Ashes 2013: Talking points as Shane Watson helps Aussies take control

Ashes 2013: Guy Clarke takes a look at the key talking points from the first day of the fifth Test at The Oval

By Guy Clarke

Kerrigan, Woakes and Faulkner all handed debuts

For the final test of the series both England and Australia decided to shuffle their respective packs. England gave debuts to Lancashire spin bowler Simon Kerrigan and Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes, whilst Australia handed all-rounder James Faulkner his test bow. With the Aussies winning the toss and choosing to bat, there was a chance to see England’s new boys first. Unfortunately, neither were too impressive. Kerrigan was the first to get an opportunity to show what he could do with the ball, but the 24-year-old looked to be struggling with the occasion with his first two overs before lunch going for a costly 28. He had to wait until just before tea to get another chance but things didn’t get easier as he was only given eight overs. Woakes was also brought into the bowling attack, but like Kerrigan, was unable to make a breakthrough on his debut but was not so heavily punished as his Preston-born team-mate. Due to the impressive display with the bat by Shane Watson, Faulkner will have to wait for his chance tomorrow with him coming in at seven behind wicket-keeper Brad Haddin.

Watson hitting form

Despite the series already being over for Australia, Shane Watson’s performance has been something to be proud of. Having started the Ashes opening the batting, Watson hasn’t had the best of times, only being able to get past 50 once in his previous eight innings so far, but with the 32-year-old registering a career best score of 176 on day one, his display gives the Aussies something to build on. Watson’s century came off just 104 balls with the batsman hitting 16 fours and one six, being particularly brutal to the bowling of England’s new spin-bowler Kerrigan. By reaching a century, Watson recorded just his third test century of his career, and first in 25 tests, as well as helping Australia build a competitive score after Chris Rogers, David Warner and captain Michael Clarke were all out for just a combined 36 runs. The Aussie all-rounder was fortunate though to reach his 176 after being dropped by Alastair Cook on 104 after edging a ball by Jimmy Anderson to the England captain in the slips. On his way to making 176, Watson hit 25 fours and one six as well as building a strong partnership with Steven Smith, who was also able to reach a 66 himself.

Lehmann labels Broad a cheat

Although the result of the series is over, it did not stop Darren Lehmann setting the atmosphere ahead of the final Test by labelling England pace bowler Stuart Broad a cheat. The Australia coach was referring back to the first Test when he believed that Broad should have walked after edging a ball of the bowling of Ashton Agar into the slips, via Brad Haddin. The Aussie coach also called upon the Australian public to “get stuck into him” ahead of the Ashes series in Australia which starts in Brisbane on 21 November, where the hosts will hope to reclaim the Ashes having lost the urn the last time it was hosted on home soil. The argument has rumbled on throughout the whole duration of the series due to the importance of Broad not walking, as he was able to add 28 runs to the 37 he had already hit as England won by 14 runs, showing the importance of the Nottinghamshire man’s action – or lack thereof. However, the controversy has been unable to derail the form of Broad, with him taking 5-60 in the Aussies’ second innings to help secure England’s outright victory in the last Test at Chester-le-Street, as well as being the man to take the wicket of Watson on Wednesday after a great catch by Kevin Pietersen.

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