England rely on Woakes, Broad to take control on day 1 of fourth Ashes Test against Australia

Australia and England battled through a closely contested opening day of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Both teams performed well, with Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh scoring half-centuries for Australia. Meanwhile, Chris Woakes demolished the Australian batting line-up, scalping four wickets. By the end of the first day’s play, Australia were 299/8.

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At the conclusion of day 1, the Australian skipper Pat Cummins (1 not out) and Mitchell Starc (23 not out) remained unbeaten. Starting the third and final session at 187/4, Travis Head (47) and Mitchell Marsh (1) were at the crease for Australia. Stuart Broad quickly struck for England in the first over of the session, dismissing Head for 48 off 65 balls, claiming his 600th Test wicket, and reducing Australia to 189/5.

However, Marsh and Cameron Green began rebuilding the innings, guiding Australia past the 200-run mark in 51.4 overs. The duo scored runs quickly, completing their fifty-run partnership and helping Australia reach the 250-run milestone in 61.5 overs. Marsh also reached his half-century in just 56 balls with a boundary that took Australia beyond 250 runs. Unfortunately, in the very next over, Woakes made a comeback, trapping Green lbw for 16, and then catching Marsh behind the wickets for 51 off 60 balls, including seven fours and a six. At that point, Australia’s score was 255/7.

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The subsequent pair of Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc contributed to Australia’s innings, with Starc hitting two disdainful fours off Anderson in the 68th over. However, their partnership was cut short at 39 runs when Carey nicked a Woakes delivery to the keeper, departing for 20 off 49 balls. Woakes claimed his fourth wicket, reducing Australia to 294/8. Starc and skipper Pat Cummins managed to finish the day without any further loss of wickets.

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In the earlier sessions, Australia had finished the second session with a score of 187/4 in 49 overs, with Travis Head (47 not out) and Mitchell Marsh (1 not out) at the crease. In the first session, Mark Wood’s delivery dismissed in-form Usman Khawaja for just three runs off 19 balls, trapping him leg-before-wicket. Australia was at 15/1 in five overs.

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Throughout the day, there were partnerships between various players, and moments of glory, including Marnus Labuschagne reaching his half-century. However, Labuschagne was later dismissed for 51 after an LBW appeal by Moeen Ali, which was initially denied by the umpire but overturned on England’s challenge.

Overall, the Smith-Labuschagne duo and the Head-Marsh partnership ensured that Australia did not suffer further losses, leading them to finish the session without losing any additional wickets.

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