Sunday 18 March 2018

Buoyant England braced for Aussie backlash at Lord's


England Coach Trevor Bayliss watches practice
England Coach Trevor Bayliss watches practice

Nick Hoult

England are expecting an Australian backlash this week following the 169-run victory in the first Test in Cardiff.

Trevor Bayliss, the new coach, has named an unchanged England squad for the second Test and will begin preparations at Lord's tomorrow with his buoyant team.

The Australian expressed his desire for his team to continue attacking their opponents but he predicted a stiffer challenge in the second match of the five-Test -series. "They will be hurting. They do not like losing," Bayliss said. "They have a proud record and losing will mean they come out in the next game -trying to prove a point and trying to make up for their performance.

"In this match, enough of their batters showed enough to prove they will be dangerous. They got starts. They are not far off making big scores so we have to be on our game to win more matches now."

Barring injury, Bayliss will pick the same victorious XI for the second Test which starts on Thursday. The message to his team is to thrill the crowds. "No, that's too boring," he said when asked whether he would be happy with a drawn series. "I would like to see five results, at least three to England. Cricket is about entertainment and the way two teams went in this match was entertaining and there are good signs for the crowds in the next four."

Bayliss praised the England captain Alastair Cook for setting the tone in the first Test by buying into the new aggressive approach and their rapport has developed quickly.

On the first day, after winning the toss, Cook signalled his team's intent by skipping down the pitch and trying to hit Nathan Lyon over the top in his first over. The role did not entirely suit Cook, who was out in both innings playing attacking shots, but it showed that if one of the game's great accumulators is willing to change, then perhaps less senior colleagues should follow suit.

It was exhibited most strongly when Adam Lyth and Ian Bell, two players far from assured of their places, hit out at Australia when the Test was at a potential tipping point in the England second innings.

Bayliss has many friends in the Australia dressing room. He is close to Brad Haddin and was a major figure in the development of Steve Smith, so an element of empathy is natural, even in an Ashes series.

"I know a lot of the guys very well and I felt for them a little," he said. "I know they will be hurting but that is when they play their hardest and are at their best."

For their part, Australia are licking their wounds with captain Michael Clarke questioning his team's hunger. Already missing the retired Ryan Harris, there are fitness doubts over Mitchell Starc while the form of Mitchell Johnson and, in particular, Shane Watson is causing concern. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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