Ashes Cricket News 07/11/02
England Captain Nasser Hussain, having won the toss at the Gabba at the start of the first Test Match, swiftly elected to bowl on a pitch described by commentators as "a perfect batting wicket."
Steve Waugh could not contain his smile at the decision made by the opposition captain, evidenced by the grin on his face during the after toss interview at centre pitch and although he conceded, there may be some benefit to the bowling team in first use of the pitch, he stopped short of criticising the decision made by Hussain.
Described by Ian Healy and Tony Greig just prior to the toss as being "as hard as a rock, with a tinge of green," it was clearly evident the pitch was going to be more suitable to the batsmen on the first day, rather than the bowlers.
England, who opened the bowling with Caddick and Hoggard, were able to extract swing through the air and considerable movement off the pitch, however, the only good impression at this time appears to be coming from England Ashes debutante Simon Jones, who had Aussie opener Justin Langer caught behind for 32 runs, after getting off to his normal flying start.
No doubt, the pitch will start to break up going into day three, which will suit the Australian bowlers and more particularly Aussie spinner Shane Warne, who without a shadow of a doubt would have cheered with vigour at the decision by Hussain to bowl first.
Hussain appears to have made a big mistake in putting the Australians in to bat and exposing his batsmen at a later stage on a pitch that will turn. If there was any way the injury depleted English side were going to win this match, it was by batting first and making a score the Aussie's would have difficulty in chasing.
We still have a full five days to play, but Nasser Hussain will no doubt be kicking himself at the end of day one, for what at this early stage appears to have been a very rash decision.
With the Gabba being known for some very high scores in the first innings, especially during Ashes matches, it is not unreasonable to suggest the Aussieís may score well in excess of 450 runs in their first dig.