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The deal is sealed

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Tom Fordyce | 04:56 UK time, Friday, 7 January 2011

Sydney, New South Wales

Not many parties start at 11.57 on a Friday morning and end without tears. This one will.

Knowing with certainty that England were going to wrap up the Ashes with their third crushing win of the series did not make the denouement one tiny bit less sweet. When Chris Tremlett's fast, bouncing delivery cannoned off the bottom edge of Michael Beer's bat and splattered his stumps, it was the cue for scenes of English delight and delirium unprecedented at this august old sporting theatre.

Tremlett, a giant of a man, disappeared under a bouncing scrum of team-mates clutching souvenir stumps. All around the boundary, English supporters cavorted and sang. The batsman sighed, grimaced at his partner Steve Smith and turned for the pavilion.

They say you can't beat the feeling of sinking the first Beer of the day. Thousands of England fans are currently doing their best to prove that old theory wrong.

England won by an innings and 83 runs. Some had hoped for a series win down under. Others had feared the usual sound thumping. No-one expected anything as comprehensive as this.

Anderson takes a catch in the deep to remove Siddle to the delight of the Barmy Army. Photo: Getty

It was as if every ex-pat in the country had decided to be there. Beaches, backpacker dorms and Bondi bars were emptied, this corner of a foreign field for once entirely England.

The happy hordes had begun arriving at the ground hours before the start of play, splashing through the early morning puddles and queuing patiently while others piled up behind them.

The playlist was eclectic. The party-goers warmed up with Jerusalem and God Save the Queen, kicked on with Rule Britannia and Swing Low and then let rip with The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the theme from Rocky and that rather saucy version of Waltzing Matilda.

No incident was too inconsequential to cheer, no opportunity spurned for mockery of the vanquished Aussies. Monty Panesar came out to practise his fielding and was greeted like an all-conquering prize fighter. Alastair Cook saved a single to roars almost as loud as those that met his century. Mitchell Johnson was briefly spotted on the Australian balcony, heard the unfortunate song about his action starting up and swiftly went back in.

Showers briefly delayed the inevitable. So did a frantic, boy-on-burning-deck half century from Steve Smith. No-one minded. Nothing was going to rain on this parade.

Peter Siddle was the first to go, slogging Graeme Swann to James Anderson in the deep. Ben Hilfenhaus was next, edging Anderson behind for Matt Prior's record-breaking 23th catch of the series.

There were almost mixed emotions for some. Much as they wanted it to be over, they also wanted it to carry on. It's been a long wait. Why end the entertainment so soon?

Just in time to spotlight the celebrations, the sun broke through the clouds. Barmy Army bugler Billy Cooper sounded the Last Post. A few seconds later, Tremlett broke through Beer's defences and England's most comprehensive Ashes victory of the modern era was complete.

There should be something slightly ridiculous about a grown man trying to lift the smallest trophy in sport, let alone someone who has forearms like hams. Andrew Strauss looked like he could deal with it.

As fountains of red and silver glitter exploded on either side, the skipper and his team-mates bellowed at the blue skies above and let all the emotion and exhaustion of the last six weeks escape.

"To win the Ashes here in style will be something which will live long in my memory," admitted Strauss afterwards, jogging a valedictory lap of honour around the boundary. "It's been an amazing tour. I'm very, very proud of what we've done."

England's heroes, urn in hand, revel in the historic victory. Photo: AP

Alastair Cook, man of the match and indisputably player of the series, looked a little stunned. "An amazing day, and an amazing seven weeks," he said, shaking his head. "If someone had told me I could do this I'd have laughed in their face. I think it's going to take me a while to get over this."

The contrast with their old rivals could not have been greater. Michael Clarke's men had woken to newspaper headlines declaring them 'Our worst XI' and 'the woeful Saggy Greens', and the sombre looks on their faces as they watched England waving delightedly from the podium suggested the day had only got worse.

It has been a dismal summer for the Australian cricket team, a slow descent into the sort of hellish hole that England touring teams on previous Ashes trips knew only too well.

They hadn't lost three Tests at home in 22 years, not since the last hurrah of Viv Richards' all-conquering West Indies side. They hadn't lost by an innings on Australian soil for 17, but have now done so three times in four weeks.

On an individual level it's almost worse. Captain Ricky Ponting averaged 13. Their three spinners between them took just four wickets for 556 runs. Vice-captain Clarke averaged less than Swann, England's number eight.

The England supporters dancing in the grandstands were in no mood to commiserate. Too many could remember the scenes four years ago, when Shane Warne was chaired round the field and Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer and Glenn McGrath basked in the righteous glory of a 5-0 whitewash.

Friday was not so much the revenge as the new reality. There's still no party like an SCG-club party. It's just that the names on the guest-list are rather different.

Men in full-length bear-suits did the Sprinkler. Others pulled on home-made paper masks of a pouting Ponting with tears drawn on his face. One chap brandished a cut-out cardboard urn with the words "Job done" written across it in large letters. If the inscription was a little pithier than the original, it was just as apt.

Paul Collingwood, given the honour of leading out the England team on his final day as a Test cricketer, was one of the last to leave the outfield. "Today is absolute number one," he beamed. "It's a special, special day.

"This is why we play the game, to savour moments like this. It doesn't get any better."


Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Went to the SCG today, to see the sweet end to this series, fantastic atmosphere. Highlights for me were Collingwoods heartfelt appreciation for the support he recieved on the lap of honour, what a decent bloke. KP and Prior were also very gracious and Trott must have spent half the session signing autographs at the fence. A new breed of winning sportsmen perhaps? Bye bye snarling whinging Aussie sledgers, hello positive, professional English winners.

    Comedy highlight and the moment I converted to the Barmy Army cause was when Cook was asked why he was able to score so many runs this series and the army perfectly on cue piped up with their song about Mitchell Johnson - class.

    Well done England roll on.

  • Comment number 2.

    Thank you England one and all!

    Thank you Tom for your wonderful blogs and thank you to all the regular participants in the comments for your humour insight and company...

    What a fabulous feeling!

  • Comment number 3.

    Also just a quick thanks to all the Aussie fans who generously gave up their tickets for today so that Cricket Australia could let us in for free and it could be an all English affair. To the Aussie fan I saw, I think you were lost mate, the swimming is out at Homebush, you do still win at that don't you.

  • Comment number 4.

    Awesmoe England - brilliant result, onward an updward from here.

    Thanks Tom for the excellent blogs too!

  • Comment number 5.

    Straussy was always the right captain after Vaughan, even before Flintoff and Petersen. He also proved this when in India Flintoff and Vaughan were off duty due to injuries. However, nepotism sidelined him and lot of good English players. This England team is going in right direction with approach and professionalism. Strauss not only secured urn in England but in Australia too. He can be the greatest legend in English cricket if he can beat Australia in next Ashes, thats three times in row. No team has beaten Australia so convincly in last two decades as England did in Ashes. Like Westendies, Australia too fell from extreme dominance, only difference is that they fell too fast unlike Windies

  • Comment number 6.

    If waking up on all cold, dark January days could be like this. Well done England and thanks for the great blogs Tom. 3-1... he he he, wonderful

  • Comment number 7.

    Sorry - blog bombarding, but as my girlfriend just said I'm probably over excited.

    A lot of the Aussie press have been very critical of their team - "Our worst 11" etc, I think this doesn't do justice to England's performance as a squad; before the series began a lot of Aussie pundits felt it would be close, but still thought this was a strong Aussie team, I think the reality that needs to be faced by Cricket Australia, is this squad is representative of Australian cricket, the scale of Englands victory (which I think many would agree flatters the Australians) is down to the strength of this English side and the progress they have made in the past 2 years as well as the strength in depth of English cricket talent.

    Australia survived for far too long on the backs of three or four key players who consistently performed at a high level, now they are gone Australia has joined the ranks of the mortals and a lot of the mystique and aura has been shown to be pretty flimsy, Mitchell Johnson in particular tries to go about his business like a classic Aussie aggro quick, but hasn't got the consistency to back it up.

    Just in their last innings which should have been purely about survival, several key batsmen in questionable form threw away their wickets trying to play at balls they should have been leaving because they still think they clan play in the mould of Hadyn, Gilcrist and Langer. With showers on and off today and a flattish wicket, if they'd shown a bit more nous yesterday, Australia could have pulled off a draw, not that it would have meant much, but at least it would show some intent.

    Never mind, they didn't - England won 3-1 and all's well with the world.

  • Comment number 8.

    Three innings wallopings is a staggering result from England, especially as Oz have only suffered 41 in their entire history. If I had the strength to pinch myself after so many nights of broken sleep on my sofa, I would. If people can bear anymore innings defeat related stats, I've collected a few more and some thoughts on where now for Oz:

    Congratulations to England and thanks to Tom for making repeatedly waking up sleep deprived a bit less painful...

  • Comment number 9.

    Brilliant, just brilliant. Three victories by an innings in one series - no-one would have predicted that.

    All 13 men who played for England during the series can be proud of their efforts - even Paul Collingwood who despite having a dismal time with the bat, led the way in the field.

    And with the exception of Colly, this team will be around for a long time yet and with the strength in depth we have, the goal of reaching number one should be attained in the next two years. What a prospect the home series with India in the summer is now!

    We've really enjoyed your blogs throughout the series Tom - it's just added to what has been a fantastic two months for England supporters.

    For those that are interested here are out thoughts for the day - Day 5 at the SCG dissected & celebrated - England crush Australia to end 24 years of hurt

  • Comment number 10.

    well done england!! 9/10 for every player and every aspect of their game.

    to me the ashes was won on the 2nd innings of the 1st test! :) that showed the aussies what was in store for them and that mammoth performance demoralized the aussies big time.

    now the skill, discipline, preparation and execution have to be used as a template to deliver players of this caliber regularly. tall bowlers, batsmen capable of scoring 150+ runs an innings, fielders capable of direct hitting the stumps etc.

    well done boys!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Due to restrictions put on me by the BBC I have been forced to use another address.
    IMO England have been very lucky to win this series. Perth was the only true reflection of the two sides and the other four tests were all unduly influenced by English cheating by scoring too many runs and taking wickets. In the next series against Bangladesh we will see the true worth of such flash in the pan players such as Cook, Anderson, Prior & Swann. As for the less talented players (Peterson & Bell) they will disappear without trace.
    Strauss' captaincy has been a joke throughout with his rigid formulaic attitude to winning the toss and going into his shell.
    Happily I won't be able to watch the decline (if it can get any lower) of English cricket as my nurses won't allow me to watch TV whislt I'm on my medication.
    Happy 2008
    Papa Shango

  • Comment number 12.

    Australia versus England will not be the pinnacle of achievement for these players until such time as Australia regain a semblance of competitiveness. Beating India and South Africa must surely now present the barometer of success.

  • Comment number 13.

    Absolutely fantastic achievement by England; congratulations and thank you Colly for some very memorable moments!

    To say that this is the worst Australian team does not do the 3-1 win justice. Remember in 2009 (if I've got this right) we beat them in a tight 5 match series with Katich, Watson, Clarke, Hughes, Ponting, Hussey, North, Haddin, Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Siddle ..... only Hauritz is the missing player from that series .... most of that side have played some, if not all of this series.

    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant win against a side that is NOT the worst Australia side England have played!

    Now preparations must go into the Summer series against India and we must NOT rest on our laurels!!

    Thanks to Tom for these brilliant blogs, look forward to the player ratings for Australia!

  • Comment number 14.

    Winning the Ashes 3-1 in Australia is very much like making love to a beautiful woman...

    Like many of my generation, my love of cricket was ignited by a certain series in 1981; in the intervening 30 years I've seen a lot of teams come and go (mainly go in our case). Looking back over that period, I cannot remember a more united England team or indeed a better England fielding side. Interestingly, my father who has been watching and playing the game since the 50's, and who is not a man prone to hyperbole, feels the same way. It has achieved that which very good teams always do: it is better than the sume of its parts (and in saying that I do not wish to denigrate that individual talents within the collective).

    I think all of the above stands to the huge credit of all involved, but particularly Strauss and Flower.

    This victory (in its scale as well as its geography) has been an awfully long time coming and I must say that I am finding it nourishing on a soul-deep level.

    The challenge is to avoid the hangover that followed '05 and kick on. I think they will do so.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well done, England, I will admit I was one who said they were in for it, but great play.

    I just hope this does not get into their heads, this team is nowhere near a world beating team. They played a team on the way down and until they can string three or four good performances like this one, and not against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, they will not be considered a great team!!

  • Comment number 16.

    England are by far the better side, more skilled, disciplined and ruthless than the Aussies.
    But the 'barmy army' isn't my cup of tea at all. Call me old fashioned but I prefer cricket played without football style songs being sung. On a tense day's play in years gone by, be it test or a one day final at lords, you could hear the buzz of the crowd but cricket crowds still had something sacred about it in comparison to football crowds.
    Now you get the 'barmy army' chanting songs ridiculing a player who's really struggling (mitchell johnson)
    I was a prof cricketer for 7 seasons and the yips put an end to my career so I hate to see another player no matter what level having to endure a torrid time and also get dedicated abuse from fans who probably don't know too much about the game. What really gets me is that when the 'barmy army' finish chanting abuse at johnson they break out into a collective applause in admiration for each others ability to abuse a guy out in the middle, for me, that's pretty low.
    Well done the England team, but not so the 'barmy army'.

  • Comment number 17.

    I thought the Perth result was a one off and posted that I expected England to win 3-1, well my prediction came emphatically true. England were helped by a poor Australian team but their performances throughout the team was excellent. England, SA and India are pretty close but I am very confident India will be soundly beaten in the summer.

  • Comment number 18.

    The Barmy Army may not be everyone's cup of tea but in a climate whereby 20 over cricket is appealing to the younger generation they at least put (plenty) of bums on seats even when their team has been losing. Take issue with the subject matter as part of their support but I take my hat off to folk who travel the world in their thousands to support their side playing Test cricket.

  • Comment number 19.


  • Comment number 20.

    Excellent blog. This wasn't a heroic win, against the odds (I'm thinking 2005 and how every damn match nearly gave me a heart attack [watching from behind the sofa], hinging often on crucial moments), but a thoroughly professional, pre-planned mauling.

    I don't think they're the types to relax or rest on their laurels. No OBEs or open top tours for this lot. When these performances become routine, then they'll be a great side.

    Fantastic result, keep it up lads!

  • Comment number 21.

    Great stuff England!
    Thanks for a fantastic winter.
    Also brilliant work as ever by our fantastic army of supporters, Barmy and otherwise. I was there on the last tour, and painful as that was the support never wavered for a moment. Fill your boots lads and lasses, you deserve it too, wish I could be there with you.

    Totally agree with #14, better than the sum of its parts indeed. And the parts are bloody good! There is genuine hope that we can keep it going this time, I cant see this lot getting carried away with it as we did in 2005... as they have all been careful to point out.

    Well done!

  • Comment number 22.

    A few things that need to be said:

    1. This Aussie side is not as bad as many are making out. It is impossible in any sport to pinpoint the line at which a losing team's poor performance is dictated by the winning team rather than their own inadequacies. England simply put their foot on the Aussie throats. Gently at first, but then harder, harder, harder. Stunning, professional, skillful performance.

    2. It was all about the fielding. Cook was legendary, Anderson was stunning, but it was in the field that England gave them no respite. So few dropped catches, so many saved runs. It is in the fielding that you can really see the spirit in a side and England have spirit in spades. When an opening bat throws himself full length onto the floor to save one run for his opening bowler then the oppo know they're up against a unit. Yes, the Aussies gave their wickets away on countless occasions, but this is because their shots that would have bought runs against any other side simply drew stunning stops from out outfielders. They had to find ways of scoring, and they couldn't. It is the one aspect of the game where we can confidently state we are the best in the world.

    3. Colly is a legend. I'm not 100% convinced that he still wouldn't make the test side on merit. His catching and all round ability and leadership in the field was a huge part of this win. It could have only taken one knock for Ponting to get back into decent nick. He was looking good before Colly took that wonder catch. If it hadn't been taken - and I don't think any other player in the series could have taken it - we could have been looking at an Aussie side with a captain in form and runs on the board.

    4. The Barmy Army are legends.

    5. Lets not slate the Aussies too much. By and large they have been gracious in defeat. Whilst Clarke's performance in the field and with the bat as captain left something to be desired, his respectfulness towards his opponents when in front of a microphone was refreshing in the extreme.

    6. Sorry.... just realised I could go on for ages. Like a pig in poo. Loving it. Thank you Strauss, Cook, Anderson, etc etc etc...

  • Comment number 23.

    @#7 - matt

    As I've said on these blogs a couple of times, go look at the Aussie team that won in South Africa two years ago and gave us a real contest in the last Ashes series in England.

    Its not that different personnel wise, so yes the Aussie media's griping of the "worst team in 100 years" is just taking away how good this England team has prepared and played, and how well they have been led. Could they/should they have made some changes? Absolutely but that would have only been to play some unexpereinced young players to see what they had in the way of a possible future at Test level (Marsh, Ferguson, Cameron, George or the two they did try Khawaja and Smith).

    I rolled on the ground laughing though when Andrew Hilditch basically said the selectors were'nt to blame it was all the players fault. Hilditch must go, Greg Chappell has proved since his retirement that he is a hopeless administrator/selector, and why is David Boon a selector - to select the lunch menu?

    I really hope Cricket Australia do nothing and continue to believe that they are actually better than England but just didn't show it. That will ensure we England supporters will have smiles on our faces for series to come.

    We know, we've been in that boat.

  • Comment number 24.

    An outstanding series win. Superb!

    Here's to a great world cup.

  • Comment number 25.

    Tom, thank you for your writing, it's been a pleasure to read everything. Please consider a book of your experiences, it would not only be a great read but a wonderful souvenir (I'm not sure if that's the word I want but it's late at night for me!) of your blogs and most of the comments.

    Most of all congratulations to a great England team performance, to the Barmy Army and to 99.5% of the contributors on here. In no way can I agree with post #16, the Barmy Army members pay their way and they can sing all they want. They are extremely well behaved and most of all they enjoy themselves.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 22, Deep-heat, "oppo"? Have you spent time in Australia? There's rego (registration), doco (documentary), ambo (ambulance man), Freeo (Freemantle), arvo (afternoon), smoko (smoke break) et al. Why do Australians feel the need to minimise syllables? I am already aware they save on zinc by wearing it only for the anthems as the process takes longer than a baggy green innings.

  • Comment number 27.


    To: Messrs R. Ponting & M. Clarke

    Re: Big Ben stunt


  • Comment number 28.

    @ 27, ah yes, it's meaning was hidden from me but surely it some obscure self-assessment in industrial Australian rhyming slang.

  • Comment number 29.

    Sorry, I meant, "its".

  • Comment number 30. the first part of the sentence but "it is" in the latter. Alas, the champagne has kicked in. Apologies.

  • Comment number 31.

    My first ever comment...
    Wonderful, wonderful.
    1981, 2005, 2009 - and now this.
    Great achievement, everyone involved has been brilliant.

  • Comment number 32.

    What a day to feel truly proud to be English, and what a sport! Game of the Gods.

    One thing has been bugging me a tad, and that's the Aussie media reaction to England's dominance in this series. It's as if England only won because they were pitched against village cricketers, and that it was only the poor standard of the Aussie line-up which resulted in English dominance. All the reporting, such as the story 'Our Worst XI', all focuses on how bad the Australians were, rather than how good England are. This has been mentioned earlier on here, but I think the quality of this English side deserves better.

    The stats speak for themselves - number of dropped catches, the (one) mistake from Matt Prior in the whole series, the run outs, the fielding - and this is before you get to the batting and bowling performances of the side. And to say this was all down to the poorest quality Aussie side is complete hyperbole - Johnson (former best bowler in the world), Ponting (one of the greatest batsmen of all time), Hussey (in superb form this series), and Clarke (although in a run of bad form has been superb in recent times). Granted, form has been a significant issue but give credit where it's due - it's pretty hard to be 'in form' when you are facing a pumped up, in-form side - England are world class at the moment, are T20 champions, and will enter the World Cup as one of the favourites to win. When Warne and McGrath were spearheading Australia, they roughed up every great batsmen/teams - I've seen Warne make Tendulkar and Lara look infantile. That's not a blemish on their skill, but a nod to the quality of that Australian.

    England are 2 points from being the second best test team in the world, and it's only fitting that we credit the Ashes victory to the quality of England's team, and not the quality of the Aussie team.

    I echo many other sentiments - Tom, your blogs have been an absolute pleasure to read and thank you for permitting us to engage in the discussion you have so insightfully staged.

    One final nod to a true gentleman and ambassador of the sport - Paul Collingwood. I'm so very glad to see the mass respect shown to him as an individual who embodies the transformation of this England side who have achieved great things through hard work, persistence, and dedication. He will make a fantastic coach if we're lucky enough for him to continue his career in cricket.

  • Comment number 33.

    Tom I have signed in for the first time in ages as I wanted to thank you for all you blogs over the past few weeks. They have been really special to read every day, and if they have been late getting posted have been a real downer on my day, so a huge thank you.

    As for England wow what a series, i was over in Oz for the 2003 tour and stayed for the world cup. That tour was amazing as i was with the Barmy Army and we lost but what special times. To be over there now with the Barmy Army must just be so special.

    Number 16, while i respect your view i do think you are wrong about the Barmy Army, as any Australian side would rip us apart with sledging if we were down, so as far as i am concerned they can sing rude songs as much as they like. If Johnson was bowling better he wouldn't hear what was being said. Its only because he is bowling like S**T that its a problem.

    Anyway Tom you're a gem and i hope to read loads more of your blogs soon. Try and get on TMS for us as well as would be great to hear your stories as well.

    England thumping the Aussies, what a great day, what a great feeling, cant wait for the summer and the Indians.

  • Comment number 34.

    5-0 England victory in 2013, Aus are going to be a shambles for a few years to come and this England side has not reached its peak yet.

  • Comment number 35.

    Thanks Tom for your posts throughout the series and they always seem to be spot on. I have been following each day's round up with bated breath and, like so many other England fans, have been amazed by their consistent performances day after day - even though I did wonder if, after Perth, the Aussies would not come back hard and win the series. Obviously bad memories from past England collapses! Anyway, what a complete team performance, creating sporting history and letting the Aussies have a bit of their own medicine for a change! Congrats to England for a totally professional performance and to the Barmy Army, who have stuck with England through the bad times, and really chipped away at the Aussies' moral this time round, as the Aussie supporters have done so often to us in the past series down under.
    Long may the team's performances continue (as well as your blog!)

  • Comment number 36.

    No worries then dude, as long as they pay their way they can chant what they want, and if they enjoy themselves chanting the abuse then hey that's even better!! :-P

    I know it adds a bit of atmosphere but the football crowd mentally is creeping in with the chants, and as they say 'it's just not cricket'!

  • Comment number 37.

    #26. Truly wish I had been spending time in Australia rather than at my desk, but hey ho. Apologies for the abbreviation - was just getting so excited that I didn't have the patience to write 'sition'.

    Or should I say... yeah mate, bummed not to be in Oz, soz for the brevos.

    Obviously, if I'm truly being Australian then every single thing I utter should be prefaced with 'Look...'

  • Comment number 38.

    This is Great and so nice to have some good news as the headliner for a change.

    It was nice to see Colly lead the team out for his last test match.

    Its only a matter of time now before England are ranked number 1 in the World.

    Other teams really should take note of the achievements of the cricket teams in both tests and one days matches.

    Now bring on the World Cup.............

  • Comment number 39.

    Thank you Tom for another excellent blog. It makes getting to work in the morning a pleasure - not sure what I am going to do next week! :-(

    3-1 to England, 3 victories by an innings, the best batsman, the best bowler, the best fielder, the best captain, the best team. WHAT A RESULT. KEEP IT UP!!

    I remember 1981 with Botham and Willis mounting an amazing fightback. However, I also remember Terry Alderman seeming to be able to take Gooch's wicket at will, Steve Waugh scroring a hatful of runs and both Ian Healey and Adam Gilchrist showing us that wicketkeepers could be true all rounders. This makes today the best cricket moment for years and hopefully the start of something amazing from this England team. They have worked very hard and achieved so much, but there are more trophies and accolades to come, hopefully in the World Cup and then next Summer against India.

  • Comment number 40.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't losing to the pomms still carry the death penalty?

  • Comment number 41.

    #38, chezza100:

    "Its only a matter of time now before England are ranked number 1 in the World."

    We were guilty in 2005 of getting too far ahead of ourselves so lets not do it again. Both SA and India are eexcellent sides. You only have to have watched a little of the recent series in SA to realise that England will need to go up yet another notch in order to get above them to number 1. The battles between Steyn and Tendulkar were some of the finest passages of play that I have seen in 25 years of watching cricket. Both batting line-ups are formidable (though some of the key players - Tendulkar, Dravid, Kallis are beginning to get on) and both have bowling attacks that can be the undoing of any side (Steyn still pips Jimmy as best fast bowler in my book), though England will outperform both sides in the field if we maintain our current standards. This Summer's series should be absolutely fantastic to watch.

  • Comment number 42.

    The best news we have had since Gordon Brown quit. Well done, it is good to know that we still have some credit left in the world. Next step, England rated number one, and an even better win against India.

  • Comment number 43.

    Top blog.

    Great performance. Prior has been awesome this series - especially when Siddle tried to slate him and he just said I'll see you outside the stadium which shut him up.

    The Johnson song is hilarious!

  • Comment number 44.

    Dear Australian Cricket,

    You have described the Ashes result as 'disappointing'. Getting a bad seat at the opera is disappointing, waiting a long time for a meal at a restaurant that then arrives cold is disappointing.

    No, you were appalling. You were a massive regression from the physical and mental standards of your forebears, despite all the extra coaching, management, PR spin and money. You have taken incredible personal and group opportunity and turned it to pure dung, and not even the kind that can be used on the garden.

    I find your lack of appreciation of reality disappointing.

    Ausralian Cricket Supporter

  • Comment number 45.

    Obviously this is brilliant!
    I stayed up for the final wicket and on-pitch celebrations.
    Yes, it's very big to win a series down under but they certainly deserve all the credit.
    This is a really good team of cricketers and I have had the pleasure of following most of the series.
    2005 was very big too - this is in the same league as that in terms of achievement but they have definely stepped up more gears even since then.
    Aussies were totally outplayed throughout the series and it's really good for the game of cricket.
    What I want to see is some nationwide NETWORK TV coverage and Sky, (who have already lost a future Ashes series, pegged back.
    It's great to have the live pictures (wherever they come from) BUT Sky commentary is very poor compared to TMS/Channel 5!!

  • Comment number 46.

    My Dad was a cricket fan all his life and he was one of the few people I know who bought Sky Sports to watch cricket, not football.
    It was his funeral yesterday. Can I just say how happy he would have been to celebrate this stunning Ashes victory on their turf.
    I know the victory was nothing to do with him but it felt like a fitting tribute.

  • Comment number 47.

    Having been in Oz for the last two failed missions gutted not to be there this time...

    Now this team needs to push-on and beat India & Sri Lanka, unfortunately we will have to wait for another bite at the Saffers. I'm sure the management will keep their feet on the ground.

    The Barmy Army deserve this to - the coverage has shown they're unwavering support in victory but they've always been just as vocal on previous unsuccessful tours (and they turned up on the last day to applaud the Aussie legends into retirement).

    But what a way to start the new year - thanks guys.

  • Comment number 48.

    @36 Well, yes, they chant whatever they feel like chanting. Aside from the variation on the Waltzing Matilda lyrics is the Johnson jibe so bad when you consider the sledging English players have received over the years from Australian players? I'm no paragon of virtue but such things are indicative of the time we live in.

    Folk have a tendency to cling to the past when all was good in the game; however, as I have mentioned previously, and, for one example of several, in England, there is a long tradition of players walking, but it has never been universal, and the tradition is not nearly so long as many people imagine. From the days of Victorian cricket until as recently as the 1950s, few players ever walked, and there seems to have been no expectation that walking was either required or sporting. W. G. Grace never walked. Nor did Lord Harris, England’s first captain, chairman of the MCC, and all-round personification of the cricketing establishment. England bowler Gubby Allen, who is often held up as the epitome of gentlemanly conduct – for one thing, he flatly refused to bowl ‘bodyline’ during the infamous 1932-3 series – openly admitted that, ‘Between the wars few batsmen ever walked unless given out.’ It seems that the golden age of gentlemen’s cricket was not quite as honourable as it is sometimes made out.

    Disparaging supporters on the basis of, "the good old days" seems, to me at least, a fanciful one.

  • Comment number 49.

    Our cricket team is wonderful and we are fortunate to have them. Thanks lads.

    What a pleasant contrast to the England world cup football debacle. We spend zillions on football, it breeds dreadful behaviour and role models and we are absolutely hopeless at it.

    Thank goodness for cricket…

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    //14. At 07:35am on 07 Jan 2011, Jossledoodledandy wrote:

    Winning the Ashes 3-1 in Australia is very much like making love to a beautiful woman...//

    ermmmmmm, no. It isn't.

    But nice one England anyway.

  • Comment number 52.

    Where do you start? Difficult to find criticism. Only blot was Collingwood's continued poor form with the bat. Sad to see him go as he seemed so much of a heart beat within the team, but the right decision for a good test player and England's greatest one day player. What the Captain sometimes lacks in tactics (the bizarre fields set in the first innings at Sydney?) he more than makes up for in the way in which he has helped unite an entire squad and given them a clear sense of purpose - tremendous man management.

    I will miss in the coming weeks:
    - having my tranny under the pillow (I know what I mean!)drifting in and out of sleep throughout the night.
    - the great blogs (although perhaps a lot easier to write around a winning side Tom?),
    - following the wonderful Ellie on Twitter - is there anyone more enthusiastic?
    - getting to know that Michael Vaughan has a wicked sense of humour via TMS and Twitter. He also has tremendous insight and reads the game so well. So often has he said something and hey presto it happens.
    - my ritual 30 minutes listen to my audio copy of "Thanks Johnners" before the start of play,
    - the hysterically funny contributions from Papa Shango on these blogs. Papa is my favourite WWF wrestler of all time. I like to imagine that both are in fact the same person. It makes his contributions even funnier.
    - Jim Maxwell's brilliant commentary (the true heir of Alan McGilvry)
    Most of all I will miss looking forward to waking up on cold wet black winter mornings so I can find out what happened overnight.

    I could go on so much further,

  • Comment number 53.

    @ 47 the saffer tour of england is in 2012 i think, not that long to wait. Unfortunately its 2013 until the next ashes :'(

  • Comment number 54.

    @50, er, posts 16 and 26 are from two different individuals. If you care to read on, I fully support the Barmy Army whereas the contributor to post 16 does not. Jeez.

  • Comment number 55.

    Sorry to have to say this again but Sky do not deserve (and should not be allowed!) to cover an event like the Ashes.
    It was the previous government's "arrogant" mistake to remove the Ashes from the list of PROTECTED events to be covered by NETWORK TV.
    In their dying days they(Brown) reversed that, but it's too late for a lot of people, including me, as most of the nation does not have PAY TV and will have missed this epic event.
    It's really time that we started to "get a grip" on what principles we have left in this country - the main one being WINNERS in one of our main NATIONAL SPORTS!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Absolute brilliant England!

    Am I dreaming or is it Christmas, Birthday & New Years Eve rolled into one?

    Special comment to the pending Sir Andy Flower - AWESOME! Churchill would have been proud of the planning & the execution in the defeat of the enemy!

    Excellent blogs Tom, you've made this Ashes series even more enjoyable!

  • Comment number 57.

    @ 55 i agree with you, but its partly due to the sky money that cricket has been able to flourish like it has. unless Terestrial TV can fork out the same level of money then Cricket will suffer unfortunately as i agree the ashes should be free to view. Think it is from 2014

  • Comment number 58.

    ~32, this occurs a lot in sport, especially in England. When England lose a football match its generally referred to as a bad England performance that lost the game, not the opposition just being better, having a game plan and winning on merit.
    I wouldn't expect too much praise to come England's way from the Aussie media. They need to ram home the inadequities of their own team more than praise England's.
    Well done England! loving it :-)

  • Comment number 59.

    #50 'I thought I was a numpty'

    I've got to fully agree with you there fella

  • Comment number 60.

    I too am a traditionalist and would prefer the 'buzz' of a large knowledgeable crowd to the drink-fuelled chants of the Barmy Army. I know some of the lads who were part of it and can certainly confirm that they're not very knowledgeable about the game and wouldn't be there at all if all they were ever going to get to do was clap politely when opposition batsmen assembled a fifty partnership and if there was no alcohol allowed in the ground.

    However, I suspect that without this sort of supporter cricket would be on its last legs. If income from rowdy attendees at Tests and T20 games is what it takes to finance the first-class couty game, then I shall grudgingly accept it.

    I'm glad to hear that they've been 'well-behaved', though I'm not entirely sure what that means. Didn't beat up Australian supporters? Were there any? I'd definitely not be so tolerant if any of them were like the minority of England football fans who go to other countries looking for trouble.

    On the other hand, were I less of a traditionalist, then what a fantastic holiday it must have been to be part of all this, all day and every day! Spare a thought for those who opted for the Perth leg only.

  • Comment number 61.

    @55 that may well be the case for home series, but I think I'm right in saying that England test matches abroad were not broadcast until they toured the West Indies in 1990 when Sky first screened live pictures. So, without Sky we wouldn't have any coverage other than the one-eyed commentary from Ch 9 shown on ITV4.

    I do however agree that the home Ashes should be free to air as part of the crown jewels, but the money that would go out of the game as a result could be potentially crippling to grass roots cricket.

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • Comment number 63.

    Well done boys fantastic win from a great team but very poor from Cricket Australia.

    I think flintoff nailed it on Twitter yesterday whabout the presentation ceremony. Where was the Champagne, individual medal presentation, and to forget Cooke`s medal was shocking, also how come Ponting/Clarke didn`t present the ashes?

    Makes the Asuies look like a bunch of bad losers if you ask me.

  • Comment number 64.

    I am so pleased that England have achieved such an emphatic series win. It is proof that, under Andy Flower and with Andrew Strauss as captain, this England squad have not allowed their ambition to shrink in the face of the demands of an overseas Ashes tour. England CAN win emphatically in Australia and there is now no reason why they cannot dream of achieving whitewash results and inflicting innings defeat after innings defeat on opponents. This is a team with immense self-belief, technical brilliance, team spirit in bucketloads and, very importantly, huge commitment to the collective performance. It stands out in everything they do. And they have not yet peaked as a team.

    Lets savour the moment. It is our moment in the sun now; Australia will not rest for long in defeat. But they will have to reach a good deal beyond themselves if they are to match and then surpass the performance of this England team.

  • Comment number 65.

    Sorry to have to say this again but Sky do not deserve (and should not be allowed!) to cover an event like the Ashes.
    It was the previous government's "arrogant" mistake to remove the Ashes from the list of PROTECTED events to be covered by NETWORK TV.
    In their dying days they(Brown) reversed that, but it's too late for a lot of people, including me, as most of the nation does not have PAY TV and will have missed this epic event.
    It's really time that we started to "get a grip" on what principles we have left in this country - the main one being WINNERS in one of our main NATIONAL SPORTS!!

    ITV4 Carried extended highlights for those of us who don't want to stay up all night or further fund the Mad Duck empire

  • Comment number 66.

    oh and home cricket should definately be on free to air television. It is why i am into cricket. I used to watch the home test series in my summer holidays and it was the thrilling excitment of 2005 that got me properly hooked and a fan for life. How would i know to care if i hadn't got to watch that? i'm sorry but listening on the radio is all well and good when you have WATCHED cricket and understand all the wierd words and stuff but how could you possibly properly understand what was going on without having watched it at some point?

    Also on a selfish note - it cost me a fortune in beer going to the pub to watch england test in the summer! (don't have sky)

  • Comment number 67.

    i got a comment removed for complaining about boycott! this is ridiculous! is he a pretected institution or something?!? i don't even mind him that much!

  • Comment number 68.

    34. At 09:01am on 07 Jan 2011, Sportsfan87 wrote:
    5-0 England victory in 2013, Aus are going to be a shambles for a few years to come and this England side has not reached its peak yet.
    As much as I share your enthusiasm, I suspect the English weather'll let us down and inevitably there'll be a drawn test or two.

    However, Ashes daminance is definitely on the cards for the forseeable unless something radically changes in the Australian line up. The psychological impact of this series will be a major factor as much as anything else.

  • Comment number 69.

    @59 Yes, and he fully cemented his status with his last erroneous statement.

  • Comment number 70.

    and thanks for the blogs tom - that was in my apparently offensive message!

  • Comment number 71.

    "The best news we have had since Gordon Brown quit. Well done, it is good to know that we still have some credit left in the world. Next step, England rated number one, and an even better win against India."
    Despite Gordon Brown's flawed leadership as highlighted here - the one thing we do have to thank him for is reversing the government's decision on allowing live Network coverage of HOME Ashes thereby ridding us of Sky/Pay TV in forthcoming contests!
    At least he had the decency to realise the mistake and I for one will remember him for taking that decision. The best decision he ever made (other than saving the world, of course!).

  • Comment number 72.


  • Comment number 73.


    is this a FACT (as people do like talking about FACTS on this blog) that home ashes series will now be on free to air? from the next one or in 6 years time?

  • Comment number 74.

    One of the best things about this whole series and series win! is the fact were using this as a springboard! Its enough to just beat Australia in Australia but now we want to be in a different class to the convicts! AMAZING!!!!!

  • Comment number 75.

  • Comment number 76.

    An excellent performance by the entire England team. Sure, Australia aren't the force they once were but then again they were ranked higher than England at the start of The Ashes.

    This doesn't necessarily mean that England are the best cricket team ever but, IMO, this squad does give England the opportunity to become the world number 1 and to stay there for a few years.

    As far as England's journey to world number 1 is concerned

    "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

    If I can be bothered I'll produce some inflammatory Australian ratings later

  • Comment number 77.

    I have assembled some real facts that show the dominance of England in this series. Five English batsmen averaged over 50, compared to one Aussie. England only scored 199 more runs (2,713 to 2,514), but these came in 36(!) less innings and at an average of 48.45, compared to 27.33 for the Aussies. England's batsmen went past 50 on 20 occasions and Australia's on 19, but England scored 9 centuries and Australia 3.

    On the bowling side, England took 86 wickets in the series, compared to 56 for Australia. England's average per wicket was 29.63 runs, whereas Australia's was 46.70.

    And, if catches win matches, England took 66, compared to 33 for the Aussie's. More Aussies were out caught than England's batsmen had innings! (66/65). The only stat where the Aussies come out on top is stumpings (1/0) - can't win them all!

    A comprehensive thrashing in (virtually) all departments.

  • Comment number 78.

    Tom as an Australian living in Europe (Denmark) i have really enjoyed your blogs...some great articles and comments. I find your comments and breadth of info really refreshing, keep up the good work!!!

    Respect to the Poms you have thumped us all over the park, seems like the sides have been reversed after so many yrs of our lads winning and winning. Can they keep it up? For crickets sake i really hope so and i have to say for the Oz teams a good smashing will also help in the long-term.

    Oz cricket has been at the top of the heap or there about for the last 20yrs, can English cricket do the same? That will be the true test of your team and its setup. The way the media has really turned on the Australian team has been an honest and just reaction and it is the same way the UK press turns on your team time and time again, will the good feelings last? The poms have a great team and some great players.
    I am really looking forward to how they play against the lads from SA in the future, which will be a great comp.

    One thing i think is a little funny to read are the comments about sledging and complaining about the Aussies, its a global game and all teams give as much as they can get, on the field its the same from all sides, i worked for the Nine network yrs ago and had access to the internal mics from the pitch and the amount of talk going on from both sides is no different. Thats all teams by the way.

    I am looking forward to the next 2 yrs to see how both teams grow and develop their teams and ideas, aus have some real work cut out for them in the near future, i hope they are brave enough to take the right ones :)

    One thing i hope this win gives England is the right to respect from your media. They are your worst enemies, they have always wielded way to much power over your team and you can see the benefits now that the team and setup looks to themselves not Sky and the UK press :)
    Well played England i have set up through the night and cringed and suffered with pain.....but i guess that’s what you guys have been doing for the last 20yrs :) Oz will be back i am sure

  • Comment number 79.

    51. At 09:35am on 07 Jan 2011, Masons Arms wrote:
    //14. At 07:35am on 07 Jan 2011, Jossledoodledandy wrote:

    Winning the Ashes 3-1 in Australia is very much like making love to a beautiful woman...//

    ermmmmmm, no. It isn't.

    But nice one England anyway.

    I have to agree with you Mason's Arms, when i'm Making love to a beautiful woman i'd feel cheated if there wasn't a second innings

  • Comment number 80.

    thanks @smudger

  • Comment number 81.

    thats bad news about defering that ruling - i certainly won't be a student next time cricket is one the tv...

  • Comment number 82.


    ha ha very good! Swiss Tony?

  • Comment number 83.

    If anyone fancies a laugh have a look at this article outlining how 'The Poms' didn't have a chance back in November!

    Onwards and upwards!

  • Comment number 84.

    I really could not care less!
    So eleven men now have a little urn with some ashes in it, the economy is still in tatters, we still have bankers, banking big bonus's, we still have inflation, we still have crime, we still have xenophobes, we still have racists, and we still have a very unpleasant going on, so no I am not interested.

  • Comment number 85.

    Rod Laver, Germaine Greer, Rolf Harris, John Howard, Barry Humphries, Ned Kelly, Ian Thorpe, we have beaten them all, we have beaten them all. Danni Minogue can you hear me? Danni Minogue - your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!

    Tom, thanks for some outstanding journalism and writing. It has added enormously to the fun.

  • Comment number 86.

    England No 1 wrote:
    "I think flintoff nailed it on Twitter yesterday whabout the presentation ceremony. Where was the Champagne, individual medal presentation, and to forget Cooke`s medal was shocking, also how come Ponting/Clarke didn`t present the ashes?"

    Presumably because Australia weren't in possession of the Ashes in the first place. I know it's been a long time since we retained them...

  • Comment number 87.

    #78 I'd be surprised if there is an extended period of dominance by one nation again like the Aussies have enjoyed throughout the 90's/early 00's. Obviosuly I hope England continue to thrash the boys from down under for the remainder of my days

  • Comment number 88.


    all the more reason to celebrate I think, or do you prefer to wallow in misery?

  • Comment number 89.

    I can't remember enjoying a Test series so much since 2005. That was a better *series* because it was so close, but this was a far more convincing victory. The level of support and enjoyment in the country is, sadly, down from 2005 when the matches were shown live on free-to-air TV. So the best way I can see for the English Cricket Establishment to push forward from this historic victory and get the broader public enthused about cricket again is to see the BBC get the rights to show Test Matches in England *LIVE* again, please!

  • Comment number 90.

    Congratulations England on a fantastic achievement. And one in which everyone contributed in some way to retaining the Ashes in such a comprehensive way.

    I was glued to the TV over the last few nights and with the smug feeling that it was a question of "when" not "if" for a 3-1 victory.

    One question though; why was the Urn presented to Andrew Strauss by Michael Vaughan and not the, or any, Australian captain? Where were Clarke, Ponting et al when having to face the last painful process of losing at home and re-presenting us with the Ashes again?

  • Comment number 91.

    Ball and pain mate!

  • Comment number 92.

    #79 = genius;
    #82: yep;
    #84: crikey, that was depressing. If only a really exciting and pleasing event had happened recently to take my mind off things....

  • Comment number 93.

    I have to agree with boarderyogi, I view the Barmy Army as mildly annoying at best. What's worse it that I when watched BBC Breakfast this morning to see how the final wickets fell, they didn't even show them, preferring to show footage of the Barmy Army celebrating the series win. The Barmy Army are not the story, for crying out loud! It's like reporting that England have won the World Cup and not showing anything of the final. Very poor from the Beeb.

    I also want to add that Tom Fordyce's blogs have rivalled Simon Hughes and Mike Atherton's writing in the Times. Insightful, informed and most important of all, well-written. Keep up the good work, Tom - you're not bad on Twitter either!

  • Comment number 94.

    55. At 09:39am on 07 Jan 2011, sledger10 wrote:

    "Sorry to have to say this again but Sky do not deserve (and should not be allowed!) to cover an event like the Ashes.
    It was the previous government's "arrogant" mistake to remove the Ashes from the list of PROTECTED events to be covered by NETWORK TV.
    In their dying days they(Brown) reversed that, but it's too late for a lot of people, including me, as most of the nation does not have PAY TV and will have missed this epic event.
    It's really time that we started to "get a grip" on what principles we have left in this country - the main one being WINNERS in one of our main NATIONAL SPORTS!!"

    I couldn't disagree more!!!

    As far as I'm concerned, the sooner ALL sport is shown on dedicated digital/satellite channels, the happier I'll be. And as EVERYONE in the country will soon have digital TV, I can't see that anyone can complain about this.

    I have some sympathy with the resentment of Pay per View, but as there's so much money involved in sport, I think that just about all events - with the possible exception of truly international tournaments such as the Olympics - will soon only be available by subscription of some kind.

    As for the cricket? I find just about all sports pretty tedious, but cricket and golf are the only only ones I can actually use in place of sedatives.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • Comment number 96.

    84. europhile wrote:
    I really could not care less!

    But still took the time to post a comment?

    Many here seem to be having a better start to their day and 2011 in general because of this. We all know sport is just for fun...and this is about as much fun as it gets in cricketing terms

    Thanks for an entertaining blog throughout Tom - my personal highlight being the entertaining and respectful interview with Aussie legend 88 yr old Arthur Morris

    Papa Shango Foxtrot Oscar

  • Comment number 97.


    if you don't care don't come on this blog. unless you are being so sarcastic that it is impossible to tell?! It is important to enjoy what you can you know?

  • Comment number 98.

    #84 - your argument is fatally flawed and contains a paradoxical statement. If you don't care then why have you taken the time to actively partisipate on a cricket blog (albeit on a totally out of context issue about the woes of the world that we live in)?

    Come on - cheer up and don't be so sad. The English boys have done their nation proud and well all may not be rosy at home, things like this can provide a welcome distraction to the harsh realities of the world! So have some heart and try to experience some joy in your life: or else face a life of continuous drudgery.

  • Comment number 99.

    #83 adalexam:

    Excellent! Could we print it and post it back to them now do you reckon, with a knife and fork...

    Had to stay up to watch it last night so am currently a walking zombie at work, worth it. First time in my lifetime this has happened (well, second, but I was 1 so it barely counts!)


    I completely agree. Have to say it was extremely poor form on the part of Cricket Australia for that shambles of a presentation ceremony.

    On a final note: thank you Paul Collingwood. Great servant to English cricket and a fitting way to bow out the Test arena.

  • Comment number 100.

    95 @Willo

    kids shouldn't be hero-worshipping anyone. Trivial things is what makes life enjoyable - sport is of little 'real' importance but that is why it is so much fun - in losing no one dies and in winning it feels very good. If you don't enjoy don't follow it. Science is great and that but it is not how i entertain myself (and i am doing a science degree...)


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