Ashes 2023: England fight back on opening day at Old Trafford as Chris Woakes takes 4 wickets

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Day 1 of the Men’s Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester has been a classic of the sport

Australia lost the toss and Ben Stokes elected to bowl first, perhaps unsurprisingly. England made a superb start and Stuart Broad picked up the wicket of Usman Khawaja - his 599th in Test cricket. 

David Warner looked good and comfortable at the crease, and no doubt Stuart Broad had him in his sights for wicket number 600 in Test cricket. However, the Australian opener was removed by Chris Woakes he had him caught behind for 32. 

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The wicket brought Steve Smith out to bat with Marnus Labuschagne- a pair which had caused England plenty of problems over the years. For a period, they looked likely to punish the hosts once again, playing some aggressive shots interjected with tidy cricket shots. 

After lunch, Smith was moved by Mark Wood and the pair had put on nearly 60 runs for the 3rd wicket- yet England needed more. At 120-3 Travis Head joined Labuscgange and another handy Australian partnership was formed. Head put his foot down and went after the English bowlers, and it took a bowling change to make another big breakthrough. 

Moeen Ali came on and very early in his spell, he trapped Labuschagne LBW. It was an important wicket, with Labuschagne passing 50 for the first time and looking well set to push on. 

Just before tea, Mitch Marsh joined Head and the pair saw them through to the break. However, soon into the evening session Broad was at it again and he removed Head for 48 and the tide of the match was turning ever so slightly. Broad’s 600th wicket was one which helped drag his side back into the contest.

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England's Chris Woakes (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Australia's Cameron Green on the opening day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, north-west England on July 19, 2023. England's Chris Woakes (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Australia's Cameron Green on the opening day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, north-west England on July 19, 2023.
England's Chris Woakes (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Australia's Cameron Green on the opening day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, north-west England on July 19, 2023. | Getty

Marsh reached 50 deep into the evening session, but the 6th Australian wicket fell soon after. Chris Woakes dismissed Cameron Green for 16 and left the tourists 254-6. In the same over, the reintroduction of Woakes paid off again and thanks to a fantastic catch from Jonny Bairstow, Marsh departed. 

Chris Woakes continued to make things happen and Alex Carey became his fourth victim of the day. Australia closed on 299-8 having been pegged back by England.

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