The Ashes - Martyn Moxon: Cook’s men have answered all my questions ahead of Lord’s

Martyn Moxon.

Martyn Moxon.

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Truth be told, I must admit I was surprised by the scale of England’s win in Cardiff.

Going into the game, there were a few question marks over certain England players and how they would perform.

Joe Root celebrates reaching his century against Australia during the first Test in Cardiff (Picture: Nick Potts/PA).

Joe Root celebrates reaching his century against Australia during the first Test in Cardiff (Picture: Nick Potts/PA).

Pretty much all of the questions marks I had were changed to ticks.

I think Adam Lyth showed in England’s second innings that he’s capable of scoring runs against top teams like Australia, so that was a real positive.

I’d also talked about Ian Bell and Gary Ballance and they both got runs. Moeen Ali produced with both bat and ball and Mark Wood looked the part, causing the Australians lots of trouble.

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When you combine that with the brilliant bowling of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, you can see why England won.

I suppose the big moment was Brad Haddin dropping Joe Root in England’s first innings.

While Rooty may have had that bit of luck, he still had to go on and make the most of it. He’s shown time and time again that he’s good enough to do that.

To see him rise to the occasion like he did last Wednesday, with England deep in trouble, just proves what a class player he has become. Who knows what he can go on to achieve? At the moment, he is looking a class apart.

In contrast to Joe, Gary (Ballance) had to really dig in. It wasn’t as pretty to watch but, given his recent form, you wouldn’t have expected Gary to have been as fluent.

Given the situation England were in, it was important that he stuck around for a while and built that partnership with Joe.

The longer he bats for, the more fluent he will become and we know that Gary, at his best, is an excellent free-scoring batsman so we’ll, hopefully, start to see more of that side to his game as he has more time at the crease.

Everybody says that Alastair Cook out-captained Michael Clarke in Cardiff, but I think it partly comes from him having scored runs recently.

He got runs in the West Indies, he got runs against New Zealand and while he didn’t get that many in Cardiff, he is in form once again and feeling good about his game.

If you’re playing well yourself it’s much easier to captain your team because you’re not worrying about your own game and you can actually focus on what you need to do for your players.

Cook has talked a lot about England showcasing their skills – clearly, the handbrake has been taken off the team and I think that probably frees up Alastair’s mind as well.

The fact the England team are playing better generally and are more confident – for instance the bowlers are sticking to the game-plan – is also allowing him to become a better captain.

As far as Australia are concerned, the first thing you need to make sure of when you lose a game like this is not to panic. I doubt there will be too many changes.

I think in terms of batting they clearly wanted to lay down a marker and attack Moeen Ali to show everyone who was boss. It didn’t really work as well as they would have liked as England were able to pick up wickets.

Australia need to find the right balance out in the middle – be positive, but don’t be too reckless.

Quite a few of their batsmen got 20s and 30s, but just Chris Rogers, David Warner and Mitchell Johnson managed to go on past 50.

They need somebody to go on and get a really big score at Lord’s.