I enjoyed this Ashes series. Yes I know, England got absolutely battered and shamed, but nonetheless it was still enjoyable. I loved staying up to watch the cricket however don’t get me wrong, I did throw my cup of tea in the air and shout violently at the television when Kevin Pietersen chipped it to mid wicket when he knew full well there was two fielders there. And that pretty much sums up everything about this series, enjoyment subsided by frustration. This England team has been broken and its not just the fact that they’ve lost 5-0, its the way they’ve lost it. It’s almost like they’ve lost a 5 match series 10-0 rather than just 5.
From the Start
Even before the first ball was bowled, I was worried. Essentially what happened in England is that Australia played rubbish and England played well enough to beat them. The 3-0 didn’t really do them justice either, Australia just have had at least one, but thanks to some English weather gods and luck, England came out on top. So going into this series, I knew it was going to be easy. I love Darren Lehmann, mostly because he played for Yorkshire, but also because his aggressive and has a sense of direction, something the Aussies have lacked the last few years. Him rebuilding squad and taking a new spin on things has obviously worked, Australia hadn’t won for ages then they beat one the supposedly best test teams in world cricket 5-0?! Forget the players for a moment, lets take a second to admire how brilliant Lehmann has done.
In the first Brisbane, we saw aggression from Australia and sense of actual cricket that we didn’t see in the English summer. For all the talk of ‘We know there a good side, were not going to be complacent’ from Flower is a load of nonsense. They shocked England, and it hurt them; England were already on the floor after the first round, having to pick themselves back up. They got knocked over by Johnson with just sheer pace and attitude. It was completely out of the blue, this mustache wearing bafoon who’s often been a bit aerosol comes out and chucks them down at 93mph at a consistent line?! England didn’t stand a chance and they were scared. Trott went home, a big loss for any team, but England in these circumstances it was even worse.
I hate the whole thing off ‘They need to show more fight, let it hit em!’ argument. Yes, stand your ground but when you have 0.5 seconds to react, it’s not easy. Though, when you get the treatment in the first test, you’d think you would work on something for the second. They didn’t and Johnson took 7 in England’s first innings at Adelaide. It was also the first signs of a derailed bowling attack, with ‘Pitch it up!’ from Boycott stuck in my mind.
Going into the 3rd test with the ability to lose the series, the team was changed, Stokes came in; one of the few good things about this series. England were bowled out for too few after Australia put a good score on the board and we were into the cycle again. Groundhog day. This is when the pain really started to kick in. Warner and Watson ruined the England bowling attack, making them all seem like medium pacers in division two county cricket. And whats worse is that there the only two players that I actually hate, and good lord were they masterful. A possible resurgence was found in England’s second innings, with Ben Stokes scoring the only hundred for England in the series. Stokes is the guy for England after the series, he is the one shining light and the sort of cricketer England needed. Someone with a bit of vigor and fight. He’s looked aggressive and in control from the moment he went onto the field. England still lost and the Ashes was now regained by Australia.
For every tweet of ‘It’s actually technically 3-3’ I saw a tweet ‘Lets count em up from 1920 and see whose winning’. Pointless. Swann had retired and either though he’s a massive legend and an inspiration to me, it was good to see him go. Better to leave in grace then to be dropped. Panesar came into the team and it’s obvious that the England set up see him as a ‘wrong un’; he was overlooked most of the test then dropped staright afterwards. Bairstow also came in, and as much as I like him, hes not a test cricketer yet, not at all. England got ‘Johnsoned’ for a change and were all out for 255 – not good enough. After that Anderson actually bowled well and England had a chance, being in the lead for the first time in the series.
It didn’t last long because of a an Australian wonder bowler Nathan Lyon. I’m joking of course, Lyon is pretty ordinary, but when allowed to settle and when batsmen are afraid to hit the ball, you’ll take wickets. There’s a great quote from Ian Botham (who was hilarious in this series): ‘Stop playing Lyon like he’s Shane Warne!’. Sums it up really. All out 179 and Rodgers with Watson knocked it off. 4-0.
The only goal for England was to not get whitewashed or at least I thought it was. It was quite possibly the worst team selection of all time. Why did Ballance come in for Root? What did they expect to happen, Ballance in his first test match get a startling 100 playing in a broken team against one the best bowling attacks in world? What could Ballance do that Root couldn’t? Bizarre. Then they brought Borthwick in and highlighted him as the next spin talent. No, he’s an all-rounder, not a full time spinner. He often bats 3 for Durham and can chuck a few leggies down, great. His bowling average is 30 in first class cricket and his batting average is also 30, so why did they pick him and not Panesar? Bizaree. Then, there’s Rankin, who is Irish and played for Ireland yet now playing for England. Lets not take Graham Onions who cuts through division one batting line ups like paper and take Boyd Rankin – the back of a length Irish player. Bizarre.
Groundhog day in the first innings, Haddin saving the day with Smith. I wish I could hate Haddin, but I think he’s great and glad to see him getting runs, just wish it wasn’t against England. England were then outdone by some of the best bowling I have ever seen. This Australian bowling attack is perfect and the best its been since the Warne/McGrath days. Rodgers then got another ton, another guy I hate that I love him. Groundhog day in England’s second innings, being ripped open by more superb bowling and more daft batting. England lost. 5-0. Whitewash.
Australia have been excellent from start to finish and smashed England to pieces. England have been broken down and ruined. By the fourth test, they looked tired and lost; all the positive attitude was gone. The bowling has gone to pieces, going back to the slightly short days of 2008; even though I think Broad has played well, up there with Stokes. The batting is all confused and messed up, having no hope at all. The thing is I don’t know who to drop and I don’t think anyone needs dropping. They just need a rest, then an attitude shift. They need to learn new skills and new ways, just like Australia did, they need to rebuild.
I would like to see Pietersen be captain for his remaining 2 years or so. Go and play India with a bit of aggression and hopefully put all this bullshit behind us.
I’M SORRY THIS IS SO LONG; HAD TO VENT SOMEHOW 🙂