Ashes 2015: Who were the winners and losers on the first day of the series?

Gary Ballance gave a reminder of what a high calibre batsman he is, while Brad Haddin endured a day to forget. And did England miss KP?

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After the weeks of build up, mind games and predictions - both hopeful and despondent, the Ashes is finally underway. The cocksure and aged Australia here to put the young upstarts of England back in their place and return Down Under still clasping sport’s smallest trophy.

So how did day one pan out? Did England’s bold new "brand of cricket" stun an Australian side long on age but short on Ashes experience, or did the hosts crumble in the face of the much-vaunted visiting pace attack?

In short who were the real winners and losers after the first day of the 2015 Investec Ashes?

Winners

Gary Ballance Joe Root’s century might have made him the star performer with the bat for England, but the baby-faced assassin has been in red hot form all summer and had nothing to prove. The same could not be said for Ballance who after a stellar start to his career, has had a lean 2015. He couldn’t have been handed a worse start to the day, coming in with England 7/1 and then watching the home side be reduced to 43/3. However he and Root combined brilliantly to put on 153 and rescue England, Ballance’s 61 was a reminder of just what a high calibre batsman he is.

 

Josh Hazlewood Most of the talk about Australia’s fast bowlers revolved around the malevolence of Mitchells, Johnson and Starc, before this series - perhaps forgetting Hazlewood came into this Test with 24 wickets in 5 games at an average of 19.08. He was the pick of Australia’s bowlers on day one, upstaging both Mitchells and picking up three wickets for his troubles.

Pyromaniacs A pre-match shower threatened to ruin their fun, but in the end nothing could dampen the spirits of anyone watching with a predilection for fire and explosions. Both teams took to the field for endless anthem singing with their path onto the pitch illuminated by walls of flame and play was only able to commence one a healthy batch of fireworks had been released into the bemused mid-morning sky above Sophia Gardens.

Losers

Brad Haddin He dropped Root with the batsman on 0 and England 43/3. By the time Root was dismissed he’d made 134 and England were 280/5. Throw in 13 byes and that’s a day to forget for Brad.

Mitchell Johnson England’s terror in 2013/14, by the end of the day the boisterous Welsh crowd were goading him with chants from six years ago. Moustachioed Mitch ended the day with 0 for 87 from 20 overs.

Ian Bell The real concern in England’s batting line up remains Ian Bell who has yet to pass 30 in his last nine innings. More worryingly he has got out in a complete range of ways. He needs a score and he needs one fast. KP anyone?

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