Woakes’ brilliance helps England win Day 1 honors

After a tense opening day at Old Trafford in Manchester, England prevailed thanks to a spectacular four-wicket haul from Chris Woakes and a respectably effective performance from Stuart Broad.

Australia’s batters continued to appear unfazed at the crease while tossing their starts as they started the fourth session at 187/4. Stuart Broad’s 600th Test victory was thanks to Travis Head, a southpaw who had appeared destined for greater things. Even as a wobbly Cameron Green joined Mitchell Marsh in his antics, he still stroked the ball around with ease.

Australia reached 254/5 thanks to the two all-rounders, and the guests were able to saunter around comfortably. However, Woakes’ return changed the course of the game, as the seamer struck out both batsmen in the first over of his new stint. Green was slightly unlucky to be called out for LBW; the umpire’s decision was upheld after a review, but Jonny Bairstow struck a one-handed screamer to send Marsh back. Australia suddenly had a score of 255/7.

Then, for more than an hour, Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc persevered through a small stand that irritated the hosts. When the second new ball came, England was equally content to play the game as usual. Following the removal of the new cherry, Woakes returned to the celebration to eliminate Carey at the conclusion of the day’s play. It was a strike that narrowly, but just barely, shifted the honors in England’s favor. 

After being given the bat earlier, Australia made a strong start to the day. In the morning, David Warner and Steve Smith batted aggressively to put pressure on England, but the hosts came back strongly once the second session got underway. They were able to somewhat slow down the flow of runs while also taking wickets at regular intervals. Both Warner and Smith, more so Smith, were guilty of not going all out after getting on. The theme of Australia’s batters not being brutal enough persisted throughout the day.

England had a great opening day here as Australia was well on course for that kind of total, if not more, on a venue where the recent first-innings average score has been in the mid 350s. Woakes, Broad, and a hot Mark Wood, though, made sure that the hosts not only stayed afloat but also won the day.

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