Sunday 25 February 2018 / 03:04 AM


The first day of an Ashes Test at the Gabba has traditionally been a graveyard for even the most hyped and experienced England teams, but a clutch of newcomers ensured the opening day of the 2017/18 series finished with honours shared.

Excellent contributions from Mark Stoneman, James Vince and Dawid Malan – boasting just 15 Test appearances between them – saw England through to 4/196 before light was called in the 81st over of a rain-affected Day 1 in Brisbane.

Mitchell Starc struck in the third over, having Alastair Cook caught at slip for two. But Stoneman (53) and Vince (83) carved out a stoic 125-run partnership that took the tourists to the other side of lunch, both players notching new Test high-scores.

The Australian pace attack was willing and consistent but lacked venom, until a beauty from Pat Cummins coming around the wicket to rattle left-hander Stoneman’s stumps provided the breakthrough just before tea.

A brilliant run-out from Nathan Lyon – who earlier grimaced as keeper Tim Paine dropped Vince off his bowling – sent the No.3 on his way soon after the resumption, captain Joe Root left to rue calling an ill-advised single.

Root departed for 15, trapped lbw by Cummins after a successful review, but South African-born Malan (28*) and Moeen Ali (13*) survived the remaining 10 overs of the day’s play.


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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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