Fighting fire with fire
Posted in England team blog
There is no better way to start the NatWest Series than playing Australia at Lord’s on Friday.
It’s going to be a really exciting five matches with two teams that have firepower with the bat and some excellent quick bowlers. We are two well-matched sides and I’m sure it will be great for the spectators.
We are confident going into the series. Any side that plays at home has a slight advantage and it’s the same for us.
We’ve won six one-day series in succession and that’s something we are really proud of. It shows we know how to play in our own backyard.
Australia have some top-quality batsmen and, like us, are a well-balanced side. One player I haven’t seen much of is Pat Cummins. He seems to have a bustling action and skids the ball. While I’ve not faced him, we’ve done our research, watched the footage and all of us will be ready.
I played when we beat Australia 3-2 in the NatWest Series two years - that was right at the beginning of my international career.
We had just beaten them in the Twenty20 World Cup Final and then beat them here in a one-day series. It was fantastic.
That Australia side had some of the best players in the world while we were quite a new side. Hopefully we can play well over the next five games and win another series.
I remember the game we played at Lord’s and facing Shaun Tait’s opening spell. It was pretty quick. He bowled me one of the fastest balls in the history of cricket – 100.1mph.
All I can remember was chipping it through midwicket – on purpose, of course – and bolting down to the other end.
He bowled at the speed of light that day and did for most of the series. It’s not every series you face someone who can bowl 100mph consistently.
I think I’m a better player now compared to back then. I’ve had ups and downs like every cricketer but I’ve trained really hard in those two years, especially on my keeping. I’m more experienced and consistent in both areas of my game.
One big difference to two years ago is that I am batting at number six rather than opening. I’ll bat anywhere so long as I’m part of the team. If Cookie (Alastair Cook)and Andy Flower want me at six then I’ll bat there.
It’s an exciting place to bat. You have to be a bit more adaptable. When you open you have to set the tempo but at six the game has already been set out for you.
Our batting has been spectacular in the last few series, especially at home. The guys at the top set the platform for the rest of us to accelerate towards the end.
One bonus about number six is having a rest after keeping. I can have a rub, a cup of tea and then sit down and watch the top order bat which in recent games has been a joy to watch.