Cummins, Lyon brilliance hand advantage to Aussies

Pat Cummins wants pre-Test niggle to become part of Nathan Lyon's routine, such was the offspinner's form on a slow-moving first day of the Ashes which finished with England on 4-196.

Joe Root won the toss and watched with glee as a dropped catch, 95-minute rain delay and 125-run partnership between James Vince and Mark Stoneman frustrated Australia.

England were sitting pretty on Thursday at 1-127 when Cummins removed Stoneman in the final over before tea, kissing the top of middle stump with a cracking delivery.

Lyon, having riled Root and plenty of other Englishmen earlier this week with some uncharacteristically forthright views, ran Vince out for 83 with a direct hit.

Cummins celebrates the huge wicket of Root

Lyon finished with 0-40 from 24 overs but consistently challenged the captain and other batsmen on what Triple M commentator Mark Waugh termed the flattest day-one Gabba deck he'd seen.

"I just said to him (Lyon), he should say stuff before every game the way he bowled today. He was loving it," Cummins said.

"He's one of those guys who loves getting into the contest. He loves backing up his teammates.

"He's one of the world's best spinners at the moment, if not the best.

"He bowled absolutely beautifully today. I don't know how he doesn't have six-for, let alone one-for."

Highlighting the fact Root was dropped on his most recent tour of Australia was one of many verbals that Lyon launched this week - most of which featured some reference to the 5-0 series win that unfolded four years ago.

Root responded with a light-hearted dig at his former teammate from a brief grade-cricket stint in South Australia, quipping "at the time, we weren't sure who was the first spinner".

Michael Clarke suggested Lyon wasn't overly impressed with the comparison between Root's part-time offspin and the offbreaks delivered by Australia's second-most prolific Test spinner.

Their battle was intriguing. Root appeared rattled at times and attempted an ungainly reverse-sweep on 15.

Aussies celebrate Stoneman's wicket. Pic: Getty

Root survived that misstep but was trapped lbw on the same score by Cummins, with Steve Smith successfully reviewing Marais Erasmus' not-out verdict.

"It's pretty much the dream wicket. One of the most satisfying I've ever got," Cummins said after capturing the prize scalp in his first home Test.

"To bowl seam up with a couple of overs of outswing then try and bowl one big inswinger, it probably only comes off one in a hundred times.

"When it does, it's a pretty special wicket. Fortunately, it was their captain."

Lyon, who came on after just 17 overs, should have dismissed Vince on 68 but recalled keeper Tim Paine put down the catch.

Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali, who swept Lyon for the only six of the innings, batted out the day to leave the first Test evenly placed.

There were 1.3 overs remaining when bad light ended play, much to the disgust of Smith who had just taken the second new ball.

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.