England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge

Flower proud of England's nerve

George Dobell

July 15, 2013

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Andy Flower has praised the "resolve and resilience" of his team after England's narrow victory in the first Investec Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

Flower, the England team director, also defended the DRS despite some controversial dismissals during the Test and expressed the belief that such an entertaining start to the series would prove beneficial to the game as a whole.

"It was a sensational game," Flower said. "I'm very proud of our team, obviously, for the resolve and the resilience they showed. They held their nerves under pressure. It was a tense game for five days. It's obviously great to come out on top and we can go to Lord's with real confidence. But I must say both teams provided an outstanding game of Test match cricket.

"We're in the business of winning, so to win is outstanding. They can take a lot of confidence from the way they held themselves, especially as our lead was whittled away. They were good in breaks, they were good in the middle.

"Alastair Cook led them well; he showed his strength and calmness as a captain again, not to mention his catching ability. Jimmy Anderson, particularly, with the ball showed again his skill and class. I must also make mention of Ian Bell's innings. He obviously showed real skill, but also, I think more importantly, a real determination and courage out there in the middle to bat like he did.

"It's not only meaningful for the players. We had full crowds here every day and I'm sure they'll be like that through the rest of the series. For those people to create such a great atmosphere for the competitors to play in, but also for everyone on TV and radio hearing what was an amazing game of cricket and a special atmosphere, it's really great for the game of cricket that we have games of this type."

While there were some issues with umpiring decisions during the game - Flower approached the match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, for clarification of ICC protocols after Aleem Dar's not out decision for an leg before appeal against Jonathan Trott was overruled by the TV umpire, Marais Erasmus, despite a user error denying him use of the side-on Hot Spot image - Flower defended the system and insisted it helped the officials "get more decisions right than wrong."

"I think that using the review system is the correct way for international cricket to go, because we get more decisions right using it," Flower said. "I think that's very simple and very clear. The protocol for making those decisions must be adhered to. Of course, we will never get everything right but at least using the system we get more decisions right than wrong."

Flower also defended Stuart Broad, who chose not to walk despite a thick edge that the umpire Aleem Dar did not see. "Stuart Broad, like every other batsman in international cricket, has the right to wait for the umpire to make his decision," Flower said. "The umpire's job is to make those decisions."

Accepting that the first Test would have drained the players of both sides, Flower expressed his confidence in the "fitness" and "resilience" of his players and his belief that those qualities would serve them well with the scheduling of back-to-back Tests allowing them little time to rest and recover from their exertions.

"It was a Test match full of tension, but it was great fun to be involved in as well. I think the players from both sides will reflect on a sensational match to have been involved in, but yes, it will have taken something out of all the players involved. That's why our guys work so hard on their fitness and they are mentally resilient - they have shown that. Over a number of our Test match campaigns, they have come out on top because of that resilience and I expect them to show that resilience at Lord's in the second Test.

"What I must say is we never for a moment thought that this match or the series would be a walkover. I know we hear the odd thing in the media predicting some funny results, but we always knew this would be a tough battle. This is a really good example of a tough battle and I'm sure it will be a tough fight for the remainder of the series."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by CapitalMarkets on (July 16, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK ... I agree that Bresnan and Broad are not genuine all-rounders if we stay with the classic "batting average is higher than the bowling average" definition of the breed. But I would strongly argue that teams don't need all-rounders at seven and eight. The West Indians I saw at the Oval in 1984 didn't have an all-rounder (Sobers had retired). They played Grenidge, Haynes, Gomes, Richards and LLoyd as the batsmen, Jeff Dujon (wicketkeeper) at six and Baptiste, Marshall, Harper, Holding and Garner as the bowlers. England had Ian Botham at six, if memory serves. Baptist, Marshall and Harper could bat a bit but were bowlers first and foremost. The West Indies were bowled out cheaply in the first innings but still won comfortably courtesy of 125 from Desmond Haynes which took nearly six hours. The point is that it was an attacking selection and that the bowlers who didn't do so well in England's first innings (Garner and Holding) cam back and took nine wickets in the second.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 16, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

@CapitalMarkets (post on July 16, 2013, 10:15 GMT): again with the all-rounders, which England do not have! I do agree with your main points though, and love the interesting stats you've shared; I have commented several times during the last game (and previous series) that England vastly underuse their part-time bowlers like KP/Root/Bell/Trott when the conditions/circumstances allow for them and the frontline bowlers are struggling. But it seems England will NEVER try 5-1-5, and where are these 'all-rounders' you keep harping on about? There is no way England will swap a batsman or two for Broad/Bresnan-style players who are bowlers that once-in-a-blue-moon offer something with the bat (be that runs or simply blocking). Woakes is a potential, but his struggles against NZ did him/England's confidence no favours unfortunately.

Posted by CapitalMarkets on (July 16, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

The facts say that the Autralian batsmen (top 7) scored 321-14 and England 569-14, yet Australia nearly won. The two busiest bowlers were Anderson and Swan (combined age 65) who sent down 119 overs (68% of England's total), whereas Pattinson and Starc (combined age 46) sent down 100 (48% of Australia's). That means that even when Australia's batsmen are failing, England are overbowling their senior bowlers. England have three part timers amongst the batsmen to Australia's two plus Watson, who is the only genuine all-rounder in either side. England need to recognise that they must act before 20 days of test cricket in just four weeks causes Anderson or Swan (or both) to break down. They need to think of playing Prior at six with two all-rounders and three more specialist bowlers. Bresnan at seven gives the opportunity to blood a genuine attacking fast bowler like Boyd Rankin or give Graham Onions the opportunity to show what he can do. And train bowlers to defend stoutly when batting.

Posted by Hammond on (July 16, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

@CustomKid- I don't wish to ignore anything. Just found it very interesting that you chose to ignore that this England side just defeated India at home. I think this is more indicative of your personal opinion of the English side than any indication of their quality in reality.

Posted by CustomKid on (July 16, 2013, 9:29 GMT)

@hammond I don't recall referring to Australia as a champion side in fact this is the worst Australian side I've watched since the mid 80's. my point obviously hit home and home truths are something you wish to ignore so be it.

Re read what I wrote and you'll actually see I said Jimmy Anderson is the man and that batting wise England from 1-7 with the exception of Clarke have better average in the range of 10-20 runs better which makes them superior, is that not positive recognition of the current English team?

Again read things how you will, as much as I dislike England credit where credit is due, they are a good team, just not a champion team yet.

Posted by CustomKid on (July 16, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

@hamond - not at all that was a stellar effort, they beat also beat or tied with Sri Lanka too, yet they lost 3 zip to Pakistan in the UAE, struggled to draw with the kiwis and got thrashed at home by ZA. I'm just highlighting that they're very inconsistent and champion sides don't do that. Are you disagreeing with this point or wearing the same glasses as FFL?

Posted by Hammond on (July 16, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

@CustomKid- funny that you ignored Englands last test series. Let me remind you- they won in India, which Australia has only managed to do once in 40 years. Oh yeah, and this "champion" Australian side played the same team on the same pitches, and got whitewashed. Just funny that you ignored that "little" part of their recent test history.

Posted by Cyril_Knight on (July 16, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

Flower is spot on in his appraisal. Just think if it had been a normal Test match with fewer nerves on display, then those very rare big last wicket partnerships would never have happened. If you take away those two flukes England would have had Australia out for 120 and 220 and everyone would be saying ""Wow!" Instead people are overreacting and criticising when there is little need to.

I'm very glad the people who matter are pleased with the performance, England bowled fantastically throughout the match and only two last wicket stands prevent that from being reflected on the scorecards.

England will rightly be very confident of replicating this bowling at Lord's, without the last wicket stands and complete the job of bowling Australia out for even lower scores than they managed at Trent Bridge.

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