England ahead in 1st session

Stuart Broad played the villain’s role to perfection at the Gabba, snaring five wickets to have Australia reeling at 273-8 at stumps on the first day of the Ashes series.

The England paceman took the first four wickets as Australia’s batting collapsed yet again in an Ashes test, slumping to 83-4 just after lunch on Thursday before Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson (64) combined to post half centuries in a 114-run salvage operation.

Broad returned with the new ball late in the evening to break up the seventh-wicket partnership and returned 65-5. Jimmy Anderson dismissed first-test batsman George Bailey and Peter Siddle to return 2-61 from 22 overs.

Portrayed as the pantomime villain by the domestic tabloids after some run-ins with Australia in the last series, Broad got a raucous boo from the Gabba crowd, got hit for four by David Warner on his first ball of the first test, and then silenced them by skittling the top order.

Anderson and Chris Tremlett took a wicket each before Haddin and Johnson combined to start the recovery.

Johnson, recalled after being omitted from the squad for the last Ashes series, struck two towering sixes and five boundaries to reach his eighth test half century.

The seventh-wicket pair played with composure and mainly targeted the loose balls in ideal batting conditions on a Gabba pitch that favored seam and swing early but flattened out as the day progressed. He was finally bowled by Broad soon after the new ball was taken following the 80th over.

The top order batsmen, guilty so many times of failures in the recent 3-0 series defeat in England, played some poor shots again.

Rogers didn’t settle at all. Watson got a start but his dismissal edging to slip three balls before lunch changed the complexion of the innings.

Clarke survived three balls to lunch but didn’t last long after the break before he was undone by a short ball and popped a simple catch to short leg.

Warner was seeing the ball and had stroked six boundaries from 81 deliveries until he badly mistimed a shorter Broad ball and directed a simple catch straight to cover, where Kevin Pietersen made his first mark in his 100th test and Australia slipped to 83-4.

Steve Smith (31) clouted two boundaries in an over from Tremlett to drag Australia into triple figures but Anderson soon made matters worse for the hosts when first—test batsman George Bailey (3) edged to a catch to Alastair Cook at first slip to make it 100-5.

Smith edged Tremlett to Cook as Australia slid to 132-6, losing 5-51.

Australia hasn’t lost a test at the Gabba in 25 years, and hasn’t lost a test to England here since 1986.

In the corresponding test in the last Ashes series Down Under, England won the toss and batted but was dismissed for 260 in 77 overs and Australia was 25-0 in reply at stumps on day one. England forced a draw with a second innings of 517-1 declared in the second innings, a dig that set the English on course for their first series win in Australia in 24 years.

England is in Australia trying to claim a fourth consecutive Ashes series title for the first time since the 1800s.

Scoreboard:

Australia 1st innings:

Chris Rogers c Bell b Broad 1

David Warner c Pietersen b Broad 49

Shane Watson c Swann b Broad 22

Michael Clarke c Bell b Broad 1

Steve Smith c Cook b Tremlett 31

George Bailey c Cook b Anderson 3

Brad Haddin not out 78

Mitchell Johnson b Broad 64

Peter Siddle c Cook b Anderson 7

Ryan Harris not out 4

Extras (lb11, w1, nb1) 13

Total (8 wkts; 90 overs) 273

Fall of wickets: 1—12, 2—71, 3—73, 4—83, 5—100, 6—132, 7—246, 8—265.

Bowling: Anderson 22—5—61—2, Broad 20—3—65—5, Tremlett 19—3—51—1, Swann 26—4—80—0, Root 3—1—5—0.

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