The first Test of the 2015 Investec Ashes ended inside four days, with England coming out victorious against Australia in Cardiff. Chasing 412 runs to win, Australia made a mess of what could have been a record-breaking chase. They had two full days to get there but lack of patience and poor shot selection saw them fold at 242 in the final session of the penultimate day; thus handing the home side a 169-run victory.
Here is a day-wise recap of what transpired at Cardiff in the first Ashes test.
Day 1: Joe Root ton lights up Cardiff, England go past 340
Alastair Cook won the toss and as expected, elected to bat first. Adam Lyth (6), playing his first Ashes Test failed to make an impact as he was caught by David Warner at gully off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling in the 2nd over. Gary Ballance at no. 3 settled down quickly with some positive play and was looking to build a partnership with his skipper. An early introduction of spin worked in favour of the Aussies as Nathan Lyon had Cook (20) caught behind. Ian Bell (1) followed him in the next over after being trapped LBW by left-arm speedster Mitchell Starc. Joe Root and Gary Ballance then resurrected the English innings with a 153-run stand for the 4th wicket.
Root went on to score his 7th Test hundred in 118 balls and was dismissed at 134. Ballance helped him hold together the innings with his supportive knock of 61. Lower middle-order batsmen Ben Stokes (52) and Jos Buttler (27) chipped in with important contributions and England ended at 343/7 at stumps. Moeen Ali was the only batsman who was unbeaten and he was joined by Stuart Broad.
Day 2: All-round Moeen Ali makes his mark at the Ashes
England all rounder Moeen Ali was the star of the 2nd day as he announced his arrival at the Ashes with a counter-attacking 77 to push England to 430 before being bowled out. His knock came off just 88 balls and included 11 boundaries and a six. Mitchell Starc was the pick of the Australian bowlers as he picked up his 3rd five-wicket haul and finished with figures of 24.1-4-114-5.
The Australian opening pair of Chris Rogers and David Warner began the innings with caution and managed to put up their fifty partnership. James Anderson then provided the breakthrough as Warner edged one to Alastair Cook, who completed a brilliant catch at first slip. Steve Smith then joined Rogers to carry the innings forward and added 77 runs for the 2nd wicket. Moeen Ali was introduced into the attack and the English spinner got rid of Smith (33). Skipper Michael Clarke at no. 4 looked fluent as ever as he and Rogers shifted the momentum back in Australia’s favour. However, Rogers narrowly missed his Ashes ton as he was dismissed caught behind on 95 by Mark Wood. Clarke (38) too departed after falling prey to Moeen Ali’s spin bowling. Adam Voges and Shane Watson helped Australia go past 250 and thus ended the day at 264/5.
Click ‘next’ to find out what happened on the last two days.