They are largely small differences at the moment, but could soon add up, especially with Lord’s and Headingley being back-to-back Tests separated by only a three-day break. That is where the respective pace-bowling depths, and endurance of those who play on through, will be on show.
One byproduct of England’s rapid batting approach is their innings tend not to give the quick bowlers lengthy downtime – they bowled on each day at Edgbaston, albeit only briefly in the first after Stokes’ declaration. By contrast, Australia are happy to bat time, although it is worth noting that 386 runs in 116.1 overs is certainly not slow, even if it doesn’t match up to Bazball and led to Robinson questioning their approach.
“Potentially, for sure,” Cummins said about the prospect of wearing down England’s attack. “I’ve played a lot of Tests back-to-back and you certainly feel much fresher when in the first Test match, you’ve had a big gap in between both innings or you only bowled 30 as opposed to 40, 50. Our number one goal when we go out there is to score runs and it doesn’t matter how long it takes.”
“It’s a huge privilege captaining him, it’s so easy – just chuck him down one end and he basically just bowls all day,” Cummins said. “In all conditions, being one of the four bowlers that get picked is just hugely impressive. Just the way he’s a man for all conditions, keeps getting better, so reliable.”
“I actually really enjoy bowling here using the slope to our advantage as bowlers. I think you can bowl with it and hopefully spin it.”
Nathan Lyon on bowling at Lord’s
“I actually really enjoy bowling here using the slope to our advantage as bowlers,” he said. “I think you can bowl with it and hopefully spin [it] more or you can bowl up and use the angles and hopefully bring in both edges. I don’t think it’s one end got to be the spinners’ end or the fast bowlers’ end. You’ve got to have that ability to adjust and really enjoy that challenge of bowling with it or against type thing. So I think we can use it as a weapon up our sleeves.
“[But] we’re not sure what the wicket is going to look like on day one, whether it’s going to be overcast or whatnot. So if the seamers do work and I don’t have to do much and that’s all well and good, but I’m happy to put my hand up in the tough situations and have a crack.”
Lyon and Cummins were also central in the cat-and-mouse that went on with England’s batters at Edgbaston, particularly in the second innings when the lead was all-important, and they both bowled impressively. Meanwhile, on the opening day, Australia’s largely defensive fields were much scrutinised but Cummins indicated he would remain happy playing the long game even if it meant England could sometimes make the running.
“You’ve got a problem solver out there, which is great fun as a captain and as a bowler,” Cummins said. “It’s just maybe a bit more like T20 and one-day game, where the problems that you try to solve are a bit more like that, as opposed to trying to create something from nothing, which sometimes you have to do in a Test match.
“I thought we managed to tempos really well last week,” he added. “When we had to attack, we really went for it, but there’s other times where we just had to suck it up and wait.”
One win does not mean they have got it all right, but another one at Lord’s this week and it will be hard to question their approach.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo