Joe Root vs Australia

England opener Joe Root (right) plays a shot during his innings of 30 in the first session of Day 1 of the first Ashes Test © Getty Images

By Jaideep Vaidya
 
Jul 10, 2013

England took lunch on Day One of the first Test of Ashes 2013 played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, at 98 for two, after Australian quicks James Pattinson and Peter Siddle took a wicket each, that of the two openers.
 
Both teams tossed in a few surprises of their own ahead of play. For the visitors, there was no Nathan Lyon, as was expected, but a debut for 19-year-old left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who was handed his baggy green by Glenn McGrath. David Warner also sat out, and was later announced to have been shipped off to South Africa for some match practice, even as Ed Cowan was slotted for No 3. England, on the other hand, benched Tim Bresnan in favour of Steven Finn, which raised a few eyebrows.
 
The home captain Alastair Cook won the toss and put his side in to bat. The pitch at Trent Bridge is very dry and the team that batted last would be at a disadvantage, but Australian skipper Michael Clarke remarked at the toss that he wouldn’t mind bowling first as it was a bit overcast.
 
The Australian quicks — Pattinson and Mitchell Starc — got some good seam movement off the pitch early on and constantly beat the English openers’ edge by a few whiskers. Eventually, their efforts were to be rewarded with the wicket of the opposition skipper, who prodded at a Pattinson delivery outside off and angling away, only to find the edge that carries to the wicketkeeper. Cook averaged under 19 at this venue and did little to improve the number as he fell for 23.
 
Joe Root, at the other end, looked much more confident facing the aggressive Pattinson, who didn’t let any opportunities go at letting the 22-year-old have a piece of his mind. But Root, like a seasoned pro, welcomed the banter with a smile as wide as a highway and got on with his job of steadying the early wobble. Aiding him was the steady head of Jonathan Trott, who got off the mark with a typical, glorious cover drive.
 
Clarke stuck with his opening combination for the first 12 overs, before getting his most experienced bowler, Peter Siddle, in. It barely mattered to Root and Trott who milked the 28-year-old Victorian for 27 runs in his first four overs. Agar, who got a bowl in the 16th over, was thwacked through the covers for four on the first ball of his Test career.

However, Siddle was to strike back on the first ball of his fifth over, and how! A wonderful, almost rare, out-swinging yorker got the better of Root, who looked like he had no clue of what had happened as his stumps were shattered. It was just the thing the Australians would have hoped for, with about five overs to go before lunch.

Clarke immediately brought Pattinson back into the attack and piled on the pressure as Kevin Pietersen strode out for his England Test return. But he survived, along with Trott, till the break to set the tone for what should be a great day of Test cricket.
 
Brief scores:
 
England 98 for 2 (Jonathan Trott 37*, Joe Root 30; James Pattinson 1 for 32, Peter Siddle 1 for 28) vs Australia.
 
Full Scorecard
 
Photo Gallery