Joe Root's controversial call rocks England as Shane Warne baffles

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Australian captain Pat Cummins (pictured left) flips the coin in front of England captain Joe Root (pictured right).
Joe Root (pictured) was criticised for choosing to bat first after winning the toss after England were bowled out for 147. (Getty Images)

OPINION

Mark Taylor must be able to see into the future.

It’s just a shame for England skipper Joe Root wasn't over Tubby's shoulder staring into the crystal ball as the tourists all but threw away the first Test – and potentially pole position in the series – by trying to avoid defeat rather than chase victory at the Gabba.

Writing for Nine Newspapers, Taylor said: "Joe Root needs to be bold if England are to win the Ashes – and it needs to start from the moment the coin lands.

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"If it's grey above and green below, Root must be prepared to back his bowlers to fire a shot across Australia's bow."

It was grey above and the Gabba deck was greener than Adam Bandt, yet Root won the toss and batted first after England left out two brilliant exponents of seam bowling in Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson.

The Poms lost four wickets in the first session and finished all out for a dismal 147 as Pat Cummins (5-38) made a dream start to his captaincy reign.

Root may have rooted England chances in this game – and possibly the entire series – by opting for the safety-first approach when a bit of risk taking is called for to upset Australia on home soil.

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine Broad and Anderson bowling in those conditions against a batting line-up featuring an uncemented opener (Marcus Harris) and No.5 (Travis Head), a player in his first Ashes Test and fifth overall (Cameron Green) and a debutant (Alex Carey).

It's not inconceivable Australia would have found itself in a similar position and under the cosh after day one.

As Brett Lee said: "As a fast bowler, I'd be saying 'hang on, I want to play. I want to bowl on this wicket'."

Shane Warne baffles viewers with Starc commentary

Instead, the home side grabbed the initiative from the very first ball when the oft-maligned Mitchell Starc crashed the Kookaburra into Rory Burns' leg stump.

Starc's nemesis Shane Warne was in commentary at the time and a whole nation held its breath to hear his take on one of the most stunning starts to a series in cricketing history.

SK didn’t disappoint – in the most disappointing fashion.

"The old half-volley on leg stump bowled him. There's no swing," Warne declared.

Even when the ball tracker showed considerable swing, Warne stuck to the company line as his anti-Starc agenda dictates.

Mitchell Starc (pictured left) high-fives his teammate after dismissing Rory Burns on day one of the First Test Match.
Mitchell Starc (pictured left) celebrates dismissing Rory Burns on day one of the First Test Match. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Here was his chance to change the narrative and make up a little ground with Starc and fans in general.

It must have hurt Warne later in the day to concede the big left-armer had 'found his mojo and bowled well' after knocking over Jos Buttler with a peach of a delivery.

Long after Starc finally muted Warne, you couldn’t help thinking how Joe Root would love his time over again – firstly at the selection table and again at the toss.

You shouldn't call a cricket match until both sides have batted, but England will be coming from 15 lengths back when day two resumes.

And, for that, their risk-averse skipper has to wear a fair bit of the blame.

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