The Ashes 2013: Top Performers Early in England vs. Australia 1st Test

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The Ashes 2013: Top Performers Early in England vs. Australia 1st Test
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The first day of action in the 2013 Ashes series between England and Australia has wrapped up, and several standout performers emerged at Trent Bridge.

In winning the coin toss, the hosts elected to bat first, but put forth a lackluster effort, posting 215 runs in 59 overs. Australia ended the day at 75-4 in reply.

A whopping 14 wickets fell on Wednesday, which is a testament to the quality of bowling in some regard, but also shows that the batsmen weren't exactly at their respective bests.

England are considered the heavy favorite, but at least amidst the first inning, the Australians were well within striking distance.

Let's take a look at those who have shined brightest in the early going of this heated and storied cricket rivalry.

Note: Match statistics and player background information was obtained from ESPN CricInfo.

 

Peter Siddle, Australia

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The beginning of his spell was rather ominous for the Australian bowler, as he yielded 27 runs from the first four overs, according to Scyld Berry of The Telegraph.

However, Siddle picked up his bowling for the remainder of the innings and nailed five of the 10 wickets for his side. The BBC pointed out the history Siddle had made in doing this:

If not for his drastic, positive turnaround, the underdogs would find themselves in a world of trouble—and would have been fielding on the pitch for far longer.

The 28-year-old Siddle showed his superior nerves, as Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson, both 23, didn't live up to the hype on the big stage on this day. Perhaps the younger bowlers can follow Siddle's example moving forward.

Siddle finished with a spell of five wickets for 50 runs from 14 overs.

 

Jonathan Trott, England

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With a team-best 48 runs, the top-order batsman did his job in the opening part of this test for the home favorites.

It marked the best score for Trott in an innings at Trent Bridge, per Berry, but he also fell victim to Siddle, who notched his third wicket against the Englishman.

Considering the roll Trott was on, he was not pleased at the outcome and nearly destroyed his bat in frustration:

Trott obviously cares a lot about coming out on the winning end of this historic matchup, and keeping his emotions in check as one of the leaders will go a long way in doing that.

England will have to figure out how to solve the Siddle riddle, and Trott must impart any wisdom he can as a mentor to get England to step up its level of play.

 

Steve Smith, Australia

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The all-around solid 24-year-old dynamo has been the top bat for the Australians so far in what was otherwise a rather disappointing reply.

Team captain Michael Clarke faced six balls before a magnificent delivery from England's right-arm bowler James Anderson.

According to live bloggers Alan Tyers and Rob Smyth of The Telegraph, Anderson delivered an otherworldly ball that Clarke was absolutely defenseless against. It's an unfortunate break for the Australians, but it required others to step up.

That's precisely what Smith did.

While his compatriot, 19-year-old Ashton Agar, got much of the attention for his debut (h/t ESPN Cricinfo's Daniel Brettig), it was the precocious Smith that helped keep up some critical momentum for his team.

He had 38 runs for his country and will be a key for Australia moving forward.

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