England opted to bat against Australia in first Ashes test

CARDIFF: England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bat against Australia in overcast conditions in the first Ashes Test at Cardiff´s Sophia Gardens on Wednesday.


A combination of rain and an elaborate pre-game ceremony, involving the anthems of both countries and a firework display delayed the scheduled 11:00am local time (1000 GMT) start by 15 minutes.

England fielded the same side beaten last time out by New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley in June, a defeat which saw the two-match series drawn 1-1.

That meant there was no place in the side for fast bowler Steven Finn or uncapped leg-spinner Adil Rashid, both included in a 13-man squad.

Australia made one change from the side that beat the West Indies 2-0 in the Caribbean, restoring Chris Rogers to the position of opener after he missed the two-match series with concussion.

That meant Shaun Marsh was dropped from the side captained by Michael Clarke.

There was no place either for Marsh´s younger brother Mitchell Marsh, with the more experienced Shane Watson preferred as the seam-bowling all-rounder.

Australia hold the Ashes after thrashing England 5-0 on home soil but they have not won an Ashes series in Britain for 14 years.

This was just the second Ashes Test, and only third in all, staged in Cardiff.

England clung on for a draw with just one wicket standing against Australia when the ground made its Test debut in 2009 the first match of that year´s Ashes campaign.

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wkt), Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson

Australia: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Steven Smith, Michael Clarke (captain), Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wkt), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon

Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), Marais Erasmus (RSA), TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (NZL)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

Weather: Maximum temperature 18 degrees Celsius, raining. Pitch conditions: Light brown strip promises to be a good batting surface, although early overcast conditions could aid swing bowling.