Australia defied the odds that made them out to be the underdogs going into the first Ashes test and came out with an impressive victory to take a 1-0 lead in the 5 match Ashes test series. The win will not only give Australia a lot of confidence but will also put England under pressure as they need to win the next test to have a realistic chance of winning the Ashes.
Australia batted first and were in deep trouble at 8 for 122 when Steve Smith decided to play one of the most important innings of his life. The pressure was immense on the former Australia captain who was returning to test cricket after 18 months due to his suspension over the ball tampering incident in South Africa.
Smith put together crucial partnerships with Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon to get to 144 and help Australia reach 284. England let Australia get out of trouble because they could not finish of the tail. One reason for this was because they lost their main strike bowler Jimmy Anderson in the first hour of the game due to a sore calf.
England played well in the first innings and made 374 thanks to a century from Rory Burns and contributions from Joe Root and Ben Stokes. Australia who were 90 runs behind in the second innings were once again in trouble after losing both openers quickly.
Smith once again played the anchor role and cracked another fantastic century (142). He received support from Matthew Wade (110), Travis Head (51) and J Pattinson (47). Australia set England a massive target of 398 on the 5th day which meant England could only play for a draw.
Lyon Dismantles England
England’s biggest threat on the fifth day was going to be Nathan Lyon. They needed one or two of their batsmen to put their heads down and play a gritty innings. However, England struggled against the off-spinner who picked up 6 wickets and ran through the English batting line-up like a knife through hot butter.
Patrick Cummins was the pick of the fast bowlers taking 4 wickets in the second innings to add to his three in the first. England were bowled out for just 146 and fell short by 251 runs. England have a little over a week to recover from this loss and see if they can bounce back in the second test which starts on August 14.