Pat Cummins was anointed to the Australia captaincy in difficult circumstances, but he made sure the celebration that followed was a memorable one. The pacer claimed a fifer on his captaincy debut to help Australia dismiss England for 147 on Wednesday of the Gabba Test. But Day 1 of the Ashes 2021-22 series opener lasted only 50.1 overs as rain played spoilsport. England captain Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat first. But the visitors lost opener, Rory Burns, on the very first delivery, undone by a beauty of a Mitchell Starc yorker. Then, it soon became 29/4 in the 13th over as Ben Stokes lasted only 21 balls for five. Get here Day 1 highlights and cricket scores of AUS vs ENG first Test.
Starc's early blow was accentuated by strikes from Josh Hazlewood and Cummins, who took the last three wickets to complete the five-wicket haul in his first innings as Australia captain. Haseeb Hameed, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler did try to resurrect the English innings but all they could do was produce middling innings. Buttler top-scored with 39 off 58.
12:26 PM IST: Early Stumps
The inevitable happens. Rain, then bad lights. Only 50.1 overs on Day 1 and England all out for 145. It's early stumps at the Gabba.
11:52 AM IST: Inspection Time
Rain has stopped. Umpires to have another inspection. A while ago, as the rain eased off Pat Cummins was seen with the umpires.
11:34 AM IST: Elsewhere...
A 47-run stand for the fifth wicket has stalled, for now, Pakistan's push for a sensational win against Bangladesh in the second Test. Mushfiqur Rahim (16 off 52) and Liton Das (27 off 46) were unbeaten at lunch. Following on, Bangladesh still trail by 141 runs. BAN - 72/4 (23)
11:00 AM IST: Rain
It's still raining. And the start of Australia innings is delayed.
10:28 AM IST: Tea
Weather Update! Ground staff taking precautions. Covers on. Rain coming! And it's Tea time at the Gabba.
10:09: Innings Break
Fifer for the new captain. Leading by example. Pat Cummins gets the last wicket. Chris Woakes (21 off 24), caught by Josh Hazlewood at fine leg. Cummins' figures: 5/38 in 13.1 overs. Five wickets in the last ten overs. ENG - 147 (50.1)
10:00 AM IST: Nine Down
Pat Cummins gets his fourth. Mark Wood (8 off 15), caught by Marcus Harris at short leg. Short ball doing the trick. ENG - 146/9 (49)
9:40 AM IST: Eight Down
Pat Cummins is having a whale of a time on his Test captaincy debut. Third wicket in 11 overs. Ollie Robinson goes for a three-ball duck, caught behind. Mark Wood is the new man for England. ENG - 122/8 (44.3)
9:35 AM IST: Seven Down
Cameron Green gets his maiden Test wicket. Ollie Pope (35 off 79), caught by a diving Josh Hazlewood. Ollie Robinson joins Chris Woakes in the middle. ENG - 118/7 (43.1)
9:19 AM IST: Buttler Goes
Jos Buttler hits Mitchell Starc for a four to bring up a fifty-run stand, in 82 balls, then nicks the very next ball. Caught behind and Buttler goes for 25 off 75. Chris Woakes joins Ollie Pope. ENG - 112/6 (40.3)
9:04 AM IST: 100 Up
Mitchell Starc with his ninth over. 100 up for England in 26.3 overs with a single. Two from the over. Jos Buttler (31 off 46) and Ollie Pope (27 off 61) are making a stand (40 in 62). In the 35th over, Buttler survived a review after a Mitchell Starc delivery had him hit on the thigh pad! Aussies were optimistic with Alex Carey convinced for a caught behind. ENG - 100/5 (37)
8:40 AM IST: Busy Over
Josh Hazlewood bowling in tandem with Pat Cummins. Busy over. Six runs from Hazlewood's 10th over, including a three off the third, by Jos Buttler to wide of mid-off. 37 runs and a wicket in the last 60 balls. ENG - ENG 87/5 (32)
8:15 AM IST: Second For Cummins
And the skipper strikes immediately. Haseeb Hameed caught by Steve Smith at slip. Hameed goes for 25 off 75. 2/17 for the Aussie captain. Jos Buttler is the new man. ENG - 60/5 (26.4)
8:11 AM IST: Post-Lunch Session On
Pat Cummins will resume the post-lunch session. Ollie Pope to take strike.
7:33 AM IST: Lunch
Nathan Lyon with the final over before lunch on Day 1 of the Ashes 2021-22. Two singles. One eventful session. Haseeb Hameed (25 off 73) and Ollie Pope (17 off 43) in an unbeaten 30-run stand for the fifth wicket. Mitchell Starc (1/25), Josh Hazlewood (2/3) and Pat Cummins (1/16) are the wicket-takers. ENG 59/4 (26)
7:25 AM IST: Fifty Up
Nathan Lyon continues. Haseeb Hameed finds a four, to the third man to end the over. His stand with Ollie Pope is now worth 26 in 68. 25 off those coming in the last 10 overs. ENG - 55/4 (24)
7:10 AM IST: Cummins Era Starts
What a morning session for Australia as Pat Cummins takes his Test captaincy bow at the Gabba-toir in fascinating fashion with Mitchell Starc getting Rory Burns for a first-ball duck. And it soon became 29/4 in the 13th over as England, still without a win in the last ten outings, lost Ben Stokes. The England star became Cummins' first wicket, while Josh Hazlewood got a double early, getting the wickets of another opener Dawid Malan (6 off 9) and skipper Joe Root (0 off 9). England, batting first after winning the toss, have since reached 47/4 in 20 overs. Nathan Lyon got his first over in the 20th, and a maiden to Haseeb Hameed to start his spell.
It's all set for an exciting series as both Australia and England attempt to overcome various odds in Ashes 2021-22. From a statistical standpoint, Australia will start favourites given their record at home.
The build-up to the series has been dramatic. England were rocked by racism and Australia by sexting. Pat Cummins' elevation to captaincy came after Tim Paine stepped down from the hot seat after it came to light that he had sent lewd messages to a co-worker. Paine quit cricket and that opened the door for Alex Carey to make the Australian Playing XI as the wicket-keeper.
But all that will be forgotten once the first ball is bowled on Wednesday, weather permitting of course. There is a forecast for rain in the first two days and there could be some delays.
England are already under some pressure because James Anderson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker, will be rested for the day-night Test in Adelaide. More importantly, Ben Stokes hasn't played red-ball cricket since March and has been off competitive cricket since July this year.
The Australians haven’t played a Test since the 2-1 series loss to India in January, while England have played in Sri Lanka and India and hosted New Zealand and India in series.