After the hype, the drama, the frustration and uncertain tension, the Ashes arrived and it was a day that belonged to the Baggy Green, importantly a day that captured a very special moment for one man in particular.
After losing the toss, which I wasn't worried about given I wanted to see our guys bowl on the Gabba track first, it didn't take long for things to ignite.
Ben Hilfenhaus made sure the first ball was a safe delivery, that wouldn't raise eyebrows like Harmissons unforgettable hurler. Hilfy kept it outside of off and that was enough to settle some nerves. It then happend, short, close to Strauss' body and he flashed at it. Strauss is a very strong player of the cut shot so to get him playing at that delivery was a bonus so early on. He struck it well and it cruised to Mike Hussey, who took it perfectly. Hilfy got the start we needed.
My article a few weeks back was relatively close to the analysis. Must be how Hilfy felt.
Jonathan Trott is a dangerous player and it was amusing, that after doing some quick analysis with another fanatic on twitter, we decided Trott is a candidate who regularly gives his wicket away by seeing them spiral out of the ground.
Shane Watson managed to do some of that Golden arm work and well, he bowled Trott. Got to love it when an analysis falls into place! Seeing Trott go was a relief. I see him as a great threat than Kevin Pietersen.
From that moment on it was the Peter Siddle show. Al Cook, KP and Ian Bell managed to put some decent scores behind their names but a moment of history was made when Peter Siddle dismissed Cook, then Prior (bowled!) and finally Stuart Broad (LBW, he really does look like a mix between Tin Tin & the Malfoy kid from the Harry Pothead films) to get a hat-trick on the first day of the Ashes, also on his birthday!
Broad asked for the referral but when Aleem Dar's hand went up, I can't express the pride I felt at that moment and how pumped I was for Sids to achieve that. What a moment, even better to see it happen in real time on not on a highlights deal a few years later.
He ended things with 6/54 from 16 overs. He was wayward at times but when he pushed his length to a fuller pitch it started to generate results.
That spell of bowling has set this test match up, but more importantly, it took all the momentum away from England. That was so important.
One issue we've had is the inability to get rid of tail-enders. I think the last 2 years has been the period of tail-ender resistance! Siddle supporting Hussey, Steyn supporting Duminy, Sharma supporting VVS, Anderson supporting Panesar...even in limited overs it's nailed us personally (Malinga recently). So to see Xavier Doherty not only get his maiden wicket for the Baggy Green on debut, but to see him clean up the tail-enders for England (including the rat, Ian Bell) was a very pleasing sign of hopefully, things to come.
He finished with figures of 2/41 from 13.5 overs.
I think what really sealed the day was Shane Watson and Simon Katich hold the fort till the end of play, seeing as at 0/25, trailing by 235 with 10 wickets in hand.
Getting England all out for 260 (20 off those being extras...hmmm?) was a huge effort that Peter Siddle can take a bow for. He was a machine out there. Damn, you can't feel the ambition when he gets a wicket. I reckon some of the English cricket supporters were pumping their fists in the air when he got that hat-trick. Kind of contagious.
Anyways, that's the wrap for Day 1 and if this is anything to go by, this series really is going to be one of high energy and intensity.
The battle has begun and as the slogan for this summers Ashes states, "History will be made".
On Day 1, Pedro Siddle already has a chapter of his own.
Peter Siddle's appeal to capture his moment!
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