Insights from the UK and beyond
from Left field:
What an extraordinary first day of Test match cricket, even by Ashes standards. A day that ebbed and flowed, that tormented and teased both sets of supporters and ultimately left us with the question: where does the balance of this match lie?
As Kev notes, lunch for England would have been the equivalent of trying to digest tarmac, a disconcerting affair to say the least. Having won the toss and electing to bat England were reduced to 92-3 by a persevering if unspectacular Australian attack, which left the Barmy Army cowering behind their beer snakes fearing the worst.
Tea would have been sweeter -- "two more sugars please" -- after Pietersen and Collingwood put on a hundred runs for the loss of no wickets. If Pietersen batting is like watching an artist paint a masterpiece, then watching Collingwood is like sitting through a blacksmith beating a horseshoe into shape.
Then came an astonishing final session. Collingwood played at one outside off as unconvincingly as he'd hit a boundary a few balls earlier, and was snaffled by Haddin behind the timbers.