The 1st day started badly for England and then got worse. Firstly they got the expected news that Andrew Flintoff wasn’t going to play, they then had the traditional injury of a player warming up playing football with this time Matt Prior damaging his back and needing an injection just to take the field.
England then won a delayed toss at 10.40 and decided to bat first, after then spending 10 minutes giving interviews to TV and Radio Andrew Strauss had just over 5 minutes to get his pads on and get himself together before taking to the field.
It showed as he was out lbw first ball to Hilfenhaus but it appeard Billy Bowden hadn’t warmed up properly as he also somehow missed it. Strauss’ reprieve didn’t last long when on 3 he chased a wide outswinger from Siddle and edged to North in the slips. Bopara then gave catching practise to Mike Hussey in the gully with a nothing shot similar to his dismissal at Edgbaston and the tone of the day had already been set.
Then followed a procession of batsmen heading back to the pavillion for low scores – only Cook and Prior reaching double figures – getting out to a mixture of poor shots and good bowling particularly from the returning Stuart Clark, Collingwood and Broad in particular could have done a lot better.
After getting bowled out for just 102, England then proceeded to bowl just as awfully as they had batted. James Anderson’s first 2 balls were both dismissed for fours by Shane Watson and after a rare good moment for England with Harmison getting Katich in his 1st over it then continued downhill with Ricky Ponting served up a succession of 4 balls which he gratefully dispatched.
All afternoon England bowled way too short and wide with Anderson, Harmison and Onions all catching the disease. Hitting the deck short at Headingley the ball just sits up to be cut or pulled and England served it up all day without learning.
Stuart Broad dragged things back slightly with two wickets and Onions with one – all to lbw – in the last session, then Michael Clarke and Marcus North picked up were they left off at Edgbaston and got Australia to 196/4 at the close, a lead of 94.