Saturday, November 07, 2015

Ashes Test: Cardiff

The First Ashes test between England and Australia in the middle of this year was in Wales - at Sophia Gardens, in Cardiff.

The much anticipated tour after the last encounter in Australia, which saw the Aussies dominate, but then also the Aussies even performances against South Africa and then dismal showing against Pakistan in the UAE, and England's gaining as a top test nation again.

The English summer did not disappoint expectations, delivering a dull, cloudy and chilly couple of days. Light sent us to the pubs in Cardiff a little early on a few occasions. But the civilised start times in the morning allowed for a walk to the ground through town.

Past Cardiff castle each time, and through the gardens along the river, getting to the ground was a pleasure each time.

The English side won the toss and went in to bat on Day 1, following a bizarre play-delaying opening ceremony on-field. The Aussie bowlers get into the action pretty early, and quick wickets made for entertaining viewing to warm the Aussie section of the crowd a little.

The Poms finished on 7/343 at the end of the days play, which included Root's impressive 134, and we went on to find a few watering holes in the streets between the ground and our hotel.

The next day saw the handful of Sheilas in the traveling Waving The Flag group display our pink, adding some much needed variety to the grey, green and gold sea of our allocated section. And captured in a rare moment of sun!

England's Ali added a further 50 to his overnight total, to eventually fall at 77, and Starc then finished them off, grabbing a 5 wicket haul for the innings. England has 430.

The Aussies were soon in trouble, and the struggles of newly crowned best batsman Smith began with the English summer - they just seemed to have him worked out!

Rogers went on to score 95, creating anticipation and just missing out, and then the Aussies finished the day on 5/264.

Australia ticked past 300 in the morning of Day 3, but then were all out just 8 runs later. For the most interesting day of the test, the Aussies then took a few quick opening wickets, before England dug in until Root and Bell were both dismissed for 60 a piece.

England were all out for 289, setting Australia the unlikely target of 412 for victory, with talk of rain on the final day.

The Aussies were ticking along initially on Day 4, with Warner and Smith putting together a 78 run partnership. We celebrated Luke's birthday in the stand with cake and hats, and the Australia's were then 2/92 at lunch.

What followed was a session of capitulation, with England taking six wickets for 65 runs. The tea break saw the scoreboard says 7/162 - a blessing that we couldn't read it properly with the angle of our seats!

The great Mitchell Johnson was the only joy for the rest for the day, with 77 runs next to his name, but soon after Australia was all out for 242, 196 runs short of the target.

This led to us having an unexpected day off in Cardiff the following day - which I totally wasted with a hangover. Usual story on tour!

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