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The Ashes Blog: It's now a real Test for England
IT was never going to be easy - despite the storm of bravado and confidence sweeping across the country.
And as soon as Andrew Strauss donated his wicket to the Aussie home for struggling bowlers by getting out on the third ball of the Ashes it was a downhill spiral for England.
The Strauss send off was typical Australian and anyone who had written the Green Baggy cap wearers off ahead of the series must have started to wonder.
Some people said the Australia attack was limp - so what does that make the England batting after a collapse to 260 all out?
Take Cook and Bell out and we would have been in trouble. Pietersen flattered to deceive after doing the hard work. Again.
Of course that collapse, from 197-4 to 260, was inspired by Peter Siddle, a woodcutter in his spare time. Hat-tricks don’t come along all that often in cricket. In the Ashes they are almost as rare as hen’s teeth.
Eight in the long history of the cricket war, the last one from Darren Gough in 1998.
What better day to record the ninth. It was Siddle’s 26th birthday - and all of Australia joined the party as the Victorian gave us the chop.
We won’t know how badly England batted or how well the Aussies bowled until tomorrow’s play - but there was a lack of swing for our boys in the few overs they sent down at the end.
And that is a worry for an attack reliant on swing.
At the end of Day One it is advantage Australia. Ricky Ponting didn’t seem too concerned at losing the toss in the morning. He said he would have batted had the coin fallen in his favour.
But he also said you can’t win the Ashes on the first day of the series - England must remember that line now rather than remember Ricky’s second statement: “But you can go a long way towards losing”.
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