England captain Joe Root made the wrong decision by opting to bat first against Australia on a green pitch in the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba after the tourists were dismissed for 147 on Wednesday, former skipper Nasser Hussain said.
Pat Cummins made a dream start to his Australia captaincy with a five-wicket haul as England were skittled by tea before rain brought the opening day of the Test to an early close.
Hussain said it was a harder toss for Root than his own “diabolical decision” in 2002 when he put Steve Waugh’s Australia in to bat, and the home side reached 364-2 on day one before comfortably winning the match.
“It was a green pitch here, and it had been raining, but while everyone focuses on what the pitch is doing on the first morning, as a captain you have to think what the pitch looks like on days three, four and five,” Hussain wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“The humidity, the cracks in the pitch, the fact it tends to get a bit quicker – you have to think ahead.
Ashes: Cummins takes 5 wickets, England all out for 147 on Day 1
“Obviously 147 all-out tells you it was the wrong decision with the way it (the ball) seamed around and bounced, and sometimes you can confuse it all. I know, I did it.”
Hussain, however, said that Australia has a “fragile” batting line-up and that England could bank on their bowlers to get back into the contest.
“They (Australia) have two world-class players in Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, but David Warner is under a little bit of pressure, and they have a few players coming back into Test cricket,” Hussain added.
“The pitch will still do a bit, and (Ollie) Robinson and (Chris) Woakes in these conditions will be a handful… England has a decent bowling attack, and Australia has vulnerabilities with the bat.”