Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Ashes 2023: England have a good chance to build on Headingley win and deliver again at Old Trafford, says Vaughan

Former captain Michael Vaughan lauded England’s gripping three-wicket victory over Australia in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, and pointed out that the Ben Stokes-led side have a golden opportunity to build on the win and do a repeat of it in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

On Sunday, young batter Harry Brook hit a crucial 75 on his home turf, followed by Chris Woakes (32 not out) and Mark Wood (16 not out) staying till the end to successfully chase down 251. It meant that England kept the series alive and made the series scoreline 2-1.

“England love a raucous crowd — and Old Trafford will be exactly the same. They’re a rock star team, at their best with the crowd all going wild. And they’re led by a rock star captain, who absolutely loves the big stage.”

“It doesn’t get any bigger than a home Ashes series, when the matches are as close as this and the stakes are so high. So England have a good chance to build on this win and deliver again at Old Trafford. If we can get to the Oval at 2-2, with one to play it will be the greatest Test series in my lifetime,” wrote Vaughan in his column for The Telegraph on Monday.

Vaughan further wrote that England were more switched on at Headingley, as Australia were rattled by the pace of Wood. Playing in a Test match for the first time since last year’s trip to Pakistan, Wood picked 5-34 from 11.4 overs and 2-66 from 17 overs in both innings of the match, proving to be a crucial point of difference for the hosts.

“Mark Wood was a revelation at Headingley. He had the Aussies rattled — not just the tail, who he blew away, but also the top order. We saw that from the moment that he clean bowled Usman Khawaja for pace on the first day. What a brilliant performance on his return.”

“Bazball is sometimes too risky and can bring the opposition into the game. But Australia in their second innings showed the dangers of playing it far too safe. You saw how Australia played Moeen Ali on the second day — 17 overs for 34 runs.”

“Then when Australia tried to be more attacking they almost seemed confused, and Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith both got out to soft dismissals. Everything that I saw at Headingley with this England side illustrated to me that they were so switched on.”

“Day one at Lord’s they were not switched on. In Leeds the actual bowling and the switched-on nature of the fielding was magnificent,” he elaborated.

Vaughan also feels that England have inflicted a huge psychological blow on Australia through their win at Headingley on finding a formula to get the better of the visitors’.

“No one can deny how difficult it is going to be, but England can still win this Ashes series 3-2. England have the momentum. It is so difficult to win an Ashes series away from home and Australia were tantalisingly close. To pick themselves up from this psychological blow will be a huge challenge for Pat Cummins and his side.”

“There’s going to be a lot of focus on England’s batting after such a thrilling run chase. But we should be clear: it’s the bowling that has really won England this Test match and got them back into the series. This England side have found a way with the ball in hand just to create doubt in Australia’s minds. The Aussies haven’t passed 300 in their past three innings.”

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