Australia go 1-0 up as Selector’s Triple Gamble pays off
Australia have gone 1-0 up in the Ashes series and have shortened to $1.21 series favourites with Betfair. The Australian selectors must be given credit for the controversial selections of Bancroft, Marsh and Paine – all played critical roles in the win.
How did the match play out?
England held the upper hand at the Gabba for three days. The pitch then quickened up under the hot Queensland sun. Australia’s bowlers blew the Test wide open on the fourth day with a hostile short-pitched attack to the visitors’ bodies, bringing back memories of Mitchell Johnson at the same venue four years earlier.
The home side then cruised to a 10-wicket win on the back of the highest-ever unbeaten-opening-stand to win a test. Instead of chasing a cheap test ton, David Warner unselfishly fed the strike to young debutant Cameron Bancroft who grew in confidence throughout the successful chase.
With the innings, Bancroft has shown the mental toughness required in the rigours of test cricket. His tough demeanour in standing up to England fast-bowling legend, Jimmy Anderson and then laughing off the alleged ‘head butt’ incident with England-keeper Jonny Bairstow in the post-match press conference already has him winning plenty of new fans. No surprise. Bancroft’s mentor is Justin Langer, one of the toughest man to ever wear the baggy green.
Marsh and Paine impress
Shaun Marsh contributed 51 in the first innings at the Gabba. Disappointingly, he was out to an ill-disciplined shot that his critics will labour upon. However, Marsh’s contribution to a steadying 99-run stand with Steven Smith when the match was on the line cannot be underestimated.
Paine’s controversial inclusion, as ‘the best wicketkeeper in Australia’, meant he would always be under immense scrutiny. He put down a tough chance off Nathan Lyon. Paine needed one super-sharp piece of work to ease the pressure. His smart stumping of Moeen Ali was a game-turning moment. Paine was adamant Moeen was out and was proven right. As were the selectors.
The second test begins in Adelaide on December 2.