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First Ashes Test, day 1 live cricket scores, updates: Mitchell Starc wicket, Joe Root

Cricket fans were stunned by the first ball of the Ashes as Mitchell Starc delivered an absolute gem, and it only got worse for England.

Welcome to news.com.au’s coverage of the first day of the first Test of the 2021/22 Ashes series.

The first session of Pat Cummins’ Test cricket captaincy could not have gone much better as Australia had England reeling at 4/59 at lunch with the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes already back in the sheds.

Mitchell Starc started everything perfectly by taking a wicket with the first ball, for the fourth time in Ashes history.

Josh Hazlewood had an incredible session, taking 2/3 from seven overs, and Cummins also picked up a wicket of his own.

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Wet weather has hampered England’s preparation since arriving in Australia, which hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the old enemy. The Poms haven’t tasted victory at the Gabba since 1986 and have won just a single series Down Under in the last 35 years.

England won the toss and chose to bat first at the Gabba.

Captain Cummins gets the breakthrough

Pat Cummins has snared the first breakthough after the lunch break, immediately removing England opener Haseeb Hameed for 25.

For the fourth ball of the afternoon session, Hameed prodded at a length delivery outside the off stump and the thick edge flew towards Australian vice-captain Steve Smith at second slip.

“The captain breaks through immediately,” former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrst cried on Fox Cricket.

“(Hameed) could have let it go.”

England gloveman Jos Buttler joins Ollie Pope in the middle, with the visitors now 5/60.

Australia run rampant in Ashes chaos

Former Australian spinner Kerry O’Keeffe said the best thing Pat Cummins did on his first day as Test skipper was lose the toss and it’s hard to argue.

The Aussie captain joined the party to dismiss Ben Stokes and leave England languishing at 4/29 as the all-rounder joined Joe Root, Rory Burns and Dawid Malan back in the pavilion.

On a bit of a green top and under cloudy skies at the Gabba, it’s been brutal going for the Englishmen as Australia ran riot in the first session.

Cummins admitted at the toss he would have batted first but fate was on Australia’s side as the new captain took his first wicket of the day when an outside edge from Stokes saw the ball sail into the safe hands of Marnus Labuschagne at third slip.

‘Insane’ Ashes ball can’t be believed

Mitchell Starc claimed a wicket with the first ball of the Ashes series, bowling Rory Burns around his legs to stun cricket fans as England collapsed on the first morning.

The anticipation for the first ball was palpable as Starc charged in and he didn’t disappoint. His 142.1km/h thunderbolt pitched on leg stump and swung late to get behind Burns’ pads as he fell across the crease, hitting leg stump as the Gabba crowd and Aussie team went berserk.

“Bowled him first ball,” Adam Gilchrist screamed. “The inswinger from Starc, immediate breakthrough, Australia can’t believe the start they’ve got away to.”

It was just the fourth time in 140 years of Ashes cricket a wicket has fallen on the first ball of a Test match.

Shane Warne told Fox Cricket: “Australia couldn’t have wished for a better start.”

The commentators weren’t the only ones in disbelief.

Australia struck again through Josh Hazlewood in the fourth over, handing Alex Carey his first Test catch as Dawid Malan went fishing at a ball he probably shouldn’t have.

Hazlewood had his second wicket soon after, bowling a peach of a delivery that caught England captain Joe Root’s outside edge and was taken by David Warner at first slip.

It was carnage as England slumped to 3/11 after six overs.

England Ashes bombshell is ‘absolutely crazy’

Aussie opener David Warner revealed Australia’s joy at hearing Jimmy Anderson would be rested for the opening Test match of the summer.

England dropped a second selection bombshell on Wednesday morning when it revealed Stuart Broad would also be left out of the side — the first time in five years neither Broad nor Anderson were part of a Test match XI.

England skipper Joe Root said the side was “blessed with a very good seam attack” and Broad’s omission was a “very difficult decision”.

England are going with Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes as their quicks, alongside spinner Jack Leach.

Broad’s omission was good news for Warner, who has been dismissed by the paceman 12 times in Tests.

The 39-year-old Anderson is the most prolific wicket-taking quick in history and third-highest wicket-taker of all time with 632 scalps.

Warner, who Anderson has dismissed nine times in 31 innings in Test cricket, said it was “big” as the right-armer has tormented Australia in the past.

“Having Jimmy out is a big thing for us,” Warner said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“It’s not just his wicket taking ability, but his line, length and control is always outstanding. As a batsman you can never get on top of him, so having him out is big.”

Warner said potential replacement Chris Woakes was “just as good a bowler”, but he doesn’t hold the same fear Anderson does for the Aussies.

Anderson has taken 104 wickets at 34.57 against Australia in his career and has 60 wickets at 35.43 in 32 career matches Down Under.

Woakes, on the other hand, has taken 21 wickets at 43.90 against Australia over nine Test matches.

“He doesn’t have the wickets on the board but he’s a phenomenal bowler and he always hits those line and lengths,” Warner said of Woakes.

“So, they do have good replacements for him (Anderson).”

Star’s sad post hours before series starts

Just hours before the first ball of the series, Ben Stokes has paid tribute on social media to his late father, who died a year ago today.

Ged Stokes, a New Zealand rugby league international, died after a battle with brain cancer on December 8, 2020.

Ben, who was initially not picked in the England touring squad after taking a mental health break at the same time as healing an injured left index finger, was later added to the team and wrote a touching message about his dad.

Stokes wrote: “I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk out onto a field ever again a few months ago, I find it amazing that when I do walk out tomorrow I’ll be remembering you exactly 1 year on since you left us …. You are gonna be with me this whole week”.

Ged, who played rugby league in England in the 1980s and returned as a coach, was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2020.

New Zealand-born Stokes missed most of England’s summer Test series against Pakistan after returning to Christchurch to be with his father.

The all-rounder has been a thorn in the side of Australia in recent years, having been the main man in the last series which was drawn in England, mainly thanks to his insane innings in Leeds where he won an unwinnable match off his own bat.

Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (C), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood. 12th man: Jhye Richardson

England: Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (C), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Jack Leach.

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