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The Ashes: England still need Stuart Broad

There was at least some success for England on day one of the fourth Ashes Test, as the bowlers fought back on a rain-affected day in Sydney.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat, but soon before the start the rain arrived, meaning the action was delayed by half-an-hour.

There were also three other interruptions due to the weather and the hosts closed the day on 126-3, with Australia now available at 11/4 to win the fourth Test, England are 16/1 and the draw can be backed at 4/11.

Despite only 46.5 overs being bowled on the opening day, here are three things we learned from day one at the SCG….

Broad still has much to offer England

There has been plenty of talk this week that at the age of 35, Stuart Broad could be on the brink of retiring from international cricket.

If that is the case, the England selectors need to sit down with the paceman and try and talk him into staying on for another two years!

As well as still performing at a high level, Broad has a lot of advice to offer the younger bowlers and his presence can only be a good thing for England moving forward.

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He showed on Wednesday that he still causes top-level batsmen problems and once again was the man to remove David Warner. The Aussie opener suffered at the hands of Broad in England and the Nottinghamshire ace claimed his scalp again in Sydney.

Warner made 30 off 72 balls before edging a Broad delivery to Zak Crawley at slip, an important breakthrough as Australia seemed to be making a positive start.

Broad was the standout bowler and ended the day with figures of 1-34 from 11.5 overs and will be a crucial figure if England are to stand a chance of claiming victory in Sydney.

Smith is the key for Australia

With the top three in the Aussie batting order back in the pavilion cheaply, the pressure now seems to be on Steve Smith to deliver the goods.

Despite Australia's dominance in this Ashes series so far, the former skipper hasn't looked as dominant with the bat.

Smith scored 93 in the Adelaide Test but besides that has struggled for runs, making 12, 6 and 16 in his other three innings in the series to date.

Let's not forget though his form prior to this Ashes encounter though, scoring 774 runs in England in 2019 and also claiming a ton and two half-centuries in the home series against India in 2020.

If England are unable to snaffle him early on Thursday, then Smith could take the game away from the tourists but an early break through would expose the middle-lower order.

Weather to play a big role at SCG

It was a stop-start day one in Sydney, with more of the same likely on Thursday with the weather suggesting there could be some thundery showers in New South Wales in the morning.

Sunshine and showers is the forecast for the next three days, but with no certainty when or if the rain will fall at the SCG.

David Warner was pretty philosophical about the conditions, saying at the close: "That's Sydney weather for you. It rains pretty much every Test we play here. We were surprised with how much play we got."

Warner revealed that there are 'quite a lot of cracks' under the surface of the wicket and that Australia wanted to be the team bowling last.

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