Before the first Ashes test began on July 8, not many people were giving England a very good chance of winning.
However, England, led by Captain Alistair Cook, proved those people wrong with an outstanding 169 run victory over Australia.
Clearly there are still four tests to go and England fans should not get carried away, however the Cardiff test match has shown that England are more than capable of competing with Australia and with their victory, have set up a fascinating prospect for the second test at Lords on July 16.
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England's stars stepped up to the mark during the first test, with a particularly outstanding performance from man of the match Joe Root. In the first innings when England were struggling on 43-3, Root came to the crease and scored a sensational 134 runs.
Root stepped up for England when they needed him the most; he showed great quality and strength under an immense amount of pressure. After being dropped by Australian wicket-keeper Brad Haddin when he was still on 0, Root took complete advantage and control, showing an aggressive form of cricket which England began to show during the series against New Zealand.
Root scored a total of 194 runs in both innings, whilst also taking two wickets, a clear sign that if England are to continue to push on and win the Ashes, Root will be crucial for the team.
Moeen Ali was also on top form for his country during the first test in Cardiff. Ali showed what a great all-round cricketer he is by not only taking five important wickets, but by also scoring 92 runs which helped push England on to a famous 1-0 lead in the Ashes series.
Ali took the key wickets of Steve Smith and Michael Clarke in Australia's first innings, as well as taking the wickets of opener David Warner and Brad Haddin, who has caused England plenty of problems with the bat over the past few meetings between the two nations.
Bowlers Stuart Broad, Mark Wood and Jimmy Anderson all showed signs of what they can offer the team by claiming crucial wickets over Australia's two innings. England will need the great form shown by their bowlers to continue if they are to win the series and it is crucial they can all stay fit throughout, allowing them to rotate during the tests in order to stay fresh.
England have hit the ground running in the series and now need to push on. They have named an unchanged side for the second test at Lords and confidence must be running high in the England camp. England have earned praise for their attacking form of cricket by Cricket fans and pundits alike.
Former England opening batsmen Marcus Trescothick has heaped praise on the team. “I was buzzing, delighted for them and great to watch," Trescothick told Sky Sports. "Joe Root played brilliantly and the bowling unit got to grips with the pitch. The bowling attack is similar to the 2005 side.
“It’s a four-prong attack with good pace – that’s important – and a spinner (Moeen Ali) who is doing a job too."
Aussies Want Revenge
There is no doubt Australia will be determined to overcome their defeat in the first test by winning at Lords. England will have to be anticipating a strong response from the Australians who despite a first test defeat, are incredibly dangerous and are one of the best teams in the world without a doubt.
In Steve Smith they have one of the best batsmen in the world and have an exciting bowling line-up with Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Stark so the Australians should certainly not be underestimated.
England are in for a phenomenal challenge over the next four test matches, they will want to make sure they keep their feet on the ground without getting carried away after a first test win.
Cricket fans are already waiting in anticipation for the second test to begin at Lords on July 16 and will be hoping England can carry on with the great form they showed during the first test. It is difficult to predict what is going to happen over the next four tests, but England have started very well and do stand a great chance of winning the series.
One thing is for sure, we are in for one hell of a series this summer.
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