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The Ashes 2010-11 Test 1 in Brisbane: A Review

Source: Cricinfo.com

The prestigious and highly anticipated Ashes 2010-11 Downunder began in Brisbane on 25 November, with England having high aspirations of successfully retaining the Ashes, which they won 2 years back in their backyard. With strong performances in warm-up matches leading up to the first test, England were considered as favorites by many a expert to topple the Aussies in their own den.

Andrew Strauss drew first blood for England, by winning the toss and deciding to bat first. But despite some solid knocks from Cook (67), Pietersen (43) and Bell (76), England were blown away by Peter Siddle who took a hat-trick on his way to a magnificent 6-wicket haul. His sensational spell of ‘16-3-54-6’ meant England fell way short of their desired target after deciding to bat first.  England could manage only 260 all out, giving Australia the upper hand on the first day itself.

Australia had to make the first innings count and take a handsome lead to put England under pressure in the second innings. England bowlers though had other ideas as they ripped through Aussie top order, leaving them at a precarious position at 143/5. The match looked even at that stage, with Haddin and Hussey at crease.  Then came the trademark fight back from the Aussies as a 307 run stand between Haddin and Hussey sapped the life out of English bowlers and took Australia to a massive score of 481, a superb lead of 221 runs.

Micheal Hussey was at his absolute best, playing the kind of innings which has earned him the tag of Mr. Cricket. His innings of 195 under extreme pressure just proved his worth to the team. He was given wonderful support by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who made a tremendous 136 to take Australia out of the woods to a position of strength.

Steven Finn bowled with a lot of heart to take 6 wickets for 125 runs, while Anderson and Swann took 2 wickets each too.

In the second essay, England were under pressure with 2 days to go and trailing by 220 odd runs. A special effort was required to save the match. And what a special special effort it was from a determined, resilient England side in the 2nd innings!!! Believe it or not, they scored 517/1, playing out 152 overs with great class, courage and nonchalant ease. Strauss (110), Cook (235*) and Trott (135*) batted like they had the world at their feet, flaying the Aussie attack to all corners of the picturesque Brisbane ground. It was a splendid effort by England, when they had their backs to the wall, showing the Aussies that they mean business and it is going to be one hell of a fight to decide who wins the Ashes. Quite ironically, the only wicket to fall was taken by the part timer in Marcus North, with none of the 4 regular bowlers achieving any success.

The match was all but over when England declared and it was a mere formality for Aussies to bat out the mandatory overs, before the 2 captains shook hands to seal the fate of the match. The match hence ended in a draw, with the series tied at 0-0 going into the second test at Adelaide from 3rd December.

The match may have ended in a draw, but if the first test is anything to go by, then expect a really hard fought, intriguing, compelling and a fierce battle for supremacy in the remaining 4 tests. Which team will be celebrating the New Year with their hearts filled with joy and pride, come the 7th January, 2011, is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, it is not going to be a dull series by any stretch of the imagination…

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