England still blinking after perfect Ashes start

England left Cardiff on Sunday in a state of surprised euphoria after producing a near-perfect performance to crush Australia in the first Ashes test.

Reuters| Last Updated: Jul 13, 2015, 11:52 AM IST
England still blinking after perfect Ashes start

London: England left Cardiff on Sunday in a state of surprised euphoria after producing a near-perfect performance to crush Australia in the first Ashes test.

The touring side`s shell-shocked captain Michael Clarke admitted his team had been outplayed in all three facets of the game as England powered to a 169-run victory inside four days.

The Australians side had been strong favourites to follow up their 5-0 drubbing of England Down Under less than two years ago with another series win but going into the second game at Lord`s this week the tables have turned sharply.

England named an unchanged squad while Australia have serious question marks over injured fast bowler Mitchell Starc, lbw-cursed all-rounder Shane Watson and 37-year-old wicketkeeper

Brad Haddin who endured a difficult game in Cardiff.

Australia usually lift their game at the home of cricket, although they have lost their last two tests at Lord`s in 2009 and 2013.

The touring side`s bowling attack lacked control in Cardiff and, with Ryan Harris having retired, they may be tempted to recall Peter Siddle who has the experience to utilise the famous slope at the London ground from Thursday.

The Australian batsmen must also knuckle down.

Chris Rogers made a fluent 95 in the first innings in Cardiff and David Warner and Mitchell Johnson hit contrasting half centuries in the second but too many batters got out after making a start.

The England batsmen, in stark contrast, put significant numbers on the board and in quick time.

Joe Root, dropped on nought by Haddin, compiled a brilliant 134 on the first day to set the tone and Gary Ballance dug in for a gritty 61 before Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali plundered quickfire half-centuries.

Second time around Ian Bell and Root passed fifty while Stokes and Mark Wood produced spirited cameos to sap the strength of the wilting Australian attack.

England played aggressive cricket in the first test and, under new coach Trevor Bayliss, they will look to continue in that vein.

Cook out-manoeuvred Clarke with bold tactical decisions in Cardiff and most of them worked. 

The Australians must come up with a different game-plan to put pressure on the hosts, otherwise they may find themselves 2-0 down in the series with three matches to play.