England head to Lords tomorrow, for the start of the second test in a confident frame of mind after crushing Australia by 169 runs in the first test at Cardiff.
The selectors have named an unchanged squad for the second test, following the deserved victory in Wales and quite rightly so. There seems to be no reason to rock the boat, given the performance the players put in during the first test.
Admittedly before the series started, not many pundits or supporters gave England much chance, if any at all, of actually regaining Ashes. Given the relative form of the two sides it was understandable why they had been completely written off in many quarters.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
However, after many servings of humble pie being eaten, all England supporters will flock to Lords with a renewed spring in their step and will also be harbouring thoughts that winning Ashes is a definite possibility.
Certainly, if they produce a similar performance at Lord's to the one at Cardiff, then the Ashes could be on their way back to England.
While England are unchanged and their preparation has been as smooth as you could hope for, the Aussies have had a torrid time over the last few days. Their main problems are what to do with numbers five, six & seven in their line-up.
Wicket-keeper Brad Haddin has had a bad last eighteen months with the bat averaging just 15, and at the age of 37 is probably on borrowed time, especially following his dropped catch of Joe Root in the first test, which could have changed the whole outcome of the match.
However, yesterday he made the decision easy for the selectors by making himself unavailable for the second test due to personal reasons. He will be replaced by Peter Nevill from New South Wales, who will be making his test debut at the age of 29.
As for six, it is highly likely Mitchell Marsh, who scored back-to-back centuries in the warm-up games, will replace Shane Watson. At 34, Watson has scored just four centuries in sixty test matches and Australia need a reliable run-scorer there should their top order fail.
Finally, Adam Voges' position at five will under considerable scrutiny given his failure in the first test. Again, an elder statesman in the Aussie line-up, if he fails at Lord's he could find himself losing his place to a younger player.
There is no doubt that the Aussies are under considerable pressure from their tabloids back home, who are very demanding to say the least and are finding it very hard to accept losing to an England team who they thought would be cannon fodder.
Another defeat or a poor performance from the Baggy Green at Lord's would really crank up the pressure on the tourists, which can only be good news for England.
England however must be aware that cricket is a very fickle game and a couple of missed chances here and there can change the course of a game. If Australia have a bit of luck, then they could well even up the series.
England must not be complacent and take things for granted. No Australian team in any sport, let alone cricket, will lie down and let an England team beat them, you can be assured of that.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms