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[Archived] The Ashes

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Biggest grin on my face. The football season can start properly now... :)

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Congratulations to England on the win. It was hard but they prevailed.

Good on you Mr Ponting. After the moronic abuse you got from some of the louts you took defeat in the proper manner.

It should be an interesting build up to the winter series in SA and I cant wait to see the squad that is picked for what is most definately crickets hardest test series.

Enjoy tonight lads and roll on December 2010 for the Ashes rematch ;)

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This time..our batsman have scored more runs and our bowlers have taken more wickets... but we've lost the series.

But you had three first innings collapses, we had 1. Your batsmen scored the majority of their runs in the draws, not really when it mattered.

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Guest Kamy100

Never had a doubt that we would win, great performance and character to comeback after the 4th test. Strauss deserved man of the series, he has been utterly superb. Enjoy tonight and then start to get ready for December 2010, I would love to see England retain the ashes in Australia.

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Well done to all the England players and staff was a fully deserved series win in my opinion. :D

The stats might say that the Aussies took more wickets, made more 100s, ect. But when it really mattered the England players showed their true worth. From Monty and Jimmy's heroic batting at Cardiff to Freddie's five wicket haul at Lord's and not forgetting Broad and Swann's delighful bowling in the last test match combined with Trott's impressive test debut all these contributed towards the 2-1 series win.

ODIs to follow, but nothing quite beats an Ashes test series. Roll on 18 months and let's see if we can turn them over in their own back yard.

In addition I fond farewell to Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff, a brilliant cricketer and a brilliant character he will be missed soley on the test scene. Hopefully his operation goes well and we'll see him back in England shirt for future world cups.

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But you had three first innings collapses, we had 1. Your batsmen scored the majority of their runs in the draws, not really when it mattered.

Not quite. The batsmen scored well in the 1st innings at Cardiff..they got over 600...remember that? The bowlers were responsible for England getting away with a draw.

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great win by the poms, fully deserved after the bowling performances in this match, Australia had their chances throughout this series but lacked the experience and balance to go for the jugular.

Bring on the return to Australia!

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Well the series is over and in my eyes it's been fantastic, it's ebbed and flowed just like 2005, just reading back over some of the posts and there have been times when the Aussies on here thought there side was useless and times when they looked like world beaters again, likewise with England there have been times when we've been thinking here goes 2005 again and times when it looked more like 2007.

It just shows how much this series has swayed not just from test to test but from session to session. I'm a proud englishman today, I've certainly had my doubts over the course of the series, I won't try and pretend I didn't. Even up until Ponting and Clarke going I still thought we could throw it away and it would be another England performance where they bottle it.

I backed them in the beginning though before a ball was bowled and am glad to see I was right in the end. (After an hour of online help with William Hill they finally settled my bets I placed at the end of the 2007 series which they conveniently forgot when they changed their site over last December.)

The stats may show Australia hit more hundreds, took more wickets, had better averages but as Flopsy said that also tells you that England performed when it really mattered. Apparantley there is a football season going on at the moment and I've heard a certain side battered someone yesterday and still ended up losing, just shows that stats are all well and good but it's all about getting over the line and the only stat that matters is the result. In 10 years time nobody will remember Hilfenhaus's wickets or Clarke's runs, they'll remember they key turning points like Freddies run out and England winnings the Ashes.

I have a lot of respect for Australia and Ricky Ponting in how they handled defeat, okay we had a bit of aggro in the first test with the physio and third man etc coming on but you can understand the frustration from him and even I wasn't happy about the tactics we used there. Ricky was gratious in defeat today, well for 99% of his interview, I'm glad he didn't make excuses for the pitch because both sides had to play on it.

So here is my analysis of the England team over the course of the summer.


Andrew Strauss: He started slow in the first test with no major runs to speak of but grew throughout the series. He set up the win in the 2nd test fantastically with a knock of 161, scored runs in the third test which was drawn, he underperformed in the 4th test but who didn't? Half centuries in both innings of the final test again helped to set up an England win. His captaincy was good with some inspired bowling changes as well as not being scared to change the side when required or to alter the balance of the team for certain pitches or due to injuries. He led from the front and it's hard to ask for much more from a captain. 8/10

Batting Avg: 52.66

Alistair Cook: 95 in the second test but other than that only a couple of thirties. Struggled at the top of the order and Australia seemed to have found him out. Perhaps only kept his place due to a lack of talented openers and to avoid unsettling the side too much. Needs to improve. 5/10

Batting Avg: 24.66

Ravi Bopara Again a couple of 20's and 30's but nothing of substance. Did get a few unlucky decisions but things just don't go your way when you are out of form. A talented player but needs to improve at the highest level when against top opposition. A series for him to forget, I hope he can come back stronger. 3/10

Batting Avg: 15.00

Kevin Pietersen Well KP only played in the first 2 tests and was below par, perhaps looked more out of form than at any other stage in his career. The Aussies seemed to have found him out by bowling full early on. Still got a couple of half decent knocks and despite giving his wicket away a bit rashly at times he didn't do a great deal wrong even if he was being slated at the time. 5/10

Batting Avg: 38.25

Ian Bell: Started okay with a half century in the third and what was his first test, struggled in the fourth and produced a very important knock of 72 on a tricky pitch in the final test. Hard to ask for too much more from someone who has just returned to the side. Did well without excelling. 6/10

Batting Avg: 28.00

Paul Collingwood: He struggled throughout the series but will be remembered for that knock of 74 in a near 6 hour session at the crease in the opening test, to go with his half century in the first innings. Unfortunately for Colly it went downhill from there but without that knock there is no doubt in my mind that we would have lost this series. Picked up a half century in the second test but ultimately stuggled from then on. Still I don't think there is any other English player that could have produced the knock he did under so much pressure in the first test. 6/10

Batting Avg: 27.77

Jonathan Trott Well he only played in one test but you couldn't have asked for anymore. 40 in the first innings and dismissed somewhat unfortunately in a way, topped it with a century in the second innings to help set up the victory. Certainly doesn't look out of place in the test arena and has the mental edge to help him succeed at this level, probablyu just booked his place in the team for the considerable future. I'd give him a higher rating but it's hard to justify it after only one test. 7/10

Batting Avg: 80.00

Matt Prior Well I think Bob Willis summed it up well when he said in the space of 6-12 months he's gone from 'Dyer Prior' to 'Fantastic Matt'. We knew he could bat which he showed with some decent aggressive batting and a couple of half centuries. His wicket keeping has come on leaps and bounds and could be our answer to Stewart, there was probably some but I can't think of too many chances he missed. 6/10

Batting Avg: 32.62 Keeping: 11 catches/1 stumping (1.5 dismissals per innings)

Andrew Flintoff Well he hobbled through the series but provided some key moments throughout, I think it's only fitting of the great man's career that he goes out on an Ashes series victory. Scored some useful runs such as his 74 in the drawn third test, produced a great bowling performance in the second test which helped lead us to victory, sat out the 4th and think he got a runout in the final test ;) Always seemed to be something happening with him around and the way he gets the crowd to support us is almost worth having him in the team for alone, the 'Flintoff Effect' I think it's been referred to. Perhaps not at his best but still a large part of why we won the series. 7/10

Batting Avg: 33.33 Bowling Avg: 8 wickets @ 52.12

Stuart Broad His bowling wasn't at it's best in the first few tests, he was probably under pressure to be left out and was probably only saved at times by his batting, grew stronger and more confident as the series went on scoring some useful runs such as a couple of half centuries and saving his best bowling forthe end taking 12 of his 18 wickets over the final 2 tests including a career best . Perhaps over the course of the series did as much as anyone. 8/10

Batting Avg: 29.25 Bowling Avg: 18 wickets @ 30.22

Graeme Swann Under pressure from the off after being billed as the best spinner in the two teams, not very often that's the case for an Englishmen after years of torment from Warne. Scored some useful runs in the first test and bowled well in the second to help us get the win with 87/4, had a quiet 3rd and 4th test other than a few runs but really came into it again in the final test where he bowled very well albeit a spin friendly pitch. His aggressive batting along with Broad down the order really impressed me. The days of a tail starting at 7 or 8 seem to be behind us now. 6/10

Batting Avg: 35.27 Bowling Avg: 14 wickets @ 40.50

James Anderson Useful batting in the first which helped save the test, followed it up with some key wickets in the second and a 5 for in the third test, had a quiet final 2 tests even picking up his first ever test duck and finishing wicketless in the final test. Still a threat with the newball. 6/10

Batting Avg: 16.50 Bowling Avg: 12 wickets @ 45.16

Graham Onions: Bowled decently in the 2nd and 3rd test picking up some wickets, wasn't as threatening in the 4th, was selected when the pitch suited it seemed. Still has a big future ahead of him and didn't do a lot wrong when he played. 6/10

Batting Avg: 9.50 Bowling Avg: 10 wickets @ 30.30

Steve Harmison: Waited patiently for a chance in the team and didn't do a great deal in his 2 tests. Picked up some important wickets in the final test when we wanted to get over the line but only dismissed one top order batsmen over the course of the series. Probably time for him to follow Flintoff into test retirement. 5/10

Batting Avg: 31.00 Bowling Avg: 5 wickets @ 33.40

Monty Panesar: Only selected in the first test and didn't do a lot with the ball, only contribution was a patient 10 over block to become an unlikely hero in saving the first test. For that we can thank him. Hard to be too critical after only one test. 5/10

Batting Avg: 11.00 Bowling Avg: 1 wicket @ 115.00

They may be just my personal ratings but I feel most would agree with the majority of them, what struck me about this England performance was the similarity of 2005 when someone always seemed to step up when it was really needed. Strauss was perhaps the only one who offered regular consistency. Other than perhaps Bopara, everyone contributed at one stage to help England over the course of the 5 test series. Whether it was Colly's match saving knock in the first, Strauss's 161 in the second as well as all the bowlers picking up at least 3 wickets, Anderson's 5 for in the third along with Flintoff's quickfire 74, Broad's career best in the 4th and again a great effort by Broad and Swann as well as the debuting Trott along with Belly's tough knock in the final test.

Well that took a little longer than I thought, I aimed to offer my thoughts on Australia but I think that will have to wait until tomorrow.

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Good idea DD, my summary of Australia

PJ Hughes Felt sorry for the kid, will still one of the the world's superstars and after one dodgy out lost his way. Will go back and make a ton of runs again at domestic level and will be back in the test team for the return of England. 3/10 Batting Avg: 19.00

SM Katich Proved me wrong, didn't want him in the team but scored vital runs and an average of over 42 against the new ball English attack is a pretty good result. Last tiem he was here it was believed his test career was finished, now it looks like it go on for some time. 8/10 Batting Avg: 42.62

SR Watson Scored some good runs but was unspectactular. If he is not going to be bowling anymore and is only here for his batting ability there are people like Voges who deserved it more5/10 Batting Avg: 48.00

RT Ponting Captain courageous, showed good character in defeat and was humble in victory. Still in the top 2 world's premier batsmen. Lacked the cattle to do the job at Cardiff.8/10 Batting Avg: 48.12

MEK Hussey Major dissapointment. Didn't deliver when required throughout the series and even his hundred may not be enough to save his test career. Shame as he is one of the nice guys of cricket and is genuine quality when on song. Too little too late 4/10 Batting Avg: 34.50

MJ Clarke Future Australian captain and he showed why, man of the series without a doubt. 9/10 Batting Avg: 64.00

MJ North Showed why some of us have been crying out for his selection for a number of years and demoting Symonds to ODI. Great performances with the bat just needs to get some consistency. Appears to score a lot of runs when not under pressure. 8/10 Batting Avg: 52.42

BJ HaddinGreat keeping and great batting, not Gilchrist but as close as we have got. 7/10 Batting Avg: 46.33

GA Manou eh?Batting Avg: 21.00

MG Johnson Should have been dropped after Lord's but has come back to form in the last two test's. Needs to get consistency could have been the difference a number of times throughout the series but failed to deliver 5/10 Best: 6/99 Bowling Avg:32.55

PM Siddle Great effort bowler, looked like the one to be dropped to make room for Clark but proved himself through form that he couldn't be left out. Let the ASHES get to him a bit on the first couple of tests but stormed home. The new Merv Hughes.7/10 Best:6/71 Bowling Avg:30.80

NM Hauritz I don't like him but he is best we have presently, crazy not to pick a specialist spinner on the Oval surface 6/10 Best:6/158 Bowling Avg:32.10

BW Hilfenhaus Best of the Aussie bowlers but a long shot from Cariff to the Oval. Can't believe people were crying out for his omission look perfect for English conditions 8/10 Best:5/80 Bowling Avg:27.45

SR ClarkWas responsible for the English collapse at Leeds, fell away disturbingly afterwards. Hopefully this a match fitness issue or he may be gone. 4/10 Best:3/92 Bowling Avg:44.00

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Just like to add that Harmison can take half the credit for Ponting's run-out IMO. He was making Hussey very uncomfortable, which had a role in making Hussey call for the short single.

neekoy - I think Haddin's glove work is rather ordinary..and Manou showed what a difference a 'specialist' keeper can make.

Of course, Haddin is a far better batsman so it makes sense to pick him from a team balance point of view, but I don't think Manou did anything wrong on debut.

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Just like to add that Harmison can take half the credit for Ponting's run-out IMO. He was making Hussey very uncomfortable, which had a role in making Hussey call for the short single.

neekoy - I think Haddin's glove work is rather ordinary..and Manou showed what a difference a 'specialist' keeper can make.

Of course, Haddin is a far better batsman so it makes sense to pick him from a team balance point of view, but I don't think Manou did anything wrong on debut.

I agree he didn't do anything wrong but unfortunately his batting isn't to par. Good back up for when Haddin is out and maybe the person to replace him if he can get his first class average above 40.

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The 4th best test team vs 5th best test team. Although I would think after we win every series between now and when we play you again it will be the other way round ;)

Hopefully it will be a bit tighter than last time. If KP is fully fit we have a good chance of giving you the battle it should have been last time.

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