Perhaps it was the pressure of such a monumental occasion as the Ashes or maybe it was just the burden of being an opener that got to Andrew Strauss. Whatever was the case, the pressure got to him in the first over of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba. In just the third ball of the day, Strauss cut Hilfenhaus hard only to send the ball straight to the gully fieldsman Michale Hussy. He was out for a duck and England were shockingly 0/1. One-down batsman, Jonathan Trott counterattacked in Hilfenhaus' next over, sending him for two fours - one to the third man boundary and one forward of square leg.
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In the 4th over, the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) came into play when umpire Aleem Dar turned down an lbw appeal by Peter Siddle. The review showed that the ball was swinging down leg, Dar's decision was upheld and Trott survived. What followed was a few quiet overs till in the 14th over, there was trouble again for England. Shane Watson got Trott out clean bowled for 29 and once again Australia were on top with the score at 41/2.
Kevin Pietersen was the next batsman and was under a considerable amount of pressure especially after the Aussie team had viewed him as the weak link in the English side. But Pietersen tried to defy the odds by hitting a beautiful straight drive off Watson for four in the 20th over. Fortune shone on Alistair cook just a couple of overs later when Cook slashed one to point where the debutant Xavier Doherty bungled the catch and Cook got off with a life. In the next over, Pietersen reversed the pressure when he flicked Doherty for a four to fine leg. Rgeb Pietersen welcome Mitchell Johnson to the bowling crease with a flick to the midwicket boundary.
In the 29th over, the batting pair took their side over the 100-run mark when Pietersen picked
Hilfenhaus for three runs. The boundaries kept coming for England, mainly from the bat of Pietersen who
was settling in nicely. But on 43, he had played his last shot when he tried to drive Siddle, only
succeeding in edging the ball straight to Ricky Ponting at second slip. England were 117/3 and the pressure was back on the touring side.
The new batsman Paul Collingwood, didn't last long. He hit a four straight past the bowler, but was out caught at third slip off the very next ball and Siddle had picked up two wickets. Another decision review demanded by the Australians was turned down in the 48th over, when Simon Katich, fielding at short leg, was convinced Ian Bell had edged a ball from Johnson. Then Bell and Cook got down to steadying England's innings and by the end of the 55th over, had taken their side to 170/4.
But the real drama of the day was yet to unfold. In the fortuitous 66th over, Siddle angled a ball across
Cook who fended meekly to edge it straight to Watson at slip. Cook was gone for a well-made 67 when he promised so much more. In the next ball, Matt Prior joined Cook in the hut when he was late on an attempted drive and saw his middle stump pegged back. Siddle was on a hat-trick and came in charging to bowl to the next man Stuart Broad. He hit him on the toe straight in line with the wickets and the finger of umpire Dar went up. Broad called for a review, but it was in vain. Siddle had got his hat-trick with 5 scalps in all, and England were suddenly 197/7 after being 197/4.
Bell took England past the 200-run mark in the 27th over with a no-ball four off Hilfenhaus. Could he
and the new batsman Graeme Swannn, salvage something from the shambles? Swann couldn't quite rise
to the occasion and was out lbw to Siddle for 10, handing the bowler his sixth wicket of the innings. But Bell who had moved past his fifty, kept piling on the runs while James Anderson tried to give him support. The two counter-attacked effectively, picking fours occasionally before taking England over the 250-run mark in the 76th over.
Soon afterward, Doherty got his maiden Test wicket when he had Bell caught by Watson at deep cover. Bell was gone for a fighting 76 and England were 256/9. In the very same over, Doherty picked up his second wicket by bowling Anderson for 11, wrapping up the England innings in the process. England were all out for 260 in 76.5 overs after a fine performance from the Aussie bowlers, highlighted by Siddle's hat-trick.
In reply, the Aussies got off to a steady start with Shane Watson and Simon Katich adapting well to the pace and bounce of Stuart Broad and James Anderson. First-change bowler Graeme Swann was brought in early. But in first over itself, he went for two fours, bludgeoned by Simon Katich. Australia finished the day on 25/0 with England yet to get their first breakthrough.