Stuart Broad knows that questions are being asked of Australia after their defeat in the first Ashes Test at Cardiff and says England will look to deflate them early in Thursday’s second instalment at Lord’s with attacking, aggressive cricket.
The seamer played a key role in Saturday’s 169-run win at the Swalec Stadium, taking three for 39 in the second innings as Michael Clarke’s side crumbled in their pursuit of 412. Since then the focus has naturally centred around the tourists.
Mitchell Starc, who spearheads their attack, is an injury concern after needing injections to mask an ankle problem and will undergo an assessment in training on Tuesday, while the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and all-rounder Shane Watson have seen their places scrutinised.
With Australia having gone into the series as favourites, Broad is happy the spotlight has now switched. “You never want to see a fellow professional being injured but there are certainly questions being asked about their team,” said Broad. “A month ago you would have flipped that around. There were questions about our team and not so much about Australia.
“But that is credit to how our players have played and it’s nice to get that win when everyone contributes. It was not just two people carrying the team home but everyone can walk away from that game feeling like they have contributed.”
He added: “Because first Tests of a series – especially an Ashes series – are nervy affairs, so no one wants to walk away with no wickets or no runs, feeling like you are trying to find your feet in the series. It is important that not everyone gets too carried away with one Test match.”
Broad has warned England that, at 1-0 down in the series, Australia will be doubly motivated to correct their performance in that opener and the best way to damage them further will be to win the early exchanges. Either way, the 29-year-old expects another result “It all starts again on Thursday, so we need to get into the game and start well,” he said. “We know Australia have a lot of experience and will come back strongly. Having been in a team who have lost the first Test and are all up for winning the next one, if a team comes out and just hits you straight away with skill it can be quite deflating. So we need to start well. We are also well aware we had a bit of the rub of the green in the last Test. We won the toss, Joe Root got dropped [second ball before scoring a century]and a few decisions went our way. That happens in cricket and it might not be the same this week, so we’re going to have to work hard to get a win. We won’t change the way we play. We want to play attacking and aggressive.”
With the turnaround between Test matches extended by a day by virtue of the quick result in Cardiff, Broad is happy that England needed only 70 overs to skittle the tourists for 242 on Saturday and are able to head into Lord’s with energy reserves intact.
“When you are playing good cricket you want to keep playing,” said Broad, speaking at an event for the sponsors Hardys. “We have had back-to-back Tests in the past where there have been 200 overs in the field and you are knackered. But what did we field on Saturday? 60, 70 overs? It’s not taken too much out of the bodies. We are fresh and ready to go. So back-to-back Tests will suit us I’m sure. It’s a pretty good wicket to bat on but there have been a lot of results here. I expect it to be 1-1 or 2-0 at the end of the week.”
While the two sides did not share a beer after the Cardiff Test, the England team did find a friend to celebrate with in Sir Ian Botham. The former all-rounder spent the Sunday before the series opener speaking to the team as part of a move by the director of England cricket, Andrew Strauss, to tap the knowledge of the greats.
“We’re trying to get this relationship between ex-players and current players closer because ex-players offer us so much as a team and have so much useful information,” said Broad. “Beefy was a prime example of that, offering us advice and spurring us on each day. So we had a drink with him after the game.
“When you hear someone like Beefy saying what it meant for him to play in an Ashes series and how proud he was of his playing career, it does spur you on. He gave us a congratulations chat after the Cardiff Test and the whole changing room was in awe of him. Those things are inspiring.”
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