Honours just about even in opening Ashes exchanges

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England made a decent enough start to the first Ashes Test against Australia reaching 196/4 by the close of play on day one.

Joe Root won the toss electing to bat first with Cameron Bancroft receiving his cap before play as he made his Test debut for Australia.

Alastair Cook (2) fell early nicking off to Mitchell Starc in the third over but Mark Stoneman and James Vince would dig in.

England got to lunch at 59/1 with Stoneman and Vince far from fluent but not looking too troubled on a pitch that was flatter than expected.

We lost just over an hour of play to a rain shower that started during the lunch break.

Stoneman and Vince would bat for most of the remainder of the session but with just a few balls to go until the tea break Australia struck.

Vince was dropped off the bowling of Nathan Lyon on 68 with the spinner unable to earn any reward for a decent day’s work.

Pat Cummins speared a delivery from round the wicket past Stoneman’s inside edge and into the stumps to send the opener packing for a patient 53 off 159 balls and the tourists were 127 for 2.

England appeared content to survive the day and keep Australia out in the field for as long as possible though James Vince did play some sublime shots including some gorgeous cover drives.

Vince took on Lyon’s arm shortly after tea and would be run out for 83 but his knock marked a successful return to the Test team as he registered his maiden Test fifty in his twelfth knock.

As the day drew towards a conclusion Joe Root looked to rebuild with Dawid Malan with the pair able to move England to 163 before a massive moment late in the day.

Cummins struck Root (15) in front and went up for a leg before appeal, he was denied but Steve Smith opted to review and Australia had the huge wicket of the England skipper.

Moeen Ali joined Malan for a nervy end to an opening day which Australia perhaps edged during the lengthened final session.

Cummins found a touch of swing late on and looked menacing and the pick of the home sides bowlers.

Moeen gave the travelling fans something to cheer in the closing minutes swatting Lyon for six over midwicket.

Malan and Moeen showed the desire to punish the tiring Aussie bowlers late in the day at one stage ticking along at over a run a ball.

Despite the failure of England’s kingpins Cook and Root to make meaningful contributions they will be delighted with how Stoneman, Vince and Malan played.

With two overs to go in the day Australia were able to take the new ball to have one final crack at seizing the initiative.

Starc struck Malan in front with a full ball but Marais Erasmus was unmoved, Smith would review but ball tracking showed it missing leg and the hosts lost a review.

After that ball the umpires decided that the light had got too bad to continue.

Malan (28*) and Moeen (13*) were able to move to 196 to just about restore parity.