The inspiration for improvement that England need for Lord’s can easily be taken from the Australians. The tourists showed the discipline and focus that England lacked in both their batting and bowling, although the hosts can also look within their own dressing room for pointers about how to approach the second Test.
Paul Collingwood’s heroic rearguard action on the final day at the Swalec stadium is the blueprint the batsmen should use when constructing their own innings. In truth the Durham grafter simply placed a high value on his wicket, something the Aussies (Phillip Hughes apart) did throughout.
England fans expect that sort of effort from Collingwood. He thrives in pressure situations and was not daunted by the task. The resilience shown by the tailenders came as more of a surprise.
Andrew Flintoff – still officially an allrounder – adjusted his approach suitably, as did Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, natural strokemakers themselves. The lower order should learn from their own lessons.
The utter determination to defend their wickets should be in evidence at all times. Why reserve the ‘over my dead body’ persona for final day survival battles? If James Anderson defended as doggedly in the first innings as he did in the second, rather than dancing down the pitch to Nathan Hauritz, then Swann could have carried on attacking.
England’s bowlers of course have more to worry about than their batting. The flat wicket and excellence of the Australian batsmen made things worse, but the bowling unit was badly out of sorts at Cardiff.
Similarly, England are in trouble if they need to regularly rely on tailenders’ runs. Collingwood (and Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting and Marcus North) showed that batsmen need to be prised from the crease.
Australia’s excellent record at Lord’s is well-known, as is the ground’s recent trend for producing high-scoring draws. An England win seems the third likely result by some distance. If it is to be achieved, the home side need to carry on from where they left off in Wales.
For now, make sure you're keeping up to date with the Second Test odds ahead of making a Lord's Test bet and, if you want to get in the mood for a bit more rivalry, check out Betfair's new fan v fan site.