Edgbaston in full voice as Ashes opens in gripping fashion

Edgbaston was rocking on the opening day of the first Ashes Test between England and Australia.

The Birmingham ground is renowned as one of the most hostile in world cricket, even if visiting skipper Tim Paine does not agree.

Fans turned up in St George fancy dress
Fans turned up in St George fancy dress (Mike Egerton/PA)

Paine said on Wednesday that there were 15 more intimidating cricket venues than Edgbaston, but that only gave the English fans more incentive to ramp up the volume on day one.

The supporters in the Hollies Stand, led by the Barmy Army, were in full voice and, here, PA takes a look at how the day unfolded in the stands.

Morning session

Fans packed into Edgbaston
Fans packed into Edgbaston (Nick Potts/PA)

David Warner, Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith, all previously banned from international cricket for their part in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, were subject to boos when the teams were read out before play.

Opening pair Warner and Bancroft were greeted to chants of “cheats, cheats, cheats” when they walked out to the crease, but songs involving England skipper Joe Root and seamer James Anderson seemed to be louder.

Warner’s dismissal, lbw to Stuart Broad for two, saw many fans wave what seemed to be pieces of sandpaper in the air, in reference to the ball-tampering in South Africa last year.

Afternoon session

Chants of “Barmy Army” rang around Edgbaston shortly after the lunch interval, when Chris Woakes dismissed Travis Head.

Just after that, around 2.10pm, the Hollies Stand started to warm up as England took control with a splattering of wickets which were greeted with shouts of “cheerio”.

The Australia fans were quiet as wickets continued to tumble
The Australia fans were quiet as wickets continued to tumble (Nick Potts/PA)

Broad thought he had Smith out lbw offering no shot, with chants of “he’s going to cry in a minute” ringing around the ground, but the batsman overturned the decision via a review to prompt more boos.

The Australian fans woke up, cheering as their star batsman kept his wicket, but the home supporters responded with “we forgot that you were here”.

England fans were loving their side's bowling performance
England fans were loving their side’s bowling performance (Mike Egerton/PA)

Joe Root signalled to the crowd to ramp up the noise midway through the afternoon and the fans responded by serenading the England captain with chants of “na na na na na na Joe Root”.

But one of the loudest moments of the day arrived when Paine, 24 hours after criticising Edgbaston, holed out in the deep in embarrassing fashion for just five.

Evening session

There was a sprinkling of rain after tea
There was a sprinkling of rain after tea (Nick Potts/PA)

The home fans, some of them donning crying Smith masks, had to be patient after tea as rain delayed proceedings.

When the action resumed, they continued to be in fine voice despite seeing Smith and Peter Siddle rack up a ninth-wicket stand of 88.

Whistling and hissing met an attempted Smith slog off Ben Stokes, leading to more “cry in a minute” chants, before the “hokey, cokey” rang out.

Australia fans finally woke up as their side battled back
Australia fans finally woke up as their side battled back (Nick Potts/PA)

Boos were drowned out by Australian cheering when Smith reached three figures in his first Test back, before the right-hander was applauded off by the majority of the crowd after Broad bowled him for 144.

Rory Burns defended the first ball of the innings, off Pat Cummins, to cheers and the England fans loudly applauded the first runs prior to a heartfelt rendition of Jerusalem.

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