England look to take a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series
A 169 run victory in Cardiff got England off to a terrific start in this summer’s Ashes series. Australia captain Michael Clarke admitted his team ‘were outplayed in all three facets of the game’ and his aging side will need to bounce back quickly in the second Test at Lord’s.
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England buoyant after 169 run win in Cardiff
There were some wobbles along the way but England ran out comfortable winners of the first Test, sealing a 169 run victory with a day to spare. Joe Root’s century earned him the ‘man of the match’ award but in truth it was a team effort, with Moeen Ali scoring a superb first innings 77 and counting Michael Clarke and Steve Smith among his victims with the ball.
With no injury worries ahead of the second Test England have named the same 13-man squad, with Steve Finn and Adil Rashid expected to be left out again in an unchanged line-up.
Alistair Cook praised his side’s positive attitude, saying: “So far this summer, there has been a real feelgood factor about English cricket. It started with that partnership between Joe and Ben when we were 30-4 at Lord’s against New Zealand and it has carried on from there in all forms.
“We keep speaking about showing off our talent to people. That’s why we have been picked for England, that’s why we are possibly the best players in the country. There must be a reason we got there and we want to show off.”
The captain also acknowledged the input of new coach Trevor Bayliss, particularly in their fielding display. He added: “The week in Spain, although nobody saw it, was fantastic. The amount catching we did there – six or seven guys as a unit, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, we came back with sore hands but we certainly got the reward from it.”
Australia with tough decisions to make
After a big defeat Australia have some tough selection decisions to make ahead of the second Test at Lord’s.
Shane Watson was twice dismissed lbw and now has 14 lbw dismissals in 35 Ashes innings. With youngster Mitchell Marsh making centuries in Australia’s two warm-up matches Watson’s place is under threat and coach Darren Lehmann says that the team are considering changes. He said: “You don’t want to be getting out lbw all the time and you want to make more runs. Shane would be disappointed, so are we.
“We’ll certainly look at the wicket and work out the best XI to win in those conditions and if it means making changes, we’ll make changes. That won’t be an issue for the selection panel. It’s going to be a tight call heading into the second Test.”
Brad Haddin is expected to keep his place despite a dropped catch and further failure with the bat while Mitchell Starc is expected to recover from an ankle injury to lead the Australian attack. Peter Siddle and Pat Cummins are on standby if the pace man fails to respond to treatment.
Cricket betting verdict
None of Australia’s squad have ever experienced an Ashes win in England and on current form it looks unlikely to happen this summer. The tourists have now won just one of the last eleven Ashes Tests on these shores and need to bounce back quickly.
Part of their problem could be coping with the slope and specific bowling requirements of Lord’s. Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon have never bowled at the venue before while Mitchell Johnson conceded an eye-watering 200 runs for his four wickets in 2009.
England are on an excellent run of six wins in nine Tests and their record at Lord’s is excellent, having lost two of the last 19 matches there. Australia are the 7/10 favourites to level the series but England look superb value to take a 2-0 series lead at 11/10.