under way with a maiden. It's swinging a little, though! A chorus of boos greet the pantomime villain himself Stuart Broad. He'll love it.

Pre-Play News

12am - The players are out in the middle...

11.43pm - The thing about the toss is, you wait excitedly for it... And when it's over, you're wondering what to do for the next half-hour. I am off to make a cuppa. When I come back, we'll be ready to go!

11.32pm - AUSTRALIA WIN TOSS & BAT - Ah, Cooky! Heads proves the wrong call and Australia choose to bat. England's skipper would have made the same decision but it generally does a little early on in Brisbane.

11.30pm - So there you have it: Prior's fit and Tremlett gets the nod. Now for the toss. 

11.14pm - Chris Tremlett is apparently marking his run. Does that mean he will get the nod over Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin? We don't have to wait long to find out. Apparently, it's going to be a green-top...

10.53pm - Matt Prior, meanwhile, is being put through his paces by Bruce French. We'll find out in just over half an hour, when the toss takes place, if he will overcome a calf tear to play.

 

10.50pm - Some news from the middle: George Bailey has just been given his baggy green. Guess he is playing then...

10.45pm - Those wanting an Ashes fix should look no further than ecb.co.uk. The last few days have been filled with build-up pieces, the most recent being Mark Butcher recalling his brilliant hundred at the Gabba in 1998. Read it and then browse through the site for the best preview bits on the web. You'll not be disappointed; that I can promise.

 

10.30pm - While many people in the UK are heading to the comfort of their beds, our night is just beginning. But are we bothered? No! We're ecstatic, on a high known as Ashes Fever. Yes, that's right: cricket's biggest rivals will lock horns once again in the game's premier form 90 minutes from now.

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