|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2009|
DateLine: 8th July 2009
It was one of those days when almost all English batsmen got in and then got out. On a benign first day track at Cardiff, though three English batsman crossed the fifty hurdle and three the thirty-run mark, none could make the day their own as they played some bad shots and accounted for their own demise.
First a Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood stand of 138 and then 86 between Andrew Flintoff and Matt Prior looked to take the game away from Australia but wickets in pairs everytime after a good stand made sure Australia were not out of the contest.
Earlier in the day, England skipper Andrew Strauss won the toss and decided to bat first on a pitch and ground making their debut in Test cricket. The decision seemed to be working till Alastair Cook (10) played a poor shot off a long hop from Ben Hilfenhaus and was stunningly caught by Mike Hussey at gully.
Strauss (30) and Ravi Bopara (35) then got into the repair act adding 46 runs for the second wicket.Strauss particularly looked in good touch, hitting the first boundary of the game in the mid-wicket region. The duo though were disturbed early in their innings by some short pitched stuff by Peter Siddle and Hilfenhaus. Just when the two looked set for a big score, the script changed again, after Mitchell Johnson was called for his second spell.
The tall left-hand pacer announced himself in Ashes in swashbuckling fashion sending back both set batsman back to the pavilion in a span of 5 overs. Bopara fell to a well disguised slower delivery from Johnson. He was too early on the shot and could only lob a catch into the covers. With these two wickets fallen, England from a position of strength, stumbled to 97 for 3 at lunch handing over Australia the advantage.
But former skipper Kevin Pietersen (69) and England's T20 skipper Paul Collingwood (64) had other plans. The two as on many occasions earlier, again bailed out the English side after the early skirmishes. Though a little slow to start off with the plans quite understandable to survive till lunch, the pair opened up post the luncheon break.
The combination was helped by a benign Cardiff track as both had little trouble adding 100 runs in the session between lunch and tea and 31 before being separated in the last session of play. Pietersen reached his fifty off 95 balls and Collingwood joined him soon after, reaching the milestone from 125 deliveries. This century stand between the two was their eighth century stand in Tests. After adding 138 runs, a good outswinger from Hilfenhaus did Collingwood in. He poked on a delivery just outside the off-stump and could only edge one, to be gleefully taken by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
And after that as experts say that wickets fall in pairs, Pietersen immediately followed Collingwood to the pavilion playing a terrible shot. He had only himself to blame as in trying to sweep a delivery from miles outside his off stump, without getting down into position, he top edged it meekly straight into the hands of a delighted Katich at short-leg. Hauritz was elated as his slow turners till now had failed to create any impression on any batsman.
After that Flintoff and Prior combined taking the attack ruthlessly to the Aussie bowlers. The pair added 86 runs in 16 overs and looked menacing. Flintoff especially looked in swashbuckling mindset and statements from skipper Andrew Strauss looked to come true wherein he had said that all of Freddie's frustration would rain on the Aussies. He looked the Flintoff of 2005 and scored a quality 37 before being cleaned by Peter Siddle. After his fall the story of the day continued as Prior immediately followed suit two runs later again falling victim to a Siddle inswinging yorker.
At stumps James Anderson (2) and Stuart Broad (4) were at the crease and Broad looked absolutely comfortable facing the Australian bowlers.