Sheffield’s Joe Root was named man of the match as Alastair Cook’s new England surged to a 169-run victory in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff.
Captain Cook could do little wrong, as bowling changes continually paid off and the tourists were all out for 242 late on day four in pursuit of an all-time Ashes record 412.
Root hit 134 and 60 in England’s two innings and took two wickets in Australia’s second bash, Stuart Broad (three for 39) provided the most telling individual impetus, and for good measure Cook played his own part in two juggling-act Australia dismissals to ensure England prevailed as expected here despite an admirable 77 down the order from Mitchell Johnson and a half-century too from opener David Warner.
Ultimately, neither did anything more than delay what had long seemed inevitable as England’s commitment to aggressive cricket - following their miserable World Cup winter - paid off with a first step towards regaining the Ashes after their 5-0 2013/14 whitewash down under.
“It was nice to get a couple of wickets but more important, I am thrilled to be a part of a good win,” Root said.
“The guys played well all week and, as a team, we were exceptional.
“It was maybe my most pleasing Test century... first up in the Ashes, you want to put a marker down, it’s great to get that win and hopefully we can back it up in the second Test at Lord’s.”
Root, who was dropped on 0 by Brad Haddin in his first innings, was left out for the final Test in Sydney as England lost 5-0 in Australia 18 months ago.
“I did have quite a bit of luck, there were a few inside edges that missed the stumps and I had to make the most of that luck,” Root added.
“It seemed to be my day and I managed to cash in. Being dropped in Sydney does drive me on... you never want to miss out. I just want to reprsent England for as long as I can, and make the most of this good form.”