A quick explanation before I start – I took the decision when I started on my blog that each day, each game on the same day would be its own event.  And so here’s the first of what could be 13 days at The Ashes for me this summer!  That’s all dependent on both the weather and the 2 teams taking part!

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On the photographic front I took nearly 1200 photos on my Day 1 and am only half way through sorting them out.  I can only share so many here with limited space and I want to share more than my standard 30-50 so I’m going to post an album on both my 365 Sporting Days Facebook page and on my Google + account.  I apologise if this is a long one by the way!

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Cardiff is a place I visit fairly often for an Essex girl – I’m a huge fan of the Millennium Stadium and try to get to at least a couple of games a year.  My lady of leisure Fridays made the prospect of watching Test cricket in Wales a possibility – one I just couldn’t resist.

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That meant a long drive after work on Thursday but it was a journey worth making, I don’t tend to put barriers in the way of my sport!  I had the pleasure of the company of Test Match Special for the drive and could be seen punching the air on  more than one occasion. It took me around 5 hours in all, but I was sure it’d be worth it!

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I picked the Premier Inn just outside of Newport as my base – I’m a fan of the chain, there Good Night’s sleep pledge is usually met.  A 5 hour drive contributed to that too!

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The drive into Cardiff was a reasonably slow one, but I’m getting to know the place quite well now, and in spite of my SatNav taking me to the wrong place I was soon in my spot in the Cardiff Blues car park – greeted by name too!  There’s a place I must watch rugby some time!

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I had lunch at the SWALEC Stadium last Autumn before the All Blacks game so knew my way, the walk to the ground is from what I know so far, second to none – a beautiful walk through a very green park with the River Taff added in for extra wonder.

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I made my seat with 10 minutes to spare and settled in next to my neighbours for the day Gary and Richard who’d travelled from the Midlands.  I then spent the rest of the day once the sun had arrived nagging Gary who’d managed to get himself burnt the day before – the nagging worked he shared my sun cream!

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This will now be a marker on how much I write about the actual cricket and wow there was certainly a lot to write about!

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England had if we’re honest had a disastrous start to their Ashes series on Day 1 they found themselves on 43 for the loss of 3 wickets with Adam Lyth,  Ian Bell and Alastair Cook losing their wickets cheaply.

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However the wonderful Joe Root and the middle order saw them build a strong 430 before they were all out.  Now there are some very fine batsmen in the Australian team and although they’d been set a decent score to chase it shouldn’t have been a problem.

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As I said I was able to listen to the afternoon’s play and the fact that I punched the air like a proper oddball indicates the fact that wickets were taken.  Australia finished the day on 265-5 with Chris Rogers again failing to convert a wonderful innings into a century – he was caught by Buttler from the bowling of Wood on 95 – you’ve got to feel sorry for him.  He now has an unenviable record of the most 50’s in Test cricket unconverted to a 100

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And so to Day 3 – Australia started with the day with Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon at the crease.  Watson is a man with a very big bat, he’s a also a man with an LBW habit!  And so that was to be his downfall again – he fell to a ball from Stuart Broad with 30 runs to his name.  He was reluctant to leave the field, but out he was.

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Brad Haddin joined Lyon – he too is a man capable of scoring runs , he saw his partner fall to LBW with Mark Wood  being the jubilant bowler this time, Lyon had contributed 6 and Australia were on 265-7.

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The England bowlers who’d struggled down under were in the ascendency with Jimmy Anderson in particular in mean form!  He took the vital wicket of Haddin – he fell to another Buttler catch with 22 to his name.

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With only the tail end to follow and England’s front line pair bowling Australia had little to offer, although Mitchell Johnson who’s had a horrible time with the ball in England’s 1st innings,  made a spirited 14 before he fell to a catch by Gary Ballance, from a Stuart Broad ball.

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An athletic catch by Joe Root from an Anderson ball finished proceedings, Mitchell Starc with a duck to his name sent back to get ready to bowl.  Australia were all out for 308!  A very fine morning of cricket!

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Adam Lyth and Alastair Cook came to the crease with England looking to build a score, neither man had fared well in the 1st innings.  Cook was to fall early again – he made what was a great looking shot, but his shot was matched by an equally superb catch by Lyon from the bowling of Starc.

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Gary Ballance who’d been a great partner to Joe Root was to make only a cameo appearance he was caught by Haddin from the bowling of Hazlewood with a duck to his name.  England were on 22 for 2!  Not a good start!

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We then had Lyth and Ian Bell at the crease.  Although Bell is a class act his test career had faltered, every England fan in the ground will have been willing him on to a good innings.  He and Lyth built the score to 73 before Lyth fell to a Clarke catch from the bowling of Lyon – he had a more respectable 37 to his name.

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The ever popular Joe Root was next to the crease.  Both Bell and Root played a strong and key innings amazingly they both scored 60 in 89 balls – Bell in 130 minutes, Root in 135!  They laid the foundation for their team.

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Bell fell to a superb ball from Mitch Johnson – it was a great response to a lot of stick for the bowler – the one time my camera wasn’t trained on the batsman!  Typical!

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Ben Stokes – an England heavy hitter joined Root, this man is a pleasure to watch – as long as he keeps his wicket he plays exciting cricket!

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Stokes added a very useful 42 – seeing Root leave the field after his bails were sent flying by Hazlewood – you could almost see the determinaton on the Australian quicks from afar! Starc took Stokes’ wicket – more bails flying!  Joe Buttler a man who can be good with the bat was despatched by another Haddin catch – Johnson taking what for him just have been a very valuable second wicket.

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Of the tail enders it was Mark Wood who shone – he added a very valuable 32 runs including four 4’s and a mighty 6!  England were all out for 289 with Lyon being the pick of the Australian bowlers with figures of 4 for 75.  Australia have 2 days to reach 412 to win the first Ashes Test.  If they do so that will be a record run chase and a win they deserve.  I clearly hope I’m writing a different story for Day 4!

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I must mention my other neighbours on the day – local men Bernard, Nigel, H and Spider – they arrived very late – with Bernard getting stick all afternoon for being the cause.  They were great company and H was wonderful in making sure I had cold water and including me in the ice cream run!  Thank you gents!

My photos are a bit uneven – sorry about that – but I have Day 4 to rush to 🙂

Details of prices etc in the next instalment – although

  • Cost of Ticket        £85.00
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