Ashes: Peter Siddle hat-trick brings England down to earth
A hat-trick from Peter Siddle on his 26th birthday caused England to crumble on the opening day of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.
The day sat in the balance with England on 197-4 before Siddle removed Alastair Cook for 67, Matt Prior and Stuart Broad in consecutive balls to leave the tourists reeling.
Ian Bell hit 76 yet the tail was easily dismissed as England could only limp to a below-par 260.
Australia’s reply began solidly with Shane Watson and Simon Katich both unbeaten at the close on 25-0.
England were quickly brought down to earth after their ideal pre-Ashes preparations when Andrew Strauss was caught off the third ball of the match.
Jonathan Trott and Cook responded well to the loss of their captain and both looked settled at the crease before Shane Watson nipped a good delivery through Trott’s defences.
Cook continued to score well and was particularly impressive off the back foot and alongside Kevin Pietersen, England began to take the momentum and took their side into the lunch break.
Much had been made of the battle between Pietersen and debutant left arm spinner Xavier Doherty but the England batsman left no one in any doubt of how he will play the spinner, advancing down the wicket from the off.
Pietersen reached 43 before he edged a full Siddle delivery to Ricky Ponting at first slip and the Australia captain then secured the wicket of Paul Collingwood.
This brought Bell to join Cook and the pair set about taking England towards the 300 mark. With the partnership at 72, Cook defended loosely to Siddle and Watson made no mistake at slip.
His dismissal triggered the collapse of the innings with Prior playing around a full delivery and Broad being caught in front to complete the Victorian’s hat trick.
Graeme Swann then followed for Siddle’s final wicket as he ended with a test best 6-54. Doherty claimed the last two wickets on his debut removing Bell and James Anderson.
England’s seamers kept things tight in reply but Swann’s first two deliveries were both struck for four by Katich.
After incredible optimism in the build up to this series England have been well and truly rooted after day one at the Gabba.