Englishmen were sitting in the middle of The Oval; drining beer, singing songs and posting lovely pictures on Twitter. Whereas, Aussies were trying to get some sleep after a demoralzing Ashes defeat.
The Ashes 2013 is over, and as many cricket pundits predicted, Australia failed to register a win in this 5-match series and they were completely outclassed by their counterparts. There were times, when Australia looked like winning, but in the end, the gap between ‘looked like winning’ and winning just kept widening.
…and England won The Ashes urn
England did not play their best cricket, but still won 3-0. This statement serves a dual purpose:
a) England were not at their best and
b) Australia were terribly bad.
England managed to win The Ashes 2013 comfortably, but they did give away a few opportunities to Australia. England top order struggled throughout the series and they lost 3 wickets under 50 runs on more than one occasion. Australia were not able to exert pressure on England’s middle order and Ian Bell’s brilliance turned out to be a deciding factor, more often than not. Ian Bell , deservedly, got man of the series award and he was the best batsman of the series, by a country mile. There was a time when, Australia were known to win from losing positions, but in this series, they lost from winning positions. Australia had their chances, but they failed to convert them in their favor.
Australia struggled to pick their best bowling unit and they were reacting a little too much. It appeared as if Australian ‘think-tank’ was trying too many things and they were not sure about their own strengths and weaknesses. No one from the Australian camp can give the right reason for ignoring Ryan Harris and Nathan Lyon in the all important first test match. Philip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Ed Cowan and David Warner were made to play ‘musical chair’ throughout the series and Australia weren’t able to decide their best combination. And, all this was happening in the middle of an Ashes series.
I don’t remember the last time Australia played with the same team in two consecutive matches. If my memory serves me right, it was when, a guy named Jack was kissing a girl named Rose in a ship called Titanic. Australia made changes in their paying eleven like a teenage girl who tries 99 dresses before selecting the right one for her first date. They were confused, they were nervous, they were scared.
England, however, persisted with their trusted set-up and showed full faith in their players. Yes, they were winning, but they gave maximum opportunities to their ‘out of form’ players. England were looking a lot more settled side and they implemented their plans in a much better way.
…and England won The Ashes urn
Now, many are talking about the ‘positives’ for Australia, but this might sound like “next level non-sense” to many Australian fans. They have seen Clarke’s classy hundred, Harris’ brilliant spell, Siddle’s hard work, Rogers’ patient century, Watson’s breathtaking knock and young Smith’s maiden ton, but the bigger picture was of Australia losing 3-0 and surrendering in front of their biggest rivals.
Australian selectors should short-list 16 players for the next Ashes and these 16 players should play as much cricket as they can. Australia are clearly struggling and to come out of this crisis, they need to approach their cricket in a planned way. Australian fans need to show patience, because this might take a little longer than what they’re expecting.
On other hand, England fans are overjoyed and they are expecting more good work from their team. But, England would need to address a couple of issues, as well: the curious case of number 6 batsman and the problem of plenty they are facing for their 3rd seamer.
It wasn’t the best Ashes series as far as the quality of cricket is concrned, and umpires tried their best to make cricket look like a very confusing game and their props were; DRS and bad light.
But, as they say, all’s well that ends well.