Ashes 2010: What does England’s opening tour win tell us?

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England’s victory against Western Australia was typical of their efforts in 2010 in that it was a bit patchy. The overwhelming aspect of the win was that once again England showed their resilience.

This was evidenced in the counterattacking ninth wicket partnership between Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, which added 64 runs in just six overs and enabled Andrew Strauss to declare with England only 19 runs behind Western Australia’s first innings of 242 for eight. Given that they had been 117 for seven at one time, this near parity was the best that England could have asked for.

Then with Western Australia 130 for one early on the final day of the three day match, and the game heading towards a disappointing draw, Swann, Broad and Stephen Finn inspired a collapse and the last nine wickets fell for just 93.

Thereafter, England’s successful chase was extremely impressive with Andrew Strauss’ unbeaten hundred and Kevin Pietersen’s explosive cameo being particularly gratifying for England supporters. Getting the winning habit early on tour will do the squad the world of good and it certainly appears that these tourists are different from their immediately hapless predecessors.

Before we get carried away, not everything is rosy. As well as that first innings collapse, the form of Alastair Cook continues to cause concern – as does to a lesser extent that of Paul Collingwood.

Elsewhere though things look promising. Pietersen seems to have recovered confidence and his previously familiar swagger, which could lead to a flood of runs in the series for England’s most talented batsman. Australian conditions look like they are also going to suit Broad the batsman and Broad the bowler and it was good to see Swann chip in with four second innings wickets.

England now move on to Adelaide for their second warm-up match against South Australia, which starts on Thursday. We’d like to see Chris Tremlett given an outing instead of Finn and the selectors may also want to give Eoin Morgan some time in the middle in case Cook fails to recover his form in time for the Gabba.

England are unlikely to emulate the 1948 Australians and earn the tag of the Invincibles for going through the tour unbeaten, but a win in the opening tour match is a good omen and certainly an improvement on previous embarrassments.

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