Watch: Zak Crawley smashed the first ball of the 2023 Ashes for four through cover-point for four, leaving his captain Ben Stokes stunned.

You can bet on the 2023 Ashes with our Match Centre partners, bet365.

Ben Stokes opted to bat in the first Test match of the 2023 Ashes, in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Australian captain Pat Cummins himself took the first over for only the 16th time in a 93-innings long bowling career in Test cricket.

Cummins began with a good-length ball just outside off stump. Zak Crawley, whose inclusion in the Test squad – let alone the XI – has been questioned of late, creamed the ball to the cover-point fence.

Stokes, under whose leadership England have revolutionised the scoring rate in Test cricket since the summer of 2022, was left gaping in the pavilion, clearly impressed by Crawley’s outrageous start.

It is worth a mention that in 1994/95, Michael Slater had similarly hit the first ball of an Ashes series, from Phil DeFreitas, for four. Steve Harmison had started the 2006/07 Ashes with an enormous wide. And in 2021/22, Mitchell Starc – whom Australia left out today – bowled Rory Burns with the first ball of the series.

Josh Hazlewood soon had Ben Duckett caught behind for 12. At the time of writing, England were 27-1 in five overs, with Crawley (12) and Ollie Pope (3) at the crease. You can follow the live score here.

Watch Zak Crawley smash the first ball of the 2023 Ashes for four: