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‘I’m sorry’ – Phil Tufnell and Michael Vaughan stunned by England decisions in Ashes opener


England captain Joe Root’s Ashes decisions have come under scrutiny (Picture: Getty)

Phil Tufnell and Michael Vaughan were stunned by England’s decision to bat first in the opening Ashes Test and leave out Stuart Broad at the Gabba.

Joe Root won the toss in Brisbane on Wednesday morning but that was about as good as things got for England, who were bowled out for 147 in 50.1 overs.

Australia were superb as they look to regain the Ashes, with new captain Pat Cummins taking 5-38 and Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc – who took a wicket with the first ball of the series – sharing four wickets.

Jos Buttler top-scored with 39 for England but there was little from his team-mates, with seven single-figure scores in the tourists’ scorecard.

Tufnell believes England put themselves on the back foot from the moment they elected to bat first and says he ‘couldn’t quite believe’ Root’s decision.

‘We’re all talking about the pink-ball games but the one thing that England will have wanted is to come to an Australian ground and see the pitch covered in green grass and massive clouds overhead but they decided to bat,’ he told BBC’s Test Match Special.

‘I can’t quite understand it. Australia’s bowlers are professional and high-class. What they can do is run up and hit the top of off stump.

Root won the toss in Brisbane but his team failed with the bat (Picture: Getty)

‘All they really had to do was run up and execute the biggest and simple skill they’ve got in their bowling armoury, which is hitting a good length outside off stump.

‘Australia were enabled I’m afraid by England deciding to have a bat. I couldn’t quite believe that, I’m sorry.’

The decision to leave out Broad was also controversial and former captain Vaughan was ‘staggered’ that the 35-year-old was overlooked, particularly as James Anderson had already been ruled out as a precaution.

‘A juicy pitch at the Gabba,’ Vaughan said on social media at the close of play. ‘It’d done more than I have ever seen in my time watching Ashes cricket.

‘England’s Test batting hasn’t coped on these kind of pitches for a long time. I’m also staggered that there’s no Broad on this kind of surface.’

Australia dominated England on day one of the opening Test (Picture: Getty)

While Root’s decision at the toss has backfired, Australia skipper Cummins has admitted he too would have batted.

‘It’s pretty crazy, it all went to plan today,’ said Cummins, who replaced Tim Paine as captain on the eve of the series.

‘I’m proud of all the guys. We stayed really composed. I was probably going to have a bat, but I wasn’t upset to lose the toss. It was 50-50.

‘I’m glad we made inroads early. It’s a good wicket and we have to make the most of it.’

Former England bowler Steven Finn, meanwhile, says he ‘understands’ why Root opted to bat first.

The former Ashes winner said: ‘England will have fancied their chances of getting through the first hour, you know there are going to be difficult periods.

‘I do think there was evidence there – when Stokes played a few shots and Buttler was going and he hit Hazlewood over his head a couple of times – to suggest that the ball was skipping onto the bat once it lost its hardness.

‘I can understand why England made that decision but unfortunately it hasn’t gone right for them.’

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