– Ashes: England’s James Vince makes 83 before Australia rally in first Test

November 23, 2017

Pat Cummins, six years after making is debut, is playing his first Test in Australia
First Ashes Test, Gabba, Brisbane
England 196-4: Vince 63, Stoneman 53
Australia: Yet to bat

England’s James Vince made 83 before Australia fought back on the opening day of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.

Vince shared 125 with Mark Stoneman either side of a 95-minute delay for rain at the Gabba.

But Vince was run out by Nathan Lyon in between Pat Cummins removing Stoneman for 53 and captain Joe Root for 15.

England, the Ashes holders, closed on 196-4, with Dawid Malan 28 not out and Moeen Ali unbeaten on 13.

The tourists battled hard after winning the toss, perhaps determined not to be blown away in the manner that saw them defeated 5-0 in Australia four years ago.

But on a slow pitch, they were kept in check by a home attack that rarely offered anything loose and will have use of a ball that is only three deliveries old on the second morning.

If the surface does harden up over the next few days, Australia – unbeaten in Brisbane since 1988 – could get the best of the batting conditions and more pace for their bowlers in England’s second innings.

The visitors, therefore, are likely to require their lower and middle order to get them to at least 350 and, ideally, beyond.

Play will start half an hour earlier than scheduled at 23:30 GMT on Thursday to make up for the 9.3 overs lost to the weather.

Lyon roars

Off-spinner Lyon attracted much attention with his pre-match comments, saying he hoped Australia could end the careers of some England players during this series.

Not only was he excellent with the ball, but in the field he produced the most decisive moment of the day.

With Vince looking set for a century, he pushed the ball into the off side and set off for a single.

Lyon moved from point, swooped and threw at the non-striker’s end, a direct hit beating Vince’s lunge for the crease.

Soon after, Cummins got Root to play across a full ball, the initial not-out decision overturned on review.

Vince repays faith of selectors

Hampshire’s Vince averaged only 19 when he played seven Tests in 2016, so was something of a surprise selection when recalled for this tour to fill England’s problem number three position.

Arriving in only the third over, he looked much more assured than in his previous attempt at Test cricket, showing the good judgement that has previously eluded him.

Whenever Australia’s pace bowlers went too full, he played his trademark drives, scoring heavily through the covers and point.

After Vince registered his maiden half-century, the runs to dried up, particularly against Lyon.

Indeed, Vince was dropped by recalled Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine on 68 when Lyon found the outside edge.

Still, he was on course for a memorable hundred when he was stopped by Lyon’s brilliance.

Stoneman sticks it out

Stoneman has been England’s form batsman of the tour, passing 50 in each of his previous four innings and registering their first century in the final warm-up game last week.

Here the left-hander showed patience and concentration, leaving well outside off stump and mainly scoring on the leg side.

His second-wicket partnership with Vince was bigger than anything England managed on their previous Ashes tour.

Although Stoneman accumulated slowly – his half-century came from 150 balls – he looked solid and it was a surprise when Cummins nipped one between bat and pad to take the top of the stumps.

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