Broad and Woakes rip through Australia in Anderson’s absence
England shrugged off James Anderson’s injury scare to reduce Australia to 154 for eight on the opening day of the Ashes as Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes rose to the occasion at a raucous Edgbaston.
Anderson felt tightness in the same problematic right calf that left him a doubt for the Specsavers series opener towards the end of his fourth over and is undergoing a scan on the area this afternoon.
Broad delivered another reminder of his star quality with four for 38 while Woakes contributed a crucial three for 35 as the tourists’ decision to bat first on a largely cloudy day in Birmingham backfired.
Only Steve Smith – heavily booed alongside ball-tampering cohorts Cameron Bancroft and David Warner – provided any tangible resistance as the ex-Australia captain top-scored with 66 not out, one of three batsmen to reach double figures.
Smith was reprieved on 34 after being given out lbw off Broad offering no shot, one of a number of erroneous decisions from on-field umpires Joel Wilson and Aleem Dar.
Warner should have departed for a golden duck after nicking down the leg-side off Broad but a frenetic 14-ball innings came to an end when he was rapped on the pad for two by the fired-up England seamer.
Warner neglected to review the ‘out’ decision and ball-tracking showed the delivery would have slid down the leg-side, to the delight of those in the Hollies Stand who waved squares of sandpaper as the opener exited the field.
Bancroft, like Smith and Warner playing his first Test since the Cape Town scandal last year, was snared for eight by Broad, who dragged his fuller length back and induced an outside edge which flew to Joe Root at first slip.
Anderson’s four overs had yielded just one run but that may be his only meaningful involvement in the match, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker going off after his opening spell before returning to the field until the lunch interval.
Usman Khawaja had unobtrusively moved to 13 but he feathered an edge behind off Woakes, overturned on review, though Smith found a capable foil in Travis Head either side of the lunch interval.
Head needed 15 balls to get off the mark before cashing in against the wayward Ben Stokes, perhaps lacking fluency after being rested in last week’s win over Ireland, and Moeen Ali.
England were a little flat after the lunch interval as Smith and Head continued to accumulate but their 64-run union was ended when the latter was caught on the crease and trapped plumb in front by Woakes for 35.
On his home ground, the Warwickshire seamer also located Matthew Wade’s front pad, the not out decision overturned on review, before Australia captain Tim Paine senselessly pulled Broad to Rory Burns at deep square-leg.
Smith kept Australia afloat as he moved past a battling half-century, the landmark greeted with a smattering of jeers and applause.
James Pattinson and Pat Cummins came and went without much fuss as Australia lost five wickets for 23 runs at one stage. The umpire’s finger then went up when Woakes pinned Peter Siddle in front, only for the tail-end batsman to gain a reprieve because of a big inside edge.
Siddle was still there at the end of the second session on seven not out, by which time the floodlights had been turned on under darkening skies.