Pietersen touch is a source of cheer

 
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.

KP IS A-OK
A huge positive for England on day one was the batting of Kevin Pietersen. Alastair Cook and Ian Bell also did well, but I’d expected that. I’ve watched Pietersen very closely over the last 18 months and there’s no doubt he hasn’t been his usual self because, I think, of his footwork at the crease. Now he is looking like the KP of old again.

It goes to show the huge amount of work he has put in physically and mentally. Yes he was out for 43 but the way he got those runs augurs very well for England.

AUSSIE ATTACK IS WEAK
When a side is bowled out for 260 you think the bowlers must’ve done well, but the fact is Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott played loose shots and one guy got a hat-trick. I still think an attack featuring Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Xavier Doherty is going to struggle to take 20 wickets on two occasions. They are looking at Shane Watson to be a fourth seamer but I’ve a feeling that when pitches don’t have as much help in them he could be quite a liability.

BELL IS ENGLAND’S STAR MAN
Ian Bell is the best player England have got. I’ve known him since he was a teenager and he’s always been destined for great things. No6 in the batting order is too low for him really, but at least means the ball shouldn’t move around much. He is going to get a lot of runs in this series.


THE ALL-ROUNDER | CONDITIONS, STATS AND BANTER
PItCH
A typical Gabba track. The quicks will have to be brave and pitch it up if they hope to take wickets. The sight of Alastair Cook regularly pulling in front of square demonstrated just how slow this surface is.  The rain could liven things up.

STAT OF THE DAY
With four of the top six having got themselves in, a total of 260 all out first up would have represented something of a disappointment for England. A glance at the record books won’t do anything to cheer skipper Andrew Strauss either, in the last 10 Tests at the Gabba, the average first innings score was 410.

FIGHTING TALK
“At a party at my mates. Just played Elton John Rocket Man reminds of 2005 come on England !” Andrew Flintoff lets his twitter following know he’s right behind the boys and a fan of 1970s pop ballads.

“You know, if conditions stay the same a score of 260 might not be that far away from being a decent total.” Former Aussie skipper Ian Chappell offers England fans hope.