Australia Too Strong for England at the Gabba to Seize Ashes Advantage
Fortress Gabba remains intact for Australia, who powered to victory over England in the opening Test of the Ashes.
Australia have not lost a Test against England in Brisbane since 1986 and they extended their unbeaten run, and the record books will show a dominant 10-wicket win.
Ultimately, it was convincing as Australia openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft chased down their victory target of 170 with zero alarms.
It makes grim reading for Joe Root’s England, as no batsman went on to make a big score to match Australia captain Steve Smith’s first innings 141 – but there were some positives for England to focus on heading into the second Test in Adelaide.
England built an excellent platform in their first innings, they were 246 for 4 at one stage. From there, they should have gone to post a total in excess of 400. Instead, a collapse saw the tourists roll out for 302. During Australia’s first hit, England twice had them on the ropes – at 76 for 4 and 209 for 7. But on both occasions, the home side bounced back, the second being the most telling as Smith was able to shepherd the tail quite superbly. The final three wickets put on 119 – England mustered 52 – and that enabled Australia to post a lead in the first innings.
It was in no way a big lead, 26, and not decisive but it enabled Australia to begin the second innings with a spring in their step. They took two quick wickets to put England on the back foot and their superb bowling lineup of pace men Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins and spinner Nathan Lyon kept the pressure on England. And once they opened the door to expose the tail, they were brutal.
Aggressive fast bowling reduced England from 115 for 4 to 195 all out, and it’s the sort of bowling that the tourists will face throughout the series.
If Root’s men do not find a way to combat it, they will be blown away as Smith will be able to rotate his pace men, keeping them fresh, while Lyon ties an end down with his impressive off-spin.
The second Test in Adelaide, which will be a day-night match played under lights, hands England a chance to hit back as the conditions will be more conducive to the talents of their star bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad. But whatever the conditions, the Australians will bring fearsome pace to the table.
It may be that England have to chance their arm and attack Lyon at every opportunity, as if he is allowed to whirl away at one end Smith will have the key weapon of fresh pacemen to call on at the other end. And over a five-Test series, that would be too much for England.