Ashes: James Vince, Mark Stoneman & Dawid Malan's form a bonus for England

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All the best TMS moments from day one in Pint-sized Ashes

The first day of the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba was every bit as tense, exciting and interesting as we hoped it would be.

With England reaching 196-4, it is evenly poised. Much will depend on what happens when Australia get their hands on a ball that is as good as new on the second morning.

The huge bonus for the tourists is the source of their runs: three players whom we had doubts about produced the goods after batting totems Joe Root and Alastair Cook failed.

Foremost among them was James Vince, whose selection caused the biggest raise of the eyebrows when the squad was named in September.

Recalled to bat at three despite possessing a Test batting average of only 19, it seemed a like a nightmare scenario to have him walking to the crease early on the first morning to face Mitchell Starc after Cook had been dismissed.

With England 2-1, that is exactly what happened.

England's Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook fell to Mitchell Starc in the third over after England won the toss

Vince, though, showed elegance and style for his 83. Although he still played his favourite cover drive - the stroke that got him into trouble in his last incarnation as a Test cricketer - he chose his shots well. I can remember only one really loose moment.

That the Hampshire batsman has scored runs in his first Test innings of the tour is a weight lifted for England.

No matter what happens in this Test, we will not be going to Adelaide questioning England's number three. He has a little credit for another couple of matches at least.

We must give praise to the selectors, who thought that conditions in Australia - hard pitches with the ball not moving a great deal - would suit his game.

Hopefully this knock will give him confidence to do bigger and better things in the rest of the series.

While Vince was recalled for this Ashes series, Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan already had spots in the England side, although neither is established at Test level.

Opener Stoneman, at the other end when Cook perished, was obdurate for his 53.

The left-hander lined the ball up and left it well. He might be disappointed with the way he got out, playing across a straight one from Pat Cummins, but he can know that he played nicely.

Malan did very well under pressure late in the day, when Australia were buoyed by removing captain Root and scenting blood.

Although he was troubled by Nathan Lyon's off-spin, Malan took the opportunity to hit every bad ball he faced for four.

I said in the summer that I thought Malan has something, and that I liked the way he carries himself and owns his space at the crease. He has passed another little examination here in Brisbane to reach the close 28 not out.

From the point of view of the Australian fans, who were revved up by the Brisbane Courier Mail calling for 'Bodyline' on its front page, they might have thought that it was all rather dull.

I can imagine the headlines will be shouting of 'Boring Poms' on Friday, while their own fast bowlers were emasculated by the slow pitch.

That does not mean that they did not bowl well, because Pat Cummins in particular impressed with the fuller length that he bowled.

However, this was not the Gabba that we are used to. The lack of pace and bounce meant that the ball did not fly around the ears - I reckon there were only about half a dozen bouncers all day. It is to Australia's credit that they adapted to the conditions.

If the pace bowlers would have been disappointed by the pitch, then Lyon would have been delighted.

Lyon wound us up with talking about ending England players' careers in the build-up to the match, but he bowled beautifully, giving Australia captain Steve Smith the luxury of someone holding an end.

Not only that, but his run-out of Vince, hitting the stumps directly with a throw from point, was sensational.

The turn that he extracted added a real layer of intrigue to the first day, plainly because we did not expect it to happen. It makes the rest of the game something of an unknown quantity.

Australia's Nathan Lyon celebrates with David Warner
Nathan Lyon ran out Vince and conceded only 40 runs in 24 overs

The first-day moisture in the surface, something that we normally associate with helping pace bowlers, also gives purchase to the spinners.

Did the ball turn because the Gabba pitch was damp or will it continue when it dries out?

For that reason, it is hard to know what a good first-innings score is.

And so to day two, where England will be desperate to get through the first hour or two with the bare minimum of losses and Australia will look to wreak havoc with the second new ball.

It is a huge morning on Friday. How will Moeen Ali play? He will get a lot of short stuff, so he will need a plan to play it. Will he take it on or try to get out of the way by bobbing and weaving?

If Australia knock a couple over, they will be through to Chris Woakes and then the tail.

They will feel that they can run through England for 250. It is up to England to make sure that does not happen.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Stephan Shemilt.