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Jonathan Agnew column

Anderson and Panesar

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

The stunning finish to the first Ashes Test in Cardiff was as unexpected as it was thrilling.

England appeared to be on the ropes at lunch, and destined for the defeat they deserved.

It took typical guts and resilience from Paul Collingwood to keep the series level.

The challenge is to come up with something much better at Lord's on Thursday

But despite the finish, we have to acknowledge they were outplayed in every department of the game, and particularly in mental attitude.

Australia were mighty impressive - completely focused, disciplined and determined.

England were second division in comparison and while the tourists can definitely be beaten, they won't be if this is the best England can produce.

So, the challenge is to come up with something much better at Lord's on Thursday.

It is doubtful that two spinners will be needed there, and although both Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar were bitterly disappointing here, with figures of 1-246 between them, I would retain Swann.

Panesar looks low on confidence, and Swann can add valuable runs, so I would bring in Graham Onions in place of the second spinner.

Steve Harmison is sure to be discussed, and might be called into the squad but I am not convinced.

I have seen a lot of Harmison over the last three years and only very rarely has he looked like a top flight international pace bowler.


He is in form at the moment, and if Stuart Broad is struggling with his right calf muscle, Harmison should return.

Broad had a poor game at Cardiff on a pitch that offered him little. It was wrong, in my opinion, to open the bowling with him rather than Andrew Flintoff.

With Flintoff in the team, Broad can throttle back on the pace and aggression and become a controlling bowler, but by giving him the new ball he got his role wrong.

Broad has made good progress up to now, and I would not drop him after just one bad game.

He needs to be spoken to, and his position clarified but I don't think we can be sure that Harmison would produce anything better.

An escape like this can often have a rousing impact on the team that got out of jail, and it will be fascinating to see if it is the spark that England urgently need.

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see also
Defiant England cling on for draw
12 Jul 09 |  England
England v Australia photos day five
12 Jul 09 |  England
Escape will spur us on - Strauss
12 Jul 09 |  England
Ashes Ten to Tackle
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The Ashes: head-to-head
04 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
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