Third Ashes Test, Perth (day one, stumps):
Australia 268 v England 29-0
Venue: Waca Date: 16-20 December. Play resumes 0230 GMT on 17 Dec Coverage: Live on Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW, 5 live sports extra and online; live highlights and day's review on the
; live text commentary on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
England have had much the better of the first day in Perth
By Justin Langer
Australia batting/leadership coach
Leading into this third Test, much was made of the Waca pitch.
In the 20 or so years I have been playing here at my home ground in Perth, I must admit I had never seen so much grass on the surface of a Test pitch and it was therefore no surprise to hear all the talk and prediction leading into the match.
It was also no surprise to see Andrew Strauss win the toss and send Australia into bat.
The fact Ricky Ponting had the same thought of inserting England had he won the toss suggests we were all expecting a nightmare for the batsmen.
Cameron Sutherland, the curator, whispered to me that he thought the pitch looked to have more perils than it would actually produce, and I have to admit I think he was right.
At 60 for 5 you could have been excused for thinking Australia were batting on a minefield but the truth is the pitch didn't really play a sinister part in any of our dismissals.
Chris Tremlett and Steve Finn extracted some extra bounce and James Anderson swung a few balls, but nothing they produced was out of the ordinary.
Fighting partnerships between Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson, and a few runs from the tail, gave our scoreboard some respectability, but in all, England have had the best part of this first day.
Johnson had a very good day. He batted positively before showing signs of returning to his best with the ball late in the day. Australia will need him firing in the morning because unless we hit England with everything tomorrow, the Ashes could be staying in their hands.
So far everything is going right for the visitors and this is reflected by the way they are fielding. Paul Collingwood's catch to dismiss the luckless Ponting was out of this world and an indication of the confidence England are playing with at the moment.
The big question is whether Australia can arrest this momentum. Tomorrow will be a telling sign.
From Perth, JL
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