An Ashes five-fer: Day 1, 1st Test, Brisbane

  • WE (MIGHT) NEED TO TALK ABOUT ALASTAIR: Look (Aussies like saying “Look” at the front of every sentence), it’s probably nothing. Cooky is proven. He was an Ashes hero in 2010. He averages 46.It’s just he hasn’t looked that good so far out here..After helping himself to 243 against Caribbean buffet bowling at Birmingham in August, there hasn’t been much in the scorebook. Just saying. Nine innings to go. At least he might have finally found himself a partner in Mark Stoneman.

  • JAMES VINCE GETS HIMSELF A LEAD ROLE: James Vince generally lives and dies by the sword. His previous highest score was 42. Generally, this is not a good CV for Test match cricket which demands a lead character rather than a chancy cameo. Today, Vince hung around as if he was an A-lister on a Kevin Costner epic before forgetting his lines and running off set. It wasn’t as fluent as his normal 26, but this could be the making of him.

  • AUSTRALIAN BODYLINE GOES BENIGN:In some quarters, Josh Hazelwood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were being built up as nastier than Mitch Johnson and Thommo and Lillee circa ’74. The reality was that the moustaches were as macho as the moderate pace off a placid pitch, although Cummins found his inner slayer later against Joe Root as the tarmac got spicier. The Gabbatoir actually felt like a rescue home for most of the day. After all that trash talk, the meat cleavers were a bit blunt.

 

  • ATTRITION IS ATTRACTIVE: This was good, old-fashioned Test cricket. Australian bowlers were probing, hoping that England would get themselves out. But the new Bayliss babes were quite circumspect. Boundaries felt like eight runs. Nothing came easy. Those speed Tests against Windies and South Africa were a distant memory. There’s really no rush to get it done before the weekend is over. In the 13 overs before lunch, 15 runs were scored. It was a little bit passive at times for such an attacking England line-up, but they haven’t folded.

  • SPINNING A YARN ON DAY ONE: The way Nathan Lyon was turning the ball on the first day was quite something to behold.At times, it felt like England were trying to bat out for a draw on a final day pitch with every ball a potential wicket-taker.But Tim Paine dropped a clanger. He’s just not got the presence of a snarling Brad Haddin, has he? Moeen might fancy himself to give it a rip in the fourth innings with a lead of 300 to defend.