The Ashes 2021/22 first Test: Australia on the hunt for early wickets

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Crucial first hour

I know it’s a bit of a cliche but the first hour today is extremely important.

There’s 10 overs before the second new ball is taken so England’s aim will be for Joe Root and Dawid Malan to both be there to take it.

Australia will be hunting for a wicket so that there is a new batter at the crease for it.

Who will Pat Cummins turn to? Nathan Lyon, who has been stuck on 399 wickets for what must seem an eternity? Does he go to himself for a short spurt before taking the second new ball? Or back his wildcard Mitchell Starc? Is Josh Hazlewood fit?

We’ll find out a bit more in about half an hour’s time.

Injury blows for Australia?

Let’s get to a bit of news on the injury front.

David Warner will not be starting on the field today. He needs a bit more ice on his bruised ribs, which gives you an idea how much discomfort the injury must be giving him. This bloke is tough as nails. Cricket Australia say he will be able to bat, if required – which seems likely given England are just 58 behind.

Warner will need to get back on the field if he is to take his customary position at the top of the order.

The other injury query is with Josh Hazlewood. Cricket Australia have said the giant quick is not injured, though he bowled just eight overs on the third day as Joe Root and Dawid Malan took control, which is quite odd.

Perhaps it’s a workload management thing, which makes sense as he has not played a first-class game since April and his preparation has been dominated by Twenty20 cricket. Or he could be carrying an injury, which also makes sense given his importance to the side and the match situation.

We’ll know a bit more later today if or when he bowls. For all the talk and spin off the field, you can never hide what happens on it.

Good morning

Hello everyone, welcome to day four of the first Test at the Gabba.

It’s safe to say we have a closer game than we all thought 24 hours ago, thanks to Joe Root and Dawid Malan.

England will resume not long from now on 2-220, trailing by 58 runs, in a position to make Australia feel just a little uncomfortable.

The weather forecast today is for sunny skies and a top of 30 degrees, so that’s good news for the fans, maybe less so for the Australia bowlers, who wouldn’t mind a bit of cloud cover.

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