Ashes: Broad takes 5 wickets; Australia struggles
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Stuart Broad played the villain’s role to perfection at the Gabba, snaring five wickets to have Australia reeling at 273-8 at stumps on the first day of the Ashes series.
The England paceman took the first four wickets as Australia’s batting collapsed yet again in an Ashes test, the hosts slumping to 83-4 just on Thursday before Brad Haddin (78 not out) and Mitchell Johnson (64) combined in a 114-run salvage operation.
Broad returned with the new ball late in the evening to break up the seventh-wicket partnership and finished the day with 5-65 — his 11th five-wicket haul in a test and his fifth this year. Jimmy Anderson dismissed first-test batsman George Bailey and Peter Siddle to return 2-61 from 22 overs.
Portrayed as the pantomime villain by the domestic tabloids after some run-ins with Australia in the last series, Broad got a raucous boo from the Gabba crowd, got hit for four by David Warner on his first ball of the first test, and then silenced the noise by skittling the top order.
He dismissed Chris Rogers to start his second over in the morning, then returned in a destructive spell around the lunch interval to remove Shane Watson (22), Michael Clarke (1) and Warner (49) as Australia slumped from 71-1 to 83-4 after winning the toss and batting.
Broad said he’d braced himself for a barrage of abuse from the crowd, and made the most of the occasion.
“After losing the toss on what looked like a fantastic batting wicket and to get eight wickets in that day ... puts us in a great position,” Broad said. “It was a really enjoyable day, there was a bit of banter with the crowd, a good day’s cricket and we’ve certainly had the best of it.”
It was the sixth time this year he has dismissed Clarke, exposing the Australian captain with a short ball that was easily taken at short leg — exactly as England had planned.
“He’s obviously their star man, so to have two short legs in to get him caught was awesome,” Broad said. “We know what a world-class player he is, and to get him cheaply in the first innings of the first test means a lot to the team.”
Anderson and Chris Tremlett took a wicket each before Haddin and Johnson combined to start the recovery.
Haddin, playing his 50th test, hit four boundaries and a six and then took a nervous single to reach his 13th test half 50 from 100 balls. He continued unbeaten to reach stumps at 78 not out from 132 balls. He was batting with Ryan Harris, who faced 11 balls just before stumps and was unbeaten on four.
Johnson, recalled after being omitted from the squad for the last Ashes series, struck two towering sixes and five boundaries to reach his eighth test half century.
The seventh-wicket pair played with composure and mainly targeted the loose balls in ideal batting conditions on a Gabba pitch that favored seam and swing early but flattened out as the day progressed. He was finally bowled by Broad soon after the new ball was taken following the 80th over.
“We fought back very hard. That was quite important, had to really dig in,” Johnson said. “I think we’re in a great position. We have two wickets in hand and we can put some more runs on the board. We’re going to put it back on them.”
The top order batsmen, guilty so many times of failures in the recent 3-0 series defeat in England, played some poor shots again.
Rogers didn’t settle at all. Watson got a start but his dismissal — edging to slip three balls before lunch — changed the complexion of the innings.
Clarke was out quickly, Warner badly mistimed a shorter Broad ball and directed a simple catch straight to cover, while Bailey was overawed and his edge to slip made it 100-5.
Steve Smith (31) clouted two boundaries in an over from Tremlett to drag Australia into triple figures, but edged the same bowler to Cook and was part of a slide of 5-51
Australia hasn’t lost a test at the Gabba in 25 years, and hasn’t lost a test to England here since 1986, but behind the eight ball for most of the day.
In the corresponding test in the last Ashes series Down Under, England won the toss and batted but was dismissed for 260 in 77 overs and Australia was 25-0 in reply at stumps on day one. England forced a draw with a second innings of 517-1 declared in the second innings, a dig that set the English on course for their first series win in Australia in 24 years.
England is in Australia trying to claim a fourth consecutive Ashes series title for the first time since the 1800s.