Defining moments on the opening day of the Ashes of 2010-11? Three Vicious ones all in a row.
There was a false dawn when Andrew Strauss' cameo appearance ended three balls after he won the toss and chose to bat first. Nicked to Hussey off Hilfy midway through the first over for nought.
It was, however, a false dawn as the day settled into that kind of contest that the banner "Honours Even" cannot do justice to. Kevin Pietersen's innings unaccountably terminating at 43, Mitchell Johnson's evil twin doing a clown act at the bowling crease, it was all absorbing "As You Were" stuff.
Till shortly after tea.
Peter Siddle (Sid. Sid Vicious. Vicious) was the eleventh choice for this Australian team, ahead of Doug Bollinger (Doug. Doug the Rug. Rug). By the end of the day - his 26th birthday, if you would - His Viciousness was the poster boy for Victorian revenge against interminable NSW NSP bias, having completed the first Ashes hat-trick of the 21st century.
Cook, Prior, Broad were PM Siddle's consecutive victims. The hat-trick ball, an lbw, was the subject of a UDRS referral by the beleagured batsman. A new standard in cricketing suspense. (You don't like UDRS, do you, BCCI?)
With the English middle order swept away save for Ian Bell, Ponting set aggressive attacking fields for Siddle and Co to bring the innings to a speedy end. Nah, just kidding. You wouldn't think Ricky Ponting would really go on the attack when it was the obvious tactic, would you?
Still, an England total of 260 is better than Australia could have hoped for at the start of the day, and with Watson and Katich holding fort at 25 without loss at stumps, the initiative is all Australia's to botch up on Friday.
The Midwinter-Midwinter is back for 2010-11, and my Best on Ground (BoG) votes for the first day of a maximum possible 25 in the series are:
3: Peter Siddle, 2 - Ian Bell. 1 - Alastair Cook.