Travis Head, Cameron Green added 121 runs for the fifth wicket on Day 1 of Hobart Test
Brief Scores: Australia 241/6 (Travis Head 101, Cameron Green 74, Broad 2/48, Robinson 2/24) against England at Stumps on Day 1
Bellerive Oval in Hobart gets its first Ashes Test and the packed crowd was witness to many twists, turns and rain on the first day of the fifth Ashes Test of the 2021-22 series between the old enemies. England were on top in the first session when the hosts were reduced to 12 for three. But the Aussies made a fantastic fightback through Travis Head and Cameron Green to make it even stevens on Day 1.
England bowlers flattened Aussie top-order, reduce them to 12-3
The visitors won the toss and chose to bowl first in this Pink Ball Test, and they were right on the money in these overcast conditions. England five changes to their side for this Day-Night Test. The tourists had dropped Jonny Bairstow, Jack Leach, Haseeb Hamid, Jos Buttler and James Anderson. They picked Ollie Pope, Chris Woakes, Rory Burns, Sam Billings and Ollie Robinson in their place in the playing XI.
But the home side had a terrifying start to their innings. Australia lost their dangerous opening batter, David Warner, for a duck off 22 balls. Robinson justified his selection as he was the first to pick the wicket of dangerous Warner in the fifth over. In a span of three overs, Australia lost another wicket. This time it was Usman Khawaja dismissed by Stuart Broad.
The twin century-maker of the fourth Test at SCG, was out for just six runs and the Aussies continued to lose wickets at regular intervals.
Steven Smith was another one to fall in the first session. The best Test batter of Australia fell to Ollie Robinson for zero. Australia were precariously placed at 12-3. England could have had Marnus Labuschagne as well. But Zak Crawley dropped the number one Test batter when he was on zero. Labuschagne played a counter-attacking innings to bring the momentum back in Australia's favour.
Still, England could have put the home side on the back foot with one more wicket in the first session. Labuschagne eased off some pressure on the home side with his attacking strokeplay.
But it was Stuart Broad again who castled the number three Australia batter. Marnus Labuschagne was clean bowled for 44 runs as he misjudged the line and length of Broad’s delivery. He shuffled across the stumps and he was out. Australia had lost four wickets in one session, which is a rare sight to see, especially when they play at home.
Head and Green rebuild innings for Australia
After the first session, it was a fantastic turnaround for the hosts. Travis Head was brought back in this Test and he played as if he couldn't do any wrong. Cameron Green, the young pace-bowling all-rounder, supported Travis well, and they brought their team back into this contest.
The hosts were 83 for four when these two middle-order batters got in action. But their 121-run partnership for the fifth wicket saved the blushes for Australia. England couldn’t repeat the magic which allowed them to pick up four wickets in a single session. Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson were good with their lines and lengths but Mark Wood and Chris Woakes weren’t at their best. Woakes also played a few previous Tests in this series but he didn't do well. But still, England selected him for the Pink Ball Test, hoping that he could make any difference.
Mark Wood has bowled well in this series so far. But here, he also wasn't at his complete best. He bowled 11.3 overs and went for 79 runs taking a solitary wicket. Both Head and Green cashed in on their opportunities to score runs in front of out-of-form Woakes and less-than-lethal Wood.
Australia finish day on 241-6 before rain halts play
The second session went in the way of Australia as they passed the 200-run mark, which looked highly unlikely in the first session. Thanks to Travis Head, who scored his second century of the series, and Cameron Green, who applied himself well for a fighting fifty.
But before Travis Head reached his second hundred of the series, he had to battle the score of nervous nineties. He almost chipped the ball in the air when he was batting on 99 runs. Head eventually got to the three-figure mark but got out after he completed his century. He couldn't get off the celebration mode and he chipped the ball in the air, the same way he did on 99. But this time, Robinson took a simple catch and finally, Mark Wood got his man.
After Travis Head was out for 101, Cameron Green didn’t stay long either. Australia were cruising nicely when Head and Green were batting. But two wickets in the last session allowed England to pave their way back into the match.
Cameron Green registered a well-made 74. He lost an excellent chance to score his maiden hundred for Australia at the international level. Now, Australia had their lower-order at the crease. Alex Carey is batting at 10 and Mitchell Starc hasn't got off the mark. Rain stopped play and Australia ended their first day’s play with 241-6 in 59.3 overs.
What should Australia and England do on Day 2?
With six down, the Aussies can expect some fireworks from Alex Carey. He will be the main player for his team to take the innings forward.
Mitchell Starc can also bat. The first session will be important for the hosts. If they don’t lose more wickets then they can get to the 400-run mark which will be enough for Australia to stay alive in this match.
England, on the other hand, will not want 400 runs in the 1st innings from Australia. They need to pick up the remaining wickets quickly before the lower-order fires for Australia.