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Everyone likes a happy ending

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Tom Fordyce | 08:50 UK time, Thursday, 6 January 2011

Sydney, New South Wales

"The England cricket team cordially requests your presence at a special party, to be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 7 January 2011, in honour of their demolition of the once-great Australian cricket team. Drinks will be served, plenty of them. Dress code: beaming smiles."

Let the old doubts go. Worry no more. At some point on Friday, England will beat Australia by an innings for the third time in four Tests to win the Ashes in utterly dominant fashion. It might well get a little noisy.

It's easy to take moments like this for granted. So many records have been set it's hard to take them all in. Curmudgeons might tell you it's only happening because Australia are so poor; after the thrashings in Adelaide and Melbourne, you might even be feeling a touch blasé.

Don't. These are special times for all England cricket fans. They should be savoured and celebrated, the carping and caveats left for darker days.

Scores are being made that were thought impossible. Wickets are being taken at a pace that shouldn't make logical sense. Scenes are unfolding that those of us lucky enough to witness are likely to be gushing about for years.

Four years ago at this ground, on the same day in the same month, England were being bowled out for 147 to seal an Ashes capitulation that could not have been more brutal or absolute. They were a shambles, a rudderless ship broken on the rocks and pulled apart by gleeful wreckers.

Not this time. As the shadows from the old green-roofed Members' Pavilion stretched across the outfield on Wednesday evening, Australia were reduced to 213-7, still 151 runs adrift of England's mammoth 644, their best players slumped in the home dressing-room and the entire ground awash with the celebratory songs of the travelling hordes.

James Anderson is mobbed after striking in Australia's second innings

England are just three wickets away from a crushing Ashes victory over Australia. Photo: Reuters

If that image doesn't do it for you, let's sample some of the stats. England's total was the highest they have ever made in Australia, bigger than the 636 compiled in the timeless Test here 82 years ago.

Their last five wickets alone put on 418, a new English record; it was the first time in Test history that the sixth, seventh and eighth-wicket partnerships have all produced 100 runs.

The tourists have now scored nine centuries in the series, more than they've ever achieved before in the Ashes, become only the third team in history to total more than 500 four times in a Test series and had Australia toiling in the field for more than 800 overs.

England's batsmen have made so much hay they could feed the field of the Grand National.

On Thursday it was Matt Prior's turn to harvest the runs, but Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann reaped full benefit too. The England supporters here in their thousands thought that was fun, but that was before Australia started batting.

The pitch is flat. You don't total 644 if it's a spitting turner. For Australia to then lose seven wickets for 171 said everything about the gulf in class and confidence between these two sides.

Having found it almost impossible to get an England wicket, Australia found new and remarkable ways to give theirs away.

Shane Watson has never been the most reliable between the wickets. His calling had already contributed to the run-outs of Simon Katich in the first over at Adelaide and Phillip Hughes in Melbourne, but those were by mere feet. This was the entire length of the pitch.

The expression on Watson's face summed up Australia's series: disbelief, pain, embarrassment. A few hours later, Mitchell Johnson was making the same slow journey from wicket to pavilion, gone for a golden duck in such ignominious circumstances that it felt rude to watch.

Johnson has been tormented by the Barmy Army throughout the series, that rather naughty song about his bowling echoing round the rafters from MCG to SCG. "We want Mitch!" they chanted as he walked to the crease, chin on chest, eyes downcast.

You could almost smell the bloodlust. When Chris Tremlett trampled his stumps a second later, the roof almost came off the Victor Trumper Stand.

Always a downbeat character, a maudlin look never far from his face, Johnson has undergone a prolonged character demolition in the last six weeks. You think he'd be kicking himself, but with his accuracy he'd probably miss.

Johnson will be back to fight again. One man who won't be is Paul Collingwood, who announced his retirement from Test cricket before play had begun.

Collingwood has endured a difficult series with the bat. But the news of his departure still brought a warm reaction from those who have watched him battle his heart out for England over the past six years.

As several people pointed out, if it hadn't been for his innings in Cardiff in 2009, England would now be regaining the Ashes rather than simply retaining them.

"I've never bought into that whole 'he doesn't have much talent' thing - it's a load of old nonsense," says Michael Vaughan, once Collingwood's England captain and now an expert summariser for Test Match Special.

"Anyone who can field like he can, bat like he can and bowl like he can has got a hell of a lot of talent.

"I think it's the manner in which he scores his runs that doesn't look as easy as some, but talent is more in the head than just your arms or legs moving, and in the head he has as much talent as anyone. Colly has tremendous mental strength.

"I'm glad he's going out in his own way. He's made his decision, and as much as part of him might want to be playing in the next Test, he goes out with another Ashes series victory, and it'll be a 3-1 victory too. He can go on to play one-day cricket while looking back and saying, 'I won three Ashes series'. Not many Englishmen can say that, particularly over the last 30 years.

"The one stat in cricket that no-one knows is how many runs he saves in the field every innings. He averages 40 with the bat, but I bet he saves at least 15 runs an innings with his fielding. And with all those wonderful catches he's taken that others wouldn't have, how many runs has he prevented batsmen going on to get?

"Then there's his attitude and positivity around the team. It's added so much to the team and the match positions it's been able to put itself in.

"In a group of very good fielders, he's led this team to go and get even better and better. He's set the bar so high, and the rest now aspire to that standard.

"His double-century against an Australian attack featuring Warne and McGrath was a fantastic innings. Cardiff last summer is right up there, as well as his hundred against South Africa in 2008, my last Test in charge. His career was extended because of that.

"What people don't realise is that he's been dogged by a lot of injuries down the years. There's always something wrong with his body - his back, his knees, ice-packs all over his hamstrings - he's always on the physio's couch or being massaged.

"He'll be missed by this team, because he's been a key tactician for Andrew Strauss. He's very clever on the game, and he does a lot of England's thinking. When they got Usman Khawaja on the sweep in the first innings, it was Colly who suggested bringing square leg up to tempt him. I'd be amazed if he doesn't make a great coach at some stage."

Collingwood is rumoured to be leading the England team onto the field on the final day of this Test. There have been worse ways to leave the old office.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks Tom for another great article. Let's finish early tomorrow and celebrate.

    Come on England!

  • Comment number 2.

    And goodbye to Colly - you did us proud, great job, remember seeing you at the MCG 4 years ago when you smashed the Aussies for 120 and set us on the route to win the CB series - outstanding player, pure class.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well done England on another fine performance. As for Colly, he may not have been a batting genius like a Compton or a ferocious fast bowler like a Lillee, but he was a fielder like a Collingwood. There have been few if any better fielders in the game, some will spout Rhodes as an example, but was he really better, no I don't think. He worked hard at his batting and finishes his test career with an average above 40. An average many respected test batsmen failed to achieve especially Englishmen in recent times, Hussein and Atherton for example. well played Colly, now go and help us win the 50 over world cup.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good lad Colly. Despite the uncharitable detractors hidden in the shadows, you fought back when it was hardest.

    And well done Englnd to remain relentless when they could have relaxed. The focus is right, just far enough ahead to keep what's happening now important.

  • Comment number 5.

    I would of dropped Colly this series however that doesn't negate the huge contributions he has given us in the past especially the last 24 months. I will always remember him for Cardif, Centurion and Newlands, almost single handedly saved two series for England against big opposition.

    Question IF and it's a big if, Australia force England to bat again they'll lead will likely be small would you open with Cook and Collingwood? One man is clearly man of the series so deserves a chance the other is has been a great servant and deserves his chance to bow out in a big way. I'd prefer it if he took the winning the catch in true Colly style in that it defies belief he snared it.

  • Comment number 6.

    could you ever have imagined England would win the ashes down under again, let alone in this fashion?

    Always felt these england players had it in them, the belief has been growing over the last 2 years, and it's all led up to what will be one of English cricket's finest days. Performance wise, I think this has surpassed 2005 - to consistently produce over an entire series away from home to such a degree where people were actually saying "should we feel sorry for them?" Well all I can say is, that was for 24 years of painful admiration of the australians. "Why can't we produce a team like these Australians? What are they doing that we aren't?". Ask no more.

    Incredible, Australia have been brutally demolished. What a series for England.

  • Comment number 7.

    The Champagne is on ice. Roll on tonight UK time. After being demolished so many times down under, this is going to be a special day. Aggers has to do the sprinkler dance remember, that should be worth waiting up for on its own!

    Colly has been a unique player in the game. A true all rounder in more departments than just batting and bowling, and with a batting average over 40 he deserves to be remembered as one of England's cricket hero's, not an also ran keeping better players out of the team. Thanks Colly for you test contributions, now go and win the World Cup.

  • Comment number 8.

    Another interesting stat...From 1988 up until November 2009 Australia had only lost 3 matches by an innings. Looks like it will be 3 in a series now.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good to see he's left on his own terms. He's been a good servant but the time is right.

    Still can't believe the Ashes, no matter how much I read. It's such a weird feeling waking up to find things went even better over night than one could hope!

    Excellent blog as always Tom.

  • Comment number 10.

    As you rightly pointed out, this is just brilliant. Without delving into any detail this is just brilliant!

  • Comment number 11.

    Another fine day for England with the bat and ball. Aussie wickets tumbling. All series bar Hussey they have all looked like they have wanted to give their wickets away. I think Collingwood's decision is a brave one and very admirable. To look in the mirror and say I have done all I can and now it is time for someone else to come in and help take the team further takes courage and selflessness. Thank you Colly, especially for the innings at Cardiff 2009.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yet another brilliant day for England, following on from most of the series bar the blips of the first few days of the series and perth test. Hopefully can wrap up another innings victory to rub saltn into the aussie wounds.

    A big thanks to Colly, has been brilliant around the England team for the last few years. One of the best fielders of all time, does a good job rotating the bowlers with his cutters and averages over 40 with the bat. He's not had the best of series but he's more than made up for it with the rest of his career (and that catch off Ponting).

    Let the partying commence!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Yes its been absolute anhialation. Huge congratulations to Strauss's 100% determination to grind them into the dirt. After all the times in recent years of Australian dominance it was absolutely essential that England made the most of this opportunity.

    It will set the tone for years to come in terms of the psychology between the teams. England are totally superior to Australia now in every department.

    I'm so glad that Strauss batted on and on and on to get a simply enormous total.

    I've no interest in hearing any polite, jolly sporting nonsense about the fair dinkums.

    I've suffered for years seeing England behave like abject losers, now the Aussies can. Suffer, yes suffer. Keep them down.

    Decades of payback. Today was a fine start.

    Superb..especially Prior and Strauss. Fantastic. Absolutely FANTASTIC boys.

  • Comment number 14.

    Tom, thanks for your wonderful blogs. A really great insight into the ashes, alas I will have to decline the invitation at im stuck back in blighty!

    This series has been wonderful, I remember tuning into TMS 4 years ago and I couldn't listen again for the whole series. This time around, its been an absolute joy to listen, to wake up at various points during the night and to hear that the england have racked up another 100 or taken another 3 wickets. Its just been wonderful!

  • Comment number 15.

    Great blog once more Tom gonna miss these for the cold uni months a head, Always loved colly ever since the Ashes 05, don't ask me why just naturally thought he was fantastic, and didn't he let me down. will always remember that 74, and that fantastic 206. to me he is a the greatest fielder i have ever seen, better than even jonty. average of 40+ as well confirms he was a great england player and deserves every bit of praise he recieves, only exceptions like the troll can't see what a truly magnificent player he is. Long Live brigadier block! and may he continue in the one dayers for a while to come!

  • Comment number 16.

    Brilliant blog as always Tom. After years of torment being an England cricket supporter, what I saw today was very, very special. I'm actually feeling really emotional! Can't wait to see the icing on the cake tomorrow morning.

    I hope this is not the end. I hope what I witnessed today and this series is not a rare occurence. This team and the young guys waiting in the wings could be very special. I can't wait for the contests with India, and at some point South Africa. And then the Ashes back in England again. If England make a pledge to keep getting better, it will make my decision to live in Australia a lot more enjoyable!

  • Comment number 17.

    Great blog Tom and congratulations and well played to England, hopefully we will wrap it up early tonight with a spectacular caught and bowled from Colly.

  • Comment number 18.

    #13 - 200% agree, what will be missing from tomorrow are enough Aussies to reap pain on and feel the pain - the pain we've felt for over 20 years. Now it's you turn and may it last for decades to come. Broady said it in tht article in the Age back just a few weeks ago, may you be right, this is just the start.

    Build from here England, get stronger and stronger, next time let's see 5-0 here, I'll be waiting to see that.

    Awesome England, Awesome!

  • Comment number 19.

    Oh dear God, this is so good! Better to win tonight than yesternight, many more will be watching. Some not even born in 1987, others like myself almost forgetting the 1981 heroics due to the trashings we`we been given up to 2005. Well done England, I`ll savour and treasure these moments forever!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Looking at the Australian team from Sydney that demolished England 4 years ago, what a frightening list, not a weak link amongst THAT 11, they are a shadow of their former world beating selves today.

    Now it is the England XI that have shattered their hosts confidence and look on the verge of greatness...

  • Comment number 21.

    Fairwell Colly, always been one of your biggest fans! Going to miss you singing "In the Jungle, the might jungle ...."

    Was a pleasure to meet you briefly in Durban. :)

  • Comment number 22.

    Firstly to Colly, congrats on a very good solid Test career. You have saved England with your gritty batting and fabulous fielding so many times, and what a way to leave on the wave of the greatest Ashes series winning campaign in Australia since the Bodyline series.

    Secondly, Tom great blog again. I posted on yesterday's blog that the gulf between these two teams has widened to an abyss, and when you consider that this Australian side is not dissimmilar in personnel to the one that beat South Africa in South Africa two years ago, and made the last Ashes series a very close affair in 2009, it just shows the strides that the England team have made in the last two years.

    Bring on India!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    tom you wrote: "Collingwood is rumoured to be leading the England team onto the field on the final day of this Tests. There have been worse ways to leave the old office"

    go with "this test" or "these tests" - a slight blemish to an otherwise perfect entry. the most fitting tribute to collingwood i've read since the announcement.

    he has been well worth his place in this england team for the entirity of his career. we could do with a gritty and reliable grafter like collingwood in the team still, hopefully we can find one. perhaps trott will assume that middle-innings reliability in the future, who knows. boycott always goes on about how smart batting has one man just holding his own at one end if the other has his eye in, and colly has given england some priceless runs.

    i for one have been hugely surprised at the gulf between the sides. i'm usually a neutral-ish follower so i'm not just saying this out of rose-tinted patriotism - but england have been simply outstanding. i was writing on here in the build up and saying to friends australia had the slight measure in both batting and bowling departments. on paper it seemed so. but england have been so good - so disciplined at bowling, so accurate, so confident and organised, whereas australia have been awful. anderson has bowled better than anyone could have expected. i think australia didn't quite realise how good he was. i certainly didn't expect it! cook will surely and rightly win man of the series which overlooks the quite wonderful achievements in this series to james anderson.

    3 innings victories out of 4. england are better, yes, but they have got the job done in such a ruthless and professional fashion which i have never seen from an england team. flower, strauss, cook, anderson - you have been brilliant

  • Comment number 24.

    Cook will rightly be given the man of the series, but Jimmy Anderson has led the attack with skill, control and consistency. Australia simply haven't been able to put England under any sort of pressure.

    Many people thought he wouldn't stand a chance here, can you possibly have been more wrong? (Well, I suppose Glenn McGrath can say "yep" to that one)

  • Comment number 25.

    Well done to Colly retiring with style and class; knowing when it was the right time to go to make way for the next generation. What a contrast to a certain Australian with a similar sort of batting average this series (wait, that could be nearly any of them). To make it clearer he is of a similar age to Collingwood. Hopefully he will find the class to do the same thing, let Aussie rebuild and not be quite so outplayed next time. However I guess it is not quite as easy when you have been done as comprehensively as they have.
    Quite a contrast.

  • Comment number 26.

    Great blog again Tom, it really is extraordinary the number of records that England have broken during this series - more indeed than a pious Radio 1 DJ who has been given a stack of gangsta rap discs to play.

    Everyone has contributed - Collingwood too who is bowing at just the right time. He has brought resilience and professionalism to this England and his trio of rearguards at Cardiff, Centurion and Cape Twon will be his eternal epitaph.

    For those that are interested here is our tribute to Colly and our highlights of day 4.

    Farewell to Paul Collingwood - England's Working Class Hero

    Day 4 at the SCG dissected: England on the brink of joining Ashes immortals

  • Comment number 27.

    Aussie Aussie Aussie - Ha ha ha!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Can BBC blog all of the records England have broken? From the 517-1, all the way up to the highest score on Australian soil

  • Comment number 29.

    What a drubbing! Absolutely ecstatic - great team performance, same as the whole series.

    I for one am gutted that Collingwood has decided to retire. Vastly under-rated by many a loud-mouth, but he has been the backbone of this team. As the senior pro and iron-strong character, he surely can take a significant amount of credit for this team rebuilding to the current heights when they could have completely imploded in the post-Vaughan years. 'Catches win matches' may be a cheesy cliché, but it's also true, and there's no doubt Collingwood is the standard by which all fielders are judged post Jonty Rhodes. I console myself that deserves to choose his time to go, though, and do it on a high.

    The series hasn't seemed quite so special as it's been progressing to me as '05 and it doesn't seem to have caught the national consciousness in quite the same way - partly down to not needing/being able to skip work early to catch it on TV, and partly because there have been very few times when a match was really on a knife edge and every ball was unmissable. We may not have beaten a team of greats as in '05, but looking back now, the achievement is phenomenal and another bucket-load of MBEs are surely in order.

    TMS has been fantastic as ever - excellent choice of guests team members - Andrew as scorer/statistician has been excellent, Slater and Maxwell are the most likeable of the Aussie commentators/pundits doing the rounds (C9 commentary on the highlights show on ITV4 has been awful!). Jim in particular deserves a medal for his handling of the ever-ungracious Boycott. Very kind of Agnew not to remind Geoffrey of his 'expert' prediction, 12mins into Melbourne, that England couldn't possibly win that game. I've enjoyed every one of your blogs as well, Tom, so thank you BBC!

  • Comment number 30.

    'You'd think he'd be kicking himself, but with his accuracy he'd probably miss'. Brilliant, simply hilarious. Great blog and I expect Colly to have a little bowl at the number 11 tomorrow, pick up the final wicket with a one handed catch on the boundary, stopping a 6, off his own bowling.

    Watching England compile the runs this morning was fantastic, they rarely looked troubled, although neither did the Ozzies look in too much trouble until another woeful run out.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well, the tail-enders could clock up another 200 runs then England might have one of the worst batting collapses in their history, it's not likely, is it?

    You're kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, "it's all going too well", but no...the good news keeps coming. And while I'm bound to feel absolutely terrible dragging myself into work tomorrow morning, it's going to be a wonderful night listening to TMS.

    I expect several boundaries and desperation runs from the Aussie tailenders, nothing to lose and England opening up a bit to try to trap them, but they're so far behind it's all just delaying the inevitable.

    It's just gone amazingly well. In a funny way the Perth disaster is immensely valuable to the side as well, as a boogeyman to rattle in the face of players for this and future series - "Look what can happen when we lose concentration" or lessons in technique and approach. Because of that object lesson, England kept tight tight focus for the remaining two Tests and got two thumping great wins out of them.

    While the value in the rear-guard action in Brisbane and the aforementioned thumping great wins is clear and obvious.

    As always through the years, enjoyed the blog, Tom. Looking forward most to your celebratory blog post when we finally deliver that 3-1!

  • Comment number 32.

    A very big thank you Tom for these blogs, you have been great, it's been a pleasure reading them during these test matches. The one with Arther Morris was special, what a grand old chap, and a real gentleman, a living legend. Well, it looks like it's all over for the ozzies, and the fat lady is waiting to come on the stage to sing, what a clobbering that would be, three innings defeats in one series, revenge is so sweet. What a good man Colly has been for England, what a shame his batting form has dropped off, but let's hope he does well in the one dayers and T20s. I will be tuning in to TMS tonight to listen to the death agonies of the ozzies (sadist aren't I), ha ha. Show no mercy England, they never showed any to us when they were lording it over us, fix bayonets and get stuck in.

  • Comment number 33.

    Partly because I've only ever seen England get tonked by Australia and partly because of the ungodly time difference (resulting in me having swapped my bed for a coffin), this all feels like a dream...

    Somebody pinch me...

    Me Mitch, not 3 feet to the left of me..

  • Comment number 34.

    Good on you Colly. I commented yesterday that he should realise that at 34 he hasn't got time on his side to get through yet another rough trot. True to his "team man" ethic, he's recognised that stepping aside now to allow the team to be strengthened by younger blood is the right thing to do. He deserves to go out on such a massive high for the team. I'll always remember THAT catch off Punter.

    Happy, happy days!

  • Comment number 35.

    Three victories by an innings. In Australia! It's so nice to savour.

    I too will miss these blogs (and especially the HYS comments).

    Excited about the prospects for this England team if they can turn Tremlett into a world-class strike bowler (he looks well on the way) and let Broad play the Glenn McGrath put-it-on-the-spot-every-ball role.

    If people will allow me some vanity: I predicted a 3-1 victory at the beginning (AND after Perth) so am delighted to be - for once - proved absolutely correct. That said, as my housemate pointed out, I didn't actually put any money on it, so perhaps I should get off my high-horse.

    Well done England!

  • Comment number 36.

    #23 If you are going to pick someone up on a tiny typo, at least use capital letters at the start of every sentence in your reply! Oh, and a full stop at the end.

    Great blog Tom. I have really looked forward to them every morning during the tests, and hopefully there will be ratings for this test as well as the series?

    The reaction to Colly's announcement has been huge, and I'm sure far bigger than many expected. In some ways it feels a bigger outpouring of emotion that when Freddie hung up his boots...

    I wish him all the best and hope he can lead by example in the limited overs forms of the game.

  • Comment number 37.

    Bit disappointed to wake up this morning and find we hadn't made it to 700 ! :-)

    Apart from that. Absolutely brilliant ! Great batting, great bowling and hopefully Colly will get a good send off tomorrow.

    Well done England and great blog Tom. Never thought I'd get to see us give the Aussies the sort of beating they have frequently given to us in the past, especially on their own turf.

    I think I will be sitting up late tonight to watch the final demise of the old enemy and subsequent celebrations. Work on Friday may be a bit slow....... Hooray for Cricket !!

  • Comment number 38.

    Have read all of your blogs Tom with great interest and usually ended up chuckling away to myself. Thanks for your sterling efforts during the series. Will you be blogging during the one dayers as well? It's been a shame you couldn't interact with the comments but seen as though you're in Oz I guess a man has to sleep at some point!
    I've resisted the temptation to comment on here before but had to comment on a fellow ginge and his Test retirement. Collingwood has been a magnificent servant to the English game and showed good old fashioned English grit and determination and kept ploughing on despite all the pressure on him from many an armchair fan and critic alike. Thank you and let's hope you can carry us to a World Cup win.
    Do you think we might be able to tempt Collingwood to coach some of the prima donna footballers?! Could teach them a thing or two about class and respecting your game. Sorry, won't breach the 'F' word on cricket forums again!

  • Comment number 39.


    "#23 If you are going to pick someone up on a tiny typo, at least use capital letters at the start of every sentence in your reply! Oh, and a full stop at the end."

    Hear hear!

  • Comment number 40.

    Dependable, hard working, never say die and one of us - Thanks for everything Colly!

  • Comment number 41.

    As ever in cricket, a great piece of blogging!

    I'm still pinching myself as I never really thought that we would see the like of this again. An Australian team and fans who had simply started to believe their own press-releases, re-taught a lesson in application, fitness, skill and bloody-minded determination. What a hoot! Let's hope that Australia recover some poise...just not too soon!

    Hats off to Paul Collingwood who has, typically, read the signs correctly and timed his retirement to go with dignity in the hour of triumph! Let's hope that he manages some sort of last hurrah tomorrow, but if not, so what? He has been a great servant of English cricket through good times and bad. As Michael Vaughn says, he's a natural to become a great coach so let's hope so!

    Importantly, his dignified standing down is in marked contrast to too many Australian players, Ricky Ponting in particular who have developed a "prehensile buttock" and refused to move on! The great paucity of good "mid-career" Australian test players is the result!

    I'm not one for drinking before lunchtime but some of that leftover Christmas champagne may just have to come out!

  • Comment number 42.

    I am absolutely knackered watched it all last night. Someone in a previous blog mentioned not taking your foot off their throat when their down. We put our foot on it we crushed the life out of them at the same time. Swann was excellent, Prior unbelievable, Bresnan and Trem fantastic.
    Then we cap it by going ripping the guts out of there top order. One nay sayer will have his usual go that Swanns not got any wickets but they prepared a grassy seamer,not a turner. Why did they do that? Because they know if it turns we ahve the better spinner and will crucify them (not that we haven't done that anyway).
    I hope he who must not be named gets his backside on here and recieves a good kicking from the rest of us for the dumb comments over the last five tests. We have been awesome, this is better than 2005 this is rubbing there noses in it and smiling while we are doing it.
    Colly , you have had a bad series but have done us proud over the years, ignore the idiots on here (one in particular) the rest of use truely appreciate what you have done against the Aussies, SA etc. You captained us to our only international honour so far (maybe another one soon). You were always a class act on and off the field (more classy than a certain person on here who needs to hang his head in shame cause he doesn't have any class). Best fielder we have had in an England shirt by miles, catches win matches and you made a hell of a lot of those over the years. Let it not be forgotten you averaged 40+ in test cricket and I agree with my fellow yorkshireman Boycs anyone who averages over 40 is a top class test batsman. Finally your going out on top 2 (potentially 3) innings defeats of Australia in their own back garden, where they get to choose the conditions your playing under is something we may not see the like of again.

  • Comment number 43.

    Good BBC blogging cover and TMS superb as ever.

    It's unfortunate that a certain ex-Aussie hijacked TV coverage of the best contest in sport.

  • Comment number 44.

    Great blog again Tom - surely there is a promotion for you within the BBC after your much appreicated efforts. Most bloggers get ripped to pieces.

    Anyhow - may I suggest we burn the stumps tommorrow and put the ashes into an urn?

  • Comment number 45.

    #39 and #36 i wasn't having a go at him - i'm not paid to write for the bbc, besides i'm sure as a professional he wouldn't want the mistake there

  • Comment number 46.

    Great Test Career Colly - Gritty batter, good dibbly dobblies and great fielder!

    However, when people say he's the best England Fielder ever, by miles etc lets not forget the fantastic Derek "Rags" Randall - who was excellent in the field before it became the thing to do.

    He also managed to really annoy the Aussies!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    Excellent blog Tom as always.

    Farewell Colly you did England proud, now help us win the World Cup!

    Congrats England on an historic memorable demolition job of the old enemy! Absolute fantastic viewing!
    Bring on India & SA!
    Incidentally, with the SA v India 3rd test petering out into a likely draw. The SA experts are voicing serious concerns about the SA bowling attack if Steyn fails to fire & they are demanding changes.

  • Comment number 48.

    Finally and I forgot, Thanks a lot Tom you have done your usualy great job long may it continue as most of the 44 comments up there have already said!

  • Comment number 49.

    Mr Tom,

    Your comment abour Mitchell Johnson saying "You think he'd be kicking himself, but with his accuracy he'd probably miss" is pure genius! May you be commended for making me crack a smile on such a dull and miserable day in England, partially warmed by the fact that we've stuffed the Aussie's, convincingly and left them to stew in their own failings like they've done to us over the last 30 years.

    All this success will also help as i'm off travelling to Australia later this year, and whilst warned by my brother who travelled there a few years back about the "ribbing" that i'll get for being a "Pom", i know i can hold my head high, puff out my chest and recite "3-1, 3-1" until my voice is horse!

    Well done England, thoroughly deserved performances we've been brewing for a couple of years and now we're at full steam. Bring on India in the summer, which should prove to be an actual test for our team!

    Hopefully it'll all be over before midnight tonight so i can crack open the Horlicks and join in the celebrations whilst i sleep!

  • Comment number 50.

    ...bring on the 1 dayers. Can't wait!

    Also bring Sri lanka and India this summer!

  • Comment number 51.

    Absolutely fantastic day again from England. I was planning to go to bed early last night to catch up some of the lost sleep but made the "mistake" of starting to watch the first session. It was so much fun that I couldn't switch it off!

    Was quite optimistic about this tour beforehand but never in my wildest dreams did I think that we would destroy them in the manner that we have, playing almost flawless cricket throughout 3.5 tests. We all know the Aussies are pretty poor (they have at at least 2 players who would not even get in Bangladesh's test team) but we are beginning to look like a seriously good side. Everyone knows their role and performs outstandingly on a very regular basis.

    Worth giving some major plaudits to the backroom staff as well - particularly Flower, Saker and Gooch.

    Man of the series for me - step forward Mr Mitchell Johnson. Never have I had so much fun watching an Australian bowl a cricket ball!!!

    And Collingwood is doing exactly the right thing - it is the perfect time to retire (gracefully) so that someone new can bed into the team while they are playing well. I just hope that someone isn't Bopara - surely he has had enough chances and been found wanting on so many occasions. But I am sure that with Strauss and Flower in charge, whoever they pick will be the right man (even if it is Bopara!).

  • Comment number 52.

    Great to see the much lauded Khawaja get a hight score! honestly what was all the fuss about?

  • Comment number 53.

    Forgot to say - great blog Tom! A lot of people have commented on your little jibe at everyone's favourite Aussie left arm fast bowler but I actually prefer "England's batsmen have made so much hay they could feed the field of the Grand National". Genius. Pure genius.

  • Comment number 54.



    Above the number of stumps Mitchell needs to be a good bowler and he'd still struggle to hit 9!

  • Comment number 55.

    #51 Dont write off Bopara just yet.
    Morgan will get his chance next, but I think Bopara could be the perfect replacement in this team for collingwood (he can bowl a bit) as long as he comes in at 6!

    Morgan / Bopara

    Looks a pretty good batting line up to me!

  • Comment number 56.

    Anderson had answered his critics too that he couldn't bowl in Australian conditions with the kookaburgh, top wicket taker by miles.
    Next time Glenn predicts a 5-0 whitewash the journo's should ask, 'So Glenn you becoming a fan of England and Wales then!'

  • Comment number 57.

    Dear Tom,
    I follow you on Twitter and on your blog and I'm sure it's been as fun for you to write as it is for me to read. I first started following the English team when Athers took over from Gooch in the middle of the 94 Ashes at home and I got addicted when we lost 3-1 against the WI with Ambrose and Walsh causing havoc (e.g. 46 all out). Since then, it's been an agonisingly slow ascent from ineptitude in the 90's, to almighty highs and awful lows in the '00s and now real belief in a N°1 Team in all formats in the '10s.
    And all from afar as I'm an ex-pat. Following them around the globe from the comfort of my home when all the people around me are baffled by 'addiction' is a particularly strange experience but it allows me, especially in this social media driven age, to at least share the agonies and ecstasies with other fans without acually knowing them in person. People like you, other bloggers, Twitters, commentators and journalists now allow me to get to know the cricket experience and even the team itself without ever having played properly or actively gone to see many games (mainly through lack of money).
    If ever I do get the chance to join the Barmy Army on tour down under, to the Windies or perhaps to South Africa, I think it would be the fulfilment of years of 'passive' experience through people such as yourself, important parts of a strange, but not-at-all isolated existence of being an English cricket fan.
    I reflect on this because for once I'm deservingly proud of this team, MY team, that I've followed for such a long time, having given so much time and requesting nothing in return. And here they are, 3 innings victories, 4 500+ scores, Cook with over 700 runs and 3 centuries, 92 wickets, 644 runs in one innings with 3 centurions,... What a ride.

  • Comment number 58.

    I've always been a massive fan of Colly. He and Jonty made fielding sexy. If leaping as high as Colly does and plucking a 130 km/h ball from over your head with three fingers safely into the palm of your hand isn't talent, I don't know what is.

    Counting chickens and at the risk of provoking an historic last wicket stand, does anyone know the last time Australia lost by an innings three times in a series?

    I hope we have a fresh urn ready for the death of Australian cricket.

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.


    As I said above, if Flower, Strauss & whoever think Bopara is the best man for the job then I'll bow to their superior knowledge and wish him the best. However, it is rare for someone to have had as many chances as he has and then to finally come good. I think Morgan must be first in line, followed by Hildreth and Lyth. Don't know if any of them can bowl so we may need Bell/Trott/Pietersen to chip in with the odd little spell that Collingwood provides.

    But that's the future - let's enjoy the here and now!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Show some class 59, mind you you haven't yet so I don't know why I am bothering.

    What a day for english cricket yes we have trounced the Aussies, every prediction you made was wrong! Now go away you imbacile!

  • Comment number 62.

    Great blog Tom - again. Just like England this series you have kept delivering.

    I still cant believe England are about to inflict a third innings defeat on the Aussies in their own back yard. Even in the team of McGrath, Warne, Waugh etc... they never managed that.

    I shall be very sleepy at work tomorrow - in fact i might not make it at all!

  • Comment number 63.

    It has been refreshing to see an England team with so many good to brilliant batsmen.
    Nothing is more draining than removing those you perceive as massive threats (Trott and Pietersen for less than 40 combined) and then watch as a middle and top order start knocking the ball everywhere.
    The running between wickets emphasised the new England to me - it has been determined and ruthless, with excellent calls by the batsmen.

    And the approach has been right. It was important, I felt, that England did not lose or get embarrassed in the warm up matches. The Aussies thrive on feel good waves and ride them well.....England needed to raise eyebrows, set out their intent and get some doubts from day 1 of their arrival....which they did.
    Collingwood was and is a great team player. Sure, his batting wasn't so good, but his fielding (and bowling!!) was of immense importance to the series.
    England will miss him, but as shown with the depth of bowlers to replace Broad, it seems we have exciting players knocking at the door.
    My only hope is we make sure we invest in the game, get kids playing and move talent on. For if there is one thing you can be sure of, it is that the Aussies will be launching a massive school and acadamy campaign to find the talent.
    We must not believe, as we tend to do when we win big, that all the work is done and we now will win everything on automatic pilot.

  • Comment number 64.

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

  • Comment number 65.

    #45 - kaufman39 - when in a hole, keep on digging!!

    If you want prose, don't read blogs.....

  • Comment number 66.

    Fantastic performance by England with bat and ball. Really delighted to see us winning so convincingly.

    However, Australia have been extremely poor in all departments and even today could not get in the right mindset to bat for a draw. Too many aggressive strokes and getting a run out is totally unacceptable.

    Not that I'm complaining mind you!

  • Comment number 67.

    In the spirit of PSAR I'd just like to point out how poorly England have played and how fortunate they have been.

    Firstly, England have had the best of all the tosses and the conditions. Whenever Australia have been bowling, the pitch has been a featherbed which has immediately two-paced and turning as soon as England have started to bowl. Sometimes this can take as little as the changeover of innings. I've never known such variability in pitches.

    Assessing individuals' performance:


    England's batting has been shockingly poor bearing in mind what marvellous batting conditions they have enjoyed. They've only managed to score heavily when it's been easy to score.

    A good batsman will score when conditions are tricky, for example when the team is bowled out for 300 or fewer. To count as a good team batting performance, I'd expect 2 or 3 batsmen to score a century or more (ideally 150+) with support from another 2 or 3 batsmen scoring 50+

    England's batting performance has been so poor they have never managed to have 2 or 3 centurions and another 2 or 3 half-centurions in a score of 300 or fewer. FACT !!!

    The true test of batting performance is how well a team bats in the second innings. Taking out the first test (which was clearly a freak), England have only scored 123 runs in 4 tests in the second innings - that's an average of just over 30 for the whole team - abject performance. FACT !!!!

    Likewise for individual performances, once you strip out the double centuries, centuries, and half centuries (which are clearly unrepresentative due to the easy batting conditions), the England batsmen have performed poorly FACT !!!!


    Obviously England have had the best of the bawling conditions as the results have shown but the true test of a bowler is whether they get 10 or more wickets in a test.

    One performance like that would be a freak so really you'd want 2 or 3 bowlers to get 10 or more wickets in a match to have a good team performance with another couple of players chipping in with 5 wickets or more.

    At no time in this series has England had 2 or 3 bowlers getting 10 or more wickets in the same match. A shockingly poor bowling performance, FACT !!!!

    By their very nature, wickets are a small proportion of balls bowled. Removing this tiny percentage of "freak" balls from the averages, England have taken no wickets at all, FACT !!!!!!

    I think I have conclusively proved that any Australian player could stroll into the England team at any position they choose to play at, FACT !!!!!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    As for Swann being found out, how do you come to that conclusion. The groundsman at every venue have deliberately prepared seamers cause they don't have a spinner of Swanns class. He's taken more wickets than any other spinner in the series (oh wait they dont have one what a shame).

  • Comment number 69.

    Just want to add my name to the many who have thanked Colly for his efforts in the test side in the last 8 years, a true servant to the game. Also massively agree with what Vaughan said about Collingwood's "lack of talent" - anyone see his performances for the Daredevils in last years IPL? He was absolutely smashing everyone! Will be missed in the test side, but hopefully will have a good few more years winning the 50 and 20 over competitions! Come on Colly!

  • Comment number 70.

    So its a sad day really, the good news: England will wrap up the series for a historic 3-1 win tomorrow. The bad news: All of the things I will miss -

    1. The live texting (praying for red alerts for the fall of Aussie wickets)
    2. The amusing tweets for the resident BBC journos
    3. The well written Blogs/Articles from Tom and Aggers
    4. The freebie podcasts with Geoff and Aggers
    5. The banter from us ordinary folk on these blogs...some of which has made me laugh out loud, or shake my head in disbelief (love the way they just degenerate into absolute random rubbish)

    As an all round sports fan I hope the Beeb do the same for Wimbledon...and we can all eulogise about the Fed!...adios amigos!

  • Comment number 71.

    This seems a long time ago from the first day of the series. Peter Siddle after his hatrick:

    "What happened at The Oval is a massive part of what's driving us on. You don't want to lose any game, so losing the Ashes is awful. I can remember it now: we went on the field for the presentation and had to watch England yahooing when they were handed the urn."

    When England are negotiating sponsorship deals for the next Ashes series they should approach Yahoo!

  • Comment number 72.

    Paul Collingwood - How many England players can say that they are a World T20 winning captain and a winner of the Ashes 3 times?? I cant think of any!! There is even a chance that he will add a 50 over World Cup title to his honour list!!

    A truly great English cricketer who has been vastly under-rated and unfairly criticised by many a man!

    He may not have stood out like Pietersen or Flintoff or Harmison but I think England will for a short time at least struggle slightly in all aspects of the game, batting, bowling, fielding, tactics and discipline.

    All that should be said is Thank You Paul for making such a good contribution to English cricket not only in the way you played but in the example and standard you set for all English cricketers to follow!

    PS Think you would be a great coach as well and look forward to seeing you add Ashes, T20 World Cup and One Day World Cup winning coach to your achievements!

  • Comment number 73.

    Further to my earlier post, I missed out saying that I think the 'Barmies' have been brilliant, some of the chants have been very funny, and they gave Mrs Mc Grath day a special tribute with their pink St George's flags and the way they dressed in pink, good on you 'Barmies' you have been a credit to England.

  • Comment number 74.

    And #59, I'm not sure you've been watching the right game.

    Cheers Tom for a great blog.

  • Comment number 75.

    Collingwood averages 40+ the two you quote average 5! I think even an idiot like you can work out your just plain stupid!
    Tuffnel couldn't field, Malcolm could just about bowl (blow more cold than hot) come up with something better or disapear

  • Comment number 76.

    Anyway I shall quit feeding the troll its like talking to the middle one of the three wise monkeys!

  • Comment number 77.

    Just flipping awesome!
    Its always mixed emotions at the end of a series, and I'll miss all the night shifts, but I am chuffed to bits!

    Couple of random observations.
    Amongst the more obvious great performances, big "Up" to Swannie for all those tight overs building up the pressure.

    I found myself thinking back to 2005 and Brett Lee's attitude. When it became obvious that the Ashes had gone I remember him looking really furious and tearing in even faster to bowl some fierce overs... raging against the imminent loss. THAT is the spirit that this crop of Aussies is completely missing. Who cares though!

    Thanks for the blogs Tom, and thanks for the comments to you all, its been fun.

  • Comment number 78.

    #59 The troll returns. Ducked out of school at mid-day did we? This blog has been a much better and more pleasant place without you. You might also care to read the chorus of praise for Paul Collingwood from all quarters before taking yet another of your churlishly nonsensical digs at him.

    He was a player absolutely of his time, and gave England the backbone they needed at a time they needed it. Now he realises his time has passed and his work is done, and he's leaving in the time and manner of his choosing with his head held high.

    If only you could learn a lesson from this and depart in a fitting manner (i.e. silently)...

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.


    Love it perfect summary of the england performance, I do hope you were extracing the urine!

  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    Lol like you alledged world class Singh who recently complained he wasn't getting any cause the wickets of the subcontinent weren't turning?? I think not try again he's got 14 wickets on unfavourable wickets go away and try another angle!

  • Comment number 83.

    #81 I miss you about as much as a dog misses fleas.

  • Comment number 84.

    We all know to whom I refer; he does not engage in reasoned debate (which I assumed was the purpose of these comment threads) and he is merely getting in the way of the adults.

    As his prose is very easy to spot and it is quite obvious he is nothing but a troll, could someone in the admin section please delete and block this imbecile?

  • Comment number 85.


    So, do as I say not as I do? Wassack!

  • Comment number 86.

    #67 I completely agree. The luck England have had is immense, especially Cook. At least 700 of his runs have been a little streaky.

    Its a pity Anderson has failed so miserably as well. A top class bowler only taking 23 wickets at an average of not much more than 25 is really nothing to write home about.

    Farewell Colly. You have been immense. Others may be able to replace your battling, but the fielding will never be matched in a long time.

  • Comment number 87.

    'If england win 3-1' are you just dumb or playing dumb 3-1 is a certainty as is my 2K pay out at ladbrookes. All I did for that one was take your prediction and reverse it funny that so I guess I should say thanks hahaha!

    Funny you never sound happy when enlgand win you spent most of the series prediciting they'd lose! Don't even try saying you didn't as we can all go back and trawl up you idiotic predictions.

    Remember 2nd test you predicted england all out and australia 150-0 end day two! we can get more of those if you like

  • Comment number 88.

    #67 hadn't realised that until you so cleverly pointed it out. We clearly need to get rid of the dead wood and start again with this team. It's a national disgrace.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ #82

    Yeah but take out those 14 wicket taking balls and what do you get ?

    213.5 - 42 - 585 - 0

    Hardly inspiring is it ?


  • Comment number 90.


    That's just a bit sad really.

    England have totally outplayed and hammered Aussie.

    As for Swann, he's got far more out of flat seamers wickets than any of the Aussie "spin" bowlers so writing him off is way off the mark.

  • Comment number 91.

    Tom many thanks for all your blogs over this Ashes series, they have been a joy to read and as an avid England fan who now resides in Oz I have eagerly anticipated each exciting instalment.

    Firstly congratulations to England on a comprehensive victory, after so many years of hurt who would have thought that 3 victories by an innings against the old enemy would have been possible.

    I would like to add my thanks and appreciation to the efforts that Paul Collingwood has made to the England team during his test career. I was fortunate to be in Cape Town for his heroics in early 2010 and have enjoyed his efforts and never say die attitude for his country during his tenure. Dispite what the troll has previously posted he is a fantastic player with bat, ball and fielding and WILL be missed. Paul thank you for everything.

    Can't wait for the morning and the after party!!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    So, P.S.A.R is now R.O.T.S, an apt name I feel, as he talks a load of ROT and must have a Simple mind. Go back to school and stop playing truant you bad lad.

  • Comment number 93.


    He's had batting too see previous blogs where we showed he has had series averages up in the 50's. Agree with you on the fielding though. Lest we forget

    2008 v SA 58.00......46.50
    2008/09 v India 42.66......49.66
    2008/09 v WI 61.42......58.00
    2009 v WI 68......24.5
    2009 v Aus 27.77......38.25
    2009/10 v SA 57.33......25.28
    2009/10 v Bang 49.33......83.33
    2010 v Bang DNP......46.00
    2010 v Pak 19.83......23.33
    2010/11 v Aus 14.00......64.80

    the averages on the right ar KP's for the same series plenty of better batsman would be proud of those!
    Oh and Troll we can go back further if you like if you take your hands off your ears (monkey boy)

  • Comment number 94.

    #59 - I probably shouldn't waste my breath (or even fingers in this case), but you obviously aren't a true England supporter by denigrating Colly on this day of all days.

    You don't play nearly 70 tests, average over 40 and become one of the best fielders in the world without being a decent player. And Colly was so much more than just stats. He has brought many attributes to the team including professionalism, resilience and a refusal to accept defeat.

    Yes, he's had a poor series with the bat - but so has Ponting and he is one of the all-time greats. Judge a player on a career, not a series.

    I am sure that the vast majority of England fans have huge respect for what Collingwood has done for his country - that certainly seems to be the case here where yet again you are in a minority of one.

  • Comment number 95.

    Brizzle Don #67 - Brilliant!

    Also in relation to PSAR. Obviously you're just a sad little internet troll looking for some attention. However you do inadvertently raise an interesting point re Swann.

    The England seamers have Swann to thank almost as much as their own fabulous consistency. It is his fantastic performances over the past couple of years which had Australia running scared, and forced the groundsman to produce green wickets which have played right in to the hands of Anderson et al.

    Swann's miserly economy rate (just 2.71 through the series) has also allowed Strauss to keep him on at one end and therefore keep the three seam attack fresh. Absoultely no doubt that even on wickets that offer no assistance, Swann has been as important in this series as any other member of the England attack.

  • Comment number 96.


    Love it (I was only joking though he's not a bad spinner either!). It will be interesting seeing them bowling on the same wickets next summer!. ROTS will probably make a prediction that our spinner will be outclassed but based on the sucess of his others I don't mind that!

  • Comment number 97.

    Christmas and New Year 2010:

    I will remember this for the Cricket, it has been the one thing this year that has put a smile on my face, after a horrible year of being out of work, and struggling, this has cheered me up no end.

    The Blogs from Tom, the TMS team, the Cricket, and the demolition of the Aussies have all made for a great three weeks.

    Thank you England Cricket, thank you TMS team and thank you Tom Fordyce.

    PS: The good news I got this week, I have a job starting on 11th January.

  • Comment number 98.


    Yes troll tends to forget this is a team game, tight bowling does make other bowlers take wickets cause the batsmen look to score runs at the other end.

  • Comment number 99.

    Cheers Colly, here's to you taking the winning catch later..

  • Comment number 100.


    So you think that international test sides needed to be taught that if you attack an off spinner on a pitch that does not spin, he will be vunerable?

    The truth is, he was vunerable. And yet he came through it with an excellent economy rate and the pitches which HE forced Australia to prepare were a huge factor in the manner of Englands victory.

    If you're going to attempt to troll online, at least pick a subject you know something about!


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