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6 reasons why Australia won the 1st Ashes Test

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Last Updated on 11 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: 6 reasons why Australia won the 1st Ashes Test | A look at 5 key reasons why Australia beat England at Edgbaston

When this was touted as an Ashes series that could be the best since 2005, we meant it. In a contest that ebbed, flowed, and lived up to its billing, Australia prevailed at Edgbaston to take an all-important 1-0 series lead heading into the second Test at Lord’s. Pat Cummins took 4/63 and scored 44* to own the latter part of the game, contrary to Kevin Pietersen’s words.

In the 21st century, only once has a team came back from 1-0 down to win an Ashes series. Interestingly, it was the England side of 2005. Given how closely fought the first Test of this series was, no one can confidently rule out an English fightback in what shapes to be an all-time classic.

Why Australia won the 1st Ashes Test

However, Ben Stokes and England will need to take some key learnings from the Edgbaston Test as a 2-0 series deficit at Lord’s is pretty much lights out. Here are six reasons why Australia won the first match.

1. England’s declaration let Australia off the hook

No one can deny this England team delivers great talking points for Test cricket. Their approach in Pakistan last year, where they won 3-0 on three highways, is testament to their mindset. Also, their ability to score so quickly will almost always give them enough time to win matches.

However, their declaration at 393/8 on the first evening let Australia off the hook. They had the foot on the throat, and lifted it slightly. It is a decision that would have had Pat Cummins and his team relieved as a bigger score beckoned, with the visitors looking bereft of ideas after an intense day in the field.

Had England won, the decision would have been vindicated as brave and bold. But, Joe Root, England’s best player, was on a rampage and Australia didn’t have many answers. His masterclass was cut short on 118, while Ollie Robinson looked untroubled in his 31-ball stay. The pair had added 43 in 7.2 overs before Stokes called them in, leaving all to wonder what England may have finished up with.

Sure, both David Warner and Usman Khawaja had poor records in England leading up to the Test, so a crack at them does make sense. However, it was a flat surface and only four overs were possible.

Also, there was rain forecast throughout the Test, so the declaration did give England more time to push for a win. However, a total of 450 was not out of the equation given how well Root and Robinson were playing. Plus, the scoring rate meant England would not have needed to bat much longer to get those extra crucial runs on the board.

2. Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja won man of the match and deservedly so. Without Khawaja’s fighting ton in the first innings, there would not have been a match to win for Australia. The visitors were reduced to 67/3 with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne both dismissed, and fell into further trouble at 148/4 after Travis Head miscued one to midwicket.

Khawaja stood tall. His 321-ball 141 helped put Australia on par with England in the first innings. It certainly didn’t deserve the send off he received from Ollie Robinson, but Khawaja finished the happier on the winning side in the end.

His second innings vigil of 65 at a strike rate of 32.99 came in for some criticism. However, he held an end and allowed Australia to accumulate towards the target as wickets fell. In the end, he was dismissed 72 runs short of the target, but his efforts gave his team a genuine shot at victory.

Cricket News: 6 reasons why Australia won the 1st Ashes Test | A look at 5 key reasons why Australia beat England at Edgbaston
6 reasons why Australia won the 1st Ashes Test: Usman Khawaja was outstanding.

3. Pat Cummins standing up

Pat Cummins’s tactics as captain are cause for debate. His approach to sit back and wait for England to make the mistakes is frought with risk. However, there is no debate around Cummins the player. He stood tall in the second innings, picking up crucial second innings wickets – including the dangerous Ben Stokes – before showing ice in his veins for his unbeaten 44* to seal victory.

4. England’s selections

England announced their playing XI 48 hours before the match. Ben Foakes, arguably the best wicket-keeper in the world, was controversially left out of the squad altogether. Jonny Bairstow, short on cricket, was asked to don the gloves.

The decision backfired as Bairstow missed crucial chances throughout the Test that cost England dearly.

Also, England’s bowling attack looked a tad light with Moeen Ali selected as the specialist spinner. Moeen had not bowled in Test cricket since 2021, and it showed, suffering a nasty blister to his finger after an extended spell of bowling on day two. As a result, England had to rely on Joe Root’s offspin for impact on the final day with the three seam bowlers working hard to extract movement on a docile pitch.

Cricket News: 6 reasons why Australia won the 1st Ashes Test | A look at 5 key reasons why Australia beat England at Edgbaston
6 reasons why Australia won the 1st Ashes Test: Ben Stokes tried hard as captain, but England ran out of steam.

5. Decision to keep Joe Root bowling on the fifth evening

Cummins, during his innings of 44, took advantage of England’s decision to delay taking the new ball. Yes, Joe Root had just dismissed Alex Carey, but Australia’s best hope of scoring runs was against the offspinner rather than Broad and Anderson with the new ball under fading light.

In the end, Australia prevailed against the new ball, but not before Cummins swung the momentum rapidly in the 83rd over. The Australian captain hit a crucial 14 runs, including two sixes, to bring the target below 50.

England allowed Cummins and Lyon to score 25 off 25 balls before taking the new ball, with a mad rush to try and take the final two wickets. After a few close misses, Cummins eventually sealed the winning runs down at third man.

6. Crucial contributions from Scott Boland and Nathan Lyon

After the first innings, Ollie Robinson said Australia have three number 11’s after Pat Cummins. Scott Boland and Nathan Lyon took that personally. They combined for 36 crucial runs in Australia’s second innings, with both looking assured in difficult circumstances.

Boland came in as the nightwatchman after the great Steve Smith was dismissed late on the fourth evening. He held his own, combining for 32 runs with Khawaja. Lyon walked to the crease with 55 still needed, but he had nerves of steel with his shot over mid on the highlight.


Attention now moves to the Lord’s Test, which begins on June 28. How each team responds after an all-time classic Ashes match will be interesting to see, with England needing to bounce back at the home of cricket.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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