England, will however, savour a win at Cardiff © Getty Images
England, will however, savour a win at Cardiff © Getty Images

England overwhelmed Australia by 169 runs in The Ashes 2015 opener at Cardiff. It was a thoroughly professional performance from the hosts; professional, but almost passionless. Likewise, Australia never looked threatening in the field. Shiamak Unwalla wonders why the match was lacking the intensity of a usual Ashes Test. READ: England thrash Australia by 169 runs in Ashes 2015 1st Test at Cardiff

“We didn’t start the fire; it was always burning since the world was turning.”

The Ashes 2015 was expectedly hyped. Sky Sports came out with a terrific, foot-tapping promo that most cricket aficionados would have learnt by heart by now (Donald Bradman, Peter May, At the Oval final day, Little Urn, Bob’s perm, WG Grace…come on, sing along). Anyone who enjoys Test cricket would have tuned in hoping for a riveting contest. READ: Sky Sports and ‘We didn’t Start the Fire’: What do the words mean?

So when the fifth ball of the Test — bowled by Mitchell Starc — went to the wicketkeeper on the second bounce, everyone knew that this would not be a game won by the pace bowlers’ intimidation. READ: Australia must learn to thrive on flat decks

There was no real pace in the pitch, and as a result the man who terrorised England in the Australian leg of The Ashes 2013-14 was blunted. Without Mitchell Johnson to push the batsmen onto the back foot, the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes were able to keep the runs coming at a fair clip. READ: England wasting Joe Root at No. 5

None of the Australian pacers bowled particularly well, though Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc managed to find some success. But it was persistent line and a bit of swing that got them their scalps, not bounce and aggression. READ: Australia paying price for being slack against England

Sadly, this lack of aggression was true of the whole match. At no point did it seem like this was the oldest and most celebrated cricketing rivalry unfolding in the first match of a series. There was hardly ever a staredown, virtually no sledging, and hardly any real passion showed by either side. READ: Ashes 2015 without sledging will lack flavour

Given how much was said about sledging — both in favour of and against — by both camps, it was rather surprising to see that the most confrontational moment occurred when Nathan Lyon and David Warner conspired to prevent Ben Stokes from sweeping his bat around his crease as per his ritual. READ: Australia’s ‘Dad’s Army’ leader Chris Rogers makes intention clear

Crossing the line while sledging is never good, and physical altercations have no place in cricket. That being said, this is The Ashes. One expects a certain level of intensity; this does not mean outright confrontation, but both teams looked almost disinterested in their approach to the game. READ: The Moeen Ali conundrum

The standard of cricket was good almost throughout the match. Both teams played a good game of cricket, but unless we see a bit more spice at Lord’s, we might be in for a professional but un-intense Ashes; and no one wants that. Bring out the sledges! READ: Ashes 2015, Cardiff: Tale of Two Tails

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)