Ashes lunch report: Strauss's early fall hands Australia initiative
Thursday 25 November 2010
All of England's Ashes dreams turned to dust last night. It did not mean the session, the match or the series were lost but it was still the worst possible start for the tourists as their captain, Andrew Strauss, was out to the third ball in the first Test.
After all the weeks of preparation and talking about the prospects of success his dismissal handed the immediate advantages, both psychological and actual, to Australia. If the destiny of the Ashes is indeed shaped early in proceedings it was a seminal moment.
Before the opening session of this long awaited event was done, there was to be further trouble for England. They had recovered after a fashion despite clear signs of nerves, when Jonathan Trott pushed forward in Shane Watson's first over and was bowled between bat and pad as the ball swung in.
England had won the toss and Strauss wasted no time in opting to bat. The pitch looked to be in impeccable state, those seeing it at close quarters suggesting it would become quicker. The overhead conditions suggested there may be some encouragement for the fast bowlers with the new ball and so it proved.
Strauss had safely negotiated the first two balls of the over. There was to be no repeat of Stephen Harmison's first delivery of four years ago which infamously started wide, went wider and ended in the hands of second slip. Strauss merely shouldered arms and the ball from Ben Hilfenhaus passed safely through to the wicketkeeper.
The second ball was also dealt with conventionally, pushed defensively into the slip cordon. And then disaster. Hilfenhaus bowled just outside off stump with the ball shaping in to Strauss. He decided to cut it hard, clearly anxious to impose his will on Australia early, to show the manner in which England intended to defend the Ashes.
But it was much too close for the stroke and Strauss had no control over the ball's trajectory. It flew in the air directly to Mike Hussey in the gully. It went hard and at head height but Hussey pouched the catch comfortably. England's captain was patently distraught, and tapped the side of his helmet, the disbelief at his error on display to the world as he turned towards the pavilion from which he had emerged only three minutes earlier.
Immediately, it left England with a huge rebuilding job. The ball was swinging just enough to keep them honest and nerves, though understandable, were etched on the faces of Alastair Cook and Trott.
It did not prevent Trott from displaying some deliberate aggression and he was quick to pounce on anything which gave him the chance to pull. He survived the first referral of the series after being given not out leg before to Peter Siddle. Australia asked for the review but replays showed the ball was merely shaving leg stump, so the decision stood.
It proved only to be a brief stay of execution. Trott was replaced by Kevin Pietersen, who was greeted with a chorus of sustained booing from the full house.
Chelsea vs Manchester United player ratings: Match-winner Eden Hazard leads the way, but Radamel Falcao endures game to forget
Louis van Gaal gives increasingly intense interview as irritation with BBC grows following Manchester United defeat to Chelsea
David Moyes: I had to fight to STOP Wayne Rooney leaving Manchester United to join Chelsea in 2013
Philippe Coutinho 'goal': FA Cup semi-final strike was going 'miles wide' - leading to fury over first goal scorer betting
Mario Balotelli incident leaves Brendan Rodgers fuming after Liverpool's FA Cup exit to Aston Villa
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate