In Gabba nets
I’ll get the updates from some of the morning walkabouts and a couple of cricket fans in the ground, and back here soon with more. For now, it’s drying out, so it’s a great day for cricket. Follow the second day’s play and you will be able to keep up with all of my observations on patswithnature.com, and that of our intrepid Australian correspondents Iain Quinn and Simon Head.
On a wet day in Brisbane, where puddles were forming and where a fair few of the 3,500 fans on the grassy slope outside had buckets and spades at the ready, England paid tribute to the team-mates who fell during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, when England lost by an innings and 239 runs in December, 1956.
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They all flew together to Australia for a pre-Ashes tour and the stark memory of those great jubilant days meant this was a poignant occasion – for them, their families and fans throughout the country.
And here’s what they had to say:
Alastair Cook, captain in 2013-14 and 2017-18: “This game is about making plans, being decisive and with the short ball, making sure you get back in the game and, when you are in the game, being ruthless.
“We didn’t get back in the game on day one so we have got to improve for the second day. We had to score 478 here and we know where we have gone wrong.
“We are hitting some good balls and there is half a chance. We haven’t got close enough to their bowling but we can still put them under pressure.
“We have a great squad and we haven’t played for a long time. We are backing ourselves to get back in the game.”
Ben Stokes, vice-captain: “Once we get ourselves back into it, it will all be there.
“If we can start to put a bit of pressure on, it will turn into something.”
Zimbabwe-born Mark Wood, one of the squad recalled in 2014-15 after a sustained exile: “It’s a real pleasure to play for England again.
“It doesn’t matter what happened to me in the past. I’ve always thought if it was the right opportunity I’d come back. I’ve always believed in my ability.
“I knew it was going to happen and that everything would work out. I haven’t played for England for a while now, and it’s going to be special to get back out there. I’m excited.
“Hopefully I can be part of a great series but at the end of the day I just want to play cricket. We play for England, that’s the only thing that matters to me.”
Lewis Gregory, Surrey’s left-arm fast bowler: “It’s a bit of a catch-22. I can’t really look back on the time I wasn’t playing because I know that I’ll be in the Ashes squad this year.”
Steve Finn, who has not played an Ashes match since August 2015: “I’ve been in training, I’ve been watching Test cricket, making sure my body is feeling fine. I’m looking forward to getting out there.
“I love playing cricket and it’s been a long time not playing.
“I’m looking forward to playing on a bouncy wicket and doing some damage to the Aussies.
“I think getting yourself in the best possible position to execute in the Ashes is the most important thing.
“I’ve put time in and I’m confident of doing well.”