The Ashes day 1: Joe Root spares England's blushes

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Sophia Gardens in Cardiff was the venue for the first day of the 2015 Ashes series. This was also the ground used for the opening Test of the 2009 Ashes series, a dramatic match which saw a tenth-wicket stand between Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar that lasted 69 balls to secure an unlikely draw for England. 

Would this opening Test match provide the same kind of drama? After one day's play, a draw is favourite with the bookmakers but this match promises to go right down to the final overs.

The start of play was inexplicably delayed by 20 minutes due to the opening ceremony that was planned, whereby a red carpet was rolled out and both teams lined up to belt out their national anthems.


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This was aimed at building hype for the match, but whoever was not the least bit interested in the Ashes at this point was not going to change their mind based on some tone deaf cricketers.

England started in a positive fashion, getting some early runs on the board. However, the cloudy overhead condition were making life difficult for both England openers Adam Lyth and Alastair Cook.

Terrible start

Josh Hazlewood in particular was causing problems and it did not take long for him to find the outside of Adam Lyth's bat. He was out for a measly six runs, caught at slip.

Cook followed soon after, edging Nathan Lyon behind for only 20 runs, but only after a very smart catch behind the wicket from Brad Haddin.

Ian Bell came to the crease badly out of form and needing runs, he had averaged just six runs in his last nine innings for England. He was trapped LBW for just one run, reducing that average even further.

Root saves England's blushes

England were 43-3 when Joe Root stepped out to the middle. So often England have been in situations like this and so often it is Root who gets them out of trouble.

Root and Gary Ballance went on to post a partnership of 153 runs before the latter was trapped LBW by Hazlewood for an impressive 61 runs.

Ballance was another player who had been struggling for a bit for form, especially against New Zealand. However, he battled hard in the morning session and dug in when conditions were difficult and contributed an important 61 runs from 149 balls.

England's score now looked much healthier as they were 196-4 but it could have been so much different had Haddin not dropped Root when he was on 0. Root went on to post a score of 133 before he was dismissed, edged behind off the bowling of Mitchell Starc.

Useful contributions

Ben Stokes, another of England's in-form players, posted another 52 runs before he was bowled by Starc, who subsequently held his finger to his lips, telling Stokes to be quiet.

Joss Buttler added a further 27 runs before he was caught cheaply, chipping a shot to midwicket that was gobbled up by the fielder.

England finished the day on 343-7 with Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali still at the crease. England will perhaps be the happier of the two sides after one days play.

Australia will be pondering what could have been had Root not been dropped whilst he was on 0. Tomorrow promises more drama and another exciting days cricket, as do the following three days.

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Joe Root
The Ashes

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