It was brilliant to be there in Cardiff and see England clinch the first match of the series, the boys played some really great cricket.
All the way through the match they believed in themselves, and the positive intent of Trevor Bayliss, Alastair Cook and the team was vindicated. It was really pleasing to see.
They all worked hard and the bowlers hunted in a pack. It was hugely enjoyable from an Englishman’s point of view!
One of the most impressive performers in the England side was Moeen Ali, both with bat and ball. His 77 in the first innings was crucial and he weighed in with five wickets across both Australian innings.
He had a lot of doubters coming into the game, with people clamouring for Adil Rashid’s inclusion, but plenty seemed to forget that 12 months ago Moeen was winning Test matches for England against India. People can be fickle.
In Cardiff he just got on with his job and showed what an important player he can be for England in this series with bat and ball. He was brilliant.
As the spinner you know that there are different parts of the game when you need to rise to the occasion, and he did just that. Hats have to go off to the seamers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, though, as they laid the foundation perfectly. It was a great team effort from the bowlers.
Remarkable Root & Battling Bell
As far as the batsmen are concerned, I’m just so glad that Joe Root is English!
He was superb in Cardiff, scoring 134 in the first innings and 60 in the second, and he’s probably the best batsman in the world right now.
Ian Bell also deserves a mention for the way he played in the second innings, especially after his cheap dismissal in the first.
He wasn’t in the best form, but he’s always had immense talent and the way he played in that second innings was the best way for him to go about it. It could have gone one of two ways, but thankfully it went the right one!
Australia are likely to make some changes for the second Test at Lord’s, and I think they need to have a look at their bowling attack.
Mitchell Starc didn’t quite look as good as he can be in the second innings in Cardiff, but I think generally the whole team didn’t bowl as straight as they should have done.
I thought they made a mistake by not playing Peter Siddle – who has been outstanding in England in the past – especially as they are without the recently retired Ryan Harris, who is a huge loss for them. They tried to play down his absence but he would have been their best bowler in English conditions.
Who’ll Impress At Lord’s?
And so it’s onto Lord’s for the second Test, and like any ground there will be players who’ve done well there before and others who haven’t, but just playing at the Home of Cricket itself is an experience which motivates you.
It’s the best cricket ground in the world, all 22 players will want to lap up the atmosphere and get their names on that honours board.
As for who will, I think you can look no further than Root.
He just looks so good every time he goes to the crease at the moment, and I’ll back him to be England’s top batsman in the first innings at 3.75, whilst he’s at 6.00 to top score across both teams.
Bowling-wise, Stuart Broad is always so dangerous at Lord’s, and as he showed at Cardiff he’s always a big game player, pure and simple. He’ll be England’s top bowler in the first innings at 3.75, and is 6.00 to be the top first innings bowler in the match.
For the Aussies, I thought David Warner batted well against Broad and Anderson in Cardiff – it was probably the first time I’ve been really impressed with him. He’s due a score at Lord’s and is 4.50 to top score for the Aussies in their first innings and 7.50 across both teams.
Amongst the bowlers, I think Siddle will do well if he plays but I’ll go for Josh Hazlewood as their top wicket-taker in the first innings at 3.75. He’s good in English conditions, and is 6.50 to be the top bowler across both teams.
Same Again For England?
As for the match itself, I’m looking no further than England claiming the victory and going 2-0 up in the series at 2.80.
The confidence the boys picked up in Cardiff will set them up well, and I just can’t wait to get there and see them in action!
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