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England must be prepared to take risks to triumph in Ashes, says Pietersen


By David Clough

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen believes there's nothing to separate the two sides after the opening day of the first Ashes Test.

Ashes debutants James Vince (83) and Mark Stoneman (53) shared a century stand as England finished on 196 for four on a cagey first day at the Gabba.

"I think it's evenly poised. Vince says he reckons it's 50-50 at the moment and I think that's about fair," said Pietersen.

"You get defined as a player when you're playing Ashes cricket and you get defined as a player with the risks that you take.

"If you're going to bat at the top order, you're going to have to take those risks.

"So when you want to be defined as a player, you want to stand out, you've got to be known to be that kind of player that will go and take those risks.

"But have they done a job? Yes they have done a job.

"Could they have done a better job? Maybe. It's 50-50."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan agrees that the game is even and reckons the scales will tip one way or the other on the second morning.

He said: "I honestly think it's completely even. Whoever can come out and strike early, whether it's Moeen Ali and (Dawid) Malan with the bat or whether it's Australia to get a couple of quick wickets. I think that will be the sway in the game.

"Australia impressed me a lot because the pitch didn't quite play as we thought, it didn't have the pace that we expected and they bowled with control.

"Nathan Lyon bowled beautifully but didn't get any wickets.

"England will be thinking maybe they could have been a bit busier, maybe a bit more proactive and a bit more aggressive against him.

Former England spinner Graeme Swann was also impressed with Lyon.

Swann said: "I think Nathan Lyon bowled beautifully but got no wickets.

"And England have got to look at that and think, 'Well he did bowl really well so how did he not get wickets?'

"The lack of an arm ball to the left-handers means he's not that dangerous, so he's very good at tying people down but he's not very good at actually picking up the wickets."

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