England won the first Ashes test match against Australia at Cardiff today with a day to spare to begin with their campaign to regain the Ashes. Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali took three wickets each to limit Australia to 242 on the fourth day at Sophia Garden. Australia missed a chance to rewrite the history as they were unable to chase down a massive total of 412 on a wearing day 4 pitch.
With the new coach Trevor Bayliss taking charge, spirits were high in the English camp and they put up a great show throughout the four days and outplayed Australia in every department. The Aussies made a mess of their chase, as five top-order wickets fell for 25 runs in 12 overs on the stroke of lunch. Even though, Mitchell Johnson offered some resistance with a defiant 77 but an English victory was inevitable.
Before the start of the series, the England bowling looked fragile and it seemed, as the mighty Australian batting line up would reign supreme. Nevertheless, in Cardiff they bowled a disciplined line on a slow, dry and occasionally inconsistent surface. Stuart Broad and James Anderson were back in rhythm. Mark Wood bowled wicket to wicket, Ben Stokes chipped in with some good overs in the middle too. Moeen Ali, after spending quite some time with Saeed Ajmal in County cricket was a changed bowler and took 5 crucial wickets in the match, scoring 77 to take England to a decent total in the 1st innings of the test match. His tally included the wicket of a well settled Warner which turned the match on its head. Warner batted beautifully and looked to be running away with the game until Moeen got rid of him. Smith followed soon. Meanwhile Broad again got Clarke out who is turning into Broad’s bunny as he has him out 10 times. Haddin was looking to make up, for he dropped Root on zero in the 1st innings but failed. Watson hung in there for an hour but again got an LBW, which happened to be his 29th time in 109 test innings.
Man Of the Match, Joe Root could do nothing wrong in the match as he got the wicket of Johnson, scored a well paced 134 and 60 after England slumped to 44-3 in the first innings and took the catch of Hazlewood to take England to victory.
An ambitious English team now heads to Lord’s for the second Test starting on Thursday, knowing that of the last 17 Ashes series, the team that has eventually lifted the urn has won the opening Test 15 times. While the energies are low in the Australian camp after the loss as they are facing problems with both their Mitchell’s who also happen to be their front line bowlers. One went wicket less in the first innings and the other has sustained an ankle injury and is unlikely to take the field at Lord’s.
Australia was favourites before coming into this game, but they did not live up to their tag of the number one side in the world. They batted neither well in the first innings nor in the second. Their batsmen got starts but they were unable to convert those starts into big ones and were bowled out with a day to spare. The best part of this match will surely be Joe Root and Gary Ballance’s partnership in the first innings that set up this match up for England. Moeen Ali’s performance with both bat and the ball impressed all and showed how important his presence is for his team in this series. Australia will have some serious work to do before the two sides clash again for the second Test.