England will beat Australia by 150 runs at Lord’s next week to square the men’s Ashes series at one-all. That is the belief of Zak Crawley, who has also predicted that the level of “niggle” between the two sides will heighten over the course of the series.
Speaking to Times Radio, Crawley said that the Lord’s pitch would suit England more than the slow, dry surface they encountered at Edgbaston. “I think we’ll win,” he said. “I think it will suit us a bit more, that pitch. So I think we’ll win by, I don’t know, 150 runs?”
He said that England had “gained a lot of respect” after running Australia close in the first Test, and that the bigger picture of keeping supporters engaged with the format was “a big part of what we talk about”.

Crawley said: “That’s why we took [this loss] better than other losses perhaps, because it was great for the game. I think Sky had record viewing figures, Test Match Special had record listening figures, so this week was a great week for cricket and that’s what we’re all about.

“We’re not about results. We always talk about that. We’re not about winning or losing: we’re about entertainment. Of course, we’re there to win and it helps our brand and what we’re trying to do. If we win, we get more traction.

“But I don’t think we’ve lost anything this week other than a game of cricket, which is [the first in] a five-match series. But other than that, we’ve gained a lot of respect. We gained lots of support and I think it’s great for the game.”

Crawley made 61 and 7 in the first Test at Edgbaston, memorably hitting the first ball of the series for four when he drove Pat Cummins through cover. “There was definitely part of me that was thinking, ‘If it’s there, I’m going to try and hit for four, send a message,'” he said. “Thankfully it was in a decent spot to hit for four and yeah, I got lucky, it hit the middle of my bat.

“You don’t feel that pressure when you’re out there. The pressure is more when you’re playing for your team-mates and our jobs as openers and top-order batsmen is to set the tone. And so the pressure I feel is I’ve got to get off to a good start and a quick start for my team.

“I more feel that pressure than the pressure of the scrutiny of the media or anything like that. So I was under pressure [but] I thought I’m going to try and get us off to a good start here. I was always looking to be positive.”

Heading into the second Test, Crawley expects the verbal battle between the sides to ramp up. “The Edgbaston crowd was so loud, to be honest with you, that you genuinely couldn’t hear anything they were saying. At Lord’s, with a little bit more of a quiet hum, you might hear a bit more.

“In general, they’re good fellas, we’re good fellas. I think as the series goes on there’s going to be a few incidents, maybe, that will cause a bit of niggle and it’ll get more and more. Everyone’s extremely competitive on an individual level and obviously on the team level. I’m sure by the fifth match, there’ll be some niggle.”


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