The first Ashes test between England and Australia starts on Wednesday 8th July, the match taking place at the Swalec Stadium, Cardiff – the scene of one of England’s greatest escapes in 2009. As with this year, the match at Cardiff was the first test, and that series could have been very different if England hadn’t snatched the draw.
England went into this Ashes series looking to regain the urn after suffering a five-nil defeat last time out down under. England, though, had famously won the previous series at home in 2005. England still had some of the heroes of 2005, in Andrew Strauss, who was by then the captain, Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen.
The Swalec Stadium is the home ground of Glamorgan and has been an international venue since May 1999, when it played host to a World Cup game between Australia and New Zealand. The ground wouldn’t host its first England game until 2006, when they played Pakistan in a one-day international.
The 2009 match was the first test match to be played at the ground, making England’s 100th test match venue. The ground was originally known as Sophia Gardens but renamed the Swalec Stadium in 2008 after Glamorgan agreed a 10 year sponsorship deal with electricity supplier Swalec.
England win the toss and bat
England captain Strauss won the first coin toss of the series, and elected to bat first. His side stumbled to 90/3 in the 25th over before a partnership of 138 between Pietersen and Paul Collingwood saw the Three Lions recover until they both fell in quick succession, seeing England reduced to 241/5. England ended the first day of the match on 336/7 after Peter Siddle picked up two quick wickets towards the end of the day.
The second day started with Graeme Swann firing 47 off 40 balls as England were eventually all out for 435 shortly before lunch, the Australian openers having to face eight overs before the interval. Australia only lost one wicket in the rest of the day’s play as Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich built a steady partnership; by the end of the second day, both men had reached their centuries. In the process of reaching his hundred, Ponting also went past the milestone of 11,000 test runs.
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