Opener Michael Carberry is adamant England did not underestimate the Australia bowling unit after the tourists were blown away on a dismal second day in Brisbane.
Mitchell Johnson led the onslaught with a hostile spell of fast bowling which resulted in figures of 4-61 as England were bundled out for 136 in reply to Australia’s 295 in the first Ashes Test.
Australia then closed on 65 without loss – a lead of 224 – leaving England to sift through the wreckage of another fragile batting display.
Alastair Cook’s men have failed to break 200 in the first innings of the first Test on each of their last five tours but Carberry insists they were not caught unawares by Mitchell and company.
He said: “I wouldn’t say (we’re) shell-shocked. We’re pros, and when things don’t go to plan there’s a slight feeling of disappointment.
“But we’re a confident bunch in our abilities, and we know we can bounce back from disappointing days.
“They’re a good bowling unit. They’re not to be taken lightly, and we certainly haven’t.
“We have to focus on getting back in the game.”
Carberry, on just his second Test appearance, top-scored for England with a composed 40 before the collapse – the tourists slipped from 82-2 to 91-8 in an awful afternoon session – took hold.
He was eventually bounced out by Johnson, but added: “I didn’t come here expecting the Aussies to be shaking my hand.
“The Australian bowlers came hard at us, but it’s where you want to be as a cricketer.
“Mitchell Johnson is a world-class performer – definitely in terms of pace, he’s up there with some of the quickest I’ve faced.
“That’s tough, but we knew what he was going to bring.”
Carberry has gleaned enough from the time he has spent in the England squad over the past three weeks to know they have the mettle to recover – whether it be in this match, or the remainder of the series.
“We weren’t up to it today, but I’m confident we can prove ourselves,” he said. “Any batsman, whether it’s in first-class cricket or Test cricket, the first couple of balls are the toughest phase of an innings.
“If there are some good balls flying around, unfortunately sometimes – if it’s not your day – your name’s on it.
“But you don’t become bad players overnight. It was just a bad session, which can happen to any team.” Below Kevin Pietersen at No 4, only Stuart Broad reached double-figures as England conceded a first-innings deficit of 159.
Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin marked his 50th Test with his 100th victim. he said: “Sometimes, when you do get on a roll here, it’s hard to stop.”
Brisbane, day two: Australia 295 (B J Haddin 94, M G Johnson 64; S C J Broad 6-81) and 65-0 (D A Warner 45no) lead England 136 (M A Carberry 40, Johnson 4-61, Siddle 3-28) by 224 runs.