What the papers say: Oz come good at the 'Gabba
With the first Ashes Test in Brisbane finishing a day early and in favour of Australi, the UK media found all manner of things to talk about, from Mitchell Johnson, to the sledging, to Jonathan Trott's departure.
With the first Ashes Test in Brisbane finishing a day early and in favour of Australia, by a whopping 318 runs, the UK media found all manner of things to talk about, from Mitchell Johnson, to the sledging, to Jonathan Trott's departure*.
The Guardian's resident Australian columnist, <b>Aaron Timms</b>, wrote of the relief the Aussies must have felt after finally recording a win after 10 barren Tests. He wrote: "Victory has rarely looked so cathartic; the celebrations as the players gathered around Mitchell Johnson at the fall of the final wicket seemed less like cricket and more like a cult exercise in collective expiation.
"As the frustration and missteps of the last year, from the collapses at Lord's and Durham to the jazz hands incomprehensibility of Ashton Agar's selection, to the fights over Twitter and the entire tour of India, were howled away, all you wanted to do, as an Australian, was gather round the players, give each of them a long hug, and say, "Let it all out, girlfriend; just let it out."
Former England player <b>Sir Geoff Boycott</b> wrote in The Telegraph that England did not have the killer instinct to win the game when the Aussies were on their knees in the first innings, saying: "In every Test match I have played or seen there is usually an opportunity for either side to grasp the initiative and win the game.
"Here in Brisbane you could not have asked for a better opportunity than getting Australia 132 for six. My God, you should take that every single Test match and grasp it with both hands. It is manna from heaven. But we did not have the balls or killer instinct to finish them off. We allowed Australia to get out of jail, gain an enormous amount of momentum and score nearly 300.
"That is where we lost the game. It meant that when Australia came to bowl they had a total to defend. Test matches are won by whichever team can grasp those moments and we were not good enough to do that."
<b>Mike Selvey</b> of the Guardian was full of praise for Aussie paceman Mitchell Johnson, whose nine wickets were key to the hosts' victory. He wrote: "He had bowled extremely fast and furiously on a terrific pitch of a kind rarely seen in the age of bland, batsman-bespoke strips, unsettling all the England batsmen who faced him.
"This was a bowler a world away from the one lampooned by fans visiting this country three years ago, used sparingly by Clarke in short bursts and backed up admirably by Ryan Harris, ploughing in like a dreadnought butting through the north Atlantic, and the indefatigable banana-eater Peter Siddle.
"Stuart Broad competed strongly and Anderson had his moments (although he has had a lean time of it since his match-winning bowling at Trent Bridge in the English summer) but in these conditions they could not match the force at Clarke's disposal."
The BBC's <b>Jonathan Agnew</b> wrote that Alastair Cook had a tough road ahead of him, given the many problems the first Test revealed, writing: "England do not have the firepower to hit back with pace of their own, and if they have a plan for dealing with Johnson they are not executing it – continuing the theme of poor batting on their last five overseas tours.
"In recognising the problems, Cook has taken the first step towards solving them. He challenged more England players to stand up, which is quite right. We are about to find out if they are able.
"Perhaps the shock of this result is compounded by the fact that we are not used to seeing England in this position against Australia. We have become accustomed to seeing them dominate. It has totally rejuvenated Australian interest in the Ashes and, in that sense, has done wonders for the series. But, it has put a lot of pressure on England."
<b>Stephen Brenkley</b> of the Independent hoped the 'banter' that marred the end of the match wouldn't reduce the series to 'mayhem, writing: "There is a clear and present danger that the Ashes series may descend into mayhem.
"The brutal and excellent fast bowling of Australia, led by Mitchell Johnson, has already given the series a physically intimidating dimension but evidence mounts that the teams have a fervent and mutual dislike.
"Banter, of course, is in this case a synonym for verbal abuse of the kind that might well lead to you being arrested if delivered in the average market town Saturday night booze-up.
"But the players have come to expect it and in a way to revel in it. The idea that much or indeed any of it is laced with humour should be dismissed. A modern sledge is simply an expletive-laden insult, designed, in the phrase of the former Australia captain Steve Waugh, to cause mental disintegration."
The Times' <b>Richard Hobson</b> on Monday pondered who Andy Flower would call into the side to replace Jonathan Trott, and pointed out the lack of real options, writing: "There is no sign of England calling in a replacement batsman for the moment.
"The squad will be 17-strong in any case when Tim Bresnan is formally added. Ian Bell and Joe Root appear to be the two obvious candidates to move up the order to three, with Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow or Ben Stokes then slotting in at six.
"Bairstow has Test experience, but Flower preferred Ballance for the opening two warm-up matches. Ballance failed twice and looked unconvincing. Stokes has huge potential and his inclusion in Adelaide as an all-rounder filling the third seamer role would allow England to recall Monty Panesar as a second spin bowler on a drop-in pitch.
"Asking Stokes to bat at six for the time being, though, is a huge ask, especially as Matt Prior is in such poor form below him. Flower is facing one of the biggest challenges of his coaching career."
*<i>All but the last of these excerpts were written before Monday's news of Trott's exit due to a stress-related illness, and their full versions were thus full of criticism, given his poor form in the match.</i>
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