Australia after demolishing the West Indies in their home, came to the most talked about “Ashes” as the favourites to win the first Ashes test and even the series. But as the first test panned out, Australia played as if they were never the favourites in the first place. England outplayed Australia in all the three departments. Here are the 5 main reasons for their loss.
1. Ineffective with the old ball:
Australian bowlers made early inroads and had England on the back foot in both the innings. When the ball had lost its shine, agreed that the wicket became a batting paradise, but the Australian pace battery were also not up to the mark. Mitchell Starc was guilty of bowling too full but what came as surprise is the way the hero of the previous Ashes Mitchell Johnson failed. He consistently bowled around the 90 mph per hour mark but lacked accuracy and hence gave easy balls for the batsman to score off. Lyon held up one end but runs continued to come from the other end. Also, the drop catch of Joe Root in the first inning at 0 didn’t help Australia’s cause as he went on to score a brilliant century. England scored quickly and reached 430 from just 102 overs in the first innings.2. Batsman unable to capitalize on the starts:
As many as 5 of the Australian batsman scored 30 or more runs in the first innings but no one was able to make it big which strengthens the point. Chris Rogers came close to achieving it falling 5 runs short of the landmark, but rest of the batsman were disappointing. Australians missed the Smith effect. He got starts scoring 33 in both the innings but was unable to carry on whereas England benefitted from the Root effect who scored 194 runs in the match. They will have to up their batting in order to do well and come back in the second test.3. The Watto disappointment
Australians over the years have had the gift of an all-rounder who has performed excellently well for them and Shane Watson has been been doing the same. But his performances recently have been disappointing for all the cricket fans. He is being unable to overcome his weakness of being trapped in front of an incoming delivery as he got out lbw in both the innings, first to Stuart Broad and to Mark Wood. Even with the ball, whenever he came on to bowl, it was like the lid was removed of the pressure created by other bowlers. With other talented all-rounders like Mitchell Marsh who scored a brilliant century in the warm up game on the bench, it would be a bit surprising to see Watson in the playing XI of the second test.4. Root stays planted on the Pitch:
Australians might have had plans for this extremely talented young lad, but they didn’t seem to work out in this test. Although he was dropped when he was on 0 and had that catch been taken the match might have had a different result, but after he was dropped, he made the Australians pay for their mistake. Those lovely drives through the covers of good length bowls were a delight to watch. He came out when England was in a tricky situation at 43 for 3, but after the luck he got, attacked the bowlers and formed a partnership with Gary Ballance. He played a similar role in the second innings with a 60. He even contributed with ball picking two crucial wickets and was deservedly awarded with the man of the match award.5. Exceptional bowling from England:
If England bowlers didn’t bowl this well as they did, the match, as was predicted by cricket pundits as soon as on the first day, would have ended in a dull draw as the pitch was dead. England were exceptional with the new ball, and stayed patient and bowled probing lines when the ball got a bit old. All the bowlers contributed to the win. If Anderson was the hero in the first innings, Ali and Broad came to the party in the second. Moeen Ali played a crucial role in the test match picking up 5 wickets and made merry on the 4th day when the pitch started turning and bouncing. Anderson and Broad were at their usual best and Mark Wood complemented the other two pacers as he never let the pressure go away.