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Research on Aussies paying off: Ball


By David Clough

England seamer Jake Ball insists the team are "very happy" with how the first Ashes Test is going with the match still too close to call after two days at the Gabba.

The tourists made a major breakthrough to see off the dangerous David Warner.

But there was no shifting Steve Smith, who finished unbeaten on 64 as he and Shaun Marsh rescued the hosts from 76 for four in an unbroken stand of 89. By the time they reached stumps on 165 in reply to 302, England had ditched most of the slip cordon and instead posted a bizarre formation of catchers on the drive either side of the wicket to Marsh.

When asked about the mood of his captain Joe Root at the close of play, Ball said: "I think he was very happy, as a team, we're very happy. We've done a lot of research, a lot of work on our different plans to each batter.

"We feel like we executed them almost to perfection."

England tried similarly involved tactics against Smith, loading the leg side and relying on James Anderson's skill.

"(Bowling consultant) Shane Bond and Rooty have spent a lot of time looking at the stats, and where batters score their runs in their first few overs," Ball added.

"The amount of time those two have put in, it's really showing out on the field."

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