Former England captain Nasser Hussain said Australia captain Pat Cummins did well in rotating the bowlers, including himself, on day one of first Ashes Test at The Gabba on Wednesday.
He added that losing the toss was the best thing to have happened to Cummins as he and England captain Joe Root wanted to bat first.
Losing the toss proved to be a blessing in disguise for Australia as Cummins took a five-wicket haul in bowing out England for 147 in 50.1 overs.
“What a dramatic start it was and 147 all out was perfect for Australia. They had the perfect day as with the rain around they wouldn’t have wanted to go out and bat for half an hour in the evening. With Australia’s new captain Pat Cummins getting a five-for, including the England captain Joe Root out for a duck it couldn’t have gone any better for Australia. I thought Cummins rotated his bowlers well, rotated himself well,” wrote Hussain for Sky Sports.
Talking about what happened at the toss, Hussain remarked, “I think the best thing Cummins did was lose the toss because both captains were going to bat. Root did bat and, in the end, it proved a good toss to lose. I thought it was a harder toss for Root than mine in 2002, which was a diabolical decision! I think they had had a drought in Brisbane for six months and I suddenly found a bit of moisture in the pitch, had a bowl and Australia were 364-2 at the end of day one!”
“It was a green pitch here and it had been raining but while everyone focuses on what the pitch is doing on the first morning, as a captain you have to think what the pitch look like on days three, four and five. The humidity, the cracks in the pitch, the fact it tends to get a bit quicker. You have to think ahead. Obviously 147 all out tells you it was the wrong decision with the way it seamed around and bounced and sometimes you can confuse it all.”
The 53-year-old pointed out that Root falling for duck was a crucial moment in the match. “But then the biggest wicket was Root – not just because he is England’s best player but because of the impact throughout the series. He has had had difficult Ashes series of late and has struggled against Josh Hazlewood and Cummins so he would have wanted a good start to put the demons to bed. To get out for a duck just starts those mind games. Whenever he bats, Hazlewood and Cummins will be on to bowl.”
He signed off by saying that left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc exploited the nervousness and exaggerated shuffling of opener Rory Burns in cleaning him up first ball.
“Rory Burns was under pressure – he has been out six times for a duck this year now, which tends to suggest he is a nervy starter. When you are nervous your worst technical failing gets exaggerated and his worst technical failing is that his front foot goes over to the off-side a little bit too much. If you freeze it on when Starc delivered that ball, his foot was way across. Australia had done their prep and Starc knew full and straight was the way to go to Burns,” he said.