Ashes Cricket News 07/11/02
Any hope the England touring side had of victory in the first Ashes Test Match at the Gabba appears near dead and buried, if the performance of Aussie opener Matthew Hayden is any indication.
Nasser Hussain, who earlier won the toss and promptly sent the Aussie in to bat on a perfect batting track, must now be looking for a very big hole to crawl into, in order to escape the wrath of the English press that is likely to descend upon him at the conclusion of the first day's play.
Hayden, who lost his opening partner Justin Langer for 32 runs, consolidated the batting of the Australians with the arrival of number three batsman Ricky Ponting. Both players contributing to a partnership of 272 runs, before Ponting was bowled on 123 by a delivery from Ashley Giles, that clipped his thigh pad before going on and hitting the wickets. Hayden, currently 186 runs not out at stumps on day one, has demolished the England bowling attack and its Ashes hopes in the process and shown exactly why he is considered the best opening batsman in world cricket. Only a miracle will keep Hayden from making his double century early on the morning of day two in Brisbane.
The English fieldsmen, will look back at the end of the day's play and wonder just what might have been, had both Matthew Hoggard and Michael Vaughan not dropped catches from Hayden earlier in his innings.
Further compounding the England injury problems, debutante Ashes bowler Simon Jones, was carted from the field on a stretcher in the second session of play when he damaged his right cruciate ligament while attempting a diving save to cut off a boundary. Jones, will be out of cricket for at least six months and need to undergo a full knee reconstruction. He will be sorely missed from an England team that is already heavily hit by injuries to top players.