Aussies undone by England blueprint
Experienced paceman reveals how the home side dismantled Australia’s top order before Steve Smith’s rescue act at Edgbaston
Sam Ferris at Edgbaston
2 August 2019, 09:44 AM AEST
England paceman Stuart Broad has revealed a dossier on Australia's batters provided the tactics behind the visitors' batting collapse on day one at Edgbaston.
Broad was the architect of Australia folding to 8-122 in 44 overs before Steve Smith (144), Peter Siddle (41) and Nathan Lyon (12 not out) engineered a stirring fightback to leave honours even after a pulsating opening day of the Ashes.
The 33-year-old, who took 5-86 in the absence of injured fast bowler James Anderson, said the England camp had devised the specific strategies during their pre-series camp at St George's Park, home of the Football Association's headquarters an hour north of Birmingham.
And after reducing Tim Paine's side to 3-35 then 8-122 after a collapse of 5-23 in 11.2 overs, it appears those plans have worked so far.
"We did some research on the Australians as a team and then we got a big document folder full of information on each player and a few of the plans paid off actually," Broad said.
"We stuck to our plans today. There was a little bit of nip in the pitch early, particularly with the wobble seam.
"No swing, just couldn't buff that ball at all. We were delighted to make the breakthroughs we did.
However, not all of Australia's wickets went according to plan.
Broad was left shocked when Paine picked out Rory Burns at deep square leg, who unknowingly to the bowler had been moved 30 metres back that very ball.
"(Moeen Ali) turned to me at mid-off and said, 'Rooty (captain Joe Root) says bowl him a bouncer' and it was quite a slow pitch so I was like 'alright, OK' and it didn't get up," Broad explained.
"But Rooty had moved square leg back which I didn't know he'd gone.
"(Paine) whacked it and I thought 'for god's sake that's four' and I looked up and Burnsy was right underneath it hence the silly face.
"Rooty knew more about that plan than me."
But whatever plan England had in place for Smith it did not come to fruition.
The hosts tried funky fields with a silly point, leg slip, sweepers on the off-side and at one stage fielders scattered protecting the boundary.
It was only when Smith missed a wild slog chasing quick runs as stumps approached that he came undone, bowled by Broad after compiling a magnificent century in his first Test innings back after serving his 12-month suspension.
Broad compared Smith's innings to Virat Kohli's lone-hand in last year's Test at Edgbaston, where the India captain scored 149 out of his side's 274.
Despite Kohli's heroics, England won that match by 31 runs and Broad will be hoping his batsmen can follow Smith's lead and bat patiently on a "tricky" Birmingham pitch.
"He has played beautifully today, there's no doubt about that," Broad said when asked about Smith's knock.
"He has always been awkward to bowl at, particularly on slower pitches.
"But I thought we bowled really well to him up until tea and then he capitalised on the ball going a bit softer and he played a bit more positively and took his scoring options.
"Virat Kohli did something similar to us last year, he got 149 I think out of a lowish total.
"The encouraging thing for us that we can take out of it, there's no real positives of Steve Smith getting (144) in the first game of the series, it shows that if we apply ourselves runs can be scored on this pitch particularly if you get in."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.
Tour match: Australians v Worcestershire, August 7-9
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval