'It will be great': Scott Morrison picks host for fifth Ashes Test

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  • Mitchell Starc
    Mitchell Starc
    Australian cricketer
  • Joe Root
    Joe Root
    English cricketer (born 1990)
Pictured here, Scott Morrison in Sydney for a media opportunity in December 2021.
Scott Morrison has thrown his support behind Hobart's bid to host the fifth Ashes Test. Pic: AAP

Prime Minster Scott Morrison has thrown his support behind Tasmania's bid to host the fifth Ashes Test, after Cricket Australia's decision to move the series finale from Perth.

CA's call has been roundly criticised in Western Australia, with police minister Paul Papalia accusing the governing body of being 'completely inflexible' after the state's stringent border entry requirements resulted in the match being relocated from Optus Stadium.

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Having confirmed on Monday that the series finale beginning on January 14 will not be staged in Perth - CA is expected to settle on a replacement ground within a week.

Every state and the ACT have made it clear they want to host the Test, which will be a pink-ball match as per broadcasters' wishes.

The MCG is likely to represent the most lucrative option for CA, although finding accommodation and other logistical issues will be tricky given there will be some overlap with the Australian Open tennis grand slam.

But Cricket Tasmania, having failed to host a Test since 2016 and never been part of an Ashes series, is making a strong case to the national governing body.

CA risk being accused of favouritism if it gifts two Ashes Tests to one state, underlining part of the attraction of Hobart and Canberra.

Now the Prime Minster has weighed in on the situation after perhaps surprisingly snubbing Canberra to endorse the Hobart bid.

Mr Morrison said Hobart deserved to be the given the opportunity to host another Test after last month's one-off match against Afghanistan - slated for Bellerive - had to be cancelled due to the Taliban's rise to power.

"I'm in the Tassie camp. I think it will be great to see Tasmania share in this Ashes series," Morrison told reporters.

"The reasons for it not going to Perth are well understood.

"For there to be one in Tassie, I think would be great.

"Particularly as there was the Afghanistan Test, which obviously didn't proceed for clear reasons,

"I know they'll put on a great show.

"That's a matter for Cricket Australia, but a Prime Minister's allowed to have an opinion."

Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein, having publicly pushed the case for his state throughout recent weeks, is expected to offer CA millions of dollars to try to reduce the revenue gap between Bellerive and the MCG.

"CA should not be seduced by the larger states, they should act in the best interests of the country ... do the right thing by the game," Gutwein said.

Mitchell Starc gets Ashes off to a bang

Australia's Ashes series got off to the perfect start at the Gabba on Wednesday after a pace blitz left England reeling at 4/59 at lunch.

Mitchell Starc got the ball rolling after removing England opener Rory Burns off the very first ball of the series - the first time that's happened in 85 years.

Opener Haseeb Hamed (25no) and Ollie Pope (17no) steadied the ship somewhat for England, after a disastrous first hour for the tourists, to share an unbeaten 30-run stand to the innings break.

Having overlooked veteran quick Stuart Broad in a shock selection call, England captain Joe Root chose to bat under overcast Brisbane skies after winning the toss.

That decision almost instantly looked to be a bad call when Starc made the very first delivery of the match swing around England opener Burns' pads and crash into the stumps.

It created unwanted history for Burns, who is just the second batsman in Ashes history to be dismissed on the first ball of a series and his sixth Test duck of the calendar year is a record for an England opener.

It's also the 13th time Starc has claimed a wicket in the first over of a Test innings since 2014.

Starc's instant impact had the Gabba crowd roaring and just moments later the hosts were in dreamland when Hazlewood lured Dawid Malan (6) to edge a regulation catch for debutant Alex Carey to pouch.

That wicket brought Root to the crease and Cummins instantly threw himself into the attack.

Before he could deliver a single ball to his counterpart, however, Root was gone, caught smartly at first slip by David Warner for a duck off Hazlewood to leave the tourists' 3-11 inside six overs.

Seen here, Aussie players celebrate during an incredible opening session in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.
Josh Hazlewood (centre) picked up two wickets in an incredible opening session for Australia during the first Ashes Test at the Gabba. Pic: Getty

Allrounder Ben Stokes, playing his first competitive match since July, survived to the drinks break along with Hamed.

The first over of the second hour brought another wicket when Cummins claimed his first scalp as Australia captain, with Stokes fending a rising delivery to a gleeful Marnus Labuschagne at third slip.

Hazlewood ended the session with the remarkable figures of 2-3 off seven overs including four maidens with Starc, 1-25 off seven overs, and Cummins, 1-16 off six overs, playing their part.

with AAP

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