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Strauss's England worthy winners

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Ben Dirs | 19:06 UK time, Sunday, 23 August 2009

Aesthetically, could it have been more perfect? Standing all alone at mid-on, arms and legs spread wide, the thunder and the adulation of the crowd all his. No-one else blocking his sun, just as Andrew Flintoff likes it.

Flintoff, labouring like a busted carthorse, knew he wasn't going to conjure anything with his bowling in his final Test, so he decided to conjure something in the field instead. Pipe down, Broady, I'm not done just yet.

It could be said that England regained the Ashes by less than an inch. The run-out of Ricky Ponting by Flintoff, that of Michael Clarke by Andrew Strauss, the stumping of Marcus North by Matt Prior, such is the infinitesimal dividing line between glory and failure, in this bonkers series at least.

No Australian run-outs in the series before Sunday. "Chuck a couple in when they least expect it," the cricketing gods, who had presumably built up a surplus of bolts from the blue prior to this series, must have been thinking.

England's fans had been getting twitchy. Former skipper Graham Gooch, with Australia, chasing 546, on 217-2, thought they might just do it. But he hadn't factored in Flintoff's gargantuan ego.

Australia captain Ponting, playing perhaps his final innings on English soil, had been looking immovable, a colossal boulder blocking the path to England's Ashes glory. It was going to take an almighty shove to move him. But that's what Flintoff does, provide almighty shoves.

Everything about the run-out of Ponting was beautiful, from an England point of view. The stalk, the stoop, the throw, as if Flintoff was skimming a stone. One stump cartwheeling. Ponting out by almost nothing - the littler the better.

Ricky Ponting (bottom of picture) is run out by a direct throw by Andrew Flintoff (not shown)The Oval crowd gave Ponting a standing ovation, proving what many had been saying all along, that all that booing and stuff was just banter. Nothing to get too worked up about, your common or garden England fan just likes a spot of panto, they can be reverential when they want to.

There were a couple of, frankly, hilarious articles in the Aussie media on Saturday bemoaning the state of The Oval pitch. Tough to bat on, yes, but the journalists in question seemed to have failed to notice the three scores of more than 300. Not the groundsman's fault Australia horlicksed it all up in the space of a couple of hours on Friday.

So dry you could almost hear it groaning for water, Mike Hussey made hay on a charred Oval deck, getting his nose to the grindstone and shaping a magnificent ton.

Again, when Hussey and Haddin put on 91 for the sixth wicket, you thought Australia might achieve the impossible. Then Haddin clipped Graeme Swann to Strauss at mid-wicket and England's fans could breathe again.

Any unwitting American tourists strolling through south London would have got a fearful start when the final wicket fell. "Not sure honey, must be some kind of rock concert." The England players ran in circles, not entirely sure what they should do or where they were heading. That's what beating Australia does to you.

Swann it was, ploughing through 40.2 overs in Australia's second innings and taking eight wickets in the match, who polished things off. Meanwhile, Nathan Hauritz, Australia's front-line spinner, was given five days off.

Baffling decision by Ponting, and you have to say he has been out-captained in this series. The first Australian to lose two Ashes series on English soil since Billy Murdoch in 1890. Murdoch ended up playing for England. I wonder would Ponting consider doing the same? It would certainly solve England's problems at number three.

Ponting didn't have much luck, with Brett Lee injured, Mitchell Johnson misfiring and the rain playing a part in Cardiff. Some in the Aussie media will be calling for his head. The heat will be intense. Don't worry, Ricky, at least the English public seems to have warmed to you.

As Ponting pointed out after the match was over, people will look at the player statistics and averages in years to come and be baffled. But he was big enough to admit that England had won the "big moments" and were the worthy winners.

As Strauss had it, "when we were bad we were very bad, and when we were good we managed to be good enough".

Big moments, so many big moments... that final day in Cardiff, Flintoff's spell at Lord's, Stuart Broad's blitz at The Oval on Friday, Jonathan Trott's nuggety ton.

Trott's very inclusion was testament to cool heads in the England hierarchy. With others screaming for Mark Ramprakash and Robert Key after the debacle at Headingley, Strauss and coach Andy Flower stared the melodramatics down and dealt them the Warwickshire rock instead.

Strauss, occasionally Lord Brocket to his team-mates, has gravel in his guts, despite the unthreatening public school exterior. Most of the best Aussie skippers are gnarled and leathery, just as most of the best England skippers are slightly refined.

Strauss took on the toughest job in sport with England in chaos after the Kevin Pietersen-Peter Moores affair. But, with the understated touch of a Brearley, he has steered them out of the storm and onto the promised land.

There are still cracks in this England side, make no mistake. But their fans won't care a jot at the moment. If I were you I'd join the England boys for a couple of beers. You've all had a fright. It's been another scary old series.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    MBEs all round then

  • Comment number 2.

    Run-out was an incredible moment. I disagree with all those who said that there was no way that Australia could have chased down that total. Someone will get 500 4th Innings some day soon despite what Boycott, Botham and Stewart say. And the Aussie line up has looked fairly capable batting in second innings.

    And theoretically they still might have done it after Flintoff ran out Ponting, but deep down I think everyone knew that it was game up. The throw that won the Ashes?

    Seems to me that one of Collingwood, Bell or Bopara must miss out for South Africa.

    Is it too early to suggest a squad?

    Strauss, Cook, Bell, Bopara, Trott, Pietersen
    Prior, Davies
    Swann, Rashid, Panesar
    Broad, Anderson, Onions, Sidebottom, Harmison

  • Comment number 3.

    Amazing...this test was Broadys but over the past few weeks all England players have had their moments, a real team win and proof that Pieterson and Flintoff are luxeries, not necessities.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Ponting didn't have much luck, with Brett Lee injured"

    Rubbish. It was Ponting's fault that Brett got injured.

    Remember. Warm-up match against the Lions, Brett Lee joshing with the fans annoyed Ponting. He threw the ball to Lee who spent a frantic 90 seconds trying to warm up, bowled a marvellous spell but hurt himself in the process.

    If Ponting hadn't thrown his toys out of the pram at Worcester, Lee would not have been injured, and the series might have been totally different.

  • Comment number 5.

    The run-out was a marvellous piece of television and sport, it was so quick and the the piercing crack of the stumps as the bails fell was glorious

  • Comment number 6.

    Such a shame to hear people saying this didn't match 2005. Maybe the reason it didn't capture the public imagination so much was that unlike last time, nobody saw it. The only crumb of comfort is that Rupert Murdoch should currently be crying into his Victoria Bitter while England celebrates.

  • Comment number 7.

    Damn right there topomalvado, I cannot believe for one second that the viewing figures for this series (in England) are anything like those generated by C4 in 2005. In my opinion, the ECB really shot itself in the foot there. "Hey, we've won the Ashes! Cricket's on the front pages! Everybody's talking about it! I know, let's make sure it's harder to watch next time round.... "

  • Comment number 8.

    What is a total disgrace is the airbrushing out of Bopara. The 11 players who comprised the Oval team got medals + KP, Onions, Panesar. That makes 14 players. Flowers, in his post-match interview, kept on going=on about "14 players". Strauss mentioned, by name, : KP, Onions and Panesar.

    Why was no mention made of Bopara ?

  • Comment number 9.

    Amazing series. Yes, topomalvado is correct that it could not possibly match 2005 because it was not on a terrestial channel but whose fault is that? I do not subscribe to SKY and probably never will. The highlights on Channel 5 were excellent as was the TMS commentary but it was not the same as watching it ball by ball as was always the case in the past.

    Both the teams in 2005 played a better standard of cricket and were more evenly matched in statistics but the truth is that this series had more ups and downs than than a rollercoaster on cocaine.

    I have an impossible task explaining to many people why cricket is so exciting but series like this make it easier to do so. I cannot honestly say that I believe England deserved to win the series but I can also honestly say that perhaps this added to the enjoyment of doing so.

    2005 cost me a year of my life but 2009 only cost me 6 months because I really did not expect England to win it. Well done boys and good luck for the winter tour.

    Cheers, Joe.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Ben is right to say that the Ashes were won by inches, especially if you factor in some of the interesting LBW decisions as well.

    Aggers says elsewhere that Australia were generally in control. I'm not sure I agree with that - I felt England were on top virtually throughout three out of the five games - but it's certainly true that the final series score could easily have been the other way round. Though that would have been harsh on England.

    There's no such thing yet as an England "stroll" - there's squeaky bum time on almost every occasion they appear to be in the ascendancy. But the more they win, the greater will be the self-belief within the squad as well as the country at large.

    I actually feel relieved more than euphoric.

  • Comment number 11.

    Eccles45. Spot on with your comments Re:Bopara. I noticed the same, and I hope all and sundry duly realise their errors and apologise and present him with a medal too. He didn't have a great series, but he was still part of the team.

  • Comment number 12.

    For me a sometimes compelling series, but not a great one. Doesnt bother me now though! Straussy legendary, Swann and Broad love the cut of their jib and their contributions with ball, bat and fielding, great debut from Trott. Overall a team effort against a better batting side who didnt always make the runs when it was really needed.

    Lets enjoy it (18 months of bragging rights is a perfect tonic for us flat, lazy, excuse-making Englishmen) but please lets get to work on those cracks next week, after all Langer does have a point. No resting on laurels this time round please!

  • Comment number 13.

    What a fantastic series, the odds on ua winning this match after the shambles of Headingley really makes it even sweeter. Stuart Broad is a fine cricketer and needs to supported and encouraged to develop further his talent.

    The Aussies had the stats but by virtue of doing the right thing at the right time we got the Ashes. I would add, that I feel for Ponting a cricket great, but now a man who has lost 2 series over here, yes he's made mistakes but who doesn't.

    Thanks to TMS and Channel 5, I got my fix but to the ECB....no I'll leave that.

  • Comment number 14.

  • Comment number 15.

    does anyone else think Strauss should replace Colly in 20/20

  • Comment number 16.

    @#11: re Bopara.

    None of the TV commentators - Sky or Channel 5 - picked it up. The Beeb failed to notice it. If it was as obvious to thee and me, how come they didn't notice? An absolute disgrace.

  • Comment number 17.

    Why all this lambasting of the TV deal?

    The obvious reason that this series didn't capture the imagination is that people realise that these are two very average sides. In 2005, Australia were the undisputed number 1 side in cricket, and England were easily the next best in test cricket and had won every series for 18 months.

    The same cannot be said now, hence it is not as exciting.

    MBE's and parades would be ridiculous this year. Especially given what happened in Australia in 2006/07, folowing the 2005 celebrations.

  • Comment number 18.

    great column, great work all round by the bbc. infact, everything in the world seems great right now. i love cricket.

  • Comment number 19.

    "MBEs all round then"

    OBEs for the '05 veterans?

  • Comment number 20.

    Just watched the day in China on a South African channel. it's 4.23 am here...had a great evening with lots of ex-pats.Sometimes you have to make an effort to watch cricket....i don't think it was any surprise that it was not on terrestrial TV. Anyway, great win, bit drunk now. I think the biggest difference in the series was the fact that we had a half-decent spinner who could get important wickets when conditions favoured spin, and who could get over 200 runs at a pretty decent number 9. It used to be the Aussies who get irritating and important runs down there. Enjoy The Press in England!

  • Comment number 21.

    great work bbc. great work TMS. not sure what i would have done without your coverage. sky made the best bid, so they got the coverage - that's life, but ECB could have shown a bit more thought and ensured we can all see home matches.

    bopara being left out is only a function of him not being in the squad for this game. he did his bit, and he will be remembered (as KP too). A big future I'm sure for that man - I can't wait to see him on the flat pitches of Oz.

    what a series though. so much entertainment. the getting out of jail in cardiff, through to ozzie domination at headingly, through to the joy of the last few days. I really wanted a 5th day, but it wasn't to be.

    great days. not sure what to look forward to now!! :)

  • Comment number 22.

    It is absolutely disgusting to think that sky have exclusive rights, this is our sport and we created it, therefore it should be free to view for all the nation to enjoy. Sky just want more and more of us to suscribe to them and give them even more money. It will be the world cup and the olympics next. the bbc should show coverage on bbc2, it would be a great piece of television.

    thanks bbc and channel 5 for an excellent series and thanks to england for a great final test

    just a shame non of us could watch it

  • Comment number 23.

    RE: Bopara

    I noticed that he wasn't there too , so I checked at the time and he was in the Pro40 game between Essex and Worcestershire at the time of the victory unfortunately.

    Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/shared/fds/hi/statistics/cricket/scorecards/2009/8/15823/html/scorecard.stm

  • Comment number 24.

    In the end the collapse was as rapid and spectacular as any in the series. 197 runs is a huge margin by any standards (some of us were just a little sceptical that scoring 546 would be a gimme for Australia, but people made the same comments at Lords that Andrew Strauss' declaration had handed the match to Australia and they were just as wrong there too). At 217-2 and 327-5 Australia will have been disappointed to fold for 348.

    Key factors in the series: Andrew Strauss' captaincy and Australia's inability to knock over England's tail. Time and time again the Australian bowlers made the breakthrough against the top order and then failed to finish the job. When the likes of Jimmy Anderson (he averaged 16.5), Stuart Broad (remember how people said that he wouldn't score a run against "proper bowlers" before the series started? [234 runs at a rapid rate and 18 wickets show just how much he has come of age]) and Graeme Swann are scoring runs for fun, there is something wrong with the opposition attack. The one occasion that England folded it was in no small measure due to having been hauled out of their beds at 4am by an Australian fan determined to sabotage the side.

    Over the series, Australia tended to make the big runs when they didn't count and fold like a pack of cards when the pressure was on. Their batting averages look good, but how many of those runs were match-winning? More often than not, a promising start was just the prelude to an astonishing collapse.

  • Comment number 25.

    #23

    Re: Bopara

    He might have been playing for Essex, but that does not explain why

    o Strauss failed to mention him
    o Flowers waffled on about '14 players'
    o none of the TV channels mentioned him.

    Still an absolute disgrace.

  • Comment number 26.

    Absolutely phenomenal - I didn't believe it until the run-out from Freddie - how often has the big man been in the right place at the right time? Top dollar Freddie - your loss is a massive big hole in this team. Hats off to the selectors for keeping faith with Freddie and his most excellent successor, Stuart Broad.

    Just to remind those who are huffing and puffing about the 2005 bus parade - we in London had just suffered the most appalling terrorist attack on the Tube. The open-top bus parade with hundreds of thousands of us out on the streets cheering on the team said that London was open for business (I got back on the tube to go to work the morning after it happened) - so you huffers and puffers, get a sense of perspective - and by the way, the England team didn't ask for it - it was Ken Livingstone who was then Mayor of London. The situation is different in 2009.

    Hats off to Andrew Strauss - born to the imperial purple, he's up there for me with Michael Vaughan. Stuart Broad - great all-rounder of hte near future. Swann, fabulous spin bowling and how utterly deserved that he got the last wicket.

    I'm celebrating - as I hope the team is........

  • Comment number 27.

    Ben, Flintoff will be nil by mouth tomorrow evening because he's going under general anaesthetic on Tuesday... perhaps you missed the interview with Jonathan Agnew - the BBC's cricket correspondent - where he told the world he had plans for dinner with his wife? I don't suppose she'll let him go back on that.

    To the guy (2) who dropped Collingwood from his South Africa squad... difficult call, I know, but he's one cool head in an otherwise fairly young and excitable line up. Remember Cardiff. Trott deserves a run in the side and Bopara will be back one day but perhaps not straight away. KP needs to look at Ponting - he's got the talent to be the best batsman in the world, he just needs to show some application and part of that should be knuckling down and batting 3. Not sure I'd take Harmison on tour - he's great when he's firing, but away from home he doesn't do that much, and nor will he be doing that in 4 years time. Let's find someone for the next 10 years.

    Can't remember when Sky's contract is up, but the BBC, C4 and/or C5 need to ensure they get the live coverage for the rest of time. The old problems about blocking up a channel all day and upsetting the fans of selling-crud-at-car-boot-sales programmes just don't apply while half the digital channels are sitting idle all day. Get together, divert money from Wimbledon and Big Brother and persuade the ECB that making cricket accessible to all is a credible alternative and better in the long term, even if it means opting for a slightly lower stack of cash in the short term.

  • Comment number 28.

    The 2005 Ashes win was down to 'periods of play'. The 2009 win was down to a 'series of moments'. None more so than today's run-out of Ponting by Flintoff.

    Australia were the better team - the stats clearly show that - but England were able to dominate those critical moments. They came good when they had to. Harmison pointed out that England were like a football team who had been dominated by the opposition for 75 minutes of the game yet had failed to gain a goal. England nipped in during the last fifteen minutes and had scored the winner.

    Australia out-bowled and out-batted England and overall were the better side, but it didn't count a jot; with home advantage and the spectators as the 12th man, England made it count when they had to. Every team member, apart from perhaps Bopara, had their moment. From Collingwood, Monty and Anderson at Cardiff, to Broad, Trott and Flintoff at the Oval. Strauss deservedly won the man of the series award. He out-thought, out-played and out-captained Ponting at those critical moments.

    I believe the English mental strength and belief is finally growing. That nemesis Australian aura is fading due to the demise of Warne, Magrath, Gilchrist, Haydn and others. Although, the proof of the pudding will come in 18 months back in Australia.

    A brilliant and epic series - yet again. No other sporting occasion comes close to The Ashes. Perhaps, the Ryder Cup is a distant second.

    "Long live Test cricket - long live The Ashes!"

  • Comment number 29.

    Not only a fantastic achievement to regain the ashes, but how amazing to come back after such a heavy defeat at headingley with a victory like this. To think some of these critics talked of dropping broad (our leading wicket taker in the series incidently). Well done to every last one of them.

  • Comment number 30.

    Great performance by England in the end, dominated 3 tests to their 2 and so deserved the win.
    As for the talk about the ECB shooting itself in the foot, seems like nonsense. Just like any other show, the company that pays the most gets it, and sky have provided very good coverage. And loads of people saw it, most of my mates have been following it intently.
    The reason the viewing figures are down is because a) the cricketers aren't as good as last time and b) this time wasnt the first time in more than a decade that it happened.

  • Comment number 31.

    #25

    I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill to be honest. It's understandable in the heat of the moment (an Ashes triumph for crying out loud) that Strauss failed to mention Bopara- I can imagine Bopara's absence from the dressing room celebrations as opposed to KP, Panesar and Onions contributed to that.

  • Comment number 32.

    What a load of patriotic tosh!
    England won because they were lucky - Strauss wone 4 tosses out of 5 and that was the difference. Plus a few dodgy decisions that went England's way. Oh yes and how lucky were England at Cardiff?
    England will go to SA and get their tails whipped. The test ratings do not lie. Australia are still the better team.
    And I am English

  • Comment number 33.

    #29

    "Well done to every last one of them."

    Including Bopara, who didn't get a medal ?

    Sorry folks but, until the writer of this blog condescends to answer the point raised about Bopara, I will continue to harp on about it.

  • Comment number 34.

    #31

    Strauss, in a moment of euphoria, fair enough. But the Sky commentators, Channel 5 commentators, Andy Flower - all to waffle on about 14 players, when Bopara made 15 is not good enough.

  • Comment number 35.


    Kylie Minogue, Rolf Harris, Dame Edna Everage, Harry Kewell, Mel Gibson, Skippy, Savage Garden, ARE YOU WATCHING???

    Your boys just took ONE HECK OF A BEATING!!!

    And Heckie the Cat - you've got some serious problems lady.

    ENGLAND - ASHES WINNERS 2009!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    heckiethecat ....i bet you'd be good fun to go out with tonight.

  • Comment number 37.

    @slantedandenchanted Don't you mean

    OBEs to Strauss, Colly, Harmy, Freddy and Bell Boy? MBEs to other squad members

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Jesus, who cares about Bopara. Don't you remember 1987 to 2005? Ashes wins are not that often. Celebrate it. Trott came in for Bopara and had a slight impact on the game.

  • Comment number 40.

    #37

    Except Ravi Bopara would not be eligible for am MBE - he obviously played no part in the series.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ #30 "the company that pays the most gets it" - not true, Wimbledon, the FA cup final, England home football internationals, the football world cup, the Olympics and perhaps 6N rugby and some others all go to free-to-air TV. No issues with Sky's coverage except that I'd have to stump up enough cash to see the entirety of 2 tests live to see it. When you've got to go to work for all but the last hour or so of play most days, it's simply not worth it. I'd happily see the Sky team on Freeview somewhere, but I simply don't have the cash to watch them.

    @ #32 They may have been lucky at Cardiff - lucky not to be facing Messrs Warne & McGrath, who certainly wouldn't have let Monty and Anderson survive 12 overs. You don't win a Test without taking 20 wickets and on that day, as Ponting himself pointed out, Australia's bowlers weren't up to the job.

  • Comment number 42.

    England were only slighty better than an awful Australia.

  • Comment number 43.

    Bennett, even if Ravi Bopara was a Shi'ite I am sure that he's C of E now :-).

    Undoubtedly Bopara will get his medal and will be in the squad for South Africa. For now I am more worried about all the daft brushes who posted at Lords that the declaration had handed the match to Australia and were posting almost to the last minute today that Australia would run away with the match and the series. Don't they ever learn?

    However many tosses Andrew Strauss won, three times Australia folded horribly in the first innings. That was not the fault of the toss. And poor selections can't be blamed on the toss either (Swann took 8 wickets at The Oval, where were the Australian spinners when the quicks were being hammered all over South London?)

  • Comment number 44.

    eccles

    Bopara didn't get his medal today because he was playing for Essex in a pro40 match but I didn't understand why everybody kept talking about a 14 man squad. I'd like to think that he will get his medal in due course!!

  • Comment number 45.

    #44

    It was precisely 'cos folk were talking about "a 14 man squad", that I got narked. Bopara playing for Essex was one thing, but to inore his contribution to the Ashes squad was a disgrace.

  • Comment number 46.

    Sorry Heckie the Cat - Australia were out-played, and Strauss had the edge as captain. Ponting was a fabulous captain when he had utterly fabulous players around him. They've gone, and Ponting isn't finding it easy any more than he did in 2005. Vaughan was the best captain England have ever had, because he had the ability to mobilise and motivate forces which on statistical analysis, weren't so fabulous. Strauss has the same job to do. This is why leadership is crucial to the England side, and Strauss has provided it at every level - cool under fire, and there's no series which stretches a captain's ability more than the Ashes. Hats off to that guy.

  • Comment number 47.

    eccles

    I totally agree and I thought it was disgusting that everybody not even Strauss acknowledged his efforts in the series

  • Comment number 48.

    Only on a discussion board with England fans would you see such moaning and attempts to bring up petty points after an Ashes victory.

    Bopara didn't cut it - what was his contribution to this Ashes victory exactly?

    We should follow the example of the Aussies - winners are rewarded, losers are out of the door. Only in this country do we demand recognition for someone who failed to produce when it mattered.

    If the Australians had won this series and Ponting forgot to mention Graham Manou, do you think the Australian fans would have been ignoring their victory and demanding he get a mention?

  • Comment number 49.

    Taking nothing away from what has been a fantastic victory, I think both sides have been average during this series, certainly South Africa and the likes would feel confident taking on either one of these sides.

    Perhaps its because the makeup of both sides has been young, leading to a lack of consistancy meant that a lot of the tests were lost as opposed to won.

    England have got to look at the top to middle order and get some steel in there, not been so convinced by Bell, Bopara is not really of test match standard (He should get a medal though) Trott could be the answer, with Pietersen to come back in of course. Of these I would potentially lose Bopara and Collingwood.

    I like Englands bowlers. Onions and Swann, as well as Anderson, they have to have more consistancy though and not rely on cloud cover so much though. Of course Broad is a great talent. I like the fact that England can bat all the way down the innings now.

    Mitchell Johnson has the potential to be one of the best bowlers in the game, a bit Jeckyll and Hyde though, the next series will be crucial for him. I liked the look of North batting. Clarke is probably the star batsman for Australia. Just the other positions what are a bit hit and miss (for both sides)

    Would dearly like to see cricket back on terrestrial (or public telly) I don't know the ins and outs of the deal but surely these has to be a place somewhere. In 2005 the Ashes pushed the Premiership off the back pages and everyone was talking about it not so this time. sad to see. This could be a reason whay there is so little depth coming through.

  • Comment number 50.

    I am in so much trouble. Skint as Skippys backside, no fags, no booze, listening to TMS all day with fingernails down to bone; not good look for 44 year old gal. Suddenly wickets getting skittled; ran to local village pub (they have Sky, unlike me) to catch last wicket fall. Was very rude to elderly widow neighbour on way,practically shoved her aside in my haste... begged a tab at pub (thk god for rural pubs); realised had come out without keys, baccy, had to check knickers. Caught final wicket with 13 mins to spare. Been weepy ever since (in good way). Also think may have to repay several favours re; champagne, fags, boring emotional drivel...worth every penny

  • Comment number 51.

    So sweet after the 5-0 drubbing in 06-07. No repeat of the pattern next time we go please!
    I am particularly delighted that the team ethic has worked so well. As a big England fan I have been mightily cheesed off with how often reporters have said England only have 2 decent players in KP and Flintoff. Strauss has eclipsed them both this year, and that is without mentioning his captaincy. Prior made a big contribution with his much improved glovework and confident batting. The batting of the bowlers - Broad, Swann, Anderson, and don't forget Monty, was vital in this series. Strauss had faith in his spinner, whereas Ponting did not. The impact of the loss of Lee, who looked impossible to play in the Lions match, can't be underestimated.
    It has been a tough, and frankly at times, comical year following England. I cast my mind back to the Stanford shambles and wonder how many people really care about losing that match. All those tough tough tests in the West Indies where England came so close, but appeared to have forgotten how to win a match, were training of some sort. Even the 20/20 World Cup where England swung between dreadful and marvellous showed that we are a dangerous side when we get it right. I am not convinced we know why we get it right sometimes, but that sounds like a job for Andy Flower to work out!

  • Comment number 52.

    In the cold light of day, Broad is an incredibly average bowler who got lucky (and let us not forget it was only at the Oval he put in a good performance at last ! ) and Strauss is a dramatically indifferent captain not knowing what to do with his resources (he isn't a Brearley for sure-he got lucky, full stop). The next time England bat they are just as likely to get out for 92 as 908. This is a very average side making the most of a lull in the Ozzie cycle of class and dominance. All this drivel about dominance in the Ashes next time round is premature, unwelcome and unnecessary-a bit like the Ashes themselves. Is there remotely any need or interest in repeating the formula within 18 months -surely not ! this series is great every 4 years perhaps but as it stands it is only played as commercial fodder for an increasingly disinterested audience. And finally let us not forget the advance of English cricket-Trott and KP really have shown how deep the roots of English cricket talent are! Have we looked at anyone in Ghana or Nigeria perhaps as surely someone who knows nothing about cricket could bowl better than Harmison?

  • Comment number 53.

    A mediocre England team narrowly beat a slighlty more mediocre Australia team. Well done, enjoy it while you can because come winter the numer one test side in the world is going to reminds you why you're 5th in the world rankings.

  • Comment number 54.

    It is impressive that after being so comprehensively outplayed in 06/07 we managed to get it back on our own turf. The Aussies have lost some big players and will be even more hurt that they dropped to number 4 in the Test Rankings.
    I find it quite promising that we managed to win, yet there is still quite a bit to improve in this tea. We have bowlers who are good enough to get 20 wickets, a great series for Prior, maybe the best batting tail in test cricket, however, out of the top 5 batsman I would think only Strauss Pieterson and Trott seem seem 100% secure for the immediate future. Cook, Bell and Collingwood only really had 1 good innings each (Bell was given in huge let off to get a half century in Birmingham), albeit very important ones in the context of those matches. I felt Bell was harshly treated by the media because he only got 70+ in his 1st innings at the Oval, looking back now this was vital. I worry even more when Bopara looked so poor yet just got a double century for Essex, calling his ability to handle big test match pressure into question. I don't think that we can take that step forward unless Bell, Collingwood, Bopara and Cook can contribute more throughout a series rather than just one match.

  • Comment number 55.

    kallisisking ...you might be right now that Flintoff has retired and can't bowl Kallis out with big grenade full-tosses that come from above the sight-screen. He might average more than 15 this time

  • Comment number 56.

    Have to disagree about the "worthy winners" shtick.

    Overall Australia were the better side in the series.

    Don't get me wrong, they were crap - but they were better than England.

    The days when this was the sport's premier clash are embarrassingly far in the past: and sadly we have seen two truly mediocre teams trudge out a mediocre series for a pretty meaningless result.

  • Comment number 57.

    I just wish Andy Flower would remember that 15, not 14 players played for England in this series. Maybe Bopara didn't contribute as much as others, but I think its disgraceful the England hierarchy referred to the starting 11, Pietersen, Onions and Panesar in every after match speech and totally overlooked Ravi.

  • Comment number 58.

    And Kallisking, we beat you last time we came to RSA, we'll do it again next time...

  • Comment number 59.

    sthommo,

    "Trott came in for Bopara and had a slight impact on the game."

    What tosh! His debut 100 paved the way for a comfortable England win. He played the role of Pietersen in the final 2005 test. I reckon England have found gold in Trott. Alongside a healed Pietersen, the English middle order looks solid, at last. Pity Trott can't go in at No.3. He has the perfect temperament for that position.

    Are there other South Africans with English passports playing in County cricket? They have the mental strength and confidence often lacking in English-born players. What with Rashid waiting in the wings, rather like Premiership football, the future England cricket team may have one two true Brits and that will be that. At least though, we may have a world dominating side! :o)

  • Comment number 60.

    Just a bit of banter lads - always makes me happy when anyone beats the Aussies. Just get a little frustrated with the hysterical reaction when England win (or lose for that matter). The press - and the fans? - in this country lack a little perspective. I can't believe that even the most biased of England fans believe this England team are world beaters but that's clearly how they will be portrayed after winning this series. Thethirdronaldo - you guys deserved the win last in SA last time but come on, we're a much better side now and you guys have gone backwards since then.

  • Comment number 61.


    Funny kallisisking (post 53), u sound exactly like all the Aussie fans before and during this series telling us how the number one team in world cricket was going to give us a right royal thrashing. And then... oh that's right, they lost.

    So just remember WHY you're now the number 1 team, that's right, because ENGLAND just beat the number 1 team and we'll do it again when we play u.

    ENGLAND - ASHES WINNERS 2009!!!


  • Comment number 62.

    Hand of Hidden Forces ....oh dear, oh dear. Which series did you watch. Australia struggled in 3 out of 5 tests. I've got some sour grapes in my garden if you want them.....if you're Australian that is. Meaningless? watch the crowd and player reactions

  • Comment number 63.

    Softandfluffy ....i was being sarcastic. If you read what i said before, I was happy Bopara was dropped. Trott did brilliantly under pressure...i totally agree with you

  • Comment number 64.


    Softandfluffy,

    I can see why you might be less than comfortable with Trott and Pietersen as imports, given that they moved here as adults and had played representative cricket for South Africa. However, I really don't see what Rashid (born in Bradford) has to do with that. How are you defining "True Brit"?

    I think it is fairly obvious that the "squad of 14" refers to the 5th Test. However, that Pietersen was remembered but not Bopara when the series was discussed was poor.

  • Comment number 65.

    From a Pom living in Australia the agony of watching Ponting and Hussey edging towards an improbable victory was too much.So I went to bed, then waking up now and then with the ominous feeling of doom.Then to hear the news in the morning ,read somberly,that England had won was wonderful.
    Over here the mood is not so jubilant.But hey who cares.

  • Comment number 66.

    It may not have had the quality or the national following of the 05 series but I felt that this series was special for several reasons. The plotline was continually changing and, just like a good mystery, refused to give up the surprise ending until the very last. In amongst some very ordinary performances were some nuggets of real drama and quality. But most of all, this was an England side achieving success through teamwork not through over-reliance on a few big characters. I just hope that the England management can recognise the importance of that and can find a way to build on it and to strengthen the team as a team not a bunch of individuals.

  • Comment number 67.

    #52
    If the Ashes were only held every 4 years, that would only be once every 8 years in each country. In Britain (and I'm sure in Australia too) this is the biggest series, and attracts the biggest audience, and is therefore of immeasurable value to the growth of the game.
    I wouldn't say the Aussies were that bad a side, any team that is emerging from the loss of such players as McGrath, Warne, Hayden, Langer & Gilchrist since the last Ashes is bound to look less than impressive. Ponting is still a class act, as is Clarke, and Marcus North wasn't exactly a drag. The Aussies dominated the runs and wickets.
    Were England a 'very average side'? No. They weren't the best we have produced, but they held their own and Australia failed to take the chances they were given - Cardiff, as pointed out elsewhere.
    I don't think we should be handing out awards left right and centre, else Mr Rauf will suddenly find himself given the freedom of the country and a baronetcy. I think it is an unfortunate trait in Britain, the Ashes team in 05, the rugby in 03, and some (not all) of the olympians

  • Comment number 68.

    Bopara won the Aussie Player Of The Series didn't he? ROFL!

  • Comment number 69.

    It feels so different to 2005 - in the best possible way. Then, it felt like a relief at the deserved culmination of the previous 5 years, as we rebuilt under Fletcher/Hussain/Vaughan from being the worst side in the world c.1999 to beating all-comers home and away. That Ashes was the peak for most of the England players in it, while many of the Aussies had already past theirs. But 2005 was the beginning of the end for Trescothick, Vaughan, Giles, Geraint (who he?) Jones, Hoggard, Simon Jones, Harmison (notwithstanding his latest comeback) and, let's face it, Freddie too. So many of that team were never going to play that well again for England but, with the 2009 side, you genuinely feel this could be a beginning rather than an end.

    Well done England. Frankly, who cares who the better side was, who 'should' have won, or who had the better 'stats' (although incidentally, England had more 50s and 5-fers...). Only two numbers count: 2-1.

  • Comment number 70.

    I live in Toledo Ohio and I emigrated here 14 years ago. I think this series has been great for the public to realize that test cricket isn't all glamour and bling as they say here its about guts determination and belief. i hope that this win will not only help England in future but also help them foster the grass roots which is where all these wonderful characters aka players come from. Loved TMS my wife wondered what the team were laughing about towards the triumphant end and I put it down to having a great time with friends at a game of cricket oh and then there is the listening public too.

  • Comment number 71.

    You know, we kept hearing how mediocre England were in 2005 too. It seems to be a common thread that when England beat someone the opposition and mediocre and England too. We won series after series against "poor" opposition.

    The greatest feature of the 2009 win is that it came right after what must have been one of our worst ever defeats, with the side at a very low ebb. We'd lost to South Africa, to India and then, embarassingly, to the West Indies. We had a stand-in captain, a temporary stand-in coach and a side ridden with injuries, divisions and with perhaps only three players sure of their place. Andrew Strauss took a side that was disintegrating and instilled belief and team spirit.

    As Pot so rightly says, 2005 was the end of an era. That side never played together again and by the winter had disintegrated so completely that we were down to a sixth-choice batsman as player after player got injured. In 2009 there is a lot of new talent with very few caps between them. Properly nurtured, they can only get better. South Africa will be a massive test of their mettle and their self-belief.

  • Comment number 72.

    SA will be tough, but they were expected to destroy us last time they were here, and as I recall it was 2-1 with the draw being a rain shortened match with england infront.

    We'll almost certainly lose this winter, but we should be able to give a fight. Also before you brag about your No.1 status, the distance betwwn you and Australia is less than that between England and Australia in 05 when they were the top to teams. Your a good side sure but not a patch on the Australia team that played that series, and far from the domination that team achieved.

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    Congrats to England on regaining the Ashes. Always great to have them in hand, because it means the other team needs to beat you in the next series, rather than just draw the series.

    Let's not get carried away though with the plaudits. This was no 2005 - that series was such high quality cricket, two teams at the top of their game going toe to toe. I thought England were pretty woeful in this series. Unfortunately, Australia were beaten by them, which makes my team rather a disgrace. We basically got beaten by a team that has no #2, #3, or # batsman. That will be the hardest thing to take - most Australians (don't confuse the press with the general public) understand that this team is going through a massive rebuilding phase, so have some patience. But after big steps in South Africa, the performance in England was mediocre.

    Australia lost this series through an inability to minimise damage - when England got momentum, Australia's batting seemed to crumble. We never seemed to lose one wicket, then build a partnership. It was clumps of wickets, and the final test illustrated this well. 7/38 in the first innings, then in the second the first two wickets together, then Ponting, Clarke and North in quick succession, then the tail went all in one go (5/30 or so). This continues the trend from the South African series (we basically won that through our bowlers - not only did they tear through the SA batting line-up, but they consistently made more runs than the top 5). Ironically, Hussey at 4 has been far too brittle - and then today was a rock.

    On the form shown in this series, both England and Australia would be massacred by SA and India - I think they are the benchmarks now. Unless they improve, I fear England will get a massive wake-up call when they play the Saffers.

    I thought both captains were woeful. Strauss is far too defensive and reactive. Ponting doesn't support his bowlers well with field settings, and doesn't deal with the stress on the field too well. I think it would be a good move for Punter to stand down and give Clarke a go - this would allow Ricky to concentrate on his batting again (while still being a senior leader in the team), and allow Clarke a long run as captain (and going on his one-day captaincy, improves his batting like it does with Strauss).

    Positives for England: Strauss is a rock at the top of the order - one of the few that Australia would have been consistently worried about. Prior is the wicket-keeper you've been looking for. Tough, aggressive - really, no negatives to him. Trott looks like a calm player who seems comfortable at this level (although, give opposition teams a chance to break his technique down, and things will get tougher on him - he looks a distinct lbw chance with his desire to close the face and hit to mid-wicket). Broad looks a capable all-rounder, though really he had a mediocre series with the ball, enhanced by a half-hour of madness by Australia's batsman playing some terrible shots.

    Probably the biggest plus will be the retirement of Flintoff. England as a team need to grow up and be harder - they seem to rely on 'Daddy Flintoff' to come in and do the nasty work for them. Have to say also that while most Australians came out of last series thinking very highly of Flintoff, it looks like things may have gone to his head a bit. Most of this series he just looked like a mug, raising his arm and waiting for his flock to rush in and pour adulation on him, despite really only performing in one test. The down on one knee with arms spread was just plain vomit material. If any other player had done that (England or Australia), scorn would be poured upon them for thinking they were bigger than the game.

    For Australia, there's not a lot to write home about. This series was a step back from where we looked during the South Africa series. The batting remains brittle, despite undeniable talent in there. Hopefully Hussey's century marks a resurgence in form - with his drop in form we've lost the rock in the middle order for everyone else to bat around. North is a bit bi-polar - some days he looks unbeatable, the other days he can't make 10 runs. Mitchell Johnson was woeful for most of the series, and could really be seen as the difference in the series - if he bowled like he did against South Africa, England would have flat out made 200 in any of the tests. Have to give him some leeway though - he's basically become the leader of an Australian attack which between them have played barely 50 tests - not fair on a young man to have that pressure on him. Pete Siddle impresses me - he's got attitude, and raw speed.

    All in all, a disappointing series to watch. Not a lot of highlights from either side. But still, kudos to England for seizing the moments and making Australia pay for their mistakes. That's what test cricket is all about, and England therefore were the better side.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    i can see the idiots are out slagging the team off, grow up you pethetic bunch of clowns. what do england have to do to get some credit of some people, we played well and achived somert and still people moan about it being rubbish. and as for staurt broad being average then that is the most pethetic thing i'v heard all year he played out of his skin in this test and took 5-37, i would love to see his critics do that against the best team in the world well you wouldent because your not good enough so stop pretending you could do better.

    i'm only slating the ones that have slated england not everyone.

  • Comment number 77.

    Well summed up , Pot.
    2005 had more established star players on both sides than this time round , and one could carp about the quality of some of the play.
    But the ebb and flow was up there with the previous series. The final showdown in truth was England's from tea on day 2 (certainly tea on day 3) but the Aussie fight even held up the celebrations for several hours today : and somehow this made a more worthy ending than had they been skittled for 180.

    An achievement for England to win with a team seen as fairly moderate, considering both the popular "stars" were hobbled by injury. Bit of character in there however you debate the class.

    Where both sides go from here is a matter for later.

    For now , a big "well done " to Strauss and co. A series to remember.

  • Comment number 78.

    A rational, balanced comment from cen4pgb. Point I was trying to make - in typical arrongant South African fashion - is that in 05 an awesome England team beat a legendary Australian team. This time, an average England team beat a poor Aussie team. The current SA team is probably not close to either of the 05 ashes sides but, in my opinion, strong enough to beat the current England team, comfortably, at home. Like I said, enjoy this moment - you earned it - but don't get carried away and think it makes you world beaters because your current test ranking - 5th - is, despite this victory, an accurate reflection on England's current standing in the game. Current SA players who will go on to be all time greats - Smith, Kallis, Boucher, De Villiers, Steyn. Current England players who could go on to be all time greats - Pietersen ....?

  • Comment number 79.

    Goodday from downunder,congratulations on your series victory.One thing we know for sure is that Aus will win the next series 5-0

  • Comment number 80.

    hahahha 'true brit' - class!

  • Comment number 81.

    just want to say how happy i am that england won!!! Yes the Aussie team isn't what it was 4 years ago but this is still huge, it is the first time we have beaten a major test playing nation since summer 2005.
    Yes perhaps bopara should have been mentioned but lets focus on the positives and not start complaing about English cricket already. However, we can't make the same mistake we did 4 years ago and now excpect to beat every team in the world. South Africa will be tough so we will really need to dig deep to win that series.
    On the TV rights issue, i didn't have skysports until last summer as i was desperate to watch cricket but it is a huge shame its not on terristrial anymore.
    still never mind WELL DONE ENGLAND
    p.s. heckiethecat #32, please, we just won the ashes and we have done well

  • Comment number 82.

    Softandfluffy: "How are you defining "True Brit"?

    Someone who was born to English parents. Adil Usman Rashid's parents are Asian, as are Sajiid Mahmood's and Monty Panesar's. These three families originally come from Pakistan. Bopara's parents are Indian; Jonathan Trott's mother hails from Zimbabwe; Pietersen's parents come from South Africa.

    The true brits include Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell and Andrew Flintoff. A dying breed as England cricket evolves."

    I suspect, from his comments on players from an Asian background, that Softandfluffy would like English born and bred sons of colour be kept well away from representing their country. I am of Asian heritage and shed blood and tears wanting England - my country - to win, so absolutely disgusted with these comments.

    By the way, Andrew Strauss's father is a South African. Strauss was born in that country before moving to England as a young child. I suppose that means you'd want our captain to be dropped from the side as well...

  • Comment number 83.

    Great result, better than 2005 because England had to work harder, gimpy Freddie and KP. As an expat former Trent Bridge member I give an extra cheer for Broad and Swannie.
    My 2p worth on 'free' tv vs Sky. You will never get the money out of major sport and you cannot roll back time, so get used to it! If you really want to watch live cricket, pay up! A sky subscription costs no more than a night out or a tank of petrol. Life is all about choices.

  • Comment number 84.

    "The Oval crowd gave Ponting a standing ovation, proving what many had been saying all along, that all that booing and stuff was just banter."

    Easy to do when you're comfortably infront. I wonder if he would have got the same reception if he had scored the winning runs? I think not.

  • Comment number 85.

    If England had played Adil Rashid then they probably would have won the series 4/5-0. I think people are going way over the top about Fred's run-out; it was good, but not worth having a boner about.

  • Comment number 86.

    Let's be honest, Ponting really messed up the selection policy in that last game.
    If he had chosen Hauritz, it would have given him variety, something that England miht have suffered from.
    North got 4 wickets, and he's no big turner of the ball. Big mistake.

    Also, I don't think Flintoff's run out was THAT crucial, I believe the following run out of Clarke confirmed it. If he had stayed in like the other gams, a formidable partnership would've formed wth Hussey and heads down... Game over.

  • Comment number 87.

    I don't agree with the notion that Australia were the best team. The stats are inflated in the batting due to Australia's second innings scores (Lord's, Edgbaston and today). A team that collapses so dramatically in their first innings in three tests out of five will rarely win and deserve to win a series.

    Anyway-stop the bickering. Enjoy the moment-we have beaten the then #1 side in the world, beaten the Aussies & won the Ashes without our two supposedly only world class players (KP and a fit Flintoff).
    Broad for a 23 year old was amazing in this test.
    Both he and Swann scored runs and took wickets.
    It looked like Flintoff was not able to bowl that much today-but he still played his part in the run out of Ponting. A thrilling moment.
    Strauss deserved to be man of the series-he has been in wonderful form for a year now.
    Jimmy Anderson has his good days and bad-when he is good he is unplayable. He just needs to be more consistent.
    I think Onions and Trott are major finds. Bopara has the talent to come good as a middle order batsman.
    Prior has come good-just needs to knuckle down more in the batting.

    As for the Aussies-well Mitchell Johnson's duck summed up his series. His stats are better than he played. He came here with a reputation as the spearhead of the attack and well he was demoted to a first change bowler and was lucky not to be dropped. Most of his wickets were got when the pressure was off-or when the 4th test was already one.
    For me he did not look comfortable in his body-he reminded me of Harmison.
    Hilfenahus was steady and is just an average test bowler, Hauritz too.
    Only Siddle made any impact (at Headingley).
    Their batting looks solid-except they will need to find a proper opener to partner Katich.
    Their bowling though looks very ordinary and if SA get their spin bowling right-they could be #1 for some time to come.

    Usually when England lose both the selectors and county cricket are lambasted.
    Well-well done the selectors for sticking with Broad and Harmison for this test and for picking Trott(and Bell to a lessor extent).

    Also Strauss,Cook, Prior & Trott have now made hundreds on their test debut.Kudos for county cricket. Their is still lots of talent around, younger and older- Joyce, Sidebottom, Denly, S Davies, Rashid, Taylor, Fletcher, Finn, Woakes, Rankin, Ambrose, Foster, Morgan, Malan, M Davies, Blackwell, Patel, Wright, Waller, Raynor, Harris, Carberry....

  • Comment number 88.

    With both teams going through a transitional period i think it was never going to live up to the hype of 2005 where both sides were at their peak.

    That said there were new players who emerged for both teams as potential future stars whilst some of the old establishment looked past their best and often lacking in confidence which resulted in a topsy turvy series as both teams tried to make sense of their strengths and weaknesses.

    Australia had 4 of the top 5 leading wicket takers but in most of the England innings our batsman simply threw their wickets away with poor batting (headingley especially) which gave a slight false looking stat with regards to the quality of the Aussie bowling. I thought we bowled better and more accurately than they did in general, even though their batting put ours to shame at times, a better bowling side usually triumphs over the better batting side by virtue of the fact a bowler can have another over after a poor one but a mistake from the batsman and its a long walk back to the pavilion.

    I feel it is here where we won the Ashes along with good captaincy in the important moments of the series . Maybe a fit Brett Lee would have provided a different result but then again a fit KP might have also made our success that little bit easier to achieve as well.

  • Comment number 89.

    Also where has Graeme Swann been? He is a much better batsman and bowler (and fielder) than Ashley Giles. It is a shame that Duncan Fletcher could not tolerate him. He is ironically the perfect Fletcher type of player. He should have been on that last Ashes tour. Fletcher made a mistake in sticking to his 2005 heroes for that tour.
    England must learn from this.

    Despite the end of this test-I would not like to see Harmison play again. I think he is clearly past his best.
    New blood needs to come into the team.
    Sidebottom and Onions should come in-Rashid too. Denly or Moore need to be given a chance to put pressure on Cook.
    Bell is not a #3 and Collingwood to me looks tired. He has played non stop for 4 years now and possibly could do with a break.
    Broad needs to be protected too.

    I would pick entirely different teams from the tests for the ODIs-in order to give experience and develop a squad of say 25 players who are comfortable in the international arena.

  • Comment number 90.

    my dad had been cricket mad all his life and 20 minutes after he watched england lift the ashes he past away.

    RIP DAD

  • Comment number 91.

    a fantastic achievement from england.

    however, strauss made a telling statement with his "very bad...good enough" comment.

    if england are capable of playing at such a high level sometimes, then there is a question mark over their coaching / psychological preparation. as many winning sportsmen have pointed out, winning is 10% perspiration, 90% inspiration.

    raising your game just to beat an old enemy is unprofessional, and would soon see a change in personnel in, say, a football context.

    similarly, for the fans at the oval. i was there. and, yes, we were gracious, applauding ponting, not booing the aussies etc. but don't get too carried away with the newly-rediscovered english sense of fair-play. it's a lot easier to be to be gallant when you're winning. lets have more of the same when we're next under the cosh, or the victims of a few dodgy decisions.

    thanks for listening :-)

  • Comment number 92.

    England played very well at key moments in this series.

    Given how strong the infrastructure around english cricket is, the national side should always be this strong. However in recent years, the English have been quite poor. Most people would bet against them winning next time round in Australia. However perhaps they're turned a corner now... we'll see.

    I cannot fathom why it has taken England so long to get Graeme Swann in the side. He was excellent.

    Broad too was good. He's got an attitude on him though and for his own sake, I would warn against the English media hyping him up too much - like the Tim Henman effect. And remember he ain't Flintoff, I'm not sure he has that kind of charisma.

    On the other hand, Australia screwed up at some key times in this series and perhaps the most telling was not being able to dismiss England at the end of the first test in Cardiff.

    There were some elements of bad luck which fell into place at the wrong time for them. A terrible toss to lose at the Oval.


  • Comment number 93.

    MBE's, OBE's for the players?

    Its great for England to win.
    Fair play but hearing people go a bit over the top with the celebrations. Itss a game that only involves 2 countries.
    You either win or lose between the 2.
    Nobody else is involved.

    If England ever win the world cup (Football or any other sport), I assume they will all be knighted because I assume it will be harder to beat more than 1 nation.

  • Comment number 94.

    Yeah #93, you've said it right.

    England won two games against a rebuilding side. It is not the World Cup.

    And while it is true that England played well, there's a certain tinniness about how they scraped through.

  • Comment number 95.


    viscount_monty #82

    Well said. Thank you!

  • Comment number 96.

    I don't usually comment after a series, because it's usually fairly obvious what went on. But it seems that most people in the UK didn't see all this fantastic series. Here in Australia, it's free-to-air, so I was up until 3 or 4 in the morning whenever Ashes cricket was played. It's wrong to say everyone thought an Aussie win was inevitable. I didn't! I watched this Australia side against S Africa, here, and in S. Africa. There was no doubt in my mind that they were not as good as England; particularly bowling, fielding, wicket-keeping, and, crucially, captaincy. And, I didn't see anything to make me change my mind. Headingley was bad, but England have never been a side to stick the boot in with ruthless professionalism, they like to give a crowd their money's worth. It's one of the reasons I'll always have a soft spot for them; their ups and downs make for fantastic entertainment. The best last word came from Greg "Mo" Matthews on SBS TV. Some of you may remember Mo as a pretty useful spinner for Australia 20 years ago. He's a passionate Australian, an even more passionate NSW man, and as brutally honest as they come. Shortly after the match had finished, Mo said, amongst other things, "we were out-selected and, dare I say it, out-captained, out-coached ....". He's right, but they'll be back - remember 2006/7!

  • Comment number 97.

    #90, Tottenham Lad,

    Sorry to hear that, my sympathies.

    I live in Oz. Top 5 excuses for Australia losing the Ashes, according to today's press and comments:
    1) England cheated by slowing the play down in 1st test
    2) The umpires cheated
    3) England cheated by doctoring the Oval pitch and winning the toss
    4) It's not England, it's South Africa B
    5) Australia are rubbish anyway, so it's not like England beat a good team.

    Here are my 5 reasons why Australia lost the Ashes:
    1) They failed to bowl out arguably the worst batsman ever to play test cricket in dying overs of the 1st test
    2) Their best bowler, Johnson, spent the first 3 tests throwing custard pies down the pitch
    3) They couldn't cope with the pressure when Freddie Flintoff was steaming in and the crowd were roaring behind him at Lords
    4) They were simply woeful in the face of a brilliant Broad bowling spell, that meant they were skittled for 160 in their first innings at the Oval. The fact that England and Australia batted after this innings and made 350 ish showed that they were poor, and the toss/pitch had nothing to do with it.
    5) They didn't pick Hauritz for this test

  • Comment number 98.

    This is one of the finest moments for the english cricket. Beating a team dominant for 14 years, I can see some changes coming in top test rankings.

    Australia has been blessed with few cricket greats in past - mcgrath, warne, hayden. Time's up on that, and its time now for Ponting to hang his gloves.

    Whatever happened to Mcgrath's prediction - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/other_international/australia/8137558.stm

  • Comment number 99.

    Great win, but can't agree about Strauss' captaincy. The only valid comparison with Brearley is they both played for Middlesex. Ponting's captaincy was poorer than Strauss, that's all you can really say. But is was enough to win, which is all that matters.

    Incidentally, the Lord Brocket reference might be unfortunate. Brocket is a playboy aristocrat who did time for insurance fraud!

  • Comment number 100.

    @ 2 Seems to me that one of Collingwood, Bell or Bopara must miss out for South Africa.

    Is it too early to suggest a squad?

    Strauss, Cook, Bell, Bopara, Trott, Pietersen
    Prior, Davies
    Swann, Rashid, Panesar
    Broad, Anderson, Onions, Sidebottom, Harmison
    -----------

    Not a bad effort I shudder though at the inclusion of Harmison, Bell and Panesar - especially Harmison, which I'm almost speachless.

    Bell - decent knock first up, but another capitulation in the 2nd innings. Same old, same old. He'll disappoint and in 12 months we'll be back debating his position. Trott has proven there are talented batsmen around, so we don't need to pick from the 'recall club'.

    We need cover at 1/2 so I'd go with one of Hildreth, Key, Carberry.

    NO to Harmison. I'm aghast at this choice. A few late wickets and he's the messiah. Whatever next... arise Sir Steve - remember Headingley and wickets at 50 apiece in tests over the last 4 years doesn't deserve a place. He's well past it. Good-bye.

    And no to Panesar. A handful of wickets at 70 odd this summer doesn't deserve a recall. Why should we reward failure? Give Rashid a chance and add an extra pace bowler.

    I might be tempted with eiother Plunkett or Mahmood. Yes, shock, horror - both were cast into the test arena too early and unfairly and weren't shown the same linency as Broad when they bowled poorly. If a few years county cricker has taught line and lenght then they deserve supporting.

    Chris Read is a better keeper than Davies and also Prior. He deserves a place as back-up to Prior after another good season with both bat and gloves, and moreover for being so harshly treated. Why wasn't he afforded the same chances as Bell, Strauss, Harmison et al? Probably beacause he wasn't part of 'the club.'

    There should be no awards or knighthoods. Only 3/4 of the team played well, most of the others were passengers - Bell, Collingwood, Cook etc. Furthermore, we can't reward for the disgraceful performance at Headingley. The series was very entertaining and great to follow, but let's be honest quite a bit of the cricket was poor quality.

 

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