Ashes: England's James Vince makes 83 before Australia rally in first Test

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First Ashes Test, Gabba, Brisbane (day one of five)
England 196-4: Vince 83, Stoneman 53
Australia: Yet to bat

England's Ashes debutant James Vince made 83 before Australia fought back on day one of the first Test in Brisbane.

Vince added 125 for the second wicket with Mark Stoneman either side of a 95-minute delay for rain at the Gabba.

But Vince was run out by Nathan Lyon's superb direct hit, in between Pat Cummins bowling Stoneman for 53 and trapping captain Joe Root lbw for 15.

England, the Ashes holders, closed on 196-4, with Dawid Malan 28 not out and Moeen Ali unbeaten on 13.

The tourists battled hard after winning the toss and losing Alastair Cook in the third over, perhaps determined not to be blown away in the manner that saw them defeated 5-0 in Australia four years ago.

But on a slow pitch, Vince and Stoneman - both of whom were playing their first Ashes Test - were kept in check by a home attack that rarely offered anything loose and will have use of a ball that is only three deliveries old on the second morning.

If the surface does harden up over the next few days, Australia could get the best of the batting conditions and more pace for their bowlers in England's second innings.

The visitors, therefore, are likely to require their lower and middle order to get them to at least 350 and, ideally, beyond.

Play will start half an hour earlier than scheduled at 23:30 GMT on Thursday to make up for the 9.3 overs lost to the weather.

Pat Cummins traps Joe Root lbw on review
Pat Cummins, six years after making his debut, is playing his first Test in Australia

England tame the 'Gabbatoir'

Australia's proud record at the Gabba - they are unbeaten since 1988 - and an often hostile crowd has led to the 42,000-capacity ground being nicknamed 'the Gabbatoir'.

However, England did not have to deal with Brisbane at its most raucous on Thursday.

There was a massive roar when Cook was dismissed, but not until late in the day did the home fans have a real reason to get behind their team.

On the contrary, England's travelling support sang Jersualem before play began and were lively deep into the final session.

Some spectators relaxed in a swimming pool on the boundary edge, adding to an atmosphere that was more subdued than many expected for the opening skirmishes of this much-hyped contest.

Pool at the Gabba
Spectators cool off at the Gabba

Lyon roars

Off-spinner Lyon attracted much attention with his pre-match comments, saying he hoped Australia could end the careers of some England players during this series.

Not only was he excellent with the ball, but in the field he produced the most decisive moment of the day.

With Vince looking set for a century, he pushed the ball into the off side and set off for a single.

Lyon moved from point, swooped and threw at the non-striker's end, a direct hit beating Vince's lunge for the crease.

Soon after, Cummins got Root to play across a full ball, the initial not-out decision overturned on review.

James Vince is run out by Nathan Lyon
James Vince's previous highest score in seven Tests was 42

Vince repays faith of selectors

Hampshire's Vince averaged only 19 when he played seven Tests in 2016, so was something of a surprise selection when recalled for this tour to fill England's problem number three position.

While Cook and Root - the two most established members of England's batting line-up - managed 17 runs between them, Vince and Stoneman showed commendable composure on their Ashes debuts.

Arriving with England 2-1, 26-year-old Vince looked much more assured than in his previous attempt at Test cricket, showing the good judgement that has previously eluded him.

Whenever Australia's pace bowlers went too full, he played his trademark drives, scoring heavily through the covers and point.

James Vince drives
Vince hit 12 fours in his Test-best 83

After Vince registered his maiden half-century, the runs dried up, particularly against Lyon.

Indeed, Vince was dropped by recalled Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine on 68 when Lyon found the outside edge.

Still, he was on course for a memorable hundred when he was stopped by Lyon's brilliance.

Stoneman sticks it out

Stoneman has been England's form batsman of the tour, passing 50 in each of his previous four innings and registering their first century in the final warm-up game last week.

Here the 30-year-old left-hander showed patience and concentration, leaving well outside off stump and mainly scoring on the leg side.

His second-wicket partnership with Vince was bigger than anything England managed on their previous Ashes tour.

Although Stoneman accumulated slowly - his half-century came from 150 balls - he looked solid and it was a surprise when Cummins nipped one between bat and pad to take the top of the stumps.

Mark Stoneman is bowled by Pat Cummins
Mark Stoneman added 125 with James Vince before he was bowled playing across the line

England and pitch nullify pace attack

Much of the talk in the build-up had been of Australia's three-pronged pace attack and its potential to emulate Mitchell Johnson's efforts of four years ago.

And when Mitchell Starc had a flat-footed Cook caught at first slip from the 10th delivery he bowled, it was hard not to feel a sense of deja vu.

But, hampered by the pitch and repelled by England's grit, Starc, Cummins and Josh Hazlewood had to settle for control.

Indeed, Lyon was the pick of the bowlers, finding turn and conceding only 40 runs from 24 overs.

Moeen and 30-year-old Ashes debutant Malan, who applied himself well to survive for an hour and a half, had nervous moments, a failed review for a Starc lbw appeal against Malan the last act before the umpires ended play because of bad light.

How's stat?!

  • Joe Root is only the sixth England captain to win the toss in the 21 Tests they have played at the Gabba
  • Alastair Cook failed to reach 25 for the fifth successive Test innings
  • Mark Stoneman and James Vince's second-wicket stand of 125 was higher than any England partnership managed in the entire 2013-14 Ashes
  • It was England's first century partnership for the second wicket since Alastair Cook and Root's alliance against Pakistan at Old Trafford in 2016
  • Vince's 83 and Stoneman's 53 are their highest Test scores
  • Australia have played 78 Tests since Tim Paine's previous appearance, a joint Australia record with Brad Hogg
  • In reaching nine, Root passed 1,000 Test runs against Australia
  • Pat Cummins is playing only his sixth Test in six years, and his first in Australia

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