Stuart Broad reaches impressive career milestone as Chris Woakes lands vital blows

After three breathless Test matches in the Ashes series, the first day at Old Trafford returned to a more traditional day of Test cricket, with Stuart Broad joining a select group with his 600th Test wicket, as Australia finished the first day 299-8.

Neither team has won the toss, bowled first and won a Test match at Old Trafford, in 84 matches at the ground, but England under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have never given much credit to what has gone before.

However, it was Chris Woakes who was the England bowlers’ choice, picking up where he left off at Headingley. At 4-52 in his 19 overs, he has continued to prove to the doubters that he is one of the best at home.

While Woakes might have outshone Broad just by looking at the day’s game, his achievement in the format as a whole cannot be understated. Moeen Ali said in the build-up to the Test that “old is gold” referring to the veteran bowling attack on the England side (with Mark Wood the youngest of the five bowlers at 33), but they showed their ability on the first day, to keep the Australian wickets falling at a steady pace.

Only James Anderson has more Test wickets as a fast bowler than Broad, who reached the 600 milestone when Travis Head fell into the England trap. The Australian batsman couldn’t resist hooking the ball and fed it straight to Joe Root at the fine leg deep limit, and had to go out for just 48.

England were rewarded for their persistence throughout the day, and unlike the other matches in the series where wickets tended to fall in gusts or spells, it was a case of consistency and patience that reaped the rewards. At lunch the tourists were 107-2, with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne in the crease, but as they have for most of the series England claimed the two key wickets before they could really put pressure on the side again. home. side.

Smith, in particular, played an uncharacteristic innings, batting from the start, including a six against Ali, before England successfully overturned a decision on the field for lbw, with Mark Wood catching the former captain for just 41 for 52.

Woakes’ ninth wicket of the series was not only his second, but helped to allay some of the questions surrounding Jonny Bairstow’s ability behind the stumps. It was an impressive diving catch low to the right of him to leave Australia 255-7. Woakes’ nine series wickets have cost just 177 runs and he has undoubtedly been a key asset since he was called up before the Headingley Test match.

Chris Woakes celebrates with his teammates a day when he got three tickets

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For Australia, it was a day of missed opportunities to capitalize. Any opportunity could be key, as rain will affect play on days four and five, limiting the prospect of a result, though the home team will try anything to avoid a first draw in the Bazball era. David Warner made 32, Labuschagne 51, Smith 41, Head 48 and Marsh 51, but none of them were able to press and really look to take the game away from England, or force them to use more daring tactics for the rest of the game.

In the final hour of play, England stifled the flow of runs from Australia. When Marsh was out, Australia were 255-7, but they only generated another 44 runs in the last 20.1 overs of play and took Alex Carey’s wicket.

At times it seemed Australia were playing for the draw, inexplicable on the first day but possible with the current weather forecast, but England will be encouraged by the freedom with which the wickets fell, including batsmen looking settled and comfortable at the crease.

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