The Ashes 2021/22 First Test LIVE: Stream FREE, TV channel, latest updates as England bat first

THE ASHES series is finally here as England and Australia do battle!

All eyes are on the Gabba tonight as the First Test of the series kicks off.

Though star bowler Jimmy Anderson will play no part for England, after pulling out with a calf injury.

Anderson, 39, will be kept on ice for at least the day-night second Test at Adelaide on December 16.

He is at his most dangerous using a pink ball under floodlights so England do not consider his absence a disaster.

Ollie Pope is preferred to Jonny Bairstow in the 12-man squad while spinner Jack Leach is included as is Ben Stokes.

  • Start time: Midnight GMT
  • TV/ live stream: BT Sport 1/ EE Customers can watch for free

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GRIM JIM

Jimmy Anderson hungry to play beyond 40… because he is so GRUMPY, says Buttler

SIX APPEAL

Meet The Ashes Wags, from a BBC Radio 1 presenter to an ex-pro ironwoman

ROOT TO GLORY

Root's England need miracle to regain Ashes… but Stokes is our best hope

IN A JAM

England suffer HUGE blow with Anderson OUT of first Ashes Test with calf injury

  • Sunni Upal

    ENGLAND 11-3 (HAMEED 5, STOKES 0)

    Ben Stokes is out in the middle just 33 minutes into the first morning.

    He's back after a long period away and England need him at his brilliant best right now.

    Two wickets for Hazlewood. A cracking start from him. A cracking start for Australia.

    WICKET: ROOT C WARNER B HAZLEWOOD 0

    Oh no! Root has gone for a duck. What a nightmare for England.

    Beautiful delivery from Hazlewood drags Root forward and gets a healthy edge to Warner at first slip.

    England 11-3.

    ENGLAND 11-2 (HAMEED 5, ROOT 0)

    A bowling change already as Cummins comes on for Starc – so just a two-over spell for Mitch.

    Cummins has a pretty good record against Root and the captain has wasted no time in getting himself into the game.

    Hameed is on strike for the whole, over, though. And he carefully plays out a maiden.

    • Sunni Upal

      ENGLAND 11-2 (HAMEED 5, ROOT 0)

      Joe Root is already in the middle just 19 minutes into the Ashes series.

      We knew he was going to be crucial for England's chances and here he is already.

      Hazlewood and Starc have both struck early to rather average deliveries. There was movement for Malan's wicket but it bounced well over the stumps and could've been left alone.

      .Credit: Getty
    • Sunni Upal

      WICKET! MALAN C CAREY B HAZLEWOOD 6

      Edged and gone! Malan nicks off to the wicketkeeper and England are 2 down inside 20 minutes.

      It was short from Hazlewood and could've been left, but Malan played and it came off the shoulder of the bat and popped up nicely.

      England 11-2 and Root is in the middle already.

    • Sunni Upal

      ENGLAND 11-1 (HAMEED 5, MALAN 6)

      Hameed very watchful to Starc outside off stump – and then he gets one a bit straighter which he punches down the ground confidently for a boundary.

      Starc is very full, giving it every chance to swing, but that was a half volley and put away nicely.

      In the stands, I heard a trumpet and some England chants. That's good to hear.

    • Sunni Upal

      ENGLAND 7-1 (HAMEED 1, MALAN 6)

      Hazlewood opens the bowling from the other end and Hameed takes strike for the first time having watched the first over carnage from the other end.

      He's a bit short to start with and Hameed gets off the mark by turning one off his body for a single to square leg.

      A quieter over – settle down, everyone.

      .Credit: Getty
    • Sunni Upal

      ENGLAND 6-1 (HAMEED 0, MALAN 6)

      The perfect start for Australia having lost the toss.

      Dawid Malan is in at No 3 and gets off the mark with a guide down to third man for four.

      There is swing for Starc but that was a really poor dismissal for Burns. Bowled behind his legs.

      A dramatic first over comes to an end.

    • Sunni Upal

      WICKET! BURNS B STARC 0

      BOWLED HIM FIRST BALL!

      What a start for Australia.

      A massive inswinger which looked like an attempt at a yorker has clean bowled Burns behind his legs.

      A nightmare start. Burns got a leg stump half volley and fell over himself.

    • Sunni Upal

      TIME FOR PLAY

      Burns and Hameed stride to the middle while Starc marks out his run up for Australia.

      This ball is expected to swing and Australia's pace attack is fearsome.

      Big challenge ahead for England – here we go!

    • Sunni Upal

      CHILLS

      A huge roar from what looks like a full house at The Gabba after the anthems.

      Plenty of England fans in attendance despite problems getting there due to travel restrictions.

      It's almost time for the talking to end. We're moments away.

      .Credit: Patrick Hoelscher/News Images
    • Sunni Upal

      ANTHEM TIME

      The players and umpires are on the field in front of the flags of both nations.

      A huge roar greets Pat Cummins' side and Joe Root's men as they enter the arena.

      It's time for the national anthems.

    • Sunni Upal

      HOURS OF PLAY

      Right then, night owls. Here’s the playing hours tonight.

      Morning session: 12am-2am

      Lunch: 2am-2.40am

      Afternoon session: 2.40am-4.40am

      Tea: 4.40am-5am

      Evening session: 5am-7am

      Close of play scheduled for 7am, but can (and probably will) go on until 7.30am to complete overs.

    • Sunni Upal

      PITCH AND WEATHER

      It’s a bit muggy in Brisbane and there’s a good chance of rain at some point.

      The pitch looks a bit green, Joe Root said he thinks it’s quite soft underneath and will quicken up.

      Here's the latest forecast from BBC:

      Credit: BBC WEATHER
      .Credit: AP
    • Sunni Upal

      STOKES THE FIRE

      What a boost it is for England to have Ben Stokes back after his break from the game.

      If he’s fit and firing on all cylinders then he’s going to be a key factor in this series.

      All the noises from the camp in the build-up have been positive so let’s hope that’s a good sign.

      .Credit: Getty
    • Sunni Upal

      CAPTAIN'S SPEECH

      Joe Root on dropping Stuart Broad: "We're blessed with a very good seam attack and squad out here and it was a very difficult decision to make. We have five Tests here and all the guys will be ready to go when called upon."

      Aussie captain Pat Cummins: "We were probably going to have a bat but there's not a lot in – it it's probably 50-50. There will be a bit in it for us."

      .Credit: PA
    • Sunni Upal

      AUSTRALIA SIDE

      A new captain in Pat Cummins and a debutant behind the stumps in Alex Carey.

      Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

    • Sunni Upal

      ENGLAND TEAM

      Woakes, Robinson and Wood are England's pace attack…

      England: Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Jack Leach.

    • Sunni Upal

      TOSS NEWS

      England have won the toss and elected to bat first.

      Stuart Broad is out. Jack Leach plays.

    • Sunni Upal

      SCHEDULE

      The toss is a few minutes away but for those that want to plan their winter around watching cricket in the small hours, here’s the full series schedule.

      The fifth Test will not be played in Perth due to Covid quarantine restrictions in Western Australia with a new venue to be announced soon.

      • First Test – Brisbane – today
      • Second Test – Adelaide – Thur 16 Dec, 4am
      • Third Test – Melbourne – Christmas Day, 11.30pm
      • Fourth Test – Sydney – Tue 4 Jan, 11.30pm
      • Fifth Test – TBC – Fri 14 Jan

      JOHN ETHERIDGE REPORTS:

      Former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting, a pundit for Channel 7's coverage in Australia, believes England are covering up a Jimmy Anderson injury.

      England insist Anderson is 100 per cent fit and does not have a calf problem. But Ponting said: "I'm not buying that – there's no way England would choose to leave out their best bowler in the First Test of an Ashes series if he didn't have some sort of injury."

      • Sunni Upal

        BUILDING BLOCKS

        England’s preparation on the field has been far from ideal – to say the least.

        Both warm-up games in Brisbane have been heavily affected by rain, meaning Joe Root’s men are short on time in the middle headed into this series.

        And England were further rocked by the news yesterday that Jimmy Anderson is all but out of this Test match with a calf injury.

        It’s going to be a tall order without the leader of the attack.

        But Stokes is back and that Aussie batting line-up can be flaky.

        .Credit: PA
      • Sunni Upal

        TRIBUTE

        SunSport cricket correspondent John Etheridge is Down Under this winter. He has some sad news about a former England cricketer…

        "England will wear black armbands today in memory former England women’s cricketer Eileen Ash, who sadly passed away earlier this week aged 110.

        "She was the world’s oldest Test cricketer, making her debut in 1937."

      • Sunni Upal

        CRICKET SCANDALS

        English cricket has been rocked in recent months by the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal at Yorkshire and the reverberations are still being felt.

        Australia have their own problems as well entering the series after captain Tim Paine stepped down and pulled out over historic texts sent to a female colleague.

        It’s been a bumpy ride for the sport and it really needs a riveting contest on the pitch between two bitter rivals for the most coveted of prizes to start to shift the focus.

        England openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed arriving at The GabbaCredit: PA
      • Sunni Upal

        WELCOME

        It’s finally time! Good evening everyone, welcome along to our LIVE coverage of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.

        The talking is almost over as Joe Root’s men embark on their quest to wrestle back the coveted Ashes urn from their biggest rivals down under.

        It’s been a tough build-up for many reasons, but we’re almost set to get the five-Test battle underway at The Gabba.

        Australia have historically been excellent at their Queensland fortress, but their last Test match here ended in a quite remarkable defeat in January.

        The Gabba walls were breached by India in a brilliant victory to seal the series, and England will be looking to inflict further pain on an ailing Aussie Test team.

        Play begins at midnight UK time – the toss will be coming up at 11.30pm, at which point we’ll see England’s line-up.

        Hope you’ve got plenty of coffee and snacks ready because it’s going to be a longggg night.

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