Australia’s dramatic two-wicket win in the first Test at Edgbaston ensured a hugely-anticipated Ashes series got off to a thrilling start.
Slow and steady can win the race
Much of the talk before this series was about how Test world champions Australia would combat England’s aggressive ‘Bazball’ style.
They did it in Birmingham by staying true to their own game, no one more so than Usman Khawaja, who spent over 13 hours at the crease while compiling scores of 141 – his first Ashes hundred in England – and 65.
“He showed composure in both innings, playing at his own pace, playing his own method and didn’t get caught up in anything else,” said Cummins of the left-handed opener.
Fallible fielding hurts England
England might still have won this match had they taken all their chances.
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, despite making a run-a-ball 78 in England’s first innings, also dropped a few catches and missed a stumping after the hosts decided to omit Ben Foakes, arguably a better gloveman, but not as good a batsman.
But with captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum having backed Bairstow as their keeper, it would be a major surprise if Foakes was recalled on form in the remainder of this five-match series.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Alex Carey, had an excellent match behind the stumps and also made useful runs.
In a spin
Lyon’s batting heroics may be the headline act from his performance at Edgbaston, but by then he had already starred in his primary role of off-spinner with a match haul of 8-229.
He may have conceded more runs than he would have liked but Lyon also played on the vanity of several England batsmen as they tried to hit him out of the attack, especially in the second innings.
Lyon was appearing in his 99th consecutive match at this level and ended the game just five shy of 500 Test wickets.
By contrast, England off-spinner Moeen Ali was playing his first Test in nearly two years since his red-ball retirement, mainly on the hunch of Stokes.
Moeen took 3-204 and also, unsurprisingly, suffered an injury to his spinning finger while bowling 47 overs – a colossal total for someone used to short-form stints.
© Agence France-Presse