England got an early wicket as Stuart Broad (2/68) sent back the dangerous Usman Khawaja lbw for 3 with a good ball that nipped back. David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne both got starts, but neither could carry on. The former nicked a delivery from Woakes outside off stump, having made 32. Labuschagne went on to score his first half-century of Ashes 2023, but was trapped lbw by Moeen Ali for 51.
Getting out after getting starts was the story of the day for Australian batters. Before Labuschagne, Steve Smith fell to Mark Wood for 41 off 52 balls, moving across his crease and being caught in front of the stumps. Travis Head also looked good, but fell for 48 off 65 balls, a knock which included seven fours. He became Broad’s 600th Test victim as he pulled the pacer to fine leg.
Mitchell Marsh eased to a half-century, striking seven fours and a six. He added 65 runs for the sixth wicket with Cameron Green. However, Woakes dismissed both of them in the same over to set Australia back. Green (16) was lbw to a delivery that skidded on, while Marsh (51) nicked a jaffa after which Jonny Bairstow pulled off a blinder.
Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc attempted a late fightback and even managed to add 39 runs for the eighth wicket partnership. However, Woakes hurt Australia again, dismissing Carey for 20. The Aussie keeper-batter paid the price for a tentative leave as he ended up edging the ball outside off stump to the keeper.
At the end of the opening day’s play at Old Trafford in Manchester, Starc was batting on 23 and skipper Pat Cummins on 1.
--By A Cricket Correspondent