Day two of first Ashes Test: England bid to make early inroads against Australia

Day two of first Ashes Test: England bid to make early inroads against Australia

England will attempt to make early inroads into Australia’s batting to vindicate Ben Stokes’ bold declaration on day two of what has already been an enthralling first LV= Insurance Test.

Joe Root registered his first Ashes century in eight years, compiling a majestic 118 not out to underpin England’s 393 for eight declared at Edgbaston, where they went at five an over.

Stokes pulled a rabbit from the hat when he waved Root in – the earliest declaration in Ashes history after just 78 overs of the match – but his hopes of sniping a late wicket did not materialise.

The renewal of Stuart Broad’s personal duel with David Warner provided some late theatre, but Australia will resume on 14 without loss on Saturday morning after surviving the challenge.

To walk or not to walk

Zak Crawley, centre, clattered the first ball of the Ashes series for four  (David Davies/PA)
Zak Crawley (centre) clattered the first ball of the Ashes series for four (David Davies/PA)

Zak Crawley set the tone at the outset by clubbing Pat Cummins’ first ball for four before welcoming the returning Josh Hazlewood in identical fashion. Crawley continued to silence his detractors in a freewheeling 61 off 73 balls but when he was on 40, he played and seemed to miss a Scott Boland delivery that whizzed past his outside edge. The Australians did not deem it worth an appeal but an UltraEdge replay in the next over showed that the ball had grazed his bat. Crawley’s sheepish smile said it all and but Boland had the last laugh after brushing the opener’s thumb with a rising ball, with Australia this time rewarded for sending the not out decision to the third umpire.

What they said

The former Australia captain played 168 Tests during a glittering career and may have thought he had seen it all but even he was left surprised by Nathan Lyon’s dismissal of Harry Brook for 32. Lyon’s delivery hit Brook’s thigh-pad, looped gently over him and crashed into the stumps. For that brief moment of flight, batter, bowler and wicketkeeper Alex Carey all lost sight of the ball.

Stat’s entertainment

The number of overs Australia bowled before recording a maiden

England went at five an over as Australia bowled just two maidens across the entire innings – one each from Hazlewood and Lyon.

Another century for the Yorkshiremen

Joe Root, left, and Jonny Bairstow recorded another century partnership (Mike Egerton/PA)
Joe Root (left) and Jonny Bairstow recorded another century partnership (Mike Egerton/PA)

Root and Jonny Bairstow’s swashbuckling 121-run partnership for the sixth wicket was their 11th 100-run partnership in Tests. Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe top the list among Englishmen with 15 ton-plus stands in the longest format.

Australia’s fielding woes

Australia were uncharacteristically poor in the field. The non-appeal of Crawley was the tip of the iceberg as Brook was dropped on 24 by Travis Head, who spilled when diving forward after running in from deep point. Head’s miserable day continued a couple of overs later when he misfielded on the boundary. Carey, diving full stretch to his right, was unable to cling on when Bairstow on 68 got a thick edge off Hazlewood although the drop was not too costly as the Yorkshireman was out for 78.

Declaration of intent

Stuart Broad, left, had an unexpected chance to bowl late on Friday evening (David Davies/PA)
Stuart Broad (left) had an unexpected chance to bowl late on Friday evening (David Davies/PA)

England’s declaration was the quickest ever in Ashes history. It took the Edgbaston crowd a moment to process what was happening when Root and Ollie Robinson jogged off the field with the score at 391. But once it sunk in that Stokes had called them in, they responded with gusto. The first over of the Australian innings was the loudest Edgbaston had been all day.