The first session of a test match in Australia is always tricky and it becomes a quandary for the captain winning the toss.
Most captains would be praying that they lose the toss, especially in the first match of an Ashes series as there are far too many variables to calculate before the beginning of the match.
The Ashes 2021-22 example
For instance, the first match of Ashes 2021-22 was played at the Gabba in Brisbane and the pitch bore a green tinge. The weather was also very helpful for the swing bowlers with heavy clouds in the air.
In such a situation, if as a captain decides to bowl first and things don’t come off, it becomes quite controversial and you don’t see the end of it till your playing career is over, and perhaps even after that.
On the other hand, if you are brave and decide to bat first, like Joe Root did, and your team collapses, the decision is once again brought into question.
Root gets short end of stick
Despite losing the test match quite comprehensively, Joe Root defended his decision at the toss at the end of the opening match.
“I think batting first was the right decision,” Root said “We just didn’t quite play well enough in that first innings. We get some sort of a score on the board, see how the wicket starts to behave today, and we’re looking at very different contexts. Probably more on my shoulders there and how I managed Jack Leach rather than looking at the selection of how we went about things. I think that’s something that we’ll look at once we get to Adelaide, once we know what the surface looks like and what the conditions are likely to present when we get there.”
“We obviously knew how important that first hour was in particular. It was really important that we got there unscathed and unfortunately, losing those three wickets ahead of that was bitterly disappointing because we had put a lot of good work in last night. I look back at this morning with a little bit of disappointment but ultimately when you’re 40 for four in the first innings, it’s very difficult to get back into the game. And when you create as many chances as we did with the ball and not take them, it’s very difficult to look back at just this morning and think that that’s where the game was lost.”