Joe Root today became the first batsman in England’s opening tour match to be dismissed without making a half century. It was perhaps an unwanted kind of achievement but someone had to oblige even on a pitch as friendly as the surface on which the tourists and the WACA Chairman’s XI are playing.
In common with everybody else who had batted, Root was in no trouble as he and Michael Carberry shared a century opening stand in reply to the opposition’s imposing total of 451 for 5 declared. But he failed to make contact with a ball from the Glamorgan all-rounder Jim Allenby which skidded on and was lbw for 36.
England reached tea on the second day at 137 for 2, with the objective presumably of trying to bat for the rest of the three-day match. Carberry, one of the least illustrious members of the squad, was out for 78 on the stroke of the interval, cutting a short ball to point.
It was a surprising lapse in an innings of gusto and authority which included 12 fours in its 104 balls. Carberry is unlikely to play in the Test series, although Root will need to find form sooner or later to deserve to hold down the place as opening partner to the captain, Alastair Cook.
There was again little reward for England as they continued to struggle at the start of the second day. Allenby became the fifth out of the top five WACA team to make a half century and Ashton Turner shortly after the sixth. Never had an England team conceded so many runs in their opening match of an Australian tour.