The Ashes 2013: Ian Bell, Steven Smith and More Highlights from Day One
The 2013 Ashes are only six days old, but they’ve already thrown up enough surprises for an entire series.
Australia looked on course to be batting by lunch on day one after rifling through England’s top order to leave the hosts struggling at 28-3. Alastair Cook made the bold decision to drop Middlesex seamer Steven Finn after his disastrous first Test, but showed he was equally susceptible to pressure after falling for just 12.
He was quickly followed by Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen—the pair adding only eight runs between them. England were in disarray.
But a revival led first by Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell—and then Bell and Jonny Bairstow—seemingly had England in command with 250 runs on the board. But Bell, Bairstow and Prior fell to Steven Smith as the day sapped on, leaving the Australians the slightly happier side at stumps, with England 289-7.
Bell was again the standout performer, adding another century to the one he posted in the first Test, and remains the only player with a three-figure score to his name. With Root’s place as opener far from secure, it might not be long before the Warwickshire man is promoted up the England order.
Australia's Ryan Harris on Ian Bell: "He batted well & when he's in this form he's hard to get out. You have to get him early." #ashes— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 18, 2013
Smith’s late wickets though were as telling as the batsman’s runs. For someone who didn’t bowl a single ball in the opening Test to completely alter the momentum of the match is extraordinary. And to do it in just six overs is even more impressive.
Smith has flown under the radar in the series despite a telling contribution with the bat at Trent Bridge, where he added 70 runs to his side’s cause. Even if Bell’s dismissal was cheap, a needless edge off a tame delivery, Smith capitalised on it and quickly added Bairstow and Prior to his list of victims.
Australia must now aim to keep their opponents' total as close to 300 as possible and attack the remaining English batsmen.
England will be hoping Stuart Broad can post a big score after Cook sent James Anderson out to act as nightwatchman, but their shaky batting suggests they might be bowling for the majority of the second day.
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