David Warner and Cameron Bancroft shared a record 173-run partnership as Australia wrapped up a 10-wicket win over England in the first Test on Monday, taking first honours in the five-match Ashes series. Warner was unbeaten on 87 and Cameron Bancroft hit the winnings runs, finishing not out 82, as the Australians surpassed the victory target of 170 with 2 ½ sessions to spare on day five after resuming at 114/0. (SCORECARD)
"First Test of an Ashes is very important," the Australian captain Steve Smith said at the post-match presentation. "There was a bit of pressure but really pleased with how we played."
The unbroken stand between Warner and Bancroft, who is playing his first Test, was the biggest opening partnership in a successful fourth-innings run chase in Test cricket, according to Cricinfo. Australians Archie Jackson and Bill Ponsford put on 172 against the West Indies at Adelaide in 1930.
England holds the Ashes after a 3-2 win at home in 2015 but was swept 5-0 on its last tour to Australia in 2013-14.
Smith's unbeaten 141 from 326 deliveries in the first innings earned him the player of the match award. The Australian skipper helped his team recover from 76/4 to reach 328 in reply to England's 302.
"It meant a lot. I really had to dig deep. It was tough, my slowest (century), but one of my best," Smith said. "Cameron looked very good, had good plans, played very straight. The partnership with David was magnificent."
Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood took three wickets apiece on Sunday when Australia bowled England out for 195, setting up a simple run chase with four sessions remaining.
The second Test — the first day-night test contested in an Ashes series — starts Saturday in Adelaide.
The series-opening match was tightly contested for the first three days after England won the toss, elected to bat and posted 196/4 on a rain-affected opening day when the pitch was slow and soft.
The Australian pace trio tipped to play a major role in reproducing the kind of intimidating fast bowling that exposed some vulnerability from England on the last tour here, initially struggled to get their rhythm on a wicket devoid of the kind of pace and bounce the Gabba is famous for.
The Australians rallied in the first inning after a top-order collapse on the second day and Smith's innings ensured the hosts had a 26-run lead in the first innings.
With the pitch starting to behave more in line with tradition on days three and four, Australia seized control on Sunday with England losing its last four wickets for 10 runs and giving the home team plenty of time to chase the 170 runs needed for victory.
"Steve Smith played exceptionally well on that surface and took the game away from us," England captain Joe Root said.
"In that first innings, we were looking to get 400 plus and put scoreboard pressure on them. Then with Australia 209/7, we were still looking to get a lead but we didn't and it's frustrating.
"We showed great character at times - we've got to harness that and turn good starts into big scores."