Joe Root’s record reprieves, Mitchell Marsh’s masterly execution and that toss. Here’s the pick of day one at the Oval…

6:06
The best of the action from day one of the fifth Test between England and Australia at The Oval

The best of the action from day one of the fifth Test between England and Australia at The Oval

Stat of the Day

Mitch Marsh has found 2.5° of swing today. Only three bowlers have bowled 30+ balls on Day 1 of an Oval Test since 2005 and found more swing than that:Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2014), Ryan Sidebottom (2007), Chris Jordan (2014). #Ashes

— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) September 12, 2019

This is the first time in his Test career that Root has been dropped three times in an innings. The only other time he's been dropped more than once was when he was dropped twice against India last year, also at the Oval. #Ashes

— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) September 12, 2019

0:55
Joe Root has a lucky stint at the crease as the Australians put down three catches

Joe Root has a lucky stint at the crease as the Australians put down three catches

Moment of the Day

Australia’s ability to crank up the pressure paid handsome dividends after tea as Pat Cummins pegged back Joe Root’s off-stump with a cracker but Mitchell Marsh’s dismissal of Jonny Bairstow eclipsed it for planning and perfect execution.

0:35
Jonny Bairstow is torpedoed by a yorker that would have uprooted leg-stump had the pad not got in the way

Jonny Bairstow is torpedoed by a yorker that would have uprooted leg-stump had the pad not got in the way

The recalled all-rounder sent down 12 out-swingers before slipping in the in-swinger that had Bairstow’s footwork all in a muddle. The ball would have uprooted leg-stump had Bairstow’s pad not got in the way and Marsh’s jubilant celebrations were understandable. I love it when a plan comes together, as someone once said.

Talking Point

Did Australia let England off the hook? It might seem an odd question given the hosts’ position at stumps but the tourists showed early signs of an Old Trafford hangover – understandably so having already retained the Ashes. Captain Tim Paine rather set the tone by choosing to bowl first after winning the toss – a decision that Shane Warne, among many others, found hard to fathom.

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Australia win the toss and elect to bowl first in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval

Australia win the toss and elect to bowl first in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval

“They are giving up a huge advantage,” he opined. “Yes, there’s a little bit of grass on it but it looks a good, flat pitch to bat on.” Nor was Warne quite sure why Australia had opted for Peter Siddle ahead of James Pattinson, to put it mildly, and the former hardly justified his selection by shelling Root on 24 and bowling an indifferent opening spell. When Paine shelled Root a run later, and Steve Smith missed a more difficult chance when England’s captain had 30, Australia’s generosity appeared to overflow.

But cue the fightback, with Marsh to the fore. Time will tell if Paine made the right call at the toss. A win is a win, no matter how you get there, and Australia would seem in the box-seat.

Tweets of the Day

So, if England win this match and Australia cop an over-rate penalty the WTC points will end up 56-54 (or worse) to England, who will therefore be the #moralwinners of the Ashes.

— Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) September 12, 2019

BOOM! That’s the way to play the world’s best fast bowler @CurranSM – smack him for 6! 👊

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 12, 2019

England are royally screwing this up ….. #Ashes

— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 12, 2019

If ever there were the circumstances for England to score 400+ batting first in a Test this is it but they are trying their best to make that seem like a pipe dream…

— Chris Stocks (@StocksC_cricket) September 12, 2019

What they said

David Lloyd on Rory Burns: “He finds a way and he goes away during his downtime and works with his coach. This is his 12th Test match, he’s scored a century against Australia and he will only benefit from this experience. He looks fine, he finds a way to score runs and he looks a brave player.”

England vs Australia

September 13, 2019, 10:30am

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Nasser Hussain on the toss: “Paine has thought, ‘there’s a bit of grass, we’ll have a bowl and have them 20-3 again’ as England so often are. But you have to think of both ends of the game because on the last day it can get a little bit uneven and start to spin.”