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It's the start of the first of two Ashes series' this year today. England win the toss on the opening day and elect to bat first. With an overcast sky, but a nice pitch for batting, it'll be interesting to see how both teams do today.

Big team news shock comes from the Australia Camp: They elect to recall all-rounder Steve Smith, as well as handing a debut to 19-year old spinner Ashton Agar.

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Mostly some good bowling, to be fair. Anderson is finding reverse swing, and Swann is spinning the ball well. The batsmen haven't covered themselves in glory, mind.

Bit of both. A couple of great deliveries and a little bit of swing/spin. Swann's to Haddin was a good one.



England: A Cook (capt), J Root, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, J Bairstow, M Prior, S Broad, G Swann, S Finn, J Anderson.

Australia: S Watson, C Rogers, E Cowan, M Clarke (capt), P Hughes, S Smith, B Haddin, P Siddle, J Pattinson, M Starc, A Agar.

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England captain Alastair Cook: "Hopefully on this wicket we can put a good score on the board. [steven Finn's selection] he bowled very well in the Essex match but it's a tough call for the other guys. [Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow] I see a lot of excitement, there are some nerves as well obviously but it's great occasion and one we should all enjoy, it's been a great build-up but now it's time to play some cricket."

Australia captain Michael Clarke: "I would have batted but I don't mind bowling, there should be a bit of swing with the new ball and you've got to take 20 wickets. [Agar's selection] it's maybe a surprise to some but not to us he's bowled really well leading up to this match, England have a lot of right handers so I think he can play a big part in taking 20 wickets. Our chairman made it clear we had the option to bring other players in. [David Warner's omission] He's been batting very well in the nets but it's obviously hard when you've had no match practice."

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Michael Clarke looked very focused.

He needs to have the series of his life if Australia are to have any chance whatsoever. He literally might need to carry the batting lineup when it starts to crumble. He can't afford to score less than 50 more than once. Over five tests against Swann and Anderson? Easier said than done.

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I am going to stop giving over-by-over summations.

I'll just post if something interesting happens.

The ball is swinging, if Australia can take a few early wickets then the decision to bat from Cook will rightly be called into question. It's supposed to brighten up from tomorrow, so if Anderson doesn't get a chance to bowl when it's swinging I don't think he'll be too impressed.

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That's the positive side of picking Peter Siddle.

He's relatively expensive for a test bowler, and hasn't been in great form, but he's always the one who seems to take those wickets from absolutely nowhere. Will be interesting to see how England recover.

KP out to join Trott at the crease.

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