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By Shrikant Shankar
Jan 3, 2014
Australia are at 94 for four at lunch on Day One of the fifth Ashes 2013-14 Test against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on January 3, 2014. On a seaming wicket the England bowlers have dismissed the top four in Australia’s batting order.
England captain Alastair Cook had won the toss and elected to field first. This was the first time in the series that England had won the toss. Openers David Warner (16) and Chris Rogers (11) were bowled by Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes respectively.
Captain Michael Clarke was dismissed by Stokes for 10 and Shane Watson was out LBW to James Anderson on 43. Watson fell in the last over before lunch, so, the over remained incomplete. Steven Smith was batting on eight as the players headed for the break.
England made three changes to their starting line-up from the fourth Test in Melbourne. They handed debuts to Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin as Joe Root, Monty Panesar and Tim Bresnan made way.
Australia made no changes to their side. This was the first time in history Australia have used the same 11 players in a five-Test series.
The pitch at the SCG has a lot of grass and this assisted in the England bowlers taking the four wickets. But the England bowlers did not bowl at the right lengths for long periods in the morning session. Broad was the only one who consistently bowled at a fuller length.
Ironically it was Broad who conceded the most runs for England. Warner struck three fours in over from Broad to get Australia racing away. But Broad’s consistency led to the first dismissal.
Broad pitched one at around leg-stump on a fuller length and the ball held its line as Warner played for the wrong line and was bowled. Shane Watson played a crunching cover drive for a four on the first ball he faced.
Rogers was just biding his time and was taking singles when on offer. Stokes bowled an absolute loosener first up full and wide as Watson drove through covers for another four. Stokes then bowled another full and wide delivery and Watson drove through the covers again. The ball was pulled back in with a sliding dive by Michael Carberry and it was only three runs.
Rankin came into the attack and got some steep bounce and unsettled Watson. The tall fast bowler did not get his line right and bowled wide of off-stump. He then bowled one fuller at the stumps and Watson turned it away for three runs through mid-wicket.
Stokes then bowled a back of a length delivery and Rogers went for the pull shot. The ball bounced slightly lower and Rogers got a thick bottom edge onto his front pad and onto the stumps. Clarke got off the mark first ball with a quick single on the off side. He was then nearly run out going for another quick single but Carberry could not hit the stumps directly.
The runs started to flow again as Rankin bowled one full and Watson flicked the ball for a four through deep square-leg. Broad then dug one in short and Clarke pulled for a four through mid-wicket. Stokes bowled a full-toss and Watson hit the ball straight down the ground making sure the ball bounced over the bowler as it raced away for a four.
Stokes then found the right length around off-stump and made the ball move slightly away. Clarke played at it and edged it to Ian Bell at second slip, who made no mistake. Steven Smith got off the mark with a cover drive for a four.
Anderson was brought back into the attack and he bowled one on a good length and found the edge of Watson’s bat. But the ball went in the vacant third slip region for a four. The next ball was on a back of a length and Watson played an expansive cut shot and got it over the gully fielder for a four.
Anderson had a close shout for leg-before against Watson, but the umpire said not out. Next ball, Anderson hit Watson on the pads and this was as straight as possible. The England players appealed and this time the umpire raised his finger. Watson did not even bother to ask for the review. Lunch was taken with 25.4 overs gone in Australia’s first innings.
Australia 94 for 4 (Shane Watson 43; Ben Stokes 2 for 32) vs England.
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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