The Ashes Celebrations begin with the crowd, quite rightly, singing, “Bob 5 Neil”. The raw emotion and excitement of the Aussie players was a joy to behold, not taking in the fact that the urn had returned for granted. Delirious with joy that they had achieved the ultimate Ashes result a pants down job of “Bob 5 Neil” (Channel 9 we know how the victory song ends – get rid of the volume you baboons).
A remarkable Ashes series ends with some incredible similarities. Haddin walking out to bat with Australia in trouble and rescues us because of England’s lack of ability to even bowl dot balls. His counter attacks were not only valuable on the scoreboard from day 1, but were also psychologically decisive. Haddin has turned out to be an inspired re-selection, and how ironic that a personal family illness to his daughter has resulted in Brad having a different outlook in regards to cricket, resulting in career best form at the age of 36. This aspect of Boof’s coaching must be mentioned in Darren being so family orientated going by the mantra of “a happy wife is a happy life”.
This was a huge part of our Ashes success. Go no further than Johnson and Warner settled off the ground, and results have followed on ground. Some amazing stats have resulted in this series, 1st time all 100 Pommie wickets have been taken in a 5 Test series.
In a matchup of player v player, Warner v Cook; Rogers v Carberry etc; it is only Stokes over Bailey which is a win for England. For the victorious Australian side, Clarke was tactically brilliant, but I know it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It added a vital touch of ruthlessness. I thought there was a lot of similarities to Border in 89 with a, “stuff it time to stop being nice and it is my way or the highway approach.” In my book, that was very refreshing!
We have always maintained that we have the best domestic competition in the world, so therefore
Rogers should have been given a decent crack years ago. I am rapt for him that he has ended up being the highest run scorer over these combined ashes 10 test matches.
Watto continues to tease and frustrate. We have discussed him enough on the Knackery.
Clarke, you must wonder how much his back restricts him, but his batting was vital when the Ashes were to be won. I just hope the runs return in SA. We will need them!
Smith is a pleasing success story so far. We all had doubts regarding his technique. If he can continue to develop and evolve he is our next captain.
Bailey may have added leadership and smarts but we need more from his batting. He was the Troy Chaplin of the side (ok when under no pressure) but he fails consistently in the key moment. It is time for a middle order specialist either Ferguson or Watto to be tried at 6. It was only England’s terrible batting that prevented the wombat’s bowling to be needed far more.
Johnson was brilliant. We have got a coach and captain who can finally get the best out of him (keep the mo!) Siddle and Harris – what a display of disciplined line and length and ruthless efficiency.
Garry Lyon is a revelation. His improvement has been incredible from so much more energy thru his action, rotating his trunk, getting so many more revs on the ball and so much more spin. A huge part of this is being given a vote of confidence by the selectors (hell, we all need to be wanted and loved).
Lyon could swap over and get a game for England for his batting not being dismissed for the series!
On to England, aka All Nations, Cook was reduced to a shell of a man and mentally disintegrated by the end of the series. It was the old West Indies theory in their heyday to “destroy the captain and the rest will follow”. You wonder if England will have to find a captain out of the county system as the other two candidates in Bell and Prior surely have too much collateral damage from this tour.
Bell, aka the chirminator, who played so well in England, was again unable to adapt to the bouncier wickets. He was so bad that I gave the pommy dressing room a ring, asked for Bell, got told he had gone out to bat, and I said “I’ll hold, he won’t be long”.
Pietersen is an enigma of a batter with good hands but fields at mid-on and fine leg (is that a story in itself?). His ego, lack of patience and fight was a disgrace. Siddle has dismissed him 10 times in test cricket now, yet he still seems to not rate him, which is bewildering.
Carberry so many starts and yet no substantial scores. Root must learn to work the ball and be more positive to succeed totally in test cricket, but you cannot chuck everyone out. These 2 are important for English cricket in the long run.
Trott has a mental illness. It is not something to be taken lightly, and he should not have toured in the 1st place. His dismissals in Brisbane showed his head was in another place. He and the hierarchy should have communicated better.
Prior with a poor preparation before the 1st test showed again how hard it is to step straight into an Ashes battle. His keeping fell apart in Perth following his batting, but he has been a good player. We wait to see if he can fight back. At least he knows Bairstow is not the answer. Pick a specialist 2nd keeper, everybody! England’s bowling as a group was terrible and was a vital difference between the 2 sides.
Anderson again failed in Australia. He seems to be unable to bowl with the Kookaburra and when given favourable conditions in Sydney he inexplicably bowled too short. Swann has lost a lot of respect in the cricket world, and by reports was dropped in Melbourne. To then give it away sent out the appalling message that the remaining test matches did not matter. Australia targeted him with aggressive batting. It succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
Why send all these tall bowlers and then not play them? Bresnan was underdone, but both nations and world cricket must get their heads out of their backsides and play enough quality warm up games throughout a tour. It is no coincidence that the failure of touring teams in world cricket is mainly because of a lack of warm up games.
It also smacked of disharmony and a team in ruin, with Cook obviously not wanting Panesar to play in Melbourne, likewise Borthwick in Sydney.
Stokes was a breath of fresh air for the All Nations side, even if he should be playing for New Zealand.
So we come to the end of a remarkable Ashes series where 1 team has been sensational in most aspects: Coaching, Captaincy, Medically – to get their team on the park has been GOLD! (Lack of top order 1st innings runs is still a huge concern).
The other team is an abject failure in every aspect.
The Massive Exam in South Africa awaits!
“Bob 5 Neil” is beautiful!