WE have now won our last three matches on the trot in the County Championship and are playing some really good cricket and the lads are full of confidence, with our win at Durham taking us to the top of the league.
By no means are we anywhere near winning the championship yet. But we are definitely making a statement and we can take that confidence going forward.
We have only played half the games and know how the game can change quickly if you get ahead of yourself.
We are playing some good cricket, respect that and are confident. But we know that we have to respect the opposition as well.
To lose the toss at Durham and to battle hard on a tough pitch initially which was a bit damp with the ball seaming around proved our character. The opening partnership got us to 50-0, but then we were reduced to 190-6 and were obviously struggling a bit.
But the way Tim Bresnan and Jonny Bairstow played was outstanding. They came in and that partnership was the difference in the game really.
They are doing really well. Tim is having an exceptional season in the championship with the bat. He is coming in at number seven or eight, scoring hundreds and starting to reach his batting potential.
He has always had a good solid technique and will admit himself he has probably not always got the runs he should have done. But he has matured a lot, knows his own game and is getting his rewards.
Jonny is just going from strength to strength. He made a few technical changes in the winter and has grown up as a character as well and is starting to know his own game. When he has got in this year, he has been very ruthless and is making strong statements to the England selectors.
He has not been picked yet, but isn’t taking his eye off the ball, either. He is concentrating on doing well for Yorkshire and knows if he does that, everything else will take care of itself.
He’s in a good frame of mind and respects good form. Hopefully, it will continue for us.
I thought the bowlers were outstanding as well at Durham. The pitch flattened out and the sun came out and the pitch was a lot drier but the bowlers stuck to the task.
Ahead of the last day, I had a look at the weather forecast and it said there was a chance of a thunderstorm at three or four o’clock.
But that was out of our control and we just knew that if we could get a wicket in the morning before the new ball, then we’d be set fair and Patto did exactly that and got the breakthrough. We then did the rest of the work.
Next up is Warwickshire and the pitch is pretty flat at Edgbaston. But they are a good opposition and were the stand-out team in all formats last year and are full of confidence and also playing good cricket.
Adil Rashid has been picked in the squad for the first Ashes Test in Cardiff and I just hope the lad plays.
It’s disappointing for us as he misses the Warwickshire game as he’s a big player for us. But it is also pleasing he is getting recognition and had a really good one-day series.
Whether they play him as the only spinner or in a two-spin attack, I am not sure. But I will be pretty disappointed if he doesn’t play.
As for the series itself, I do think if England get a good start, there’s no reason why they can’t win the Ashes.
I do think the one-day series has given England a lot of confidence and they are playing a more attacking brand of cricket. If we continue to play like that, we can go toe to toe with Australia.
The Aussies will be aggressive, no doubt. But if sit back and toggle along at a slow pace, it is not going to work.
England need to play that attacking style and if they start well at Cardiff, it will give them a lot of confidence.
There’s a few senior players such as Alastair Cook, Jimmy Anderson and Ian Bell, who will be key. For Australia, Mitchell Starc will be key as will Mitchell Johnson if he hits form, although his record isn’t as good over here as it is in Australia.
I’d like to see England take on the spin as well and not let Nathan Lyon bowl at them. In a three-man attack, with Lyon as the spinner and Shane Watson as the fourth seamer, I’d like us to take them on and hit the spin out of the attack.