ONE up with four to play is, as recent Ashes history shows, no guarantee of eventual success.

Both England, in 1997, and Australia, in 2005, opened with resounding wins only to lose the series.

But England will go to Lord's for the Second Test on Thursday in better shape and spirits than they can have dared to hope after opening the series with a 169-run win at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.

"We were outplayed as a team," admitted Australia captain

Michael Clarke. "We need to be at our best to beat England in these conditions, and on this occasion we weren't."

Clarke, welcoming the short turnaround before Lord's, said he hoped that defeat would "give us a bit of a kick up the backside".

"It was really important to this group of players to show they can compete with Australia," said England captain Alastair Cook. "We now know that if we do the basics well and maintain the same attitude, we can put Australia under pressure."

This win was satisfying by any standard. There were serious contributions from the players seen as under pressure before the match.

Gary Ballance and Ian Bell contributed valuable runs at the top of the order while off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali bulked up England's first-innings lead with a forceful 77 before taking vital top-order wickets in both Australian innings.

Doubts may remain over Moeen's hypothetical ability to dismiss

female members of Geoffrey Boycott's family. But he continues to pass the much more relevant practical test of getting top-class male Australians and Indians out in Test matches. Yesterday he followed his first-innings dismissals of Australia's most dangerous batsmen, Clarke and world No 1-ranked Steve Smith, with the single most important wicket of their second knock, tricking out David Warner on the stroke of lunch to end their most significant period of resistance.

That Moeen was bowling at that point was down to Cook, who can rarely have had a better day as England's captain. That he made only a marginal contribution with the bat for once hardly mattered. It may be a while before he is mistaken for Brendon McCullum, but this match should have buried once and for all his reputation as a captain who operates solely by the book. His performance fully justified what it had seemed possible were merely brave pre-match words from Andrew Strauss, about Cook reaching a point where he wanted to develop ideas of his own, and new coach Trevor Bayliss, about meeting Australian

aggression head-on.

Introducing Moeen as early as the 11th over as Australia chased 412 was brave, and did not work, Warner and Smith taking him for 22 runs off two overs. That made bringing him back just before lunch, with the same batsmen still there and Joe Root having just contributed two tidy overs, braver still. It proved inspired, Warner getting his footwork into a tangle to be lbw for 52 from Moeen's third delivery.

That wicket, leaving Australia 97 for 2 at lunch, was the crucial breakthrough. Three more fell inside a further 35 deliveries after the interval as Stuart Broad bowled his second outstanding spell of the day.

The first, right at the start, had shown Broad at his exceptional best. The first three overs were maidens, as he baffled the usually belligerent Warner with his full length, line and movement, and were marred only by the waste of a review - something of a Broad foible - after he beat Warner's bat yet again. His reward came a little later when the veteran Chris Rogers' record-breaking run of seven Test fifties was ended by an edge to Ian Bell at second slip.

Broad's post-lunch spell, also from the Cathedral Road End, was deservedly better-rewarded as Smith edged to Bell at second slip then Clarke, in the following over, mistimed a drive and was taken by Ben Stokes at point. When the admirable Mark Wood straightened one to take the edge of Adam Voges' bat, leaving wicket-keeper Jos Buttler a simple catch, Australia had subsided to 106 for 5.

Proof, if any more were needed, that this was Cook's and England's day came shortly afterwards when he reintroduced Moeen and Brad Haddin drove his first ball ferociously to short mid-off - where Cook dived, parried and took the catch at the second attempt.

"On this wicket you had to be a bit inventive, but you are only as good as your bowlers", said Cook. "All of them were brilliant, relentless on this wicket."

Cook had shown further evidence of unleashed imagination by flanking the bowler with three straightish in front of the wicket catchers, when Shane Watson was facing Broad. But the Aussie all-rounder's demise - potentially his last in Tests according to some Australian observers - was all too predictable, caught in front of his stumps by Wood and despatched after a futile review.

From then it was a matter of time. Mitchell Johnson made up for an unhappy match with the ball by striking a splendidly defiant 77 before edging Root to Adam Lyth at slip. That wicket was one of three involving Man of the Match Root at the end.

He took two with the ball before administering the coup de grace just after five o'clock by catching Josh Hazlewood's skier off Moeen.