'No name' Vince inspired by Hayden's comments
JAMES Vince revealed how being labelled a "no name" by Matthew Hayden inspired England's Neville Nobody's to rise on day one of the Ashes.
They were supposed to be the England team nobody had heard of.
But failed Sydney grade cricketer Mark Stoneman and Vince, the bloke averaging 19 - yesterday combined to send a strong message to Australia that even with Ben Stokes back home, the faceless men could be coming to get them.
Opener Stoneman (53) and No.3 Vince (83) put their names up in lights on day one at the Gabba, punching out a tough-as-nails century partnership that rebuilt the innings, before the other Mr Anonymous, Dawid Malan (28 not out) was still swinging at stumps.
Vince bit back at Hayden, asking the Australian great, do you know us now?
"It's great to get off to a good start. I think reading comments like that almost gives you an extra incentive to go out there and try and make a statement," Vince said of his second life in the Test side.
"First innings it's nice to spend some time in the middle, get some confidence and if he didn't know who we were at the start of the day, he probably does now.
"If I could have my first go at Test cricket again I would, but it's in the past. I've been focused for the last month on trying to capitalise on this opportunity and get myself nailed down in the team."
Upon hearing the names Stoneman, Vince and Malan read out at the selection table, England greats were like Hayden, quick to declare it the weakest to ever tour Australia - with Kevin Pietersen going as far as to label it "horrendous."
Vince's selection in particular was slammed.
Just 48 hours before the Test, Hayden lit the fuse and hit a nerve with Stokes all the way on the other side of the world by suggesting England were a "rabble".
"I look down half of the list and I honestly don't even know who half of these guys are," said Hayden.
Australia's fast bowlers confidently predicted in the lead-up to the series that if they got to Alastair Cook and Joe Root, the inexperienced players around them would struggle.
When experienced leader Cook nicked off in just the third over, it was suddenly up to the two battlers to sink or swim.
They didn't paddle fast, but Stoneman and Vince were convincing with their strokes and a half century each has set them up for career-shaping tours.
Stoneman played a few years of grade cricket in Sydney, where he would have faced Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood in the St George nets.
He battled to average 30 against the clubbies, but Stoneman - aged 30 - has well and truly proven he is a Test cricketer.
Scores of 85, 61, 51 and 111 in the warm-up matches was a rocking start to the tour, and Stoneman went on with it on the big stage yesterday to make an important 53, before out of nowhere, Pat Cummins knocked over his castle on the cusp of tea.
It brought an end to a 125-run stand that goes down as the highest second wicket partnership for England in the first innings of a Gabba Test, eclipsing Athey and Gatting in 1986-87.