For once, Australia did their homework.
Little more than two years since Australia had four players suspended for failing to submit their ‘homework’ to coach Mickey Arthur, the tourists learned their lesson from a dismal capitulation in the Ashes opener last week.
In Cardiff, Australia showed England scant respect.
They were determined to play with the cavalier aggression that proved so effective in Australia – both in the 2-0 Test series win over India and the World Cup triumph that followed.
Wide balls were chased, edged and caught. Wickets tumbled.
England’s part-time offspinner Moeen Ali was charged – and picked up not only five wickets for the match, but also scored first innings’ scalps of Australia’s two best players of spin, Michael Clarke and Steve Smith, in soft dismissals.
Based on the scoreboard, which read 1-337 by stumps on day one, they were loathe to make the same mistakes again.
“(Last week) I got 33 in both innings and didn’t go on with it,” said Smith, who finished the day unbeaten on 129 having added 259 with Chris Rogers (158 not out).
“I was quite disappointed the way I got out, particularly in the first innings to Moeen Ali.
“I think I played him a lot smarter today. I just waited on his loose balls and didn’t look to go after him too much.
“It was extremely satisfying to score runs today and put on such a big partnership with Chris.”
Of course, the unfailingly rebellious David Warner managed to buck the trend of patience and perseverance.
The bullish opener took it upon himself to blast Moeen out of the attack at the first opportunity.
He cracked Moeen’s first ball for four, and repeated the dose immediately.
However, with ten runs racked up through five deliveries, over-confidence got the better of the 28-year-old and he swiped at a juicy offering – but only managed to slice it skyward.
Jimmy Anderson took a well-judged catch in the outfield and Warner was on his way.
“Warner threw his wicket away there,” a bemused Glenn McGrath said in commentary.
“With Australia dominating that session, he just didn’t need to do that.
“After already scoring 10 runs off the over very easily, did he need to do that? He won’t be too happy.”