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Five-star Peter Siddle delivers for Australia as batsmen struggle on opening day of Ashes series

Key wicket: Peter Siddle celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Kevin Pietersen.

Key wicket: Peter Siddle celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Kevin Pietersen. Photo: AFP

Peter Siddle led Australia into combat on an epic first day of the Ashes but by the end of it the batsmen were in a familiar position - on the ropes.

For the second time in as many Ashes series, Siddle inspired his team on the opening day, adding a five-wicket haul at Trent Bridge to his hat-trick in Brisbane three summers ago.

Hitting out: Steve Smith launches a six. The NSW all-rounder is 38 not out at stumps.

Hitting out: Steve Smith launches a six. The NSW all-rounder is 38 not out at stumps. Photo: Getty Images

England was bundled out for 215 in just 59 overs by a young attack bursting with nervous energy. That scoreline was arguably as big a surprise as the debut of teen spinner Ashton Agar; this strong English team had not been bowled out so cheaply at home since 2009, when it was rolled for 102 by Australia at Headingley.

Not so surprising given recent form was Australia's batting response. The tourists slumped to 3-22 when England's conjurer of a fast bowler, James Anderson, in his element under gloomy skies at Nottingham, bowled Michael Clarke for a six-ball duck with a ball every bit as good as the one Dale Steyn defeated the Australian captain with in Perth last summer.

The Australians were 4-75 at stumps, with Steve Smith unbeaten on 38 after using his feet to get after Graeme Swann, and Phillip Hughes seven not out.

Cleaned up: Michael Clarke is bowled by James Anderson.

Cleaned up: Michael Clarke is bowled by James Anderson. Photo: Getty Images

Steven Finn, whose place in the team, like Siddle's, was in doubt before the series, removed Shane Watson and Ed Cowan in consecutive balls. Watson drove hard at a delivery that was shaping away from him and Cowan chased one outside his off stump. Both were caught in the slips.

Not for the first time in Australia's age of batting dangerously, Clarke needed to save his team.

He took a swish at the hat trick ball but survived, just. Then Anderson produced a ball that curled in, pitched and nipped away past Clarke's bat into the stumps. On the balcony of the England dressing room bowling coach David Saker stood and applauded. The ball was that good.

England's Jonny Bairstow leaves the pavilion after the tea break. Click for more photos

Ashes - Day 1

Day one of the 1st Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground in Nottingham, England. Photo: Reuters

"We've seen him do that a few times, with absolutely magic balls and it's testament to the amount of work that he puts in and how he keeps developing his skills that he can do things like that. It's great when something like that comes off in a game and to get the Australian captain with a ball like that was exceptional for us," said Finn, who felt England had its nose in front after 14 wickets fell in the day.

"It's a tight battle at the moment. To be bowled out for 215 after winning the toss was something we hadn't hoped would happen but we are in that position now and to have them four down is a good result.

"The overcast conditions helped a little bit. We'd have liked to get a few more runs on the board but the nature of Ashes cricket, it's going to be eventful."

Debutant: Ashton Agar is the first Australian teenager since Doug Walters to debut in an Ashes Test.

Debutant: Ashton Agar is the first Australian teenager since Doug Walters to debut in an Ashes Test. Photo: Getty Images

Just when the innings was starting to settle, Anderson came around the wicket to Rogers and rapped him on the pad. The batsman, playing his first Test innings in five and a half years, appealed the lbw decision thinking it was missing leg, but the umpire's verdict was upheld.

Earlier, Siddle took charge of an Australian attack bursting with nervous energy to take 5-50, his eighth five-wicket haul and his second in England.

Amid all the excitement about a teenager playing his first Test on the biggest stage of all, the decision to stick with the side's most experienced bowler when he was struggling paid huge dividends.

Siddle's effort to drag himself back into the contest after a first spell that leaked 27 in four overs was monumental, and Clarke deserved credit for trusting him to come good.

Siddle switched ends before lunch and produced a yorker that faded away from Root at the last moment and bowled him.

Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell were caught in the slips but Siddle's most crucial wicket was that of Trott.

Siddle charged in from wide of the crease and drew the stubborn No.3 into a drive, which he dragged onto the stumps on 48. Trott was furious with himself and jabbed his bat at his stumps in anger.

Matt Prior lasted seven balls, and smashed a catch to Hughes at point.

Australia needed Siddle to stand up as the young attack made a nervous start.

James Pattinson opened the series with a Steve Harmison-style loosener - a ballooning bouncer that was called a wide - but then claimed the wicket the Australians wanted most, that of the unflappable Alastair Cook.

Pattinson had made no secret of the tourists' intention to attack the England captain, who pounded 766 runs in the last Ashes. He settled his nerves by enticing Cook into a loose drive and an edge, which was caught behind by Brad Haddin.

The ball was swinging and Haddin had to be athletic to catch some of the wider offerings from Pattinson.

The young spearhead later lined up the tail, hitting Stuart Broad on the shoulder and getting his wicket with another bouncer.

Mitchell Starc didn't find his groove until a swinging yorker bowled Jonny Bairstow for 37, and the left-armer had Finn caught behind next ball.

Agar, the first teenager to debut for Australia in an Ashes Test since Doug Walters in 1965, was introduced in the 16th over and saw Trott drive his first ball through the covers for four. Tall and lithe, the left-arm spinner conceded 24 in seven unremarkable overs.

Coach Darren Lehmann said the Australian underdogs had shown they were up for a fight.

"Any fan who left the ground today would have left the ground happy with both sides," he said. "It's very pleasing to bowl them out for 215 and we probably should have bowled them out cheaper if we got the areas right. We're here to play, there's no doubt about that, so hopefully the odds will come down."

133 comments

  • Writing on the wall for Australis, bowlers gave away to many runs in what were ideal conditions to put the English side to the sword. Then Anderson and Co come out and show how it's done.. Australia must pray for blazing sun tomorrow to take the swing out of the equation and even then I doubt they will manage 150 unless the bowlers an show some of their sub continent form with the bat. Hughes can't seem to hit the ball off the square, when you take away his get out shots there is nothing left!. I doubt this game will make it to Saturday.

    Commenter
    Hick from the sticks
    Location
    Canowindra
    Date and time
    July 11, 2013, 7:17AM
    • Strange comments... England won the toss and batted. 215 is not too many runs to give away, it's a fantastic result from a very good bowling effort. Being 4 down is a bit unfortunate, but this is an exceptionally deep batting line up, despite the shaky top order. Starc averages 30, Pattinson is not far behind, and Siddle puts a high price on his wicket and has test 50's to his name. Young Agar has 3 FC 50's in his short 10 match career. It will only take one good session to guarantee the Aussies a 1st innings lead. This lineup bats down to 11. Honours are shared, which is always a win for the underdogs. A 50 run first innings lead will make this game very interesting.....

      Commenter
      Mick
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 9:01AM
    • England were bowled out for 215. Hard to criticise the bowlers for that.

      Cowan was nervous which was a pity.

      The ball Clarke got would have got out Bradman.

      Hopefully with clear skies we can get their total and get 100 ahead.

      Unfortunately, the batting line up gives no confidence.

      Commenter
      josephina
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 10:01AM
    • Well done World Champion Aussie Losers. Great performance so far. All those years of parents paying to get their kids into rep teams and politcals pushing aside really talented players is really starting to pay off.

      Commenter
      Andy
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 10:02AM
    • What? As stated in the article the bowlers did a better job than anyone has against England since the last time Australia was there.
      As for the batting, other than Clarke all Australia's best batsmen are still to come. Remember Starc averages better than four of the six 'batsmen' and Siddle got two fifties in Australia's last test.
      That being said Cowan's shot was a disgrace and they should have played Warner - he's got the second best average of all Australia's 'batsmen'.

      Commenter
      Zoibil
      Location
      Melbn
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 10:20AM
    • Settle down Nostradamus, Smith looked as confident batting as any of the poms. He and Hughes have the potential to put a few runs on the board. Should be sunny day two, let's hope these batters dig in and bat through a few sessions.

      Commenter
      sam
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 10:20AM
    • Bowlers gave away too many runs? I wonder if we watched the same game?

      Commenter
      Barnacle
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 10:39AM
    • Hick you have no idea get back to watching the soccer mate. Siddle will make a ton along with smith and Australia 1nil

      Commenter
      Hornberger
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 10:52AM
    • Andy you are right, however the selection of the rep team is usually tainted by the influence of the presenting coaches. The selection from that point needs to be fair, honest and by a committee of experts who could foresee the talent of the future.

      Then we need to get rid of the promotion on the basis of Fathers Cricket history rather than the person’s capability to lead a team. We have been suffering from the underperforming leaders and resultant demoralisation of the team because of their bad decisions. That is complicated by the central committee who also failed to bring our legends to coach our talents. They failed to bring the excellent bowlers and batmen (who retired) to coach our teams batmen and blowers why?

      Commenter
      Ken
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 11:03AM
    • The negative comments about the Aussies for Day One seem a bit, over-negative or perhaps, auto-negative. We expected an Australian top order batting collapse - so all to plan with that. We didn't expect to see the strong English batting fail (by their standards). So it's a positive, not a negative, result for Australia. Throw in the fact that we now have a new coach; one who's able to start and finish sentences without changing the subject three times, and who may scare his players instead pandering to to them, we are looking positively good. Well probably beat the Poms in four days now.

      Commenter
      Arnold R
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 12:13PM

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