That’s it for your Ashes summer in Cardiff. A 169-run victory in the Investec Test match, followed by a dramatic 5-run win in the NatWest IT20 – we could not ask for more. Well done England and thank you everybody for your support this summer!
Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Wales, has hailed the “world class facilities” of The SSE SWALEC, as the spotlight is brought back on South Wales for the NatWest international T20 double-header on Monday.
After the huge success of the First Investec Test match, which England won by 169 runs, Mr Jones lauded Cardiff’s growing reputation as an international sporting venue.
In his notes in the match programme, Mr Jones wrote: “It’s fantastic that Wales has been entrusted with the opening contests of cricket’s most famous competition and speaks volumes for our ever-growing reputation as a host of major sporting events.”
With a sell-out crowd of more than 15,000 expected at The SSE SWALEC on Monday for the iT20 double-header – beginning with the finale to the Women’s Ashes – Mr Jones expressed his excitement at the prospect of another enthralling encounter.
He added: “I’m sure you’ll agree that The SSE SWALEC, set in picturesque parkland within a well-hit six of Cardiff’s bustling city centre, provides the perfect backdrop for such a sporting occasion.
“Next year sees Sri Lanka and Pakistan come to Cardiff for the Royal London One-Day internationals – further testament to the world class facilities and welcome on show.”
You can now register for priority access to 2016’s international tickets at www.glamorgancricket.com/2016.
A dream afternoon session sent England to the verge of a famous Ashes victory – their first on Welsh soil – as Australian wickets tumbled in Cardiff.
Stuart Broad was the leader of the attack, taking the precious wickets of Australian powerhouses Steve Smith and Michael Clarke, before Mark Wood and Moeen Ali got in the act, taking two wickets each to make the tourists suffer.
Smith departed immediately after lunch when he edged to Ian Bell at slip, before Clarke lofted on to Ben Stokes. Then, Adam Voges nicked behind to Buttler off Wood and captain Alastair Cook snaffled Brad Haddin at the second attempt when the wicketkeeper smacked one straight to mid-wicket.
Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson attempted to rebuild – Australia had gone from 97/1 to 122/6 – but the visitors’ misery was worsened when Watson was trapped LBW by Wood. He did review the decision to no avail and Australia went in at tea 162/7 to leave England tasting victory.
Robert Croft catches up with us after his Q & A session in the Twelfth Man tent, in the Foster’s Fanzone.
Former England and Glamorgan spinner Croft hailed the “happy and relaxed atmosphere” at The SSE SWALEC for the first Ashes Test.
He said: “All everyone talks about is how friendly an environment it is, whether that’s walking through the park or down at the station.
“The other thing I’m seeing is a whole lot of children and looking forward you often need something to ignite that interest in playing the game and I think that’s somethign we’ve got to use as a legacy for Glamorgan.”
During a busy scheldule at this Test, Croft also chatted to Sky Sports about the “wonderful atmosphere” at The SSE SWALEC.
He added: “To have test cricket in Wales is soemthing that, years ago, people would only have dreamed about. The game is on a bit of a knife edge – the bowlers will have to keep wacking the ball down on a lenght.
Hear the audio from that Croft interview below:
Robert Croft chatted at lunchtime on Day One of the Ashes Test, saying the staging of a blue ribbon event such as this, is a momentous day for Wales and Welsh cricket.
Croft also says the game could inspire the next generation of Welsh cricketers.
Asked how it felt for a proud Welshman to see the Ashes land in Cardiff, Croft’s reponse was contrite: “You bet!”
He added: “It was terrific. There’a huge buzz not only about this Test match but the entire series. We’re looking for it to ignite the future players, the young boys and girls who will be coming along to the ground today.”
Anticipation is building ahead of tomorrow’s start and it can now be revealed that the opening to the first Test will have a distinctly Welsh flavour.
In addition to the English and Australian anthems, supporters will also be treated to the Welsh anthem prior to play on the first day. The anthems will be performed by Welsh choir ‘Only Men Aloud’ who will be accompanied by members of the Welsh Guard marching with all 3 national flags. The traditional tones of Jerusalem will then ring around the stadium.
Players will then come face to face with the famous Ashes urn before being greeted onto The SSE SWALEC turf with a display of pyrotechnics.
There will be a distinctly Welsh flavour to each day’s opening, with a different person with Welsh ties ringing the pre-match bell. These include Welsh rugby stars Owen Williams, Jonathan Davies and Sir Gareth Edwards and Falklands War hero Simon Weston.
The Test is expected to generate upwards of £25 million for the Cardiff and Welsh economy during the Ashes period.