Image courtesy of Zimbio
With the memories of being whitewashed 5-0 in the last Ashes series still fresh in their minds, England completed a dramatic turnaround by clinching the first Ashes Test in Cardiff by 169 runs following a magnificent performance by their bowling attack.
However, Australia left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson and opener David Warner deserve some credit as they scored 77 and 52 respectively.
Starting out the day needing 412 to win, Johnson and Warner were the only two batsmen to put up a fight, while the rest of the batting line-up threw their wickets away after a positive start or failed to have an impact at all.
Australia seemed to be in a good position early on when Warner surpassed his half-century, but things took a turn for the worse when he was given out lbw off the bowling of Moeen Ali.
Warner’s valiant innings of 52 came off 86 balls and included six boundaries and a six.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
With the middle order failing to fire, Johnson kept England at bay for a while with his gutsy knock of 77, which came off 94 deliveries and included nine boundaries and two sixes.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
After Johnson was caught by Adam Lyth at first slip, Australia’s lower order buckled under the pressure and they were ultimately bowled out for 242.
Ali and Stuart Broad picked up three wickets apiece, while Mark Wood and Joe Root claimed two wickets each.
Australia captain Michael Clarke admitted that his side had been outplayed, and said: “Cut a long story short, we were outplayed in all three facets of the game. England were exceptional. We have work to do. England deserve a lot of credit. We looked to play positive, but whatever we tried didn’t work. When you get in, you have to cash in. I’m extremely excited that we have to play better at Lord’s. We just haven’t played our best cricket. [On Starc] He was able to bowl and get through, so that’s a positive, hopefully he will be available for Lord’s.”
England skipper Alastair Cook was over the moon to have taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and said: “Brilliant performance, the crowd have been fantastic. English cricket this summer, we appreciate the support. This Test couldn’t have gone any better, we’ll enjoy the bat. Thought Joe Root was brilliant and the bowlers superb on a slow wicket. Everyone was talking about the past, but this is a different side. You can’t change the past but you can learn from it. We’ll come back and try to put in back-to-back performances at Lord’s. We worked really hard on our catching in Spain, quite a few soar hands coming back from that.”
Root was named Man of the Match, and said: “Really thrilled to be part of this win, as a team we were exceptional. First up in an Ashes you want to put a marker down, hopefully we can back it up at Lord’s. I managed to just get through early in my innings, but you just have to ride the wave. Thankfully it was my day. When they attack, I feel it’s the best time to attack as well. I’ve always had someone at the other end to build partnerships, thought Gary and Ben were exceptional.”