Though England looked to bazball Australia with intent, the Aussies were quick to script a comeback and had the hosts three down for just 124 on the board on the stroke of Lunch.
After weeks of peaking, The Ashes 2023 finally kicked off on June 16th at Edgbaston, Birmingham. England chose to go first after winning the toss on the first day. There is plenty of talk about how the ‘Buzzball’ will fare against the ‘ultimate test’, but England posted a respectable performance with his 393 goals and aggressive intent throughout their opening day of five games. It was seen holding and hitting.
Opening pitcher Zach Crowley showed England’s intentions with his first shot of the series when he threw Australian captain Pat Cummins over the cover and into the perimeter. This shoot must have kick-started the England captain amusing himself in the dressing room, and the Three Lions are next.
Despite England’s eye on Buzzball Australia, Australia quickly set up a comeback, holding the hosts to just 124 points by three just before lunch. A middle-class bailout was needed, and former captain Joe Root took the blame. Root (118*) scored an impressive century and looked poised throughout his stay at the crease.
He stitched a 121-run stand with wicketkeeper-batter Jonny Bairstow, who was making a comeback to the Test arena after an extended injury layoff due to a freak golf accident last year right before the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Bairstow also looked at ease and took to Test cricket like fish to water. He scored a run-a-ball 78, including 12 fours in his innings and counterattacked the Aussie bowlers who seemed on top after reducing the Ben Stokes-led side to 176 for five, but the thing that became the talking point by the end of the day’s play was not how England managed to play fire with fire but the timing of their first innings’ declaration.
With Root well-set and batting on 118 alongside Robinson and trying to accelerate, everyone expected them to push on and add as many runs as possible to put an intimidating total on the board, but the English skipper had other intentions.
Stokes declared 393 innings in an attempt to break through Australia’s opening two games by the end of the day. Bairstow reflected on the captain’s decision and said it did not surprise anyone in the England locker room.
“I think Ben made a lot of decisions that surprised commentators and others, but they didn’t come as a surprise to us,” Bairstow said, quoted by the Times of India.
“I’m happy to be back on a big stage with a big dance. I would love to be a part of it and it did not disappoint,” he added.
Mr Bearstow also reflected on his partnership with Root and expressed satisfaction with how the partnership came to fruition. He praised the former England captain’s shot.
“It was great. He has some special qualities and does something special. As someone