Bowling first on day one on a pitch with a green tinge and a bit of moisture with just enough clouds to aid swing – the tailor-made wicket for James Anderson isn't it? Nope, it's heaven, and then some, for Stuart Broad.
In the injury-enforced absence of Anderson, Broad took up the mantle, and how, sending back Chris Rogers and Steve Smith in his first over, before ripping through the Australia batting lineup with just-cannot-believe-it-still ease to bowl the visitors out for 60 in 18.3 overs – the shortest first innings by any team in the history of Test cricket. England then went into Lunch on 13/0, with the ball not moving or seaming for the Australia bowlers.
England would then take that score to 99/3 in 29 overs at Tea, with Joe Root looking ominous. Adam Lyth got off to a start, but could not carry on, while Ian Bell went early, to a corker of a yorker from Mitchell Starc, who would then pick up his third wicket of the match by dismissing Alastair Cook (43, 87b, 7x4) in a similar manner a little before the Tea interval.
The final session was all England as the sun came out in all its glory, flattening the pitch out and allowing the exemplary Root to take complete control with Jonny Bairstow joining in the fun as well. Bairstow fell late in the day for a nice 74 (105b, 12x4), gifting his wicket with a flick off Josh Hazlewood that went straight to Chris Rogers at square-leg, but that could not take the sheen off the day for England, who ended Day 1 of this fourth Ashes Test on 274 for four in 65 overs – a lead of 214 runs -- with Root batting on 124 (158b, 19x4, 1x6) alongside nightwatchman Mark Wood.
In the morning, it was so ridiculously easy for Broad that the Aussie batsmen had no chance once Rogers and Smith fell in the first over of the match at Trent Bridge.
Rogers edged an absolute peach from the England fast bowler, who picked up his 300th Test wicket in the process, a ball that came in on the angle from around the wicket, before just nipping away enough to take the outside edge through to the slip cordon.
Smith then was squared-up horribly by Broad with another outside edge going through to Joe Root at third slip – the Australian's penchant for making that move outside off before the ball is bowled is clearly not conducive on pitches that offer a bit of seam and swing; a definite rethink needed there.
The first six wickets came in 37 balls – no, really – with Broad grabbing a five-for, while Wood helped himself to one as well to leave Australia and their supporters shell-shocked.
There was only joy amongst the England contingent, though, as David Warner was sent packing in the second over of the match by Chris Wood, off a brilliant in-swinger which took the inside-edge en route to the wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Shaun Marsh, in for his little brother Mitchell and sent in ahead of the skipper Michael Clarke, came and went, via another outside edge thanks to another brilliant, full delivery from Broad, while Adam Voges was also left with little answer to the full-bowling-seaming-machine that was Broad, as Ben Stokes took the catch of the Ashes, diving to his right at fifth slip to snaffle a stunner.
Clarke was lucky enough to stay at the crease initially, after an inside edge just missed the stumps and went for four, while a mistimed pull shot fell a tad short of Steven Finn at fine-leg.
However, you felt it was only a matter of time before Clarke, under so much pressure to score, was also walking back in disbelief, and the Australia skipper only had himself to blame as he chased a wide and full one from Broad with the inevitable edge taken by Cook at first slip – Broad had his five-for with that wicket, in all of 19 balls.
Finn then came in and castled Phil Nevill with a nice in-swinger that knocked off-stump, to leave Australia on a scarcely-believable 33/7 in 9.2 overs.
It took England a while to take the next wicket – relatively speaking – with Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc hanging in there somehow. Another pitched-up delivery that just moved away, though, and Starc found the outside edge, with Mitchell Johnson following suit in the same over to make it seven wickets on the day for Broad.
Australia might have done better with some of those wickets – Voges pushed hard at the ball, so did Marsh, while Clarke's shot was not needed – but Broad's bowling was just plain world-class and sometimes you just have to doff your hat to the better team on the field, and on day one morning it certainly were England.
The final wicket pair of Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon hung around for a while, but not for too long as Broad took his eighth wicket – yup, no prizes for guessing via an outside edge -- finishing with fantasy-like figures of 9.3-5-15-8, and with it becoming the first England bowler since SF Barnes in 1913, to take eight wickets before Lunch on Day 1 of a Test match.
Fall of wickets: Australia: 4/1 (Rogers, 0.3 overs); 10/2 (Smith, 1 over); 10/3 (Warner, 1.2 overs); 15/4 (Marsh, 2.4 overs); 21/5 (Voges, 4.1 overs); 29/6 (Clarke, 6.1 overs); 33/7 (Nevill, 9.2 overs); 46/8 (Starc, 12.4 overs); 47/9 (Johnson, 13 overs); 60/10 (Lyon, 18.3 overs).
England: 32/1 (Lyth, 11.2 overs); 34/2 (Bell, 13.4 overs); 96/3 (Cook, 27.4 overs); 269/4 (Bairstow, 61.5 overs).