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England lose Cook but fight back as Ashes begin

© AFP | England's opening pair Alastair Cook (L) and Mark Stoneman enter the grounds on the first day of their first Test of Ashes series, in Brisbane, on November 23, 2017

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA) (AFP) - 

England lost senior batsman Alastair Cook but were fighting back after winning the toss on the opening day of the first Ashes Test against Australia at the Gabba on Thursday.

In-form opener Mark Stoneman and James Vince steadied the tourists after the early wicket to take England to 39 for one at first-hour drinks under sunny skies in Brisbane.

Stoneman, who has scored a century and three half-centuries in four innings so far on tour, was unbeaten on 15 with Vince not out 22.

Cook only lasted 10 balls before he edged Mitchell Starc to Peter Handscomb at first slip for just two.

It continued an uncertain start to the Ashes tour for the former England captain, who has just one half-century in five innings so far.

It was a big psychological wicket for the Australians, as Cook amassed 766 runs at 127.66 in England's 3-1 series victory in Australia in 2010/11.

Opener David Warner (neck) and lower order batsman Shaun Marsh (back) were both passed fit to play after injury concerns.

Australia have a formidable record at Brisbane's intimidating 'Gabbatoir' where they have not lost a Test match since 1988, and where England are winless in 31 years.

© 2017 AFP