Ashes 2023: When you are nailing opposition; make sure you finish the deal, advises Vaughan to England
Following England's two-wicket defeat to Australia in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, former captain Michael Vaughan has advised the Ben Stokes-led side to nail the tourists down and leave no opportunity for them to make a comeback when they are pushed on the back foot.
Chasing 281, Australia got home courtesy of an unbeaten ninth-wicket stand of 55 between Pat Cummins (44 not out) and Nathan Lyon (16 not out) on day five's play. England, who declared their first innings on 393/8 on day one's play, managed to keep Australia down to 227/8, but missed a chance to take out Lyon when Stokes dropped a crucial difficult catch.
"What England must learn is that when you are nailing the opposition, make sure you finish the deal. If you were being critical, there were too many times in this Test match when England seemed comfortably on top and then just opened up a door for Australia," wrote Vaughan in his column for The Daily Telegraph.
Vaughan opined England missing small moments on field at Edgbaston shouldn't be happening often in the rest of the series.
"That is a warning sign for England. I would not change the team. It is just about being smarter and a little bit more sharp in the field. They just cannot give Australia so many opportunities. There are no sporting teams in my recollection that play only one way and are ultimately successful in the highest competitions. You have got to have it in you to change it up. So England need to adapt over the course of a five-day game," he wrote further.
"England will say that nothing changes, and that is a good message to stick to outwardly. But I think Stokes will want the team to try to just be a little bit smarter, keeping the core of what has worked so well in the past year, and just being shrewder at assessing moments," he added.
With England now 1-0 behind in the five-match series and second Test at Lord's starting from June 28, Vaughan also felt the hosts' can be cleverer in the next game.
"They can carry on playing on the front foot, and adventurously, but also be a little bit smarter about recognising those moments. They need to be a little bit clever at Lord's, " wrote Vaughan.
"At times they could have been a bit more ruthless and just made sure they won the session. England started so well on days one and four, and then gave away some quite soft dismissals near the end of the sessions. They need to be a little bit smarter," he concluded.
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