The Ashes 2015 – Fifth Test, Day 4: Farewells and awkward celebrations

If there was a more apt way of signalling the end of a series, the bizarre events that occurred at the conclusion of the last Test fitted the mould perfectly for what has been an odd and slightly quirky series of Test match cricket.

In a series where there has been no draw, the one-sided nature has swung between each game with ease, making it an entertaining yet misunderstandable string of five Tests. Are the Australians really up for a fight? Is England as good as the result shows them to be? The series has done nothing but brought up more questions, prompting a unique look at what has been an inconceivable series.

With the Poms resuming their innings with a lack of interest or care, they stood in the face of impending defeat with no drive or motivation, as they appeared cheerful enough to go through the motions until they were able to lift up the famous urn.

Four wickets stood between the end of the series and a slight piece of redemption for the Aussies, who had toiled and strived all series for no real rewards, as, if not for a Test victory at Lord’s, their series has sent them backwards in the pecking order of Test match nations.

A lack of drive to push on and make Australia bat again forced wickets to fall, with Wood falling cheaply to an improved Siddle early on, before the hard-working Victorian stood back from the limelight to allow a lively Marsh to clean up Buttler, resigning him to a poor series batting wise.

With all of the talk being on the batting talent of Marsh before the series, the below par effort with the bat has been covered up by a bouncy effort with the ball, as his lack of genuine pace was aided by some helpful swing that can only come from a shiny Duke ball.

Marsh’s knack of picking up a wicket shone through yet again with his removal of Buttler, as he proved that he should be a mainstay of the Australian line up if he can fix up his inconsistent batting. But, with the departure of many of the old firm, the younger Marsh will have spades of time to get used to life at the top class of cricket.

With rain approaching, only two wickets were needed to finally put the Aussies out of their misery. But, going along with the tune of the series, the luck of the Australians had completely run out, as the rain that had subsided for the majority of the series, with English domination being accompanied by drowning sunshine, finally peaked at a truly dismal time for the visitors.

The possibility of the rain washing away a substantial victory and a consolation prize finally pulled away, as the storm washed over and granted Australia a lifeline; one which the plucky Peter Siddle gleefully accepted.

The powerful vegan strode out to the middle as quickly as possible, before running through Broad and Ali in relatively quick fashion. Those two quick wickets gifted Siddle his fourth for the innings, and his 198th for his career, as his revitalisation now looks like it could open up for a spot for him in the team.
The emotions flying around The Oval were mixed, as the rain delay had sizzled out any passion for the contest, with the awkwardness of the English celebrations after just being deftly smashed by an innings and 46 runs led to a weird and unique presentation befitting of the entire series.

Smith duly collected his man of the match award, as he looks ready to lead a resurgence of a youthful Australian team, now that Rogers and Clarke are out of the picture. The former of the two veterans received one last accolade, as he was named Australia’s player of the series in what was a fine swan song for an old-time performer.

Root pipped Ali and Broad for man of the series for the Poms, as his superb batting efforts from the first day at Cardiff have put England in a confident position.

With the interesting series concluding, the questions being asked are hard to answer, as only an Australian summer can really sort out an Australian team. For England, is their resurgence temporary, or are the younger the brigade here to stay?

For Australia, will they rebound after the loss of critical personnel, or will the injection of youth encourage daring play against meagre foe?

Only time will tell.

Stumps- Day Four
England 286 all out (101.4 overs)
Cook 85
Buttler 42
Ali 35

Siddle- 4/35 (24.4)
Lyon- 2/53 (28)
Marsh- 2/56 (16)

Australian won by an innings and 46 runs.

Man of the Match: Steve Smith
Man of the Series: Chris Rogers (Australia) and Joe Root (England).

Leave a Comment