Australia ‘quite below average’ despite early success against Bazball

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By Webdesk

After one match of Ashes 2023 for men, Australia can get the best of both worlds when it comes to Bazball. They can praise his ambitions as England talks much belligerently, knowing the score is 1-0 in Australia’s favor heading into Lord’s and promising much better to come from them than was shown at Edgbaston.
Margins in the opening test were so small that a number of small moments could be looked back on as evidence of the difference, the last of which was Ben Stokes’ very bad missed opportunity with 37 runs still needed. In the end, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon carried them to a famous victory, but the batting in particular has room for improvement, with the outstanding exception of Usman Khawaja and an honorable mention for Alex Carey – the only two Australians to pass fifty in the Test.
Topping the list of where a much bigger return is expected are Marnus Labuschagne and Steven Smith who combined just 35 runs at Edgbaston. There is also a strong possibility that Mitchell Starc will replace Scott Boland, who went at almost six-and-over.

“I really enjoy the way they do [England] play, I’m not going to lie,” Labuschagne said. “As a cricket watcher who watched the series before, I loved it. I think it’s exciting, it’s entertaining, it’s good to watch, but at the end of the day we played quite below what I think is the level of our team.

“The thought was, how are they going to do against our bowlers and they’ve shown they can do it, but with a wicket that might have a bit more to it.” [at Lord’s], what will it look like? We walked away from the first test 1-0 and that’s a positive sign for us because I don’t think we played our best.”

Unsurprisingly, England have pledged to attack even more, with the latest being Stuart Broad proclaiming the “go harder” approach to follow Ollie Robinson’s claims that Australia was “unwilling to go toe to toe” and Zak Crawley’s view that England will win at Lord’s by 150 runs.
The home side certainly set the tone in Edgbaston, scoring by more than five-a-side on the opening day before Stokes’ surprise statement, but it was the extraordinary start to the fourth day, with Joe Root failing to get a first – ball reverse scoop and then sending Boland a six a short time later, that was the most bizarre period of play.

However, Labuschagne viewed Root’s approach as a way to keep Australia in the game and he duly ran past a Lyons for 46, to follow an opening day unbeaten 118 as none of the England batsmen hit the fifty reached in the second innings.

“I think the way he hits is exquisite … I’m just talking about when he hits normally, I think he plays very well,” said Labuschagne. “I think from my perspective, he plays that method and that [reverse] shots keep us in the game.

“I use that second innings as an example. He probably had a chance to shut us out and take the game away from us completely. But the method and the way he played kept us in the game. He played incredible innings, but he eventually turned 40 [46] and if that turns into 80-plus, we’ll be chasing 300 and that’s going to be a pretty big effort.

“So I think that’s the advantage for us the way they play. They play aggressive cricket and he does it with a different method, which is great, but it brings other opportunities for us. Hopefully at some point there will be in the series, that will continue to pay off.”

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