Sport Cricket Geoff Lawson: what we learned from Test disaster

Geoff Lawson: what we learned from Test disaster

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The first Test went completely against the script.

The visitors were supposed to kick off their defence with a decisive victory.

But Australia’s capitulation inside four days at Cardiff has rapidly reversed the confidence levels of both teams.

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England went into the first Test hoping for a good result, Australia were expecting one.

Where there was hope there is now a 1-0 lead.

Here’s what we learned from the first Test:

1. James Anderson is all thumbs with a Kookaburra and a neurosurgeon with the Duke

James Anderson made the Duke ball talk in Cardiff. Photo: Getty
James Anderson made the Duke ball talk in Cardiff. Photo: Getty

Anderson looked like a novice seam bowler in the last Ashes in Australia when the local cricket ball refused to engage him in any conversation, but he had the English Duke talking in Cardiff.

When Anderson and Stuart Broad are at their best, they are absolutely world class.

The England spearheads had been out of sorts in the months leading into the Ashes but if you wanted a master class in new-ball bowling, with a bit of swing and sway either way then YouTube Anderson in both innings.

His second new-ball over to Brad Haddin in the first dig was mesmerising, the seam angle could not have been more precise had NASA installed the guidance system.

2. Shane Watson should change his name to Shane Watson lbw

Watson was out leg before for the 28th and 29th times in his Test career.

Both times he missed uncomplicated deliveries after over an hour at the crease.

The lesson here is not so much for the observer as the participant: Watto, please try and hit the straight ones!

The fact that he only bowled 13 overs for the match at a time when his fellow seamers were well below their best may suggest that Michael Clarke is phasing him out of the starting XI.

Mitchell Marsh is waiting expectantly for the call-up.

3. English pitches add some spice

England got Trevor Bayliss, and he's had immediate impact. Photo: Getty
England got Trevor Bayliss, and he’s had immediate impact. Photo: Getty

We learned that England’s plan to serve up Test match pitches with little moisture, bounce or pace (which would suit the Australian seam bowlers) has been a tasty ingredient in this opening recipe.

Not only did Anderson, Broad and Mark Wood feel comfortable going about their work on the turgid Sophia Gardens pitch, the Australians, apart from Nathan Lyon, looked decidedly unclear about what lines and lengths they should be using and could not adapt quickly enough to the foreign soil.

I expect the Australian bowling coach Craig McDermott to have a lengthy chat about methods to put the handbrake on England’s rapid run rate by the time they get to Lord’s next week.

I also expect the pitch at Lord’s to be very much in the fashion of Cardiff.

4. Trevor Bayliss – coaching genius

The ECB know how to get their man.

After several attempts to lure him into their organisation they finally made him an offer too good to refuse.

Although he already has a significantly successful international CV, the ability to infuse confidence into a pallid England in less than a month has been clear. A pity he has to be employed by Australia’s arch cricketing enemy.

5. I’m reviewing my series prediction

From 4-0, to 3-1 – still Australia winning.

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