Ashes: Australia beat England by 10 wickets in first Test

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Brisbane
First Ashes Test, Gabba, Brisbane (day five of five)
England 302 (Vince 83) & 195 (Root 51)
Australia 328 (Smith 141*) & 173-0 (Warner 87*, Bancroft 82*)
Australia won by 10 wickets; lead 1-0 in five-match series

Australia completed a 10-wicket victory over England in the first Ashes Test on the fifth morning in Brisbane.

Chasing a target of 170, the hosts got the 56 runs they required in little more than an hour, with David Warner 87 not out and debutant Cameron Bancroft unbeaten on 82.

On just two previous occasions have England lost the first Test in Australia and gone on to win the Ashes, but Joe Root's men need only draw the series to retain the urn.

The next Test, a day-nighter in Adelaide, begins on Saturday, so the tourists must re-group quickly both on and off the field.

News of an investigation into an alleged headbutt by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow on Australia's Bancroft in a Perth bar four weeks ago emerged on Sunday.

Both men were on the field throughout Monday's play and shook hands at the conclusion of the match.

It was Bancroft who offered the only semblance of a chance, edging Jake Ball past lone slip Alastair Cook when on 60.

He hit the winning runs off Chris Woakes as Australia preserved their 29-year unbeaten record at the Gabba on the third anniversary of the death of Phillip Hughes.

Jonny Bairstow & Cameron Bancroft shake hands after the first Test
Jonny Bairstow and Cameron Bancroft shook hands after the first Test

England rue match of fine margins

This was England's sixth successive Test defeat in Australia following a 5-0 whitewash in 2013-14.

Despite the margin of victory, this match was even for the majority of the contest and offers some suggestion the series could be keenly fought.

Ultimately, it was decided by some key moments going the way of the home side, partly through Australian excellence and partly through England mistakes.

On the first day, with England 127-1, James Vince was run out for 83 by a brilliant direct hit from Nathan Lyon.

Vince was one of seven England batsmen to reach 38, but his was the tourists' highest score of the match.

In contrast, Australia captain Steve Smith ground out an unbeaten 141 to rescue his side from 76-4 and 209-7, the latter when England were strangely reluctant to employ all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson.

Australia's final three wickets ultimately added 119 runs, whereas in the first innings England's last five managed 56 and in their second the last four just 10.

And although the home side coasted the chase, by the time Warner and Bancroft negotiated the new ball, the contest was as good as over.

England feel Stokes absence

Ben Stokes with England coach Trevor Bayliss last summer
Ben Stokes made his England Test debut in Australia in 2013, scoring 279 runs and taking 15 wickets in the series

In a Test that was in the balance for so long, England's defeat further highlighted the effect of Ben Stokes' absence.

The all-rounder was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm in September following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub.

He remains in the UK awaiting the outcome of a police investigation.

Without Stokes batting at number six, Moeen Ali and Woakes moved up the batting order and an elongated tail was twice blown away by the aggressive Australia pace attack.

Stokes' replacement in the side, pace bowler Ball, returned match figures of 1-115.

Did the scoreline flatter Australia? - what they said

England captain Joe Root, speaking to TMS: "It doesn't really feel like a 10-wicket defeat. We came here fully confident we could get the win.

"For three days we were excellent but missed a couple of chances with bat and ball in the first two innings.

"Mark and Vincey played outstandingly well. To show that composure, character and skill in their first Ashes Test was exceptional.

"The wicket got better as the match went on. Steve Smith's knock was incredible - take it out and we would've bowled them out for 150."

Joe Root & Steve Smith shake hands
England have not won an Ashes series in Australia after losing the first Test since 1954

Australia captain Steve Smith: "It's great we've been able to keep our Gabba record. We played some really good cricket after losing the toss on what was a really good wicket.

"Nathan Lyon is bowling as well as I've seen him bowl. He went wicketless in the first innings then got the reward in the second. Davey [Warner] and Cameron were magnificent.

"I think England have a few newish players that haven't experienced an Ashes series before. The first Test is important and it's nice to get it out of the way but we've got a big ask on our hands at Adelaide."


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