The Ashes Round-up: Root raises eyebrows, but little to separate England & Australia
Australia scrapped to 209-4 on day one of the first day-night Ashes Test, with the harum-scarum traditions of pink-ball cricket put to rest on an attritional Adelaide Saturday.
The two previous day-night contests at Adelaide Oval have ended inside three and four days respectively, but this contest looks like it could be an epic slugfest.
- Joe Root surprisingly inserts Australia after winning the toss, becoming the first captain to opt to bowl in a day-night game, but rain hampers England's early progress until Cameron Bancroft run out for 10.
- David Warner falls three short of a fifty while Usman Khawaja fails to take full advantage of a drop to make 53 on a slow-scoring day in Adelaide.
- Craig Overton's maiden Test scalp is prized wicket of Steve Smith (40) but England fightback under the lights is stymied by Peter Handscomb (36 not out and Shaun Marsh (20 not out).
MOMENT OF THE DAY
Win or lose, it is almost certain to be put down to Root's shock decision to bowl after winning the toss. The tourists' toil on a dry pitch drew some parallels with the farcical Brisbane Test of 2002 - when Nasser Hussain inserted Australia on a baking Gabba day - but an impressive show of determination under the lights left the contest delicately balanced after day one.
- Only once in the last 13 years has the team batting first at Adelaide reached 50 for the first wicket (Rogers & Warner, 50 vs India, 2014/15).
- Craig Overton is the first England bowler to dismiss Steve Smith in Tests since Steven Finn did so at The Oval on 21 August 2015.
- Perhaps unusually for him, Steve Smith scored 22 of his 40 runs on the off side.
- This is only the third Handscomb - S Marsh partnership in Test cricket. Previously, 26 for the fourth wicket at Bengaluru, 124 for the fifth wicket at Ranchi, both 2017.
15.4 - Craig Overton has taken 13 wickets at an average of 15.4 in First Class day/night matches in 2017. Debut. pic.twitter.com/4fHE5f9REN-- OptaJim (@OptaJim) December 2, 2017
Overton backed the decision to bowl first, and told BT Sport England did not get just reward: "We were pretty happy to bowl first, overhead skies. Felt we could get a few early ones, we probably didn't get the nicks we deserved."
"I think it'll be a big first session tomorrow. The pink ball's always tricky in situations here, it's a bit two-paced." - Usman Khawaja put his faith in Handscomb and Marsh to wrestle things firmly in Australia's favour.
LOOK OUT FOR...
James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be refreshed and in possession of a new ball on Sunday. Handscomb and Marsh will be in for another battle to put Australia's noses in front.