England 8/307 (85.3 ov, I Bell 72, A Strauss 55, P Siddle 4/63) v Australia: Ashes 2009 T5 D1 at The Oval, London.
Australia fielded an unchanged eleven , and England won the toss and chose to bat. The game therefore started without one side having a clear advantage over the other.
The home team gained the upper hand by scoring 1/108 from 26 often wayward Australian overs in the first session. Andrew Strauss looked in good touch, and Ian Bell vulnerable, yet it was the captain who fell soon after the interval, lbw to Ben Hilfenhaus (off a no-ball overlooked by Umpire Bowden) for 55 (101b, 11x4).
Bell continued to tough it out as the Australian attack tightened up and the pitch to reveal a few tricks. At tea he was 72* and England 3/180 from 53 overs.
Immediately after tea Bell was out bowled Peter Siddle without adding to his 72 (137b, 10x4)
Nobody was able to match either Bell or Strauss as, over the rest of the longish ( 32.3 overs) final session Australia, led by Siddle with the ball and energised by Simon Katich's brilliant runout of new boy Jonathan Trott for a promising 41, looked to have clawed their way back into the game.
On paper, especially as so many critics were talking about a par score of 450 give or take a few, Australia are on top. Given that they have yet to bat and will probably have to bat last, I'm not willing .
to venture any predictions.