The Ashes: England fans are an ‘obstacle’ to Australia’s Ashes hopes, says Moody

Tom Moody believes England’s “football-style” fans have a critical role to play in this summer’s Ashes.

Australia's Mitchell Johnson struggled at Cardiff.

England took a 1-0 lead over Australia in Cardiff last week, roared on by capacity crowds of over 15,000 on all four days.

The supporters played a full part in proceedings, getting behind the hosts in enthusiastic fashion and making life hard for the tourists, notably Mitchell Johnson.

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And Moody, who played eight Tests for Australia as well as enjoying several years in county cricket with Warwickshire and Worcestershire, thinks the crowds are tough to overcome.

“Australia haven’t won a series over here since 2001 and the fans are definitely an obstacle,” he said.

“That’s something I’ve noticed all the way back to the 1989 Ashes when I was involved with Australia.

“There is an overwhelming football-style support these days, a feverish support, and 80 per cent of the crowd are roaring and cheering like the Barmy Army.”

Australia coach Darren Lehmann has made no secret of his frustration with the pace of the pitch in the first Test, a fact that contributed to a surprisingly muted showing from Johnson.

But Moody points to the ball rather than the surface as a key factor.

“This Dukes ball behaves differently to the Kookaburra that is used in other parts of the world,” he said. “So the challenge is for Australian bowlers to make the right adjustments and for the batsmen to deal with a ball that performs slightly differently.”

Moody might have been more than just an interested observer in the series had he chosen to pursue the England job in 2014, when he was shortlisted to replace Andy Flower.

Instead he chose to remain as cricket director of the Caribbean Premier League and Hyderabad Sunrisers coach. Peter Moores came and went in the role and now Trevor Bayliss has the honour of being England’s first Australian boss.

“The bottom line is you want the best person and Bayliss is a good appointment for them,” he said.

“I’d be foolish to say I don’t still harbour ambitions to coach internationally again and if the right opportunity came up, we’d see.”