The Ashes 2023 : Review of first Test Match

Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins. The Ashes 2023 First Test Match
Nathan Lyon(Left), Pat Cummins(Right) (Credits - ICC)

The Ashes 2023 started on 16th June in England. Australia won an epic first test match of Ashes by a remarkable two-wicket win over England at Edgbaston. It was a nail-biting encounter. This was Australia’s highest successful run chase in England in 51 years. But the manner of this victory after taking every blow Bazball could throw at them, will instill them with the belief this really is the summer they can end their 22-year wait for an away Ashes series win.  A rain-hit final day in Edgbaston Birmingham, as promised, provided one of the great Ashes finishes.

Australian Captain Pat Cummins was the hero of the match as he scored an unbeaten 44 runs in a ninth-wicket-partnership of 55 with spinner Nathan Lyon who scored 16. Their partnership led Australia to a win, which at a point was looking very difficult but these two kept their nerves calm and played safely to defeat England. Australia takes a 1-0 lead in this series. They were 227-8 and 54 runs away from a win but this historic ninth wicket partnership helped them reach the target. 

Ben Stokes and Brendon Mccullum. The Ashes 2023 First Test Match
Ben Stokes(Left), Brendon Mccullum(Right) (Credits - ICC)

Ben Stokes decision to declare on 393-8 on day one will definitely come into focus, but the England captain has no regrets. However, England will be left wondering just how they lost a match they dominated throughout. Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, for whom this was just a third defeat in 14 matches since they came together as captain and coach last summer, will now have to analyse just how they became second best in a contest where they did everything required and were almost close to the victory. 

Preferring bazball cricket, the English team declared their first innings at 393-8. After which,  Australia scored 386 giving England a lead of 7 runs in the first innings. In the second innings, the Australian bowlers bowled penetratingly and got England all out for 273 runs. Australia got a target of 281 runs for victory and to get a 1-0 lead in this series of 5 matches.

After four days of fluctuating action, the game started a bit late due to early rain and wet outfield. Australia needed 174 runs on the final day of the Test at Edgbaston. England made a good start, getting the breakthrough 25 minutes after the play started. Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Ollie Robinson provided England some much needed wickets. As soon as Head’s wicket went, England seemed to have got hold of the match. After Captain Ben Stokes bowled Usman Khawaja for 65 runs, it seems like the game is over for Australia. The English skipper’s decision to delay the use of the second new ball was proved right when Joe Root caught Alex Carey. 

Australia did not get a desired start in the second innings. Batter Usman Khawaja scored brilliant 141 runs in the first innings, came to save Australia’s innings once again. He scored 65 runs in the second innings. The real thrill of the first Test match came in the last 40 minutes. Australia needed 51 runs in 15 overs to win with two wickets remaining.

After all the criticism of his negative captaincy, skipper Pat Cummins seized the momentum and  played a big role in the tremendous victory of the greatest rivalry as he pulled off a miracle. 

No team yet has won the Ashes after losing the first Test since England in the extraordinary summer of 2005, but English captain Ben Stokes is confident that his team can still win this series. Team Australia would have definitely got some confidence with this thrilling win and will look to continue their momentum in the rest of the matches. 

Cover Credits - ICC

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