Andrew Caddick felt his unlikely role in England's batting recovery at Edgbaston yesterday reflects the collective determination now ingrained in Nasser Hussain's side under coach Duncan Fletcher.
Caddick's unbeaten 49 his highest Test score helped rescue England from a miserable 191 for 9 to a total of 294 and although Australia's forceful, high-tempo response has probably given Steve Waugh's team the upper hand going into the second day, the last-wicket partnership between Caddick and Alec Stewart may yet prove of significant value.
"It is part of the plan now that we stand and be counted and not lie down as we did before, right down to nine, 10 and 11," Caddick said. "It could have been Darren Gough or Ashley Giles doing it today. I have just started it off today and hopefully the rest will follow by example." Caddick's 40-ball onslaught, with an impressive boundary count of seven fours, also challenged the theory that the New Zealand-born fast bowler does not have the stomach to face a battering from his fellow quicks as Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee took it in turns to test his resilience under fire.
"There has always been this press about me not handling the pressure and all that stuff but they can carry on bowling that way, as far as I am concerned," he said. "I will just stand there and let it hit my body. It does not bother me in the slightest.
"You expect that as a lower-order batsman and I can assure you that their three bowlers will get some from me as well."
Caddick could have been forgiven for a measure of flinching, given that he was still in pain from the broken finger he suffered in England's final NatWest Series match. However, conditions were in his favour, he said. "The wicket is one of those with tennis ball bounce and as soon as I realised that I was not worried about getting hit on the hands.
"For the same reason it was no surprise that Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater should play so well on it for Australia because the ball was sitting up for them to hit."
Earlier in the day, injury-ravaged England had been forced to take steps to summon a fourth replacement after another scare rocked their plans only hours from the start of play.
The fast bowler Gough was laid low by a bout of sickness during Wednesday night, leaving the management team so concerned they made immediate arrangements for a replacement to be available, ordering Gough's Yorkshire team-mate, Matthew Hoggard, to set off back to Edgbaston.
In the event, Hoggard was able to turn back after Gough managed a light breakfast and declared himself fit to play, although after being crashed to the boundary four times by Slater in an opening over that cost 18 runs he might have wished he had stayed in bed.
Shane Warne's devastating late-afternoon spell, which seemed to have guaranteed Australian supremacy until Caddick and Stewart's exploits, brought him the 17th five-wicket haul of his Test career and his fifth in Ashes Tests.
Having seen his role change with the emergence of Lee as a third fast bowler, Warne was clearly delighted with his own performance, particularly after suggestions that he may no longer be the force he once was. "I accept that my role has changed but I wanted to prove a few things today and to get five-for in the first Test in England and a wicket with your second ball feels pretty good," he said. "Things can only go downhill from here!"Reuse content