By India Today Sports Desk: Former England captain Nasser Hussain has questioned whether England's style of playing aggressive cricket, famously dubbed as 'Bazball' will work against Australia after the hosts lost the first Test of the much-anticipated Ashes series on Tuesday, June 20. England lost by 2 wickets as Australia held their nerves to complete a 281-run target in a thrilling finish on the final day of the series opener.
England had Australia reeling at 227 for 8 but captain Pat Cummins and lower-order batter Nathan Lyon held fort to script a sensational victory for Australia. It was Australia's highest successful chase at Edgbaston and their highest chase in England in 51 years. Cummins remained unbeaten on 44 as he anchored the chase after Usman Khawaja played an old-fashioned knock of 65 in a Test match of contrasting styles.
"You can't hide behind that (wanting to entertain), and I can almost read Ricky Ponting's mind because he's a winner. England lost [the final Test] in New Zealand as well, if you remember. I know they've had Ireland in between, but now they've lost here and there are two games of cricket they could have won, should have won," Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports, referring to the 1-run defeat to New Zealand earlier in the year.
Notably, England became the first team in Test cricket to lose two matches in a calendar year after declaring their first innings. England had scored 435 in their first innings and bowed out New Zealand for 209 before enforcing follow-on. However, Kane Williamson's side fought back and won the Test in Wellington.
In Birmingham, it seemed as if Australia were sucked into the pre-series talk about 'Bazball' as they allowed England to score freely on the opening day of the Test in Birmingham. England made 393 for 8 in just 78 overs before surprising quite a few by declaring their innings as early as Day 1.
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However, Australia did not succumb to the hype around Bazball and played Test cricket in an old-fashioned way, grinding down the England bowlers in their first innings. Usman Khawaja top-scored with 141 while Travis Head and Alex Carey hit fifties to help them get 386 on the board.
England were guilty of throwing wickets away in their second innings as they managed 273 without even one of their batters getting to a fifty. Joe Root, the centurion from the first innings, went down the track to Nathan Lyon and got stumped for the first time in his career, showing the manner in which England were willing to play in their second innings.
Nasser Hussain highlighted England have had success over Australia in the Ashes without playing 'Bazball' and lauded Australia for sticking to their methods and delivering on the big stage.
"Remember, we've beaten Australia in England since 2001 playing the old-fashioned way - we didn't need 'Bazball' to beat Australia," Hussain said.
"The only thing I'll say is they showed why they're World Test Champions and the No 1 side in the world. They've got some serious players and some seriously tough players as well."
The two teams will meet in the second Test at Lord's from Wednesday, June 28.