Australia go 1-0 up in the five-Test series after a nine-wicket victory in Brisbane, chasing down their target of 20 after bowling out England for 297; Day-night second Test begins in Adelaide on Thursday
Last Updated: 11/12/21 8:03am
Australia are hopeful that David Warner and Josh Hazlewood will both be fit for the second Ashes Test, despite picking up knocks during their emphatic victory at The Gabba.
The hosts claimed a nine-wicket win in Brisbane, taking eight England wickets on the fourth morning to dismiss them for 297 before knocking off their victory target of 20 in just the sixth over.
Travis Head was awarded player of the match for his superb 152 and Nathan Lyon claimed his 400th Test wicket, although question marks remained over the fitness of Warner and Hazelwood.
Hazlewood (1-32) bowled just 14 of the 103 overs in England’s innings, while Warner did not bat in Australia’s run chase after playing through discomfort to make 94 in the first innings.
Joe Root does not regret his decision to bat first in the opening Ashes Test despite England being rolled for 147 on day one and going on to lose the game by nine wickets.
“Joshy (Hazlewood) is a little bit sore, so we’ll see how he wakes up in the morning,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said. “The key is we don’t want to put him in jeopardy for the whole series, so we’ll take our time.
“He had a scan last night and we’ll work through that. There’s no plan yet, we’ll sleep on it. It’s a five-Test series and he’s important for us, we didn’t want to blow him out of the water on day three.”
On Warner, Cummins added: “Davey [Warner] was available to bat. We just chose not to risk him.
“When we had 20 to win we couldn’t find him! We looked everywhere in the stadium. I think he will be alright for Adelaide. He’s still pretty sore but we’ll monitor him and he should be fine.”
‘Plan worked for captain Captains’
England had started the day trailing by just 58 runs, with Joe Root and Dawid Malan resuming unbeaten on 86 and 80 after a brilliant third-wicket partnership, only for both to be dismissed early by the Australian attack.
The pair only three to their overnight total before Malan (82) was dismissed, with Root falling for 89 as Australia rattled through the last eight wickets for just 74 runs in what turned out to be a dream debut as captain for Cummins.
“I think we stayed a lot more patient,” Cummins added. “Especially this morning, we did what we do best and just try to own the top of off-stump.
“Don’t get too funky with the fields. Don’t get too carried away with the short-bowling plans. That’s probably one lesson, stay at Plan A for as long as we can.
“The way we started the match and the way we finished, we didn’t change too much.”
Lyon reaches new landmark
Lyon ended his agonising wait for a 400th Test victim in style on Saturday during a match-winning four-wicket haul, seeing him become just the third Australian to reach the total.
The 34-year-old failed to grab a wicket during England’s first-innings and was expensive on day three, only to pick up four wickets on Saturday morning to end with figures of 4-91.
Lyon dismissed Malan in his second over on Saturday, with a sharply dipping ball producing a bat-pad catch for Marnus Labuschagne and sparking wild celebrations from the home crowd.
“I’ve got a lot of my best mates in that change room,” said Lyon, joins Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) in the 400-wicket club for Australia.
“They tend to remind me enough, (ask) if I intend to have 400 on my shoes like Pidge (McGrath) or run around like Warney, so I had a lot of banter going on.
“It’s something that I’m very proud of, there’s no doubt about that. It’s been some hard toil to get it but it’s very rewarding.”