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Ashes 2021-22: 'It's all gone to plan so far' – Australia captain Pat Cummins reflects on 'pretty crazy' openi

Pat Cummins

Brisbane, December 8: Pat Cummins reflected on a "pretty crazy" first day as Australia's Test captain after his side dismantled England at the Gabba to start the Ashes in style on Wednesday (December 8).

Mitchell Starc bowled Rory Burns with the very first ball in Brisbane on Wednesday and the hosts went on to skittle England out for just 147 before rain and bad light stopped play.

Cummins, who replaced Tim Paine as captain following the wicketkeeper's resignation last month in the wake of a lewd texting scandal, led the way for Australia, taking 5-38.

The 28-year-old became the second pace bowler to take five wickets in a men's Test innings as captain of Australia, after George Giffen (three occasions in December 1894, February 1895 and January 1895), and has taken 133 wickets in the longest format since the start of 2018, more than any other player.

England skipper Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat on a green pitch in Queensland, and though Cummins acknowledged he would likely have made the same decision, he had no regrets over losing the coin flip as he looked back on a wonderful day for Australia.

"Pretty crazy... it's all gone to plan so far," Cummins told BT Sport.

"Really proud of all the guys. I was probably going to have a bat. I genuinely wasn't upset and we made the most of it.

"[The pitch] is a little bit soft. You're always in the game on the morning of day one. It got a little bit quicker after lunch but the ball got a little bit softer. It's a pretty standard Gabba wicket."

"It is a dream start. It was not a bad toss to lose. Starc started off nicely, all bowlers did their job and to keep England under 150 is something to be proud of. It was nice to take a fifer," said Cummins during the virtual press conference.

Asked to comment on his five-for, Cummins added: "The body felt decent. I've bowled better before and haven't got as many rewards. I kept it tight and got the ball up there."

Starc's 2-35 and Josh Hazlewood's 2-42 were added to by a first Test wicket for Cameron Green (1-6) as England were cast aside with ease - only four of the tourists' side making it into double figures.

The selection of opening bowler Starc had come under some scrutiny, but he responded in perfect fashion when his first delivery crashed into Burns' leg stump.

It is only the second time in Ashes history that a batsman has been dismissed with the first ball of the first Test.

"Really happy for him, he really held the attack together," Cummins said of Starc.

Starc took the wicket of Rory Burns (0) on the very first ball of the series as he bowled the left-hander round his legs. Josh Hazlewood then took the scalps of Dawid Malan (6) and skipper Joe Root (0) to leave England at 11/3 in the sixth over.

"Pumped for Mitchell Starc, it was an exciting way to start the series. When you think first ball of an Ashes series, your mind goes to Steve Harmison, hopefully this will be the new memory now," said Cummins.

"It is really 50-50. I was probably going to bat, but I knew the toss would not have that of a bearing. Pretty standard Day 1 wicket," he added.

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Story first published: Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 15:00 [IST]
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