As England fans we remember too well at the Reverse Sweep how often the dominant Australian side would snatch Test match victory from the jaws of defeat.
We lost count of the number of times that when they had slipped to three or four down for not very many, Steve Waugh or Adam Gilchrist would put their side back into the ascendency by grinding or blasting a hundred respectively. McGrath, Warne and co would then do the rest.
Happily, England have now developed similar good habits.
At first under the Flower-Strauss axis, England learned how to save Test matches from seemingly impossible situations. The trio of glorious nine-wicket down draws at Cardiff 2009, Centurion 2009 and Newlands 2010 provide ample enough evidence of that.
Now when England have to save a Test they do it with a bit more panache. And you don’t do that more emphatically than England did at Brisbane last November. 517/1 indeed.
England have now moved to the next level. At Trent Bridge and Lord’s last summer, England were in real trouble against Pakistan’s excellent bowling attack.
But they recovered in style. At Trent Bridge, it was Morgan and Collingwood in the 1st innings, and Prior in the 2nd. Whilst at Lord’s, it was that massive stand between Trott and Broad that took the Test and a drawn series away from Pakistan.
Yesterday’s first day at Lord’s provided another example of England’s resolve. First Cook and Bell played the Waugh part to repair from a precarious 22/3, before Morgan and Prior assumed the Gilchrist role and blasted England into the ascendency by the close of play. England’s bowlers will probably do the rest over the coming days.
A sign of an excellent cricket side is the ability to turn games around in a blink of an eye. England can do that now. As can India – the final Test of the tour to Sri Lanka last summer being just one example – so the forthcoming Test series promises to be a real clash of the titans.
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