So the Ashes are under way again with no great surprises so far. Australia won the toss and batted, England came out with the ball and made life difficult for a very average looking Australian batting line-up. The man of the day was without doubt Stuart Broad, who should have now silenced all but the most loud-mouthed of his critics.
As good as England were, Australia continue to disappoint. Their best batsman, and captain, still hasn’t learned how to deal with the short ball, a failure which will cost him dear in this series if he isn’t quick to address it. Warner got himself in and then out by playing like a 1‑day batsman. Watson added to the mounting evidence that he’s a flat-track bully by getting himself in, and then out for a poor 22. Smith contributed 31, not unreasonable for a distinctly average player but not a score that will turn many games. Bailey is new to the side and hasn’t yet shown he can offer much, but against an older ball on a batsman’s wicket he should have made the most of his opportunity. Only Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson offered much prolonged resistance with the bat. Haddin is a quality player — if Australia are to win a test, let alone the series, it will undoubtedly require a significant contribution from him. Johnson is handy with the bat but is unlikely to make many half-centuries in the series.
If England bat like they did the last time they visited Australia they have every chance of winning by an innings, and winning the series comfortably. If they bat like they did in the recent home Ashes series it will be another fairly close series with England likely to edge it overall. Here’s to waking up tomorrow to hear that England are 250 for 0.
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