England win toss and bat in first Ashes Test

Brisbane (Australia) (AFP) –


England won the toss and chose to bat against Australia in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba on Thursday.

Captain Steve Smith said opener David Warner and lower order batsman Shaun Marsh were fit to play after injury concerns.

Warner has been having treatment for a neck strain, while Marsh has had back trouble, with all-rounder Glenn Maxwell placed on standby.

Jake Ball won England's fourth seamer spot for the Test ahead of Craig Overton.

"You have to play what's in front of you, bat first first, bat big," England skipper Joe Root said at the toss.

Smith said he would have batted first if he won the toss and said his team was excited to get the series going.

Pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will get their first chance against the tourists, hoping to replicate Mitchell Johnson's devastating bowling at the Gabba ground in 2013.

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.

"It adds a bit of pressure for us having not lost here in 28 years," Smith at the toss.

Australia - David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (capt), Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.

England - Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Joe Root (capt), Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jake Ball.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Marais Erasmus (RSA)

TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (NZL)

Match referee: Richie Richardson (WIS)