THE FIRST Ashes Test in Brisbane is evenly poised after an intriguing first day – with James Vince emerging as the unlikely England hero.
A surprise inclusion to the touring squad, Vince came in at No3 and was sublime for his 83 – and would have claimed a maiden Test century if not for a poor run-out.
From the Gabba on day one, here are five key moments of the match.
Chef gets burnt early
ENGLAND fans were fearing the worst just three overs into the series as former captain Alastair Cook found himself back in the pavilion.
Mitchell Starc channelled the early enthusiasm of the crowd to send down a beauty that just worked away in the air, catching the edge and flying to first-slip.
But what a fightback from Mark Stoneman and James Vince, who made the ‘fearsome’ trio of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins look pedestrian, steering England to 59-1 at lunch.
A very English summer
DURING a first session where England turned up with heart and fight, they also brought something else – the weather.
As lunch progressed, a short, sharp shower turned into a downpour and the Gabba groundstaff were forced into action.
Even the BT Sport crew were caught unprepared – with their only shelter Graeme Swann’s umbrella.
THERE were worries throughout the England support about how James Vince would get on in his maiden Ashes tour – but this shot was surely enough to convince even the most ardent doubters.
A pitched up delivery from Hazlewood early in the morning session was gratefully seized upon by the England No3, as he went after the Aussies despite the early loss of Cook.
The cover drive that followed conjured images of a peak Michael Vaughan or Kumar Sangakarra, as Vince elegantly announced his return to the international stage.
AFTER toiling in the field for the afternoon session, the Aussies looked hot, bothered and ready for the tea break.
But Steve Smith gave Pat Cummins one more over to deliver him something and break the key partnership between Stoneman and Vince.
A magnificent delivery, nipping off the seam and crashing back through the gate simply did the England opener for pace – and changed the momentum of the day.
Century thrown away
NATHAN LYON was superb with the ball throughout the day – but somehow managed to end the day wicketless.
So he deserved this moment as much as James Vince didn’t.
A quick single from the England pair is badly judged – and the off-spinner throws down the stumps in style, sending Vince packing for 83.