Fortress Edgbaston no more. Today, Australia sealed a convincing 251 run win on the fifth day of the first Ashes Test Match. Well played Australia. Their positive and commanding batting display in the second innings unsettled England in the field. Indecisive and visibly shaken, the Australian batsmen recognised England were there for the taking and there is no better Test team in the world than Australia to detect weakness and to go in for the kill.
My concerns about England’s mental fragility and the low aptitude levels for Test batting were realised as wickets fell in clusters in both innings. Big individual scores are required by Jason Roy, Joe Denly, Jonny Bairstow and Josh Buttler at Lords next week for these players to sustain their place in the team. It is difficult to make a case for Moeen Ali to be selected for Lords after another poor performance with bat and ball. It is likely that the left arm off spin of Jack Leach and the raw pace of Jofra Archer will come into play at Lords with Moeen Ali and the injured Jimmy Anderson making way.
It is hard to believe that with such a convincing margin of victory, Australia were at one stage 122 for 8 in the first innings. For whatever reason, England dropped their level of intensity in the latter part of the Australian first innings, which was one of the reasons a competitive score of 284 was posted. The majestic and mercurial centuries from Steve Smith took the game away from England. Chris Woakes was significantly underbowled in the Australian second innings and that the bowling strategies to Steve Smith were reactive to his stroke making rather consistent to the bowling strengths and pre-match plans.
I predict that Mitchell Starc and possibly Josh Hazelwood will come into the Australian side at Lords at the expense of Peter Siddle and James Pattinson to use their considerable skills to exploit the seam movement opportunites the slope provides. Australia’s batting and bowling units are more suited to Lord’s conditions and I predict that they will go 2 nil up in the five test series.
Please feel free to post your views and opinions about the first test.
Thank you for reading…