England registered a comprehensive 169-run victory in the first Test of what turned out to be one of the most exciting Ashes series.
Coming into the series, Australia started as heavy favorites but England showed that they weren’t there to make up the numbers. Winning the toss and electing to bat – after a delayed start due to an extended opening ceremony – England scored 430.
Joe Root starred with the bat, scoring 134 off just 166 balls. He was well supported by Gary Ballance (61) and Ben Stokes (52). Coming in to bat at 6, Moeen Ali played a fine inning of 77 to help England reach a good total on a sluggish Cardiff pitch. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were the main wreckers-in-chief picking 5/114 and 3/83 respectively.
Australia’s response started well with the openers putting up a 52-run stand. Opener Chris Rogers played a fine knock, scoring 95 but none of the players could convert their start into a big one. Steve Smith, Michael Clarke, Adam Voges, and Shane Watson were all dismissed in their 30s as Australia were bundled out for 308. James Anderson picked 3/43 but he was well supported by Stuart Broad (2/60), Mark Wood (2/66), Moeen Ali (2/71) and Stokes (1/51).
With already a handy lead of 122, England added 289 more with Root (60) and Ian Bell (60) contributing with the bat. Nathan Lyon picked up 4/75 to give Australia some sort of hope.
Chasing 412 on a deteriorating pitch was always going to be a difficult task and Australia lost the game within four days with England bowlers giving the Aussie batsmen no chance at all. Broad picked 3/39, supported by Ali 3/59. Root – after making Australia suffer with the bat – picked two wickets with his off-spin as well to take England 1-0 up in the Ashes series.