Sunday, July 12, 2015

England v Australia, 1st Test, Cardiff, Day 1, 08/07/15

Six years exactly to the day since the Ashes contest of 2009 got under way in Cardiff (remember?), it was a case of same again at Glamorgan's SSE Swalec Stadium as 15,000 spectators packed in to watch England just edge the opening day of a keenly contested against the old enemy from a 'Land Down Under'.

The old Men At Work hit was one of the numbers sung by Only Men Aloud during a slightly damp opening ceremony including three national anthems, which delayed the start until 11.15.

When play did get under way England were in some trouble until a fine stand between Gary Ballance (61) and Joe Root (134) rescued the situation (Day 1 report from Cricinfo). They closed on 343/7.

The occasion was absolutely fantastic with a great atmosphere in the ground. Glamorgan do a fantastic job in hosting international cricket and this was certainly evident here.

Of course, that won't stop the moaners: "shouldn't be playing in Wales", "always rains", "no history", "they won't be supporting England", "can't get there" "the pitch is too slow/ground too small", "should be at Old Trafford" blah blah blah - pathetic. As Graeme Swann said on Test Match Special, Cardiff is great for cricket and "anyone who says otherwise has an ulterior motive" - such negativity usually communicated in a bitter Northern accent.

There have several great articles online which have been in bold in their praise and defence of Cardiff: respectively, the excellent Middle Stump blog from Dan Whiting and Gareth Griffiths in Wales Online. I can only agree with them.

Of course, Australia didn't like the wicket either, but what did they expect? Brisbane? Cardiff has never had much pace and bounce and this was no different. In many ways, it was a perfect wicket to negate Australia's strengths without affecting England's.

There are ample reviews of the day's play elsewhere on the web. Scorecard is here.

Pre match pics - opening ceremony

Only Men Aloud

England watch the Opening Ceremony... do Australia

The England flag, the Wales one is in the distance

The players step out...

...and line up

Sky's Charles Colville does his piece for Sky Sports News

Standing for the anthems

Fireworks before the game

Day 1 pics

Cook and Lyth step out to open

...and face up...

Nathan Lyon snares Alistair Cook

A packed stadium and a brilliant occasion

Mitchell Starc between overs

Root builds his century....

...and takes England past 250...

...and gets a great ovation from the Cardiff crowd

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