England captain Joe Root leaves the field after winning the toss and electing to bat on Day 1 of the First Test match between Australia and England at the Gabba in Brisbane.
England captain Joe Root leaves the field after winning the toss and electing to bat on Day 1 of the First Test match between Australia and England at the Gabba in Brisbane. DAVE HUNT

England gets early advantage in Ashes opener

CRICKET: England will bat first in the Ashes after winning the toss at the Gabba on Thursday morning.

Joe Root correctly called the toss and had no hesitation choosing to bat, with Australian skipper Steve Smith admitting he, too, would've preferred to bat first.

Australia overcame late fitness dramas with both Shaun Marsh (back) and David Warner (neck) passing fitness tests on Thursday morning.

Marsh hurt his back during a fielding drill on Wednesday with Glenn Maxwell flown up to Brisbane on standby.

Warner has also been under an injury cloud this week due to a sore neck, but Smith confirmed both would be good to take their places in Australia's XI.

Gloveman Tim Paine will play his first Test since 2010, while Cameron Bancroft will become Australia's 451st Test player when he receives his baggygreen before the start of play.

England have elected to play four specialist pace bowlers plus spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali. With no Ben Stokes, Jake Ball got the nod of Craig Overton in England's starting XI.

News Corp Australia

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