– Jack Teague contributed with this report.
You have to go back to 1987 to see the last time England won the Ashes in Australia, and a series earlier to see England win the series by more than one Test. However, is it really so surprising that England retained the Ashes in style this time around?
England last lost a test series in 2009 when they were beaten by the West Indies 1-0 in the Caribbean. In fact, England haven’t lost a Test, ODI or Twenty20 series since the turn of the decade, proving they are, truly, the team to beat.
On the other hand, Australia lost previous series’ against Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan in various formats of the game, putting them under pressure for the first time in Ricky Ponting’s stint as captain. On paper England seemed to be favourites, but statistics don’t win you matches and both sides knew it was their series to win.
It was England, though, who backed up the stats and came away with an outstanding 3-1 series victory, something many England fans have never witnessed. Australia were completely outplayed, a feat not achieved by many over the past 20 years.
So, why did England win and why was it so convincing? One man in particular impacted more than anyone – Alastair Cook. He amassed a total of 766 runs from 7 innings at an average of 127.66. In fact, Cook scored 27.75% of England’s runs during the series, making him almost completely responsible for England’s dominance over the Australian bowlers.
This is proven through his lack of runs in the third Test, England’s only loss during the series. There is no doubt that this series will be one of Cook’s career highlights, and it’ll be tough to beat by any other English batsmen in the near future.
Meanwhile, Australia’s captain is another player who had a big influence on the outcome, albeit for the wrong reasons. He only made it past fifty once – during the opening Test draw – and scored a measly total of 113 runs from eight knocks.
If you compare this with last time the Ashes were held down-under, when Australia completed a 5-0 whitewash, Ponting was the series top scorer with a total of 576 runs. It seems likely that his captaincy will soon be terminated following a year of below par performances– a disappointing end to a brilliant era of Australian cricket.
In a series dominated by the bat it was England’s bowlers that came out on top once again. The big test for Australia, following the departure of greats Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne in 2007, was whether they could reproduce the fear and skill that both bowlers demanded during their successful careers.
However, an attack containing a sporadic Mitchell Johnson, a mild Ben Hilfenhaus and rookie spinners in Xavier Doherty and Michael Beer never looked like taking 20 wickets in each Test. Australia’s one shining light was that of fiery seam bowler Peter Siddle, who took 14 wickets at 34.57 runs per wicket.
Johnson took one more wicket than Siddle but both were still some way off England’s James Anderson and Chris Tremlett, who grabbed 41 wickets between them. When you compare the wickets of all England bowlers with that of the Australian’s it is clear to see who were the victorious side. England claimed a total of 86 wickets out of a possible 100, whilst Australia only managed to take 56, a total that is never going to win you a five match Test series.
In summary, England were by far superior in every single aspect. They had better preparation, played better together as a unit and overall deserved their comprehensive 3-1 series victory.
The question is, will they be able to continue their dominance in two and a half years time? One thing is for certain, Australia will be preparing their revenge for every single day of the 30 months to go until the 2013 series in England.Tweet