Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/dean-wilson/2013/8/10/england-look-nervous

Dean Wilson

England look nervous

10 August 2013

Cricket Correspondent for the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper Dean Wilson says England looked nervous on day one of the fourth Ashes Test in Durham, while Australia have all the momentum.

England poked and prodded their way nervously towards a score in Durham in the manner of a team fighting for their lives rather than in the comfy armchair of a 2-0 lead.

You would think that a 2-0 lead would breed confidence and chutzpah, but day one in the North East has shown that the momentum is with the Australians and they are running with it.

Of course the glib, smug and arrogant response to a testing first day for England would be to ask, what does it matter when the Ashes are long gone?

But that is neither what this blog nor the England team are saying (sorry Warney).

This match matters as much as the next and the series victory is one England are chasing hard, but there are two ways to skin a cat.

A draw in Durham secures England the outright series victory, and you could sense that from the moment Alastair Cook won the toss that their aim was to first do what they could not to lose.

That seems like an obvious thing to do, but gentle start followed by a couple of reckless knocks put England in no man's land by the last session.

Cook and Joe Root were cautious and watchful as openers often are and gave England a steady platform in the morning

So far so good.

When Root was dismissed by a decent ball from Shane Watson outside off stump, Jonathan Trott took over and the game rumbled on just fine.

It was when Trott got out for 49 that things started to change and what looked like being a straightforward day of platform building for England became a bit of a struggle, through much of their own doing.

Trott got an inside edge on to his pad and short leg took the catch.

It brought Kevin Pietersen to the crease and only he will know what he was thinking about in trying to launch Nathan Lyon for six first ball.

It is the sort of outrageous thing that entertains the crowd, it gets people noticed and it fits in with the Pietersen legend.

He didn't quite manage it, but he wasn't going to stop having a go. He injected 26 quick runs into the innings, but Lyon got his man and the fireworks were over.

From 149-2 England were suddenly 153-4 with Cook undone by a beauty from Jackson Bird. He brought it back into the England skipper and offering no shot he was gone lbw.

This is where the day turned for England.

Ian Bell, the man in form, should have spotted the slight trouble the team were in and played them towards safety. This was his moment to make it Bell's Ashes and he missed it.

If he had kept the scoreboard ticking rather than looking for the big shot so soon after tea he would not only have helped his side, but he would have helped Jonny Bairstow too.

Instead he went for the grand strike over the top, got out and left Bairstow exposed. It is perhaps unfair to blame one player, but when you expect so much more from someone the frustration is that much greater.

With Bell gone the Yorkshireman looked lost trying to defend his way out of trouble as too did Matt Prior.

Stung by getting out trying to counter attack already in the series, Prior went so far the other way that they added 34 runs in 20 overs together, a recipe for pressure-building disaster.

And so it proved as both men fell within four runs if each other.

Bairstow is a stroke maker, but after watching Bell get out the way he did caught at mid off, he couldn't bring himself to even try anything verging on the attacking.

When he finally did, it was to the wrong ball and his sweep gave Lyon his fourth wicket of a very good day.

And if you're Nathan Lyon you've got to enjoy the feeling of four day one wickets without really turning it.

He wasn't the only success too. Both Numbers six and seven were given out after reviews that showed the DRS in its best light of the series.

Hotspot worked, Hawkeye worked and best of all the third umpire Marais Erasmus worked well too.

Wrong decisions were overturned and the right ones upheld, just what everyone wanted from the system in the first place.

And it is fair to say that Australia got the most out of it with the Root, Bairstow and Prior decisions all going their way after review.

By the time Jimmy Anderson was batting like Brian Lara before the close, England had lost seven wickets for 65 runs in 37 overs, and that was the story of the day.

England's bowlers may well do something similar or better on day two, but the overriding sense is that their batsmen didn't cash in when they had the chance.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
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