Browse News

News by Competition News by Topics News by County Teams News by International Teams

Join TwelfthMan now!

Opening exchanges live up to the hype

Chris Devine,'s editor, looks back on an absorbing day of action at Trent Bridge.

Given the hype that accompanied the build-up to this summer's Investec Ashes, a few opening-day nerves should probably have been expected.

Yet few could have forecast just how frenetic the action would be at Trent Bridge as England and Australia began the first of 10 Test meetings in six months.

The firework display that followed the national anthems made it clear today was no ordinary day.

And from the moment James Pattinson kicked off proceedings with a loopy bouncer called wide by umpire Aleem Dar, a sell-out crowd in Nottingham were effectively treated to cricket in fast-forward as both sides served up an entertaining spectacle punctuated by moments of high class and regrettable errors.

England's first innings proved particularly skittish after touring captain Michael Clarke had been invited to field by Alastair Cook.

The Trent Bridge surface may be true for this week's game, but under overcast skies on day one there was always enough seam and swing movement to make batting tricky.

Peter Siddle duly prospered to the tune of five wickets and there can be little doubt a total of 215 all out would have fallen below the pre-match expectations of Cook.

However, England's modest score does not tell the whole story. While a number of home batsmen may well rue the shots that led to their dismissals, there was also a fair degree of wayward stuff served up by Australia's attack - enabling a whopping 38 fours to be scored in the 59 overs Clarke et al spent in the field.

This was an innings without a lull. If a passage of play did pass without a wicket, there were sure to be boundaries aplenty.

And whether you choose to put this down to nervous energy or not, it certainly made for thrilling viewing as the rivals jostled for the upper hand.

With England dismissed cheaply, Australia were certainly in the ascendancy, yet barely half an hour had passed before the game was wide open once again courtesy of Steven Finn's double-strike in his second over.

James Anderson also picked up two wickets - and his dismissal of Clarke is likely to live long in the memory of those who witnessed it - before stumps were drawn at 6:30pm.

Both teams' slow over-rate ensured eight overs were lopped off the day, yet no spectator could claim to have been short-changed by the action on offer.

Investec Test Tracker

Showcases LIVE data analysis, REAL-TIME info-graphics, OPTA in-play stats, Test Series facts 

Follow us on Twitter

Stay up to date and fully informed wherever you are by following ECB_cricket on Twitter

Follow on Facebook

Join the conversation on the official fan community of England cricket on Facebook right now!