Australia make an impressive start to the Perth Test by reaching .... on day one. Join blogger Rohan Connolly for all the day two action from the WACA.nullnull
Day One Recap ... Of risks and revivals
Upper hand: Fortunes twisted and turned, but another solid performance from the lower men on the batting list gave Australia the edge at stumps with 6/326. Three wickets in the first session including the skipper Clarke was a good effort early by England in trying conditions, and when Warner and Bailey gave their wickets away in the afternoon, Australia looked precarious at 5/143. But for the fourth time in as many knocks, Brad Haddin helped wrest control back, and his example inspired plenty of confidence in Steve Smith, who looked more comfortable with each ball. Their partnership of 124 evened things up, and some nice clean hitting from Mitch Johnson in the final session put the home side in the ascendancy again.
The key man: Smith was under plenty of pressure coming into this match with 31 his highest score to date this series. But after a tentative start, he blossomed, and consistently picked the right balls to hit, showing plenty of patience later on when bogged down in the 80s for a while. The result was his second Test ton, from 173 balls with 13 fours and two sixes, and an Australian total which is already competitive and could grow by plenty yet.
Big moment: Smith reached his century in grand style, with two boundaries in three balls off Stokes, the first a drive, the second a pull, and was pumped up indeed when the latter shot sailed over the boundary rope. It was a ton well received, and rightly so, coming to the crease with not only his team's but perhaps his own fortunes on the line, and responding brilliantly and with a very cool head.
It could have all changed when ... With Australia on 5/259, a short ball from Tim Bresnan saw Haddin get a big top edge to deep cover. It hung in the air for ever, but Carberry, on the boundary, didn't pick it up early enough, and the ball fell in between he and Joe Root. With the half-chance went England's hopes of restricting Australia to less than 300.
Things went swimmingly for ... Brad Haddin. The Aussie keeper is having a tremendous series with both bat and gloves, and whilst he has ridden his luck a little, his enterprise has deserved rewards. Again, he took plenty of chances early, a few lofted shots falling just short or wide of fieldsman, but the risk taking paid off with another half-century, his lowest score from four knock to date 53.
Not so swimmingly for .... Stuart Broad. The man Australians love to hate had an ordinary day, expensive early, and despite picking up two wickets, conceding more than 4.5 per over. By stumps he looked like a bloke who didn't want to bowl, adjusting his field three times in three balls as Johnson threw the bat at him, and Cook, having had enough, removed his front line bowler.
What does it all mean?: It remains to be seen just how good batting track this WACA pitch is, but given England's recent batting history, Australia already appears to have at worst an adequate total, and should it push past 400, a pretty imposing one. Needless to say, England requires several early breakthroughs on Saturday. The home side, meanwhile, can go a long way to leaving the visitors not only exhausted in the Perth heat, but demoralised if its tail can continue to wag.
And that's all for day one here at blog central. Rohan Connolly saying a good evening to you all, and we'll join you back here at about 1pm (EST) on Saturday.