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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Broad scythes through Australia and, despite Haddin-Johnson fightback, leads England to ascendancy. Ashes T1/5 D1/5

Australia 8/273 (90ov, Haddin 78*/132b/1x6 7x4, Johnson 64/143b/2x6 6x4, Warner 49/82b, Broad 20-3-65-5) v England; T1/5 D1/5 at The Gabba Brisbane. Australia won toss and chose to bat.

Stuart Broad, spurred on by the local paper's attempts to avoid mentioning him by name, cut through the Australia top order on a warm, sunny and, despite the weather forecast, dry Gabba Only a 7th wicket partnership between Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson prevented an embarrassing rout, but their efforts were not sufficient to deny the honours of the first day's play of this Ashes series to England.

Broad looked menacing from the outset. He extracted bounce from the Gabba pitch,dismissing Chris Rogers early in the piece and Shane Watson just before lunch.

 2/71 turned the first session's balance England's way but Broad wasn't finished. His master stroke was to induce Michael Clarke to pop a short ball limply up to short leg. 3/73: not a good look for the captain, Australia and quite likely the match. And things went from shaky to worse as David Warner who'd looked promising if not in peak form, fell to Broad for 49 and George Bailey on Test debut snicked Jimmy Anderson to slip.

Steve Smith also made a start but fell to Chris Tremlett, who generally bowled within himself and rarely troubled the batters. At 6/132, an embarrassing score given the favourable batting conditions, Haddin and Johnson began the fightback: welcome as the 114 runs they added were it was not enough to wipe all the egg off Australia's face.

 It will be hard to save the match, and possibly even the series, from this point.

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