Enthralling first Ashes Test shows that Australia can compete

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Australia came so close yet so far away from a win at Trent Bridge, but they can use that anguish to create optimism ahead of the second Ashes Test match.

As is the norm with Ashes cricket, a nation was gripped as England dramatically clinched a 14-run victory over the tourists in Nottingham, as man of the match James Anderson got Brad Haddin caught behind by Matt Prior to spark wild celebrations.

But the heart shown by Haddin during his terrific second innings stand of 71, and indeed by debutant Ashton Agar on the way to his unforgettable 98 in the first, showed that Australia are not the pushovers many considered them to be.

Heading to Lord’s, Michael Clarke’s men look terrific value for a first win of the series at 3/1.

England’s historical record against the Aussies at the home of cricket is a poor one, with their victory in the 2009 series a first win over the Baggy Greens there since 1934.

The current England vintage were stretched to the limit at Trent Bridge, where Anderson and Stuart Broad were both seen struggling with injuries and Steven Finn was erratic with the ball in his hand.

Ultimately the genius of the 10-wicket Anderson was what won England the match, but the hosts can’t keep relying on their strike bowler all the time.

Haddin and Agar were two of the five Australian batsmen to make half centuries in Nottingham, whilst bar Shane Watson all of Clarke’s bowlers picked up wickets in a match that became compelling viewing.

The spectacular start to the series has already seen it draw comparisons with the 2005 Ashes, when Australia’s only victory happened to come at Lord’s.

Their first Test disappointment could just inspire them to repeat the trick there this time around.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the time of publication

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