PETER Siddle has taken a hat-trick to wreck an England middle order in front of a rapturous full house in the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba.
Any questions about Siddle’s selection ahead of Doug Bollinger were erased in a dramatic over 10 minutes before drinks in the last session.
First, Siddle enticed England vice-captain Alastair Cook to edge to Shane Watson at first slip.
The Victorian spreadeagled Matt Prior’s stumps next ball, before trapping Stuart Broad lbw with a fast yorker.
Broad called for a video review, which showed his bat was some distance from the ball when he was struck on the full, plumb in front.
The third umpire duly ruled the central umpire was correct, which triggered a second round of wild celebrations on the field and in the stands.
The Victorian became the first Aust\ralian since Shane Warne in 1994 to take an Ashes hat-trick.
Earlier Cook (60) and Ian Bell (53 not out) had shored up the earlier damage wrought by Siddle.
He reduced the tourists to 4-125 when he struck twice before drinks in the second session.
The Victorian wood-chopper made what might be one of the key strikes of the Ashes by dismissing Kevin Pietersen (43) just as the English ace was looking ominous.
Siddle’s good length ball seamed away just enough to take the edge on the way to second slip, where Ricky Ponting held a sharp catch.
Paul Collingwood hit a straight boundary before he also edged Siddle to the cordon, where Marcus North held the low chance.
Earlier, Ben Hilfenhaus landed a heavy blow by dismissing England captain Andrew Strauss for a duck in the first over of the series.
Strauss cut a ball too close to his body and succeeded only in guiding the ball to Mike Hussey’s safe hands in the gully.
It was a meek surrender from just the third ball of the innings. The half-hearted stroke more closely resembled the slips catching drills practised by both sides an hour earlier than a full blooded cut shot.
Jonathan Trott (29, 53 balls, five fours) looked solid and relatively untroubled until he was bowled by a superb Watson delivery.
The ball shaped away slightly before seaming back through a small gap between bat and pad to take the middle and off stumps.
Mitchell Johnson has struggled to exact any life out of what has surprisingly proven to be a slow pitch by Gabba standards.