The Ashes 2013 remains delicately poised after a dramatic England win in the First Test at Trent Bridge.
Just 14 runs was the victory margin, a result that suggests the series will remain much tighter than many expected at the outset.
For continuous updates on the second Test, check out the live scoreboard from ESPN Cricinfo.
The visitors relied on Peter Siddle’s eight-wicket haul to give them any chance in an encounter that remained topsy-turvy throughout.
Siddle was undoubtedly Australia’s most potent bowling weapon and will be crucial as the series progresses. The fast bowler tore through England’s middle order with four wickets during the afternoon session of the opening day and Siddle’s three wickets in the second innings pushed the Aussies to the brink of victory.
The likes of Mitchell Starc and Pattinson weren’t able to make significant inroads, forcing Australia to utilise the spin of 19-year-old Ashton Agar. The youngster—who bagged an impressive 98 runs on his Ashes batting debut—was forced to bowl 35 overs during the second innings, more than any of his compatriots.
England had no such problems. James Anderson’s 10-wicket haul culminated in the match-winning dismissal of Brad Haddin.
Such a powerhouse performance allowed England to get away with vital mistakes. Steve Finn’s dropped catch threatened to gift Australia victory, while Alastair Cook managed to rectify a missed opportunity with a spectacular diving catch at slip. As Finn, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann struggled for wickets, Cook made the decision to continue with Anderson.
Which bowler will prove most significant throughout the 2013 Ashes series?
Such decisions will define the entire series. Anderson battled through 13 consecutive overs as the Test headed towards its dramatic climax, but most importantly, his quality never dipped. Cook and Andy Flower have complete confidence in the 30-year-old and will continue to deploy him as a weapon of mass destruction throughout the series.
Anderson has now created a fear factor.
Heading into the Second Test, Australia have a newly-elected national hero to worry about. Agar may have thrust himself into the limelight, but England enter Lord’s in full knowledge that Siddle and Australia’s other bowlers have to perform across a five-day period. As we have already seen, when that doesn’t happen, the home side will take advantage.