Captain Cummins highlights Australia's dominance with maiden five-for against England

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08 Dec 2021 | 07:52 AM
authorShweta Haranhalli

Captain Cummins highlights Australia's dominance with maiden five-for against England

Here are some noteworthy stats from Day 1 of the First Ashes Test between Australia and England at the Gabba

The oldest rivalry in Test cricket, the Ashes lived up to all the hype and expectations as Australia and England set foot for the opening day of the first Test match at the Gabba. 

Despite the build-up to the riveting series being far from ideal for the two sides, Australia showcased tremendous grit and determination to produce one of their best bowling performances in recent times to bundle out the visiting side for just 147 runs in the first innings. 

After being asked to bowl first, England got off to a horrendous start as they lost Rory Burns off the first ball of the innings. In the last 10 Tests in Australia, England have lost nine and managed to secure a draw at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2017. The visiting side were in dire need of a steady opening stand for the first wicket to set the tone for the rest of the series. 

However, an early strike dented them, and England never bailed out of the initial jitters as they lost four wickets for 59 runs in the opening session, including the prized wicket of Joe Root.

Despite some resistance from the middle order, Pat Cummins derailed the batting unit by picking up his first five-wicket haul as the captain of the side. The right-arm pacer returned with figures of 5/38 to help the home team gain an early advantage at the fortress. 

Pat Cummins joins an elite list

In the glorious history of Australian cricket, it was fascinating to witness a fast bowler being handed the reins of the Test side after a turbulent week following the resignation of Tim Paine. The 28-year old became the 47th player to lead Australia in the longest format of the game and joined an elite list of fast bowlers to lead their nation in Tests.

Also read: Cummins joins elite list of pacers to lead in Test cricket 

Dream start for Australia 

Days before the start of the series, the focus and attention was on the diminishing returns of Mitchell Starc in the past couple of years. The left-arm pacer has struggled with consistency and has been under the scanner for his below-par performances in this format. However, the 31-year old started the series in an emphatic fashion as he dismissed Rory Burns off the first delivery to etch his name in the record books. 

This is the second instance of a wicket on the first ball of the Ashes series. Interestingly, at the same venue in 1936, Stanley Worthington was the first player to be dismissed on the first ball of an Ashes series by Ernest McCormick.

Cummins wreaks havoc 

The wicket at the Gabba is known to assist the pace bowlers, and the captain of the Australian outfit made optimum use of the conditions on offer to rattle England with his maiden five-wicket haul against them in this form of the game. 

The 28-year old started the proceedings by picking up the prized wicket of Ben Stokes to dent England in the first hour of play. He returned with the ball to break a promising stand of 31 runs for the fifth wicket, accounting for Haseeb Hameed in the first over after lunch.

The right-arm pacer returned with figures of 5/38 to become the first Australian skipper to take a five-wicket haul in the Ashes Test since Bob Willis in 1982 at the same venue. En route to this record-breaking performance, Cummins also joined an elite group of people to scalp a fifer on Australian soil as captain. The last time a captain registered a five-wicket haul in Australia was back in 2007 when Anil Kumble scalped 5/84 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Root endures a tough outing 

The onus of the inexperienced batting unit of the England side relied heavily on the shoulders of Root. The 30-year is the leading run-scorer in this format this season, with 1455 runs in 24 innings at an average of 63.26. However, with the side tottering at 11 for the loss of two wickets inside four overs, England's hope of a turnaround were largely dependent on the performance of their skipper. 

Despite having a wealth of experience and over a thousand runs in the calendar year, the right-handed batter struggled in his nine-ball stay at the wicket and was dismissed without troubling the scorers. Root was guilty of pushing the ball too hard off the front foot and offered a simple catch to David Warner, resulting in his first duck of the season. 

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Australia vs EnglandEngland tour of Australia, 2021/22EnglandAustraliaPat CumminsJoe RootMitchell StarcRory Burns

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