Ashes Review: Pantsing

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!



  1. Bob 5 Neil

  2. Peter Schumacher says

    Yeah, seems a pretty spot on analysis to me. When a team is down everything falls apart and it takes the Queen Mary to turn turn it around. Boof and his team did it.

  3. I am yet to be persuaded the Aussies weren’t actually singing “Bob Neil, Bob Neil, Bob Neil, Bob Neil etc” to “Advance Australia Fair” when on the dais. I was listening and lip-reading very carefully. Charlie (11) remains similarly convinced. Long live Bob. The house shook this morning. Just the universe righting itself I gather.

  4. There’s been a lot of bagging Andy Flower in social media today. Obviously he’s lost the authority over the team, yet he still won’t stand down. Big mention to Boof, “the player’s coach”. Hope he can manage the personalities in South Africa if they start getting belted off the park by continuing a short pitched bowling attack.
    5-0 was brilliant!!

  5. Great work Rulebook. I wasn’t aware of the stat that it is the first time we have taken all 100 English wickets in a 5 Test series. That is remarkable.

    The way Fleet Street eat their own makes Collingwood supporters look docile.

  6. Bob 5 Neil! lets hope the success continues in South Africa

  7. Nice piece Book, a fair assessment of an at times disapponting series.
    Of the last 10 tests England only led on the first innings on 2 occasions! Spot-on with your observations, out coached, out captained, out sledged and out played.
    Bob 5 Neil

    South Africa is going to be a great test of where the Australia team is at. RSA has a far superior bowling attack (Stein, Morkel, Philander, et al) and super batting depth, du Plessis comes in at 7! The retirement of Kallis comes at a great time for us, not sure who their all-rounder replacement is (if they have one).

  8. to beat them 5-0 with the top six unsettled most matches is insane…shows how good the bowlers were and how shit Englands bowlers are without a swinging Duke ball.

  9. Malcolm,
    I take my hat off to the Australian team. A wonderful victory which thoroughly demoralised the England team. I can put my hand up and say that after the first day in Brisbane I honestly thought Australia was in for another pantsing.
    Re George Bailey: he had five (winning) Test matches against a beaten opponent to secure his place and was unable to do it. To my way of thinking, that is a lot more than many others have had. The jockeying for positions will be interesting.
    Re Michael Clarke: it’s early days yet, but I really hope that he is not entering a form slump, as that would be disastrous for this team in Sth Africa.

  10. Rick Neagle says

    Well done Boof!!! And success achieved with the same 11 over the journey and the first side to ever take ALL 100 Pommie wickets in an Ashes series.

  11. Love the summary but to be fair Book, i agee with Bandit, I dont think our batting is that good, we faced a pop gun attack, our techniques will be severely tested by SA – so I supect those who are suspect eg Watson, Smith and Bailey won’t make any runs, Rogers will hang around and make a few, Clarke will be our lone run scorer and Warner will still be hit and miss. There are not too many young batsmen on the horizon…North is leading run scorer…followed by the biggest chump ever to play cricket, Cam White, then you have Hughes (who you can put in the Watson, Smith, Bailey category), so we are struggling to find good young batting talent.
    Lets hope we get a whitewash in SA (can i say that?)

  12. All I know is that the Poms were allowed to leave the SCG without being made to drop the strides and do a lap.

    You’re shit Sydney. Rules are rules.

  13. Shaun McMahon says

    Good win but they were very average – your right, …..the real exam still awaits!

  14. Vintage Book – a more enjoyable read than the Advertiser (which is hardly a surprise).

  15. Sam Ashwood says

    Dad good job

  16. Troy Hancox says

    Superb Read!
    I agree with the SA tour. This will be a real test (no pun intended)
    Batting is still too fragile up top! can’t rely on Haddin all the time. Due to fail.
    I also agree with others comments re dropping the strides. PANTS DOWN as you did get flogged.
    Still, Are Australia that good? Or were the too & froms very bad!

    Cricket. The greatest leveller of all sports…… Time will tell.

    Now number 3 in the world. Bring on number 1.

  17. Great article Rulebook.

    England were awful. Time for a rebuild Cook Anderson Bell Pieterson Flower and Gooch should go. They need to find a skipper from the county ranks.

    I think Bailey should be retained. He adds a fair bit to the group and can make runs if he tightens his technique. With no first class cricket there are no better options.

    The fielding and captaincy were big differences. We held everything.

    Only 2 ticks for England. Stokes and The Barmy Army. For those who paid for 5 days of all tests and didn’t get to see a full 5 days at any test they had their right to pack up and go home. Yet the kept turning up in full voice to watch their insipid teams. Massive Kudos.
    Bring on the Proteas were I think we can win and go Number 1.

  18. Luke Reynolds says

    Great, entertaining analysis as always Malcolm. Someone at Channel 9 will be in trouble after turning the volume down at the end of the first rendition of ‘underneath the southern cross’ and not the second.
    The lack of warm up games is ruining most Test series. You can’t just fly in, play 1 or two half hearted warm up games and expect to be at your best for the first Test. Sadly with the crowded schedules these days that’s not about to change.
    Just brilliant to hold the Ashes again in such emphatic fashion!

  19. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Raj I would keep Cook as a player certainly not as captain and Bell agree with the rest to get the , DCM . Kudos to , Skull summers won’t be the same I have had a little bit of contact with , Kerry over the years so rang and left a message he would have received a huge amount of messages since announcing his retirement yet the great man made contact last night thanks , KOK ! I am with you Raj re the attendance of the barmy army
    We all agree the , SA series is the big test !
    Luke agree with you re crowded schedules but unless cricket wakes up with warm up games the future is a huge concern
    Thanks for your comments folks !

  20. Good on you Rulebook. It’s been a big 6 weeks. Well played.
    Excellent to read a comment from Sam Ashwood, too.

    I’m with you and Luke on the scheduling concerns. Once the Tests were underway, I think the touring poms played only one 2-day match in Alice Springs between the 1st and 2nd Tests.
    Perhaps administrators are labouring under the misapprehension that Test cricket skills can be turned on and off like a tap?
    Away wins may become increasingly difficult.

  21. Tom Martin says

    So much to say here. I’ll keep it brief.

    Michael Slater exceeded even his Himalayan standards for mangled hyperbole in his attempt to sum up the atmosphere immediately post game, stating, ‘Incredible emotion is coming out of every Australian member.’

    I was pretty happy with the result and so I must confess I did check, but I found no signs whatsoever of any emotion having exited my member. Incredible, I know. Just wondering if any of the other Knackered faithful had any experience of emotional outpourings from their (Australian) members?

    Also, KOK and Rulebook for the cricket coverage on the wireless next year!

  22. John Butler says

    Kerry O’Keefe retires. Slater stays.

    And broadcast media wonders why it struggles now.

    Onya Rulebook.

  23. Daniel gilbert says

    As an Aussie cricket supporter a very pleasing outcome, however I remain slightly sceptical about how well we are actually going. I believe England were more disappointing than we were good, our bowling is very good and seem to have good depth now with pattinson cummins ect still to come back. Our batting however is still questionable and all will be tested ultimately in South Africa Bailey out for Hughes is my pick, I like Rogers and Warner at the top and over time those two will give consistent results after that we are still looking for a rock solid 3, watson will always frustrate and Clarke will continue to be relied on heavily, Haddin can only have 1-2 tours left in him so the question over our next keeper still remains.
    We seem to be a mentally tougher team now and that could just be the difference in South Africa, with Kallis gone the proteas just may get knocked off the perch and if we keep expecting to win we should knock the poms off in England next year too

  24. Great read – 10/10 Rulebook!

  25. very good synopsis RB summarising the overall dominance of a pretty solid team against a loose bunch of egotistical individuals.

    RSA will definitely put the torch on us and things will not be so rosy. Surely theres no way we can go thru a series unchanged and take all wickets on offer (or do we have super series against Bangladesh coming up soon?)

    Anyway you can only beat who turns up on the day – just that someone forgot to tell the Poms a Test match is five days.

  26. Well done Rulebook. Boof has made such a difference – get rid of the sports scientists and bring back people. Any chance we can find a third spinner and resurrect the spin triplets for the tour of SA? Bob’s surely always up for a challenge.

  27. Spot on analysis Rulebook. Thanks for the read mate

  28. mickey randall says

    Good job Malcolm. Boof is man of the series, and being wound in for Australian of the Year betting!

  29. Good analysis Mal – I struggle to comprehend how England could have entered the series so underprepared… they looked out of their depth almost form the start.

  30. Nick Haslam says

    Enjoyable read again rulebook

    Another noticeable stat from the series is that former Port Adelaide all-rounder Scott Borthwick topped the bowling averages for England. Should have played him all tour!

    Let’s hope the Australian boys partners join them in South Africa so they can maintain the happy wife happy life scenario.

  31. Martin Rumsby says

    Interesting analysis Malcolm. No mention of Stuart Broad? I thought he was OK in a side that was well beaten.

    It has been suggested that Australia could still have won the Ashes without Johnson’s bowling, but not without Haddin’s batting.

  32. is it Malcolm Ashwood or Malcolm Conn. only one complaint, no mention of the “cheat”,Stuart Broad although he like Stokesy did put up a fight. he must have some “Aussie in him.
    Otherwise an excellent wrap up of a great series. i’ve been a couch potato for the whole series. cheers the coach.

  33. Amazing how totally the English fell apart in the last two and a half tests. Swan and Prior awful in Perth. Looking forward to the big test of batting and bowling in South Africa, we’ll see how how much the Aussies have improved.
    Agree with Daddsy, my Charlie (15) also convinced. Great to hear a Bob Neil chant in the summer.

  34. Andrew Wright says

    Completely agree, well written rule book!

  35. Matthew Raymond says

    I thinK it’s very fairly written. As much as I love and respect Cook as a player, his captaincy was disgraceful throughout the series. However everyone talks about the work of Boof and Clarkey as a team but where was the support from the English coach. What was being down between tests with Cook and the English coaches to ensure there embarrassment didn’t continue?

    Also as much as Pieterson can play the game he was the biggest disgrace of all. For one of the most experienced and most talented blokes in that team to bat the way he did is an absolute disgrace to his team, his nation and most of all himself. There is a big difference between aggressive and arrogant and he crossed the line so far that he could not longer see it! Get your head out your ass Kevin.

    In saying that all credit to the Australian team and the way they went about it. It was a pleasure to watch and although there is a lot of talk about the poor quality of the English cricket, all credit must be given to the Aussies! :)

  36. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Great read ‘Book

    Be interesting to see if this resurgence leads to an uptake in the local game, in contrast to the concerns you expressed a few months back.

  37. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Tom Martin Thank you Pure Gold !
    Berts Re The Spin Triplets Tim May said he had finally made it getting his name on a Bob Neil banner
    Martin and Darryl Yep oversight re Broad yes he was the all nations bowling star and did well considering the lack of support at times his batting was bitterly disappointing with a lack of g and d
    Daddsy Diggers I have no doubt they were singing Bob Neil let’s face it at least we no the 2nd verse
    Matty R Totally agree re Pieterson let’s face it the last time we saw a batsman fielding fine leg and mid on Adam and Eve were around I reckon we have more chance of winning X lotto than KP winning a best team man award
    Swish Great point we can only hope that this result gets more people playing cricket !
    Thanks guys appreciate your comments May Bob be with you

  38. Bob 5 Neil :) … when I first heard them sing the 5 nil bit I had to do a double take because for a second I thought they were actually saying that too!
    Great summary Malcolm – can’t disagree with anything you’ve said.

    If the selectors choose Doolan for #3 and shunt Watto to #6 (this part i agree with) then I have only one problem – you should have to EARN the job to bat #3. It used to be where the BEST batsman slotted in, and that has to be Clarke. Obviously Clarke is vulnerable to the swinging new ball, making #4 a wiser choice, so that means that (again) we have to manufacture our “best batsman”. I reckon we need to get Hussey back and slot him in there. Otherwise we need to find another Chris Rogers for that spot. Who is the HARDEST top 6 batsman to dismiss in Shield cricket this year so far – Hughes?

  39. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Bob aka The Model re the hardest player to dismiss re shield cricket this year is either
    Hughes or Marcus North the word around the traps is he has developed a tighter more consistent edge to his game which is consistent of guys getting dropped going away evaluating there game and then working hard . Love M Hussey but nup too late now what really irks me is we are about to go to SA for a huge series and what is happening only 20 20 beforehand ridiculous and so money orientated and then only 1 warm up game in SA is Boz the administrator ? Thanks Model

  40. Good summary Malcolm as a Richmond supporter I totally agree with the comparison with Bailey re Chaplin under pressure but England had about 9 players at who played like a vintage Troy Chaplin Shocking lack of fight and intensity geez huge similarity !
    Thanks Malcolm a enjoyable series and read

  41. Thank you Mr Rulebook. That is the summary the Poms deserve. How dare they play such crap cricket (not to take away from outstanding efforts from Mitch, Haddin etc). Summer always feels a little better when we do over the Poms.


  42. Great read Rulebook , absolutely agree with you Rulebook

  43. M l C H A E L W l L S 0 N says

    Micky arthur has just walked out of lords having dropped off his resume.
    Loved watching a gutless display from the queens of cricket, swann taking his bat and ball and running off summed them up really.
    However if we think we can go to the land of hansie and beat those blokes when we made 1 first innings score of 400+ on our home tracks we need to get a reality check. Bowling and fielding top notch, batting was not good enough against a one man band.
    Whilst it was great beating the poms up and a much better performance than past series, 3, 4, 5 and 6 need to contribute like middle orders of a decde ago to take the points in captain cronje land

  44. David Gordon says

    Go the Book! Spot on comments. Lack of top order batting stability is a big concern going into South Africa. We got very lucky a few times this series when the “tail” stabilised the innings. Still, it must have really annoyed and mentally tired the Poms to have the Aussie tail stick around time and again. On another note, I loved Boof’s uncomplicated instructions to Johnson, “just run in and bowl fast”. Boof took away the “over analysis” that was obviously doing the test teams’ (collective) heads in. Another important aspect was doing away with the “rotations” system Cricket Australia was fixated on for awhile. By having a stable team the guys have “settled”, got to know one another and really work well together. By the end of the series we even got to know who most of them were rather than saying “Who’s the new guy?” every second match.

  45. Book, great summary once again.
    Having already read a heap of cricket analysis (I can’t get enough of this post 5 nil bliss), I still enjoyed your comments – easy to read and spot on.
    It feels like the Aussies have unexpectedly smashed the mid year exams (questions were easier than expected) but the end of year exams are just around the corner. 51% will do.
    Loved the wombat reference.
    Keep up the good work RB.

  46. Sam McEwen says

    Right on the Money Rulebook.
    Will we be found out in the Top order by the Saffas is the key to the series.

  47. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Guys Mick Like the Mickey Artur line
    Rick Agreec re beating the pomms
    Gordo The settled side of things is interesting I think with the current state of Aust cricket we needed a period of stability
    Blue Loo Love the mid year exam line
    Greatly appreciated guys

  48. Excellent review. The elephant in the room is our top order. Rogers had a huge slice of luck in Melbourne but to give him his due, batted so well in the last two tests. Still not convinced about Warner, Watson and Bailey against quality bowling. Clarke looked like he was disinterested in his last couple of innings and batted poorly. I am not confident we will make enough first innings runs to win games despite our much improved bowling attack. I am happy to be proven wrong.

  49. Cooks captaincy has to be a big issue time and time again you have the Aussie top order on the ropes and you get them 5 down then all of a sudden a good length bowling plan goes out the window. Short stuff full stuff and nothing of a good length which has been taking the wickets, and then with the willy nilly field placements with a change every ball slowing up the game you might as well go watch a game of NFL with all the different running ,patterns going on. Now for the real test to maintain the side in South Africa and continue the winning form, which also has to continue in the odi’s against the English side they have flown in from all different nations.

  50. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Jimmy I am constantly surprised at how few guys can actually provide good captaincy , players who have good cricketers and played a lot of 1st class cricket and yet prove to be tactically inept , Phil Hughes joined the crew in the game against , Sydney sixers .
    Cook was diabolical on ground and iit certainly seems to have been a unhappy touring party as well re Swann , Trott etc

  51. RB

    Lay off the Diet Coke please – Ferguson is lucky to get picked for the SACA Spuds at the moment. Ferg is in on name only and shouldn’t be in the 20/20 Strikers team as it is just not his game.

    This is my one, small gripe; quite thorough and accurate analysis otherwise.

    Thanks for the read.

  52. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Duncs Agree that Ferg is not a 20 20 player still firmly believe he is the best option at 6 in the Test team and only full strength coke mate hate that diet crap
    Thanks Duncs on this lovely cool day of 46 degrees am ready for bumper to bumper traffic at Kings training !

  53. Mahatma Coat says

    Good wrap up Book. Would love to see Ferguson in the Test side.

  54. Edward Thomas says

    I don’t necessarily think England have been a failure. Sure their batters were not good enough, but let’s not forget two years ago, Alistair Cook was the best batsman in the world, scoring multiple hundreds and the odd double in Australia last ashes.
    I think that the series was a lot closer than the 5-0 scoreline suggests. Situations such as at the Gabba where the match depended on whether rain would come on day 5 – fortunate that it finished up that night. At the Waca where England dominated australis’s first innings.

    I think that what the difference between Australia and England was the lower order batting. Players like Nat Lyon, Ryan Harris and Johnson never gave away their wicket. Whilst Bresnan and Anderson made silly mistakes like playing and missing twice and then edging the next ball when they should have learnt and just left it.

    None the less, the Aussies wanted it and deserved it more. Well done lads

  55. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Edward ( aka Hodgey ) there is no doubt that if a key moment had gone the other way in both the series in England and in Australia had gone he other way the result could have been far different that is where a case for Haddin to be man of the series could be made what was amazing was that Aust were always trying to create and be aggressive while England were reactive and negative the gap tactically between th sides was well and truly 5 nil

  56. Rob Wilson says

    As foreseen by the gurus above… Andy Flower is gone. Bring on Mickey Arthur, I say.
    South Africa series is just around the corner now. The side that bats worst will determine the outcome. Based on the recent series, an injury to Haddin could be disastrous for us. Thanks Malcolm.

  57. Good read

  58. Finally getting around to reading. Its good to get a quality summary from you of our fantastic Ashes series. Hopefully it continues (as it already has after the first test) in South Africa. Perhaps, it seems that England were not that bad after all, just that Australia are too good.

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