Day one of the first Ashes Test was a mixed bag for Australia, but they enjoyed a share of good fortune at the expense of England's Harry Brook. It'll be hard to top his first innings dismissal for sheer misfortune, with the scorecard reading that he was bowled by Nathan Lyon, but the replays telling an entirely different story.
Brook was far from clean bowled by the Australian spinner, departing for 32 after the ball took one of the most unfortunate deflections one could imagine before landing back onto the stumps. The umpire had no choice but to give Brook his marching orders, despite almost nobody on the ground having a full understanding of how the ball had managed to dislodge the bails.
The 24-year-old had attempted to let a Lyon delivery glance harmlessly off his pads, lifting his bat high into the air to avoid a potential catch. The ball ricocheted high into the air after bouncing off his thigh bad, leaving even wicketkeeper Alex Carey momentarily confused as to where it was.
— Ravi Mathur (@ravimathur15) June 17, 2023
Not wanting to inadvertently hit the ball, Brook stayed still, only for the ball to fall down, bouncing off his back and into the stumps. Having made a strong start after joining Joe Root at the crease, Brook could scarcely believe his luck as he walked off the ground.
It was an incredibly lucky break for Australia, with England threatening a much higher total then the 8/393 than they eventually declared with late on day one. The dismissal was described as 'desperately unlucky' by Wide World of Sports commentators.
“I’ve seen most forms of dismissal [but] never many like this,” Ricky Ponting said on the broadcast. “The extra spin and bounce, everyone lost sight of the ball.
"Carey, Labuschagne and it might have hit Brook on the back of the leg and come back onto his stumps. That’s desperately unlucky.”
Harry Brook was bowled off his thigh pad pic.twitter.com/MgSvSv3sPT
— Cricket Updates 🚨🔥 (@theprabhakars) June 17, 2023
How unlucky was Harry brook
— knobber (@Terrymanley) June 16, 2023
— Hiya (@lakshitbiradar) June 16, 2023
Harry Brook could’ve kicked/hit the ball away from the stumps, couldn’t he?
Feel like it’s not as ‘unfortunate’ as it’s being portrayed.
— Chris Osborne (@chrisozz) June 16, 2023
That Harry Brook dismissal 🥲 pic.twitter.com/iTN2a1Tmlj
— England's Barmy Army 🏴🎺 (@TheBarmyArmy) June 16, 2023
I've seen some freakish dismissals, but that Harry Brook one was on a next level.#ENGvAUS
— Farzan Patel (@TheTipsyParsi) June 16, 2023
Bizarre dismissal for Brook no dampener on England's innings
Fortunately for England, Brooks dismissal proved to be little more than an inconvenience, as Joe Root calmly went about hitting his first Test century against Australia since 2015. His guiding knock put England in a position to declare their innings late in the day, gambling on taking a cheap wicket in the closing overs of the day by sending the visitors in.
David Warner and Usman Khawaja both survived against the new Dukes ball, with Warner driving arch-nemesis Stuart Broad for two boundaries. Lifeless as the Edgbaston wicket may have been, the play was anything but.
England hit 46 boundaries and went at a rate of 5.03 an over through an innings that only contained two maidens. Australia had three men on the boundary from the third over onwards with the quicks bowling, and had a fourth man on the rope in the first hour when Lyon entered the attack.
Root was England's most composed batsman, but his innings still included two reverse-scoops for six off Pat Cummins and Scott Boland, along with a flurry of reverse-swept fours. Boland, long regarded as the most economical bowler in the world, went for 1-86 off 14 overs as England made a point to use their feet to the Victorian and go after him.
Lyon took 4-149 among the chaos, going at more than a run a ball while still providing key breakthroughs and getting the key scalp of Jonny Bairstow for 78. Australia, though, insist they can still walk away from the day happy.
"You've got to try and look at probably the end score," Josh Hazlewood said. "Basically all out for just under 400. You take that on that wicket for sure. Whether it takes 80 overs or 160, it's the same score."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.