Australia will draw inspiration from their performance in the first Ashes Test against England and their outstanding overall record at Lord’s for the second Test starting on Thursday.
Only an heroic last wicket stand between James Anderson and Monty Panesar in Cardiff denied Australia victory in a game in which they were the superior team in all departments of the game.
They have also not lost a Test against England at Lord’s since 1934 when Yorkshire left-arm spinner Hedley Verity
dismissed Don Bradman cheaply in both innings in a match haul of 15 wickets.
“There is a great feel around the place, and all the history, and the very proud record that Australia have had here for so long makes you feel good about the place when you arrive,” Australia captain Ricky Ponting told reporters on Tuesday.
“Already the guys were talking about our record here in the team meeting and how much everyone has been looking forward to playing here, and what it means to a lot of our younger guys in particular to play here.”
Australia will take particular encouragement from the form of their Ashes debutants Marcus North, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle in Cardiff.
North scored his second century in three Tests, off-spinner Hauritz outbowled England’s Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar and pacemen Hilfenhaus and Siddle more than compensated for Mitchell Johnson’s indifferent form.
“I’m not surprised by what any of the young guys who have come in have done,” Ponting said. “I get an opportunity to look at these guys really closely, how they go about their preparations.”
All the problems now seem to be in the England camp where Andrew Flintoff is yet again an injury doubt. Steve Harmison has been called up as cover but the Durham fast bowler may play anyway after his outstanding recent county form. “You pick the best 11 players to win you a test match,” said captain Andrew Strauss. “We’ve got to decide what our best bowling attack is for this particular wicket,” he said.
“Graham Onions has got strong credentials. He took seven wickets here on debut a couple of months ago and he is bang in form as well as Steve so he’s definitely an option for us.”
“But we know Steve has had significant contributions here before, including the 2005 Ashes so that's something going for him,” said Strauss.
Strauss conceded England had under-performed in Cardiff with none of the batsmen carrying on to make a big score while each of the five bowlers conceded more than 100 runs.