For three days of the first test match, England were in the game. Stoneman and Vince were refreshingly solid at the top of the order, the Middle order were reasonably solid, whereas Broad and Jimmy were supported relatively well by the other bowlers.
On a tricky Gabba pitch, where Australia have only lost twice in the past 74 years, it was never going to be an easy place to start.
Heading into the second, day/night test at Adelaide, here are three things England need to do in order to get the series back to 1-1.
1. Root must out-Smith, Smith
England fans drool over Joe Root’s quality – and rightly so, with a stellar summer including a Lords hundred in his first test as captain. However, the grit and determination that Steve Smith showed with his century in the first innings was wonderful to behold.
What Joe must do is lead from the front and produce that scintillating cricket we know he is capable of. This will relieve the pressure from his team mates and create a calmer aura throughout the side.
His captaincy in the field was, by and large, excellent. With good knowledge of when to attack and defend.
He would do well to apply this to his batting for the second test.
2. Big boys need to step up
Cook, Anderson, and Broad are all capable of taking the game away from the opposition.
When Jimmy gets rolling, it is one of the best spectacles in sport, and with the much documented impact of swing on the day/night set up in Adelaide. The next five days would be great to kick on with this.
Alastair Cook was disappointing in Brisbane. Falling into Smith’s trap of having a man on the hook so early in his innings is inexcusable and the second innings he fell cheaply also. His extraordinary run tally does not get the credit he deserves, so performing down under will help stamp his name as definitively one of the best.
Stuart Broad showed glimpses of genius, with his tall frame hitting the pitch hard early on. Again though, it would set the tone for him to get three or four wickets in an innings and set the team alight. As Cummins and Hazlewood did for the opposition.
3. Exploit the Australian weaknesses
On paper, the two sides are remarkably similar in terms of where heir shortcomings are.
The top order, especially two and three, are unsure, a lack of a world class spinner is evident, whereas talent is located in the captains and best bowlers.
Therefore, we need to adopt the similar threatening and intimidating tactics the Australians are using on us.
Sledging? You bet
It’s only cricket at the end of the day. We need to remind the boys of that when play starts tomorrow.