• Australia sweat over Starc

    Mitchell Starc will be assessed before play on day two of the Ashes opener, having been unable to take the second new ball for Australia on the opening day due to a sore ankle.

    But Josh Hazlewood is confident his fellow paceman will be fit enough to bowl in Cardiff on Thursday, reports The Guardian.

    The left-armer left the field late on day one with what looked to be a leg cramp. Starc returned to the field, but didn’t roll the arm over again.

    Management confirmed Starc was nursing an ankle niggle and would receive treatment on Wednesday night.

    ‘He’ll be fine tomorrow,’ Hazlewood said of Starc. ‘He’ll get treatment from the physio, as all us quicks do each night after a day in the field.’

    Joe Root admitted luck was on his side after capitalising on a second-ball drop by the Australia wicketkeeper, Brad Haddin, to hit a seventh Test century that lit up a full-throttle first day of the Ashes series.

    Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad are set to resume on 26 and nought respectively, with Root calling on the pair to back up his hard work.

    ‘I’m really pleased with the way things have gone. I rode my luck at times, especially early on,’ he said. ‘When they attack, that’s the best time to attack them because that’s where the gaps are. It’s not going to work every time but fortunately it did today. Hopefully it’s the first of a few and not just a one-off.’

    Root was described by Josh Hazlewood, who took three for 70, as England’s most improved player since the last time the sides met, a compliment that was well received by the right-hander who went on to credit being stood down for the fifth Test on the 2013-14 tour as the reason behind his current form.

    ‘That’s nice of him to say and it’s nice to get out there and get a big score, especially so early in the series, but we want to win back the Ashes and we have to back that up now. It’s going to be a really good contest and a really interesting series,’ he said.