Ashes

Flower praises 'resilient' Eng

2013-07-15 15:32
Andy Flower (Gallo)

Nottingham - England coach Andy Flower on Monday praised his "resilient" side after their thrilling 14-run win over Australia in the first Test at Trent Bridge.

Victory put the Ashes-holders 1-0 up in the five-match series with a quick turnaround before the second Test at Lord's on Thursday.

But Flower, not one to buy in to suggestions of a 5-0 England sweep or even 10-0 come the end of back-to-back Ashes in Australia in January, forecast the tourists would be just as tough to beat at "the home of cricket" as they were in Nottingham.

"We never for a moment thought that this match or the series would be a walkover," said Flower. "I know we hear the odd thing in the media predicting some funny results but we always knew this would be a tough battle.

"This is a really good example and I'm sure it will be a tough fight for the remainder of the series."

England named an unchanged squad of 13 on Monday with attention focused on whether fast bowler Steven Finn, not at his best in the second innings, would be retained in the starting XI for a match at his Middlesex home ground.

There were also concerns as to whether James Anderson, the fulcrum of England's attack, would be able to recover in time after a punishing first Test where he bowled 13 successive overs Sunday on his way to a decisive match haul of 10 wickets.

"It will have taken something out of all the players involved," said Flower of what he said was a "sensational game".

"But that's why our guys work so hard on their fitness and they are mentally resilient -- they have shown that.

"Over a number of our Test campaigns (they have) come out on top because of that resilience and I expect them to show that at Lord's in the second Test."

As well as praising Alastair Cook's "strength and calmness as a captain", Flower also highlighted the contributions of Anderson and Ian Bell, whose second innings 109 was the only century of the match, to England's victory.

"Jimmy Anderson, particularly, again showed his skill and class," he said.

"Ian Bell obviously showed real skill but also, I think more importantly, a real determination and courage out there in the middle to bat like he did."

Meanwhile, Flower defended Stuart Broad over his refusal to walk when he edged the ball to slip during England's second innings.

Broad, on 37 out of his eventual 65 during a key partnership with Bell, stood his ground after experienced umpire Aleem Dar ruled he was not out.

The all-rounder had edged a ball from debutant spinner Ashton Agar via wicketkeeper Brad Haddin's gloves to Australia captain Michael Clarke at slip.

It appeared a clear deflection to many with the naked eye and all the more so on video replay.

But as Australia had used up their two permitted innings challenges under the Decision Review System (DRS) they had no way of overturning Dar's verdict.

The incident was the most contentious of several DRS incidents that heaped controversy onto the drama of a gripping contest and led West Indies great Michael Holding to call for Broad to be banned from the second Test for an act "contrary to the spirit of the game".

However, former Zimbabwe batsman Flower said: "Stuart Broad, like every other batsman in international cricket, has the right to wait for the umpire to make his decision.

"The umpire's job is to make those decisions."

He added: "I think that using the review system is the correct way for international cricket to go, because we get more decisions right using it."

Read more on:    england  |  ashes  |  andy flower  |  cricket
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