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How the Ashes were won

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Tom Fordyce | 11:00 UK time, Friday, 7 January 2011

Sydney, New South Wales

Three innings victories. The highest total ever scored on Australian soil. A 3-1 series win that left Australia on their knees.

We all know the happy facts. But what were the key reasons behind England's remarkable Ashes triumph of 2010-11?

Graeme Swann plants a celebratory smacker on James Anderson after the victory in Sydney - photo: PA

PROPER PREPARATION

Four years ago, England played almost no first-class cricket before the first Test at the Gabba. This time around, they played two three-day games and one four-day fixture and took them all extremely seriously. The Test batsman played all three; the first-choice bowlers played the first two and then travelled to Brisbane to acclimatise while the reserve bowlers, including Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan, honed their skills.

When England arrived down under, Australia were doing things rather differently - playing one-day cricket against Sri Lanka. They began the Test series with several players unfit (Doug Bollinger, Ryan Harris) and were playing catch-up from then on.

SUPER SELECTIONS
England's picks came off every time. Both Tremlett and Bresnan attracted criticism when originally selected for the touring party, but both played pivotal roles in the eventual triumph: Tremlett took 17 wickets in his three matches, Bresnan 11 in his two. Steven Finn had been England's leading wicket-taker when he was rested after Perth, but the decision to leave him out proved to be correct.

Australia's selectors proved an unmitigated disaster. Overly influenced by the marketing department, they named their initial squad 10 days before the first Test and so had to list 17 players, more than England's entire touring party.

Xavier Doherty bombed; Bollinger was picked when unfit and, in his captain's words "hit the wall"; Phillip Hughes got the nod despite woeful domestic form and continued in exactly the same vein; Steve Smith was never a Test number six and the all-pace attack was found horribly wanting in Melbourne.

CONTRASTING CAPTAINS
Once the nightmare of that first over duck in Brisbane was out of the way, almost everything Andrew Strauss tried worked out. His field placings were solid, his bowling plans spot on; with the bat he averaged over 40.

Ricky Ponting? He had his worst series in memory, hapless with the bat, fidgety in the field and unable to arrest his side's alarming decline.

"Ponting needed to score runs," says former England skipper and now Test Match Special summariser Michael Vaughan. "You get to the stage as a captain when you're under pressure that you start looking at too many other areas - you start looking at your PR, how the media are treating you - when fundamentally you just need to score runs.

"Ponting didn't. If he had scored his usual runs and averaged, say, 50, Australia would have had something for their bowlers to aim at. Their bowlers have been criticised a lot, but it's their top six that just hasn't worked on pitches that have been good, and Ponting should have been their leading light."

TACTICAL TRIUMPHS
England bowled to carefully worked out plans devised by coach Andy Flower and bowling coach David Saker, based on hours of video footage and laptop analysis. They then had the skill to implement those plans.

Australia seemed unable to identify English weaknesses; they targeted Jonathan Trott's body in Melbourne, allowing him to score 80% of his runs through the leg side, and then fed Matt Prior outside off stump during his rapid-fire century in Sydney.

"For Peter Siddle not to bowl one ball round the wicket at Alastair Cook in the fifth Test, when he scored 189, is scandalous," says Vaughan.

"The result in Perth didn't actually help them. It made them produce a green wicket in Melbourne, and England's bowlers destroyed them. If they'd produced a normal wicket in Melbourne and given their batsmen a chance to get 400 in the first innings, they may have had a chance. That's an example of the sort of error England just didn't make."

RUNS ON THE BOARD
England decided before the series began that their best bet was to use scoreboard pressure to attack Australia. They delivered.

Cook scored more runs in a Test series than all but one man in history, the team compiled two of their biggest ever innings scores, and a new series record of nine centuries were scored.

The opposition? "Australia only scored 400 once in the series," says Vaughan. "Not one of their top four batsmen scored a century, the first time that has happened since 1956. They've been outclassed."

BOWLING BRILLIANCE
England's attack was supposed to struggle with the Kookaburra ball on Australian pitches. Instead, it dominated. With the invaluable inside knowledge of Victoria-born Saker, the fast bowlers found conventional swing early on and reverse-swing much earlier - and to a much greater extent - than any touring England team had ever done before. When the ball wasn't moving around, their relentless accuracy squeezed the life out the Aussie top order.

James Anderson's 24 wickets was the best haul achieved in Australia by an English bowler since Frank Tyson in the 1950s. Tremlett took 17 in three, Finn 16 from the same number and Bresnan 11 from two. With the exception of Perth, Australia's best just couldn't get close.

PERFECT PAIRS
England's batsmen produced 11 century partnerships. Australia produced four.
With the ball it was the same one-sided story. There was rarely a loose end when England were bowling, the bowlers hunting in pairs to leave the opposition no room to relax, but when Australia bowled, relief was always at hand.

Never was this more obvious than in Adelaide, where Harris's hard work was wasted as Doherty and Bollinger were punished at the other end.

Richard Halsall (right) has turned England into a brilliant fielding unit - photo: Getty

CATCHES WIN MATCHES
This is undoubtedly the best England fielding side of all time, and specialist coach Richard Halsall deserves enormous praise. Collingwood took nine catches in the series, Strauss eight, Swann six, far more than managed by any Australian.

It wasn't just the number of catches either, although those were remarkable; barely any went down, and the best (Collingwood off Ponting in Perth, Strauss off the same man in Adelaide) were outstanding. England pulled off four run-outs, two of them from a man - Trott - who no-one would have had down as an ace arm, and dived and chased relentlessly.

Australia not only dropped catches (Johnson off Strauss in Brisbane the most costly) but even failed to touch them (Haddin and Watson off Strauss in Perth). They missed at least four clear run-out chances and then ran between the wickets themselves like amateurs.

In their past 11 Tests they have conceded 10 run-outs and made just four. Once the world's premier fielding unit, they are now among the weakest.

SWANN VS THE REST

Graeme Swann took 15 wickets on pitches that have broken lesser finger spinners. He did so with an economy rate of 2.72 runs an over. Australia's spinners (Doherty, Beer, North and Smith) between them took five wickets at a cost of 666 runs, beastly numbers indeed.

"When Swann has had the conditions that allow spin, he's taken wickets," says Vaughan. "When he hasn't, he has blocked an end up so the pace bowlers can all have a rest.

"Look at Adelaide. That was a massive game. Without his wickets and with that weather coming in, England would have drawn that game. They would have lost at the Waca, gone 1-0 down and then had to win the last two matches. It wouldn't have happened."

THE TEAM GAME

Every England player contributed in at least one match. They make up four of the five leading wicket-takers, have seven of the top nine individual scores and all three of the top catchers.

"Cook got man of the series, but you could pick out three or four guys," says Vaughan. "Anderson has been brilliant; Tremlett coming in has played a massive role, and Prior has been up there too. Trott at three has been great. That's what happens in good teams - someone always sticks their hand up, but it's not always the same person."

THE SIMPLE TRUTH

"The better team won," says Vaughan. "England have simply got better players.
"They're a 40% better cricket team. They think better, they play better, they have better players and better coaches.

"Australia are in denial. Until they actually realise what a poor state they're in, they're in trouble. It'll take them a while to improve as it is, but until they openly admit they need to make changes, they will struggle."

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Spot on Tom! What a great night! How do you think we'll approach the 20-20 and one dayers? Will the collective foot be off the gas and let the Aussies back in, similar to 4 years ago, but in reverse? Hope not - let's go all out to win all forms of the game. Keep up the pressure! :))))

  • Comment number 2.

    "Cook scored more runs in a Test series than all but one man in history".

    I assume you mean to say Cook scored more runs in a Test series for England than all but one man in history.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great Blog again tom, very well made points, just how much england dominated. be interesting what papa is gonna say about this, surely 3 lucky england wins who would have won by 2 innings had colly and swann not been in the team ..... anyway congratulations england! you deserve every bit of praise

  • Comment number 4.

    Although I agee with almost everything you've written Tom ( and thanx BTW for some great blogs over the last few weeks), before we all get carried away, this England side is very good, BUT probably not as good as is currently being made out (Ditto for the Aussies; they are probably not as bad as their media claim)
    One of the reasons England won was because they put so much preparation and effort in winning the Ashes, because, well because it was THE ASHES, which is really English cricket's world cup.
    Let's judge this team after a few more non-Ashes series, esp. the one against India later this year

  • Comment number 5.

    Triumph for proper preparation. No more of these utterly pointless two-day 13 a-side 'warm-up' games. Throwback to slightly olden times I guess in playing the state sides in proper first-class matches. Flower strikes me as having something of the military about him in his approach and the whole team and set-up are 100% better for it. Great example of team togetherness shown throughout the tour.

  • Comment number 6.

    Brilliant, just brilliant!. I'm trying to work out which Ashes series victory has been the best, was it 1981? 1987? 2005? or this one. I can't make up my mind. We should just enjoy this for a long time.!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    The only factor missing from the above list, which I think had an enormous impact on the outcome, is the mental ruthlessness of England. Said this before (so sorry) but not attending that gala luncheon during the warm up games was pure Steve Waugh (there may be other reasons why the team didn't attend; the effect is what concerns me). For me, this was England's answer to the Big Ben prank. And it sent the message out.

    Some of England's sledging got a little carried away at times, but it caught Australia surprise. They wasted mental energy whining about it.

    These aren't decisive factors but I think they're conspicuos ones.

  • Comment number 8.

    #4. Agree with you slightly about the aussies but I'd say that the media would have been spot on if they said this is the worst aussie performance ever. It clearly was. One of the pundits on sky said a team with Ponting, one of the worlds greatest ever batsmen in can't be the worst XI ever. Well I'd say if he averages 21 and is questioned left, right and centre over his feild settings then yes you can.
    Simply cannot wait for our bowlers to get the real test against India and see how they do. I also wonder what the first choice seemers would like now? would Tremlett beat Finn to it? Broad Vs Bresnan? Would be a shame if Finn couldn't get the experience he needs because her could be an absolute world beater in 5 years where as Tremlett might retire then, but performance wise I wouldn't want to choose.

  • Comment number 9.

    No 3.
    Using my alter ego I must reiterate that England have been lucky. If they hadn't scored more runs and taken more wickets than Australia they wouldn't have won.
    Cook has proved that he should have been dropped before the series, Trott's runs shouldn't have counted as he's South African, Petersen's runs shouldn't have counted as he scored more than 200 at one go, Strauss's captaincy was ineffective making too many bowling changes that didn't take a wicket immediately and as for his field placings, several Australians were allowed to get up to 15 runs.
    I see no hope for England with this set up. They need to return to the good old days of Gentlemen v Players. Must go as it's time for my medication.
    All my love
    Papa Shango

  • Comment number 10.

    And how outrageously lucky was Ashley Kerekes!!!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    #4. Why can't we just bask in the glory of a great performance against the aussies, rather than look ahead to India? Why not judge the England team now after some great performances? Try and enjoy it at least! Lets get carried away! We are, as this series proves, currently a pretty good team.

  • Comment number 12.

    Reading this has made the hairs on the back of my neck stick out. I'm so unbelievably proud of this England Team and their performances in Australia. Lets not get carried away though - to be No1 is the aim. India in the summer will be a sterner test.

    I agree with Vaughany on Australia - they're kidding themselves if they think that team has potential, they need a re-think!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Another great blog Tom. I think much has been made of the fruitless Aussia bowling attack, which failed to do much other than in perth, but you're very right to question the Aussie batting line up. Remove Hussey, and they've been very poor indeed. Without having any meaningful targets to aim at, the bowlers were under more pressure than they should have been. They would have struggled anyway, but without having any batting back up they struggled even more than they would have.

    In all honesty, every thing you mention in the blog is spot on. The difference in captains, in the field and in squad harmony all worked out in Englnad's favour, and by a very large amount. It really was england's to lose throughout most of the series.

    I do agree with some who say England's brilliance is being overhyped because they were facing a poor Australian side, but they could only beat the team they faced on the day, which they did more oftne than not. They may have been against poor opposition, but they beat them emphatically which shows that they are a very good side. If they wer emerely average they'd have struggled a lot more than they did. Time will tell just how great we are, when we face the likes of India and South Africa, and i for one cannot wait. I think we'll prove more than equal with them.

  • Comment number 14.

    Nice blog Tom - now that the Ashes are done are you planning to do the same for Wimbledon?

    I think the biggest factor, as you mentioned above, was the sheer pressure that we exerted by scoring big, big runs, the Aussies were always chasing just to keep level - let alone applying their own pressure.

    Also, I think the 'Sarcastic posts pretending that PSAR's views are sound' has been done to an absolute death now boys?...let's move on and not give him anymore airtime

  • Comment number 15.

    Papa Shango is always right " Where are you now ?"

  • Comment number 16.

    #11 I would say that the team has already been looking ahead to India in the summer. You don't have that kind of preparation for one series and then forget about it.

    The work has probably already begun behind the scenes, and what this Ashes win does is provide an extra lift to the players. You can't say England are or are not the best team in the world, until they play the current incumbents. English cricket is set for some interesting and exciting times ahead...

  • Comment number 17.

    Good analysis - agree with just about all of it. Being a pedant though, did Strauss catch Ponting in Adelaide? I think you mean Swann...?
    On a serious note, the catching was absolutely superb all the way through - what a difference from the 90s, when Englan's fielding, particularly in the slips, was anything but reliable! What can it be down to? Simply having better fielders? More practice? Better coaching? Or simply a more determined, focused, ruthless atitude?

  • Comment number 18.

    re 11
    Yes, let's bask toiday, but tomorrow we must sober up.
    BTW I actually think we will still feel pretty good tomorrow, but as a nation we must learn not to get carried away when we win something, and not get hysterical when we don't, which unfortuantely is exactly what happens in the tabloid press.

  • Comment number 19.

    I've thoroughly enjoyed watching these Ashes although I'm looking forward to getting back to a normal sleep pattern and not dropping off at work in the afternoon!

    England have been fantastic and we should enjoy this as 24 years of pain is a long time. I remember watching the 85 and 86/87 series' and then having to endure the Warne/McGrath years and wondering when we'd ever beat them again!

    I hope England don't miss Colly too much in the forthcoming tests as I believe he contributed far more to the team than just his batting and catching. You can tell from the other players comments that he is important to the dressing room and there was an interesting feature which said he was one of three players that "look after" the ball during a match.

    Well done England!

  • Comment number 20.

    Simple stunning! The whole squad and backroom staff should be immensely proud of their achievement.

    Cook was brilliant with the bat but James Anderson deserved man of the series for me. Bowling is tough in Australia and it's the bowlers who win you the game.

    Anderson took 24 wickets, the highest amount for more than 50 years for an Englishmen down under, at 26 and an economy rate of less than 3. Anywhere that is amazing stats but in Australia it's just incredible.

    England - you have done your nation proud. http://jamesheneghan.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 21.

    Where's the Aussie finger? Where's the flags?

  • Comment number 22.

    I am a very happy man. Surely the most complete England performance in my adult lifetime. Well done to players, coaches and management team.

    I look forward to seeing the Indians come over in the Summer and see if they can score runs on pitches that are not so batsmen friendly as on the sub-continent (I suspect they will).

    Finally, to play devil's advocate for a moment: it could all be down to luck as all batsman have lean spells and good spells and it could be just fortunate that our batsmen peaked as their batsmen hit lean times. Judged over the course of their careers Clarke, Ponting, Hussey, O'Doherty and possible Katich and Watson would all get into the England team. That is the reason that all the pundits thought that this was going to be a close series. (OK, I don't believe this either: especially as Ponting is at the end of his career and Trott is in the early prime of his)

  • Comment number 23.

    9. At 12:56pm on 07 Jan 2011, John of Burgundy wrote:
    No 3.
    Using my alter ego I must reiterate that England have been lucky. If they hadn't scored more runs and taken more wickets than Australia they wouldn't have won.

    ------

    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the point of cricket to score more runs and take more wickets than the opposition? Hopefully you were being ironic but it really didn't read that way!

  • Comment number 24.

    23 - yes I suspect he was being ironic. I think he's one of the many papa shango 'tribute' posters. But these days I'm no longer sure who is being serious and who isn't! Will the real papa shango please stand up (and then admit you have been far from 'always right', but more like always wrong)???

  • Comment number 25.

    Well played England,

    Totally outclassed us the whole series. Bowlers were/are far superior and batsmen played very well.

    Before the series I thought this would be a close series but it clearly was not. Now I don't want to take anything away from Englands performance as they were outstanding, but have to agree with Vaughn, Australia are poor and alot of changes need to be made to the team and setup of CA.

    Still think India and SA are ahead of England at the moment but England are certainly on the way up and this win can only build their confidence further

  • Comment number 26.

    @15, I believe our favourite troll may have been terminally moderated, a deserved fate!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Spot on with the analysis of the gulf between the two sides. Here's another illustration of it... England averaged 51.1 runs per wicket while Oz could only manage 28.9. By comparison, when Bangladesh toured last summer the equivalent figures were 49.4 (Eng) to 25.1 (Bangla). Not a huge difference really...

    Oz are of course nowhere near as bad as Bangladesh. Not yet anyway: they need urgent action if their decline isn't going to resemble the Windies after about 1997. In that sense this result is probably a blessing in disguise: 2-2 or even perhaps a battling draw for 2-1 would have let them continue to paper over the cracks that have been appearing for some time, and are now gaping holes.

    Having said that if Andrew Hilditch really does think that there was nothing wrong with the selections then he needs to find something else to do, and soon. All they got right was picking Hussey despite his poor pre-series form. He and Watson, Haddin and Siddle are the only ones to come out of this shambles with any credibility at all.

    As for England (and as a confirmed neutral) I'm absolutely staggered. 3 away Tests of almost total dominance and almost flawless batting, bowling and fielding can't be put down to the low quality of the opposition. Nor can you just say it was Cook and Anderson plus support. There's something about this team as a unit that makes you think that they're going to be near the top of the tree for a good while, and whoever's in the final XI. India this summer should be a treat.

  • Comment number 28.

    well done England

    what could the England football team learn from the cricketers, or would they just find the time spent in hotels too much to cope with?

  • Comment number 29.

    Another thought - lets hope that the hierachy give some time off to Andy Flower and the back room team. They deserve and need it as much as the players given the hours of preparation they have all put in.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi, this is my first post on here. I know it's a bit late in the day to sign up, but WAHAY! WHAT A SERIES THAT WAS!
    ......*ahem* excuse me.......

  • Comment number 31.

    23 +24. ps was winding you all up from the start which is why he was so funny.
    Re India and SA, the entire team has been constantly saying that this is just the start.
    No. 1 position in the world is their aim.
    So good to have a captain and team that WANTS to win, not just turn up and hope for the best.
    Perhaps if we could have the same attitude throughout English society we could achieve what we are told we are.

  • Comment number 32.

    I would venture that never in the field of English cricket was so much owed by so many to so few. Well not in my memory anyway...

  • Comment number 33.

    He bowls to the left
    He bowls to the right
    That Mitchell Johnson
    His bowling is $#!7@

    Best song from the Barmy Army

  • Comment number 34.

    #33
    $#!7@ = slightly askew?

  • Comment number 35.

    I am already looking forward to the 4-test India series in Summer. If we win that one, we will probably be #1. I think we can do it, and do it quite easily. Here's why :

    1.Matches will be played on English pitches in seaming conditions. England have the best quick bowling attack in the world. Indian batsmen hate that - facing quality seam bowlers on helpful tracks is not exactly their forte. Their opener Sehwag for instance are sitting ducks for Anderson and Co. So also Dhoni - who has very poor technique. Dravid is too old and not half as good as he was. Their young batsmen are quite useless, only good for 20/20 style slogging. Tendulkar and Laxman are the only 2 decent batsmen India have got who can succeed in England.

    2. Indian attack is toothless and completely harmless with the exception of Zaheer Khan. Their young "fast" bowlers like Sreesanth and Sharma are not by any means fast.Slightly quicker than Collingwood thats all.Even Zaheer has lost a lot of pace and only bowls at 125-130 kmh. Harbhajan, their only quality spinner, will be completely ineffective in English conditions.

    3.Is it not amazing that a country of 1 billion passionate cricket fans cannot produce even 1 bowler who can bowl faster than 135 kmh ? Its incredible how slow Indian "fast" bowlers are. Cook, Pietersen and co. should get heaps of runs against this
    attack. Expect atleast 3 innings wins in the 4 tests we play against them. English bowlers will dismiss Indians cheaply every time, with token resistance from Laxman, Tendulkar, and English batsman will put of scores of 500-600 on a consistent basis.

    4. Indian fans should not harp on their win in 2007 in England. It was just an aberration as the English team of 2007 and that of 2011 are totally different. Anderson was quite average then, but today he is lethal, probably the best in the world. Others like Tremlett, Bresnan, Finn are quite brilliant as well.

    All in all , easy pickings for England.

  • Comment number 36.

    In fact even Sri Lanka will be a tougher proposition than India. Indians put a lot of money into their cricket (just as we do on football), and so they tend to over hype and overrate their cricketers, who really are not nearly as good as they think they are, or their fans think they are.

  • Comment number 37.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEY8bK1UyEM&NR=1

    that mitchell johnson song in all its glory - gets going at 48secs in

    need sound to appreciate it

    Enjoy..!

  • Comment number 38.

    Now it's over I thought I would just find some classic PSAR predictions:



    At 1:48pm on 07 Dec 2010, papa shango always right wrote:
    Lee fett, Aussies will win the series 3-1. We have peaked & will continue to carry players for the rest of the winter.

    WRONG WRONG WRONG

    And again:

    139. At 3:04pm on 07 Dec 2010, papa shango always right wrote:
    Swann took out more tail enders than proper batsmen. Thats a cheap five for. Even Finn has admitted he has bowled tripe, do you require more of a fact? Australia beat themselves & with time off & so many players coming back into form they will waltz the last 3 tests.

    Broad is a huge miss, and Collingwood should be carrying drinks.

    Again:


    2. At 09:51am on 25 Nov 2010, papa shango always right wrote:
    Collingwood fails AGAIN, quite how this man has played test cricket is beyond me!! Saw enough of Swann bowling to see his test career is going downhill from here!! England lost the ashes on the 1st day at the Gabba. Big changes needed to get us ready for 2013.

    And again:

    8. At 09:12am on 24 Nov 2010, papa shango always right wrote:
    Don't think we have the players to win in Oz. If our 4 big players, KP, Bell, Broad & Trott can fire then we have a sniff. But Swann can't continue to over perform & carrying the likes of Cook, Collingwood & Anderson will prove costly. We need a brave captain. Strauss is too cautious.

    Yet another:

    23. At 6:35pm on 22 Nov 2010, papa shango always right wrote:
    Did I say they had better spinners? No. Trying reading what I wrote you dry lunch, we won't take 20 wickets with our powder puff attack. Broad is carrying county trundlers.



    Great cricketing knowledge there Papa!

  • Comment number 39.

    Check out my Ashes ratings at http://jackbradshaw.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 40.

    Bad-Mick-Very-Good.

    James, son, let it lie.....

  • Comment number 41.

    Great blog Jack! Check out mine: http://jamesheneghan.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 42.

    Great article! Particularly impressive sledge by suggesting that only England's players count as being men.

    I really hope that Ponting doesn't lose the captaincy after this series; he's given us so much entertainment these past 5-6 years. His exploits during this series include 3 of my top 7 Ashes moments of all time, and that is surely a fantastic achievement.

    1. Ponting run out (Pratt) 0 (then rants at Duncan Fletcher)
    2. Bradman b Hollis 0 (and Keith Miller's reaction)
    3. Ponting claiming to have caught Cook at Brisbane
    4. Beefy Leeds '81
    5. Ponting argues with Aleem Dar for 8 minutes
    6. Larwood attempts heart surgery
    7. Ponting whinges about England players sledging

  • Comment number 43.

    This is good as it gets. The team may well get to number 1 in some daft ICC table but horsing Australia in Australia means the most. I bet Watson and Pup long for the days when they used to piggyback on the back on 2 of the best bowlers the world has ever seen.

  • Comment number 44.

    @43. Watson piggybacking??? Might I suggest you see how many tests he actually played with the guys you mentioned?!

  • Comment number 45.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 46.

    Who are the 3 players you would drop? Collingwood is gone, who else?

  • Comment number 47.

    I find it interesting that some people think England are still behind South Africa. It was just over a year ago that we drew the series in South Africa with an identical team except we had the very talented Onions instead of the very talented Finn / Tremlett. Since then, England have become a better unit and have more self belief and discipline.

    I am highly optimistic and very much looking forward to the forthcoming series against India. Good times :)

  • Comment number 48.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 49.

    England last 7 series results since the tour of the Windies in '09 reads as follows:

    Australia (a) W 3-1
    Pakistan (h) W 3-1
    Bangladesh (h) W 2-0
    Bangladesh (h) W 2-0
    South Africa (a) D 1-1
    Australia (h) W 2-1
    West Indies (h) W 2-0

    England are only heading in one direction, and are playing the best they have been in all that time. Every batsman has delivered with one exception, Colly, who is retiring, while every single bowler to a man has delivered. Matt Prior is up there now as one of the best wicket keepers in the world. Behind the stumps he is brilliant. Everything has fallen into place for England right now, and the team is supplemented by outstanding back ups. Before the series Trem and Bres were back up bowlers, but now you'd say they wouldn't look out of place starting matches. I can certainly foresee these two and the likes of Shahzad playing a lot more games in the coming few years, along with Broad, Finn and possibly Onions when he returns, beside Anderson and Swann.

    As for a replacement for Colly, Morgan is the obvious choice. His only taste of test cricket has come in the bowler friendly conditions of last summer, so it's obvious that he has a lot more to offer. While Bopara may be a useful option to come in at 6 or 7 while Bell and Prior move up the order as he can be a useful bowler too, like Colly.

    Basically, everything is looking good and bring on the World Cup and Sri Lanka and India this summer. We could be world number 1 by the end of the year.

  • Comment number 50.

    Well, you'd clearly need to get rid of the best spinner in the world.....

  • Comment number 51.

    What a fantastic display by our lads , I have just pre-ordered the ashes 2010-2011 Complete collection it is due out on february 28th and i am sure many will buy it , for 39.99 pounds a complete steal . I bought it from the sky sports dvd store and am so looking forward to it .again wtg lads outstanding .I will be the first Geordie in Canada to own it lol

  • Comment number 52.

    Papa: Prior has been brilliant on this tour and Swann took 15 on (as you just said yourself) flat pitches!

    Morgan in for Colly and this team will become number 1

  • Comment number 53.

    #51
    Will it be available from all leading retailers? Crass!

  • Comment number 54.

    Fantastic result - and still this team can (and hopefully will) improve. Totally agree with your key factors in this success Tom, but would also give a little shout out to the travelling fans who must have raised the English spirits with their support whilst getting under the skin of the aussies. I almost felt sorry for Mitchell Johnson, but then as undeniably the worst bowler on show (apart from one match) coupled with his arrogant remarks ahead of the series, I think he probably deserved it.

  • Comment number 55.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 56.

    I would love to see Rashid in the side because he is extremely talented and will ad strength to the bat. But there is no way you can take Swann out for him.

    Warne said himself that Swann if the best spin bowler in the world and he knows more about spin bowling than you. Also he is ranked above any other spin bowler in the ICC rankings. FACT

    Prior has yet again proved himself with bat and gloves. By far the best keeper/batsmen England have had in a while.

  • Comment number 57.

    I would love to see Rashid in the side because he is extremely talented and will add strength to the batting. But there is no way you can take Swann out for him.

    Warne said himself that Swann is the best spin bowler in the world and he knows more about spin bowling than you. Also he is ranked above any other spin bowler in the ICC rankings. FACT

    Prior has yet again proved himself with bat and gloves. By far the best keeper/batsmen England have had in a while.

  • Comment number 58.

    Spot on again Tom, thanks for the articles to accompany what has been a truely brilliant series (from an English perspective). I would like to add professionalism to the list of why we won, the whole team focused solely on winning each game as it came. Very unlike the England teams we're used to! Anyway hope the team can continue the momentum in the T20 and ODI's, very much looking forward to the Sri Lanka and India tests in the summer i genuinly think the England test team is a very strong candidate for a world number 1 ranking with the current squad?!

  • Comment number 59.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 60.

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

  • Comment number 61.

    Brilliant performance and a good analysis. However Tom repeats an error that has appeared in several BBC comments on the series- that Anderson's 24 wickets was the best haul achieved in Australia by an English bowler since Frank Tyson in the 1950s. Jimmy bowled exceptionally well - a true leader of the pack- but his wicket haul was not the best since Tyson. John Snow took 31 wickets to spearhead England's 1970-71 series win-- the highest by an English bowler since Larwood took 33 in the Bodyline Tour of 1932-33.

  • Comment number 62.

    Tom, how long do we have to wait for the player ratings? Match and series please.

  • Comment number 63.

    Swann & Flower both displayed a good reserved attitude. By all means enjoy the moment but this achievement is only a fraction of the task in hand. This England cricket team and its core nucleus have a genuine chance of becoming the number one team in the world in all forms of cricket... Test, ODI & Twenty20.

  • Comment number 64.

    Michael Vaughan reckons rather conservatively that "England are a 40% better cricket team" than Australia - and that, after three innings victories in the series.
    All I can say is, it's a good job for the Aussies that they were not 100% better !!

  • Comment number 65.

    Just a thought about the next test line up, who would you choose instead of Collingwood, if Broad is fit do you pick him instead of Bresnan, do you play Morgan or do you keep the same bowling unit. If I was a selector, assuming everyone possible is fit, my side would read
    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Bell
    Prior
    Broad
    Bresnan
    Swann
    Tremlett
    Anderson

    After the Ashes Tremlett has pushed himself ahead of Finn and Collingwood retirement has made it easier for Bresnan to keep his place, but will the selectors change a habit of 4 bowlers especially when we have India at home next summer as well as Sri Lanka?

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.

    Great blog once again TOm many thanks.

    Thourougly enjoyed watching the climax and the celebrations last night/ this morning.

    Interesting times ahead with India here for the summer which will show the real state of Eng/Wales cricket.

    Despite being Irish not sure Morgan is the man to come in at 6 in the test side, Lyth, Hidreth or even Woakes may be better long term options.

    And James, Paul etc Please DO NOT feed the troll

  • Comment number 68.

    As a kiddy growing up, I always wondered what it must have been like beating Australia. Up to 2005, all I had ever known was Australia hammering England.

    I hope this savage thrashing wakes the aussies up, ready for Ashes 2013. Otherwise, things could get much worse before they get better for the Australians

  • Comment number 69.

    Great,great win for england. Also it was very good to see how much it meant for the england players to win the matches and the thanks they gave to the supporters. England footballers should be shown footage of this victory before future tournaments so they know what it means to be representing your country at sport. People have given players like troot and pietersn stick for their south african background but they have shown far more respect for the england badge than players like rooney ever have.

  • Comment number 70.

    I think preparation and mental toughness were prime factors in this outstanding victory. From the moment a po-faced Strauss was heard saying, "Look! We haven't come here to make up the numbers," you sensed he was a man on a mission. Whenever you heard Andy Flower close down speculative questions, you were convinced he had only one thing in mind - what had to be done next. The players interviewed likewise. A good example was Prior at the end of day four. The interviewer was in celebratory mood, but Prior was not to be drawn. "We need three wickets in the morning.... Then! And only then...!"

    This is the fifth time I've seen England bring home the urn. "Tyson's tour" was exciting, I remember, but I was young then and prone to excitement. These days, despite myself, I do sometimes fall victim to a "been there, seen it, done it" attitude. But not this time! Strauss's tour and England's victory have roused me. Congratulations to all.

  • Comment number 71.

    59. At 2:57pm on 07 Jan 2011, Return_of_THE_Shango wrote:

    I think I know more spin bowling than Warne.
    _______________________________________________________________

    Shango, I absolutely love you. Hilarious.

  • Comment number 72.

    Biggest reason we were so lucky to win (loved that comment) was the coaching staff taking a talented bunch and making them work bloody hard. I think Mr Boycott has mentioned this once or twice - there is no substitute for it.

    Thrilled by the win and the manner of it. Not sure what the Hell I am supposed to watch now.

    Thank you Tom for some very interesting blogs. Good luck in the next venture

  • Comment number 73.

    @#62
    I think the player ratings usually appear 24hrs after the game. Tom's already done a sterling job in knocking out 2 blogs today, I think we had best let the man sleep a little before producing the ratings! But you are right, I want them now!

  • Comment number 74.

    The Australian team's 'Don't forget to pack the urn' projection stunt on Big Ben's clock tower looks a bit foolish now. Perhaps before the boys come home another 'Don't forget to pack the urn' projection with three lions and some red and white would look good on Sydney Opera House?

  • Comment number 75.

    Check out my team of the series at http://jackbradshaw.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 76.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 77.

    59. At 2:57pm on 07 Jan 2011, Return_of_THE_Shango wrote:

    I think I know more spin bowling than Warne.

    _________________________________________________________

    Quality Shango and I don't doubt it, if I was picking a world XI it would be hard to look beyond Bhajji irrespective of the ICC rankings.

    Also - if you're better than Warne can you get me a date with Liz Hurley please? ;-)

  • Comment number 78.

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

  • Comment number 79.

    Ah I didn't know that was your persona - hmm well then I guess it's worrying that you get so much attention from the fellas on blogs here then......!
    As for the team it's a great result, really pleased but still work to do and competition for places is a must to keep driving forward.

  • Comment number 80.

    Now the Ashes are won, I think it is important to focus on becoming the best side in the world, and I think we can do it. This summer has the potential to be the most important in a while for English cricket, but who would you have in your side if you were England's selectors?

    http://bit.ly/gqbq24 - found this worth a read, a good insight into the way the ECB will probably go

  • Comment number 81.

    Thought this might be of interest.
    Ashes Records
    Shango, funny as ever. Jimmy, grow up mate & don't get so sucked in

  • Comment number 82.

    Not sure why my comment was removed because I was just saying you comment about knowing more than Warne was beyond belief.

  • Comment number 83.

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

  • Comment number 84.

    #83
    You shall have a fishy
    On a little dishy
    You shall have the Heneghan
    .....with some of the most rancid bait I've ever seen. lol

  • Comment number 85.

    I love having an argument and can't resist your ludicrous remarks.

    But had enough now

  • Comment number 86.

    Enjoyed the blogs and unfortunately on this occasion I am on the receiving end of the banter with all the English at work!

    One question I do have, didn't John Snow take more wickets than Frank Tyson?

  • Comment number 87.

    James, don't try having a battle of wits with an unarmed ooponent

  • Comment number 88.

    Snow's 31 wickets were in 6 tests. The true record is Anderson, most Ashes wickets in Australia in a 5 test series since Tyson

  • Comment number 89.

    Would anyone who thinks Papa S is being ironic please learn the difference between irony and sarcasm.
    Thanks.

  • Comment number 90.

    One area i think we could improve in is Prior's keeping to Swann (or other spinners). Touring india with two spinners in the side in the future makes this doubly important.

    I'm not taking anything away from the way Prior has improved his glovework and he's clearly a great man to have in the team and a better keeper than Boucher and Dhoni now (though possibly not quite the batsman).

    I do find his close keeping reactions are not quite there though and needs to develop a better spin keeping instinct if England are to aim for perfection and winning in India.

  • Comment number 91.

    @80 - This is a good problem to have (5 bowlers vs 6 batsmen) as we have a number of options and a number of good young batsmen lining up to play at #6 should the selectors continue the 6 batsman/4 bowler policy.

    I would only be comfortable with Matty at #6 and Stu at #7 if they were scoring runs consistently at Test level.

  • Comment number 92.

    ....Logging on after work - still talking about/rising to the bait of PSAR, how interesting zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 93.

    Its been said before but
    England were fantastic, throughout the tour so far they have been focused, professional and better than Australia in every department. Wow that feels good to say.
    Apart from the the way england have played two particularly pleasing aspects of this for me has been the strength in depth England now seem to have and the background work, fitness, planning, fielding etc. I would put these down to the changes Fletcher started when he took over. Since then it has been steady improvement, with the obvious exception of 2006/7 ignored.
    Sad it has to end, can we play them every week??

    To echo other peoples comments surely its about time to ignore the troll. "Don't argue with an idiot, he'll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience."

    Amazing, amazing series, bring on the Indians

  • Comment number 94.

    Can anyone see anything wrong with Mictchel Johnson's bowling action? http://yfrog.com/h7mmxfj

  • Comment number 95.

    @Smudger - 87

    Nearly fell off my chair laughing at that one.

  • Comment number 96.

    @James - 94. Actually did fall off my chair laughing at that one...

  • Comment number 97.

    haha same. Sums it up nicely

  • Comment number 98.

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

  • Comment number 99.

    PS forgot to say how well i think the BBC have covered the series.
    Great blogs, articles and of course TMS. What a shame no terrestrial channels were willing/able to do a proper highlights show. I thought channel 5 had done a decent job over the last few years, whereas ITV's, whatever number, attempt was very poor. D for effort for them.

  • Comment number 100.

    Why was my post removed, Tom?
    Is it breaking house rules to say that your blog is brilliant, but unfortunately Papa Shango ruined much of the discussion with silly comments? Coz I believe that he did. And stand by it.

 

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