Joe Root - and 4 other factors behind first test win

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After England’s impressive 169-run win in the first Investec Ashes Test, we assesses five lessons learned from the series opener in Cardiff.

1. THE SCARS HAVE HEALED

This was not just a victory, it was a decisive statement that the wounds of the 2013/14 whitewash would not play a part in the series.

This is a new England and the attacking ethos of the New Zealand tour has remained.

England are not the perfect side but there is no inferiority complex to be seen.

2. BRAD’S HAD IT; WHAT NOW FOR WATTO?

England's Joe Root (left) celebrates with captain Alastair Cook (right) after taking the wicket of Australia's Mitchell Johnson during the First Investec Ashes Test

England's Joe Root (left) celebrates with captain Alastair Cook (right) after taking the wicket of Australia's Mitchell Johnson during the First Investec Ashes Test

Brad Haddin has relished his contests with England over the years, over-performing against his career stats more often than not.

But the end game is rapidly approaching for the 37-year-old. Dropping centurion Joe Root on nought, moving creakily throughout and failing to find his batting form makes for a poor contribution.

He gave 24 byes in Cardiff, the next one could be a goodbye.

Shane Watson may not even get the chance to earn a reprieve. He was out lbw twice, the most predictable dismissal in Test cricket, and his seamers were flat. Mitch Marsh looks set for a Lord’s recall.

England's Joe Root signs autographs before day four of the First Investec Ashes Test at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff.

England's Joe Root signs autographs before day four of the First Investec Ashes Test at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff.

3. ROOT IS NO AVERAGE JOE

Despite his golden boy status, Sheffield’s Joe Root came to Cardiff with a case to answer against the Australians - his average against them standing at 33.18 versus a career mark north of 55.

After being granted his life by Haddin, the South Yorkshireman batting beautifully for 134 and backed up with 60 in the second innings.

Australia need to keep him quieter than that to get a foothold in the series.

4. CAPTAIN COOK IS ON THE UP

Criticism of Alastair Cook’s captaincy is an exhaustively well-rehearsed theme, but few could pick fault from his four days at Cardiff.

He was right to bat first despite damp conditions and cloud cover on day one, he had arguably his best Test yet in terms of field positions and successful fielding places and his players clearly feel comfortable expressing themselves under his command.

The old dog is thriving with some new tricks.

5. ENGLAND’S SEAMERS STACK UP

In the pre-series debates there was one point almost everybody was agreed upon: Australia held the aces in terms of pace bowling.

But James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood turned in exceptional performances - combining skill and discipline to brilliant effect.

Mitchell Johnson was not at his devastating best, as has often been the case on tours of England and Wales, and Mitchell Starc is carrying an ankle injury.

The Australian advantage is suddenly harder to discern.

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