Ashes 2017-18, 1st Test, Day 4: 5 Talking Points

Ashes 2017-18, 1st Test, Day 4: 5 Talking Points

Australia came in with the touching distance of victory and is set to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrates with Shaun Marsh of Australia after dismissing Jonny Bairstow of England during day four of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australia came in with the touching distance of a sensational victory in the first Ashes Test match in Brisbane at the Gabba. After the gruelling three days of cricket when the momentum swung from one team to another, Australia literally owned the whole of the fourth day with some hostile fast bowling. Even Nathan Lyon spun the web around England batsmen and scalped crucial wickets when it mattered. However, the hosts are only 56 runs away from their target and they have all their wickets intact.

England started the day with their skipper Joe Root and Mark Stoneman on the crease and had to score runs to put pressure on the Aussies. But they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals thanks to the four-pronged attack of Steve Smith led side which never let them off the hook. Eventually, they were bowled out for 195 with a lead of only 169. Aussie openers, in the chase, looked ever so comfortable and brought the team close to a famous win.

Here we bring you the 5 talking points of the day:

1. Lyon leads the way in the morning

The overnight batsmen Root and Stoneman started off sedately against the new ball in the morning which created few jitters in the Australian camp. But Nathan Lyon spun ball around them with his wily off-spin bowling. He didn’t give away easy runs and snaffled the latter off the delivery which pitched outside the off-stump and turned enough to take the edge. The catch was grabbed by the skipper Steve Smith easily. Soon Dawid Malan was also scalped with a similar delivery as it only pitched on middle and leg and Smith didn’t miss out this time as well.

2. Controversial stumping decision of Moeen Ali

The third umpire Chris Gaffaney was under the spotlight when he adjudged Moeen Ali out despite not having conclusive evidence. Lyon spun one past Moeen which he missed and Tim Paine was quick to disturb the stumps as he looked confident in his appeal. Frequent replays proved that it was not clear if the batsman had something behind the line. But a certain angle after zooming showed that the foot was on the line which made up the mind of the umpire and gave him out.

But the unevenness of the crease was also questioned as it looked a little thick and the benefit of the doubt had to go the batsmen. But Gaffaney was absolutely convinced and adjudged him stumped as the match turned on its head since then.

3. Short-ball barrage continues

Australia didn’t use much of the short balls in the first innings which saw England scoring a decent total on the board. But they altered their plans and attacked the visitors with fiery deliveries right away in the second innings. Alastair Cook was dismissed in the same manner late on the third day. Mitchell Starc roughed Stoneman up by bowling into his ribs and then cleaned up the tail with utter ease.

The wickets of Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow and Jake Ball came off the bouncers as they were kept on their toes by the trio of Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. England collapsed from being 155/5 to 195 all out much like the first innings and surrendered the first Ashes Test in the process.

4. Anderson’s unnecessary throw

England came out to defend the low total of 170 and needed quick wickets to make a comeback in the match. But David Warner and the debutant Cameron Bancroft looked solid and weathered the new-ball spell confidently. Visibly the bowlers looked frustrated and the shoulders started to drop. But James Anderson did something unnecessary which brought him the ire of the spectators. Bancroft defended a back of a length to Anderson which he threw back at him aiming at stumps. The ball hit the stomach of the batsman and even though he apologised Bancroft soon, the crowd booed him for his actions.

5. Half-century on debut from Bancroft

Cameron Bancroft was included in the Ashes squad to replace Matthew Renshaw after piling on the runs in the domestic cricket. He could score only five runs in the first innings and fended at the delivery outside the off-stump. But he pounced on his second chance in the second innings when the team required a good start in a tricky chase. Bancroft started slowly and gained more confidence as he spent time on the crease. The cover drives and back foot punches were pleasing to the eyes as he reached his maiden half-century of his Test career.

He remained unbeaten on 51 off 119 deliveries with 5 fours and a six off Moeen Ali. He would love to remain unbeaten in a winning cause for the team ahead of the second Test match.