BRISBANE – England can look forward to further “aggressive” cricket in the second Test in Adelaide, Australia captain Steve Smith said after his team found their mean streak to rout the tourists by 10 wickets at the Gabba on Monday.
Australia were matched by England for three days, with the unusually slow Gabba pitch blunting their bowlers’ pace and their batsmen struggling in the first innings barring a magnificent, unbeaten 141 by the skipper.
The hosts hit back on day four, however, as their pacemen grabbed seven wickets in a furious short-pitched assault to skittle England for 195.
Openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft then mowed down 170 for victory before lunch on day five to give Australia a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
“Really pleased with the way we played this Test match. It’s great to go up 1-0 in this Ashes series,” said man-of-the-match Smith.
“We’re going to continue to play the same way we have, nice and aggressively.
“We’ve played some really good cricket. We had to fight after the first couple of days to get the result we’re after.
“No doubt there will continue to be some good, hard, aggressive cricket throughout the series.”
A small media storm was generated by England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow’s “headbutt” greeting of Bancroft at a bar in Perth in the lead-up, an incident both teams played down.
Smith revealed his team had used the incident as ammunition to throw Bairstow off his game when he was batting on the field, and believed the tactic had worked when the wicket-keeper was dismissed softly for 42 when he hit straight to third man.
The incident had proved to be a distraction to the England camp, with their coach Trevor Bayliss saying staff would meet with players to potentially discuss tighter curfews.
Smith shrugged when asked whether Australia’s exploitation of the incident might fuel animosity between the teams.
“It’s always played hard out on the field. There’s a line you’re not to cross. I don’t think it makes any real difference,” he said.
Adelaide Oval will offer a different challenge for both teams, with the pink ball likely to move far more in the first day-night Ashes Test than at the Gabba.
England’s veteran pacemen Stuart Broad and James Anderson may be best placed to exploit the conditions, but Smith was also excited what his pacemen might do under lights.
“The Adelaide wicket might bring some of their bowlers into the game a little bit, but having said that, it’s probably one of the quickest wickets in the country at night,” he said.
“We saw how effective our bowlers could be when this wicket quickened up a little bit, so it’s exciting.”