Joe Root Brings His 30th Century
The Ashes series got off to a sensational start as Joe Root stole the show with a classy ton and England’s captain led his team to a surprising declaration on the first day of the much-anticipated contest at Edgbaston.
Root’s magnificent unbeaten knock of 118 turned the tide for England, propelling them from a precarious position of 176-5 to a formidable total of 393-8 before the declaration.
Root’s masterful innings was supported by impressive partnerships, most notably with Jonny Bairstow, who contributed a quickfire 78 off just as many balls.
The duo added 121 runs to the scoreboard, rescuing England from a potentially dire situation. Additionally, lower-order batsmen Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, and Ollie Robinson made valuable contributions to strengthen England’s position.
The excitement began early in the day when Zak Crawley, displaying exceptional batting skills, smashed the first ball of the Ashes he faced from Pat Cummins to the boundary.
The shot left the England captain is awe of the moment. The aggressive approach set the tone for England’s innings, leaving the Australian team to counter their swashbuckling style by deploying fielders on the boundary throughout the day.
The Bazball Declaration
However, the most surprising move came from England’s captain, Ben Stokes, who executed an audacious declaration, making it the earliest first-innings declaration in Ashes history. With just four overs left in the day, England’s bowlers were given a chance to strike at the Australians, who had been fielding in scorching conditions.
In response, Australia’s opening pair, David Warner and Usman Khawaja, managed to survive until the end of the day, reaching 14-0. However, the Ashes holders found themselves trailing by a massive 379 runs after England’s dominant batting display.
Root’s century against Australia holds particular significance, as he had failed to reach the milestone in any of his previous three Ashes series as captain. It was a pivotal innings for Root, especially after Stokes’s dismissal, which had put England in a precarious position with two wickets falling for just one run.
Root’s partnership with Bairstow showcased their remarkable chemistry and resilience, reminiscent of their previous match-winning effort against India at the same venue last year.
Root’s stroke play was a sight to behold, including flicks off his pads, delicate shots to the third man, and a reverse sweep against spinner Nathan Lyon, which initially resulted in an lbw decision on 61 but was successfully overturned upon review.
The bowlers, Scott Boland and Pat Cummins, were not spared either, as Root fearlessly reverse-scooped them for sixes. Bairstow, in his return to international cricket following a leg injury last August, seemed to have rediscovered his form, displaying impeccable timing until he was stumped.
Moeen Ali also received a warm reception on his Test cricket comeback, contributing 18 runs before being dismissed in the same fashion as Bairstow.
In the final stages of England’s innings, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson provided crucial support to Root, helping him achieve his 30th Test century. Root celebrated the milestone by hitting two maximums off Lyon before England made the unexpected declaration.
With England taking an assertive approach in the opening match, the Ashes series is off to a thrilling start. The declaration has set the stage for an enthralling battle as Australia faces an uphill task of narrowing the gap in their pursuit of England’s challenging total.
The second day promises more gripping cricket action as the rivals continue their quest for glory in this historic contest.