'What a day': Pat Cummins shines amid 'nightmare' England gamble

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Pat Cummins (pictured left) celebrating after a wicket and (pictured right) Joe Root walking off the pitch.
Pat Cummins (pictured left) picked up five wickets on his captain's debut as England fell for a dismal 147 on Day 1 of the first Ashes Test. (Images: Fox Sports/Getty Images)

England's 'easy' decision to bat first at the Gabba has come back to haunt them after a fierce Australian bowling outfit, led by captain Pat Cummins, rattled the visitors for just 147 on Day 1 of the first Test.

There were calls from a number of cricket great's ahead of the coin toss to go against 'cricket mythology' and bowl first on a green looking Gabba deck.

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England captain Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat, which Cummins said he would have too if luck landed his way.

But on the opening ball of the 2021/22 Ashes series, Mitchel Starc dismissed Rory Burns to trigger a horror morning session for England.

Josh Hazlewood and captain Cummins jumped in on the action to leave England 6-118 in the second session.

This is when youngster Cameron Green took his first Test wicket following a brilliant piece of fielding from Hazlewood to send the Gabba wild.

Cummins helped clean up the tail to finish with five wickets on his captain's debut.

England only managed to score 147 runs all out, as rain halted play before players could take to the field after tea.

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Cricket great's Ian Healy and Mark Taylor were some of the former players who claimed England should bowl first if they were to win the toss.

However, Root opted to bat.

The last time an England captain chose to bowl first at the Gabba, Nasser Hussain in 2003, resulted in Australia posting 492 and winning the series 5-0.

England great Michael Atherton said this was the rather 'easier' option heading into the first Test, but said the decision would have been weighing on the captain.

"Nightmare start for Joe Root here, he stood there at the toss and I think he has the ghosts of 'Hussain' [in 2003] on his shoulder," Atherton told SEN.

Atherton said it was a hard choice for Root and the risk, as a captain, to bowl first always brings with it scrutiny if it all goes wrong.

Regardless, it did go wrong for visitors as the Australian pace attack obliterated the line-up.

England could also rue the decision to leave Stuart Broad out, considering rain and wet weather is predicted over the next few days.

Many fans were in disbelief over England's dismal start to the Ashes.

Cummins made a dream start as captain and he remained proactive with his bowling changes.

And he leant on former captain and new deputy Steve Smith.

Smith helped with field settings and the odd chat, particularly when off-spinner Nathan Lyon was bowling.

But he kept it low-key in a partnership Cummins has already acknowledged will look a little different to the norm given his rare position as a fast-bowling captain.

Cummins admitted he wasn't sure how he'd handle the glare and added responsibility of captaincy.

The early signs are promising.

And Kerry O'Keefe rightfully said at the end of the English innings: "What a first day in leadership for Patrick Cummins".

with AAP

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