Sport Cricket The Ashes: Aussies put England to the sword in first Test

The Ashes: Aussies put England to the sword in first Test

Alex Careys old his wicket cheaply, but his dismissal didn't threaten Australia's path to an overwhelming victory. Photo: Getty
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Nathan Lyon has rediscovered his mojo to lead Australia out of murky water and set up a crushing nine-wicket victory in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.

The offspinner took four wickets on Saturday morning, England collapsing from 2-220 to be all out for 297.

Wicketkeeper Alex Carey, batting in place of the injured David Warner (ribs), fell for eight while Marcus Harris (nine) drove a boundary through point to bring up the winning runs in pursuit of the 20-run target.

Lyon waited almost a year to bring up his 400th Test wicket, but when it came in the fourth over of day four at the Gabba it triggered a dramatic collapse from the visitors.

England lost 8-74 to be bowled out in the first session, a morning that began with England 58 runs shy and hopes of Dawid Malan and Joe Root steering them well ahead ending in tatters.

Lyon roars

Lyon (4-91) first forced an inside edge from Malan (82), the catch snaffled at silly point by Marnus Labuschagne to end a 162-run stand that had seemingly pulled Root’s men back into the contest.

Cameron Green (2-23) then claimed the prized scalp of Root (89) thanks to some subtle outswing with the old ball and the rest fell away with little resistance.

Australia’s dominance on Saturday followed their near-perfect effort on day one to dismiss England for 147, Pat Cummins taking five wickets on his captaincy debut.

Travis Head blazed an 85-ball century on Thursday before wicketkeeper Carey collected a world record eight catches in his first Test.

While Warner remained in cotton wool, injury fears for Josh Hazlewood were officially put to rest when the Australian quick took the second new ball and chimed in with the wicket of Jos Buttler.

He had only bowled eight overs on Friday and none in the final session during England’s rearguard.

But Hazelwood bowled six consecutive overs on Saturday morning in a good sign ahead of the second Test, a day-night affair in Adelaide starting on Thursday.

Painful hindsight

It was Root’s seventh unconverted 50-plus score in Australia across three tours and 10th against them in total since his last Ashes ton in 2015.

While Ollie Robinson (3-58 in the first innings) was impressive in his first Ashes Test, England will be questioning their decision to leave both Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson out of the side.

Lyon’s quest for a 400th scalp proved a talking point throughout 2020-21, when Australia failed to bowl India out at the SCG and Gabba.

The tweaker was stuck on 399 wickets after his 100th Test proved unforgettable for all the wrong reasons, with India storming to a series victory in Brisbane in January.

A postponed Test tour of South Africa meant Australia were forced to wait almost 11 months for a chance to don the baggy green again.

Lyon bowled 24 wicketless overs on Friday to go with nine in the first innings, but Lyon came firing out of the blocks on Saturday with 4-22 from 10 overs.

He is the third Australian bowler to take 400 Test wickets, behind the retired Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563).