England 430 & 289 beat Australia 308 & 242 (70.3ov, Johnson 77/94b/2x6 9x4, Warner 52/86b/1x6 6x4, Smith 33, Broad 14-3-39-3, Moeen Ali 16.3-4-59-3, Root2/28, Wood 2/53) by 169 runs T1/5 D4/5 at Cardiff> England lead series 1-0. Player of match: J Root
Australia made a pretty good fist of chasing the improbable until on the cusp of lunch David Warner, who had looked to have negotiated the best Stuart Broad could deliver to him - and there were some beauties in his opening spell - was lbw to Moeen Ali, who Alistair Cook had restored to the attack after his first two overs had gone for 22. 2/97 became 3/101, then in short order 4/106, 5/106 and 6/122. Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson kept a candle of hope flickering before Watson, as many expected, was lbw (to Mark Wood for 19): 7/151. With all due respect to Johnson, who reminded us that he possesses considerable batting talent, it was all over bar some slogging. England cruised to a comfortable victory, and thus a 1-0 series lead, with a day to spare. Broad bowled magnificently.
England showed many of the qualities that are often associated with Australia (and which the latter's supporters would have hoped to see demonstrated more often in this match). The scorecard reveals a lot about the weakness of Australia's middle order batting, the pitch maps about the prodigality of the quick bowling, and TV replays the susceptibility of Watson to lbws (and his propensity to review such decisions) not to mention Brad Haddin's major blunder behind the stumps (and some other less costly fumbles).
It looks as if Mitchell Starc, Australia's best bowler (of a moderate lot) in this match, will miss the Lord's Test starting in 4 days because of injury. It is widely assumed that Peter Siddle will replace him. In my opinion Siddle is Hobson's choice, as Pat Cummins hasn't had much red ball bowling for some time. I also fear that Siddle has passed his peak: he last appeared in a Test here v India and only took two tailender wickets. Isn't there another young Australian quick bowler without a history of injury and with experience of English conditions who can be drafted into the squad? If not, why not?
As for the batting and wicketkeeping, I need to think about them for a day or so. Watch this space....
Well done, England!