T20 generation bowled a curve ball by masters of their craft

The Australian angle: Had the Australians adapted to suit the conditions they mighthave survived their period of peril. Instead they drove without due care and attention

Australia's hopes of securing a second Ashes victory lasted three miserable and revealing hours. Put in to bat on a track made to measure for an England attack raised on damp decks and roly-poly pudding, the hosts fell in an embarrassing heap. Hard as he tried even Ricky Ponting could not resist the dancing deliveries sent down by skilful operators.

From the toss onwards everything went wrong for the Aussies. Had the Poms been given the choice they could not have ordered a pitch and atmosphere more likely to serve their purposes. Openers of yesteryear recalled awkward mornings spent trying to subdue probing seamers on northern pitches surrounded by sawdust and grumbling under heavy cloud. Two of the speedsters come from those quarters and knew full well the lengths and lines to bowl. Contrastingly, the home batsmen seemed to think they were playing on a shirtfront.

Had the Australians adapted their game to suit the conditions they might have survived their period of peril. Due diligence might have brought a respectable tally. Instead they drove without proper care and attention. Ponting alone had no cause to curse himself. Shane Watson was removed by a corker but he had been riding his luck. None of the rest displayed the resources required to meet the challenge. Fragile techniques were exposed and wayward shots were punished. None of the batsmen played late or straight enough. The older hands did not move their feet into position. Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin drove on the rise and even Mike Hussey looked off balance.

Alas, the Facebook generation, the T20 swashbucklers, flattered to deceive. In order to take a toll of yorkers, 20-over batsmen learn to drive with open shoulders and hips. Accordingly, they are ill-placed to deal with late swing. Australia is not going to produce top-class batsmen until this dilemma is resolved. Castles cannot be built on sand.

England enjoyed the rub of the green but also displayed incomparably more skill. Jimmy Anderson led the way with a bravura display of swing bowling. He has mastered the subtleties of his craft. In his younger days he could bend the ball but could not control its direction. Simply, he did not understand how it all worked and so was unable to correct the errors that creep into all games, thieves in the night that can steal confidence and competence.

These days Anderson knows his business inside out. Cricket does not change half as much as each generation supposes. To watch him here was to see a craft raised almost to the point of artistry. Steven Smith was tormented with inswingers and informed by raised arms that the ball had shaved the stumps, a ruse calculated to unsettle his mind. It was the sort of theatrics Shane Warne used in his time.

Now it was merely a matter of time before Anderson delivered his outswinger. Already he knew that his opponent was worried. Wary of the inswinger, Smith started reaching forwards and playing at the deliveries he wanted to ignore. Anderson spotted his vulnerability, took his time and sent down a perfectly pitched outswinger that duly took the edge. The set-up had been followed by the execution. In isolation it was a poor dismissal.

Put into context, the error was not quite as bad.

Chris Tremlett was no less impressive. Tall, upright and strong, he had been held back by a lack of self-belief. Observers said he had all the attributes a fast bowler needed except conviction. Somewhere in the last few months he dared to grasp the nettle and the results are obvious. It has been one of the England think tank's many triumphs. Tremlett produced the ball of the day to dismiss Ponting.

Tim Bresnan was the last and by no means least of an impressive trinity. The England selectors reckoned his fuller length might suit this surface. It was a gamble that paid off handsomely. Bresnan worked, drew the batsmen forward and deserved his wickets.

Australia's rally had lasted half a day. It's impossible to guess how the contest might have gone had the hosts won the toss. But it's hard to imagine England rolling over so feebly.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot