Confidence: England’s magic ingredient working wonders

 
Andy Lloyd
OUR cricket columnist, former England batsman and Warwickshire chairman Andy Lloyd, has been poring over all the Ashes action. Here he dissects what he’s learned from the play so far.

CONFIDENCE
Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp: all the best sports coaches instil confidence in their teams because it makes all the difference. In this series it couldn’t be clearer which team has belief on their side, and which one doesn’t.

England are playing like they expect to win, and know that if they play well they will. Australia, meanwhile, look as down as they could possibly be, and seem to have accepted England need to have an off day for them to get back into the series.

Before the first Test I predicted England would win 3-1. That looks a little conservative now. I can still see England winning three matches, but I can’t fathom how Australia will manage to take 20 wickets.

JAMES ANDERSON
It was widely proclaimed in the lead-up to this series that England had the best bowler on either side in Graeme Swann. Well it turns out they’ve got the two best bowlers, because James Anderson is head and shoulders above the Aussie seamers.

People doubted Jimmy (inset). Could he swing the Kookaburra ball? Didn’t he have a bad tour last time round? Now he’s older, more streetwise and, crucially, fully fit. And he’s proving what a class act he is.

Those who fretted about his trip back to England in between the second and third Tests to witness the birth of his child clearly didn’t know what they were talking about.

TREMLETT
One of the huge advantages of a winning team is that it is so much easier to integrate new players. Chris Tremlett came in for the injured Stuart Broad and immediately took three wickets.

When Broad was ruled out the Aussies must have thought their luck had changed. Instead he’s done his job and that sliver of hope has been snatched away from them.

THE ALL-ROUNDER | CONDITIONS, STATS AND BANTER

DAY THREE FORECAST

HIGH 300
LOW 220

Sunny

PITCH
As expected, bowling conditions were at their best early on and England cashed in appropriately. See off the new ball and top batsmen will score heavily over the course of the next few days.

STAT OF THE DAY
The annoying last wicket partnership of 35 between Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus was the best by any Australian 10th wicket pair in an Ashes Test at Perth.

FIGHTING TALK
“Just in case you are wondering, Australia would enforce the follow- on.” Former Aussie paceman Damien Fleming, with more than a hint of sarcasm, outlines the Aussie battle plan.

“Four years since the big boys retired and with not much return if we lose the Ashes, it’s time for Chappell and co to do major overhaul.” Ex-Test batsman Damian Martyn has had enough. Major. Overhaul. Lose. Ashes. It really is music to the all-rounder’s ears.

“Well done. Good debut. If possible can you make me more tea tomorrow.” Michael Vaughan congratulates Stuart Broad on an excellent first day in the Test Match Special commentary box.