England skipper Alastair Cook hailed his side’s bowling attack after beating Australia by 169 runs inside four days to draw first blood in the Ashes series.
Having been destroyed 5-0 when the sides met 18 months ago, then humiliated in the Cricket World Cup earlier this year, Cook’s side were huge outsiders to beat Michael Clarke’s men in Cardiff.
The defeat was a chastening experience for the tourists with their much-vaunted pace attack nullified on a slow surface in the Welsh capital.
A batting line-up containing the world’s No.1 player Steve Smith also failed to score a century with only Chris Rogers, David Warner and Mitchell Johnson passing 50 in the match.
Clarke’s side were bowled out for 304 in the first innings and 242 in the second having collapsed from 1-97 to 7-151 as they chased a mammoth 412 for victory.
Cook said his side’s plans for the Australian batsmen worked to perfection due to the discipline of his four-pronged seam attack of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Ben Stokes and spinner Moeen Ali.
“It was a really important wicket from Moeen before lunch (to get Warner) and we kept saying ‘one before, one after’,” Cook said.
“But it would be wrong to single one single person out. All five of our bowlers were brilliant and relentless on that wicket.
“We knew there would be something in it on or about off stump and the guys were good enough to hit that.”
All the talk ahead of the match was about the miserable displays of England in the previous Ashes series and Cook said the result was crucial in giving his players the belief that can retain the urn.
“It’s important for this group of players to show we can compete with Australia,” he said.
“Before the Test match, everyone was talking about what happened the previous series and I was getting frustrated.
“But for a group of players to start a series well shows if we do the basics well we can put Australia under pressure.
“It’s not going to work every time and I am sure Australia will bounce back and put us under pressure at times.
“But we have the guys who can express themselves and are a dangerous side.”