Nasser Hussain, the England captain who infamously chose to bowl first in the Gabba Ashes Test of 2002, reflected on the decision of Joe Root to bat first against Australia on Wednesday as the visitors closed out the day all out for 147.
England endured a nightmare start to the five-match series, with Rory Burns departing from the first ball of the day as Australia’s bowlers wrapped up England’s first innings inside 51 overs.
Hussain, who chose to bowl first before Australia ended the first day of their Ashes opener 19 years ago on 364-2 at the Gabba, admitted to Sky that Root, on a green pitch, had a tougher call to make than him on Wednesday morning but that “147 all out tells you it was the wrong decision”.
“I think the best thing [Pat] Cummins did was lose the toss because both captains were going to bat,” Hussain told Sky. “Root did bat and, in the end, it proved a good toss to lose.
“I thought it was a harder toss for Root than mine in 2002, which was a diabolical decision! Obviously 147 all out tells you it was the wrong decision with the way it seamed around and bounced and sometimes you can confuse it all. I know, I did it.
“You turn up, look down at a pitch, see it’s green and has rained, so what is your strongest suit? Anyone who has watched England over the last three or four years would say bowling is England’s strongest suit. What is Australia’s weaker suit? That is their batting. Sometimes just forget the stats, forget everything, look down at what is in front of you and try and try make a decision.”
In regard to the toss, after play on day one England batter Ollie Pope said: “If we’d managed to get through that two hours one down maybe then we could have made the most with the softer ball.
“I wouldn’t look too much at the toss, we’ve got to execute better in that first two hours of the game.”