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My top-10 moments from the Ashes

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Adam Mountford | 09:56 UK time, Saturday, 8 January 2011

I have to admit it has been a pleasure being a Pom in Sydney right now.

Normally, at the end of an Ashes series down under, you have to try and adopt an Aussie accent and speak knowledgeably about the events in Ramsay Street and the music of Savage Garden.

But not this time. Every Australian who I have spoken to over the past 24 hours has immediately congratulated me on the success of Andrew Strauss and the team before launching into a diatribe about the failures of the Aussie side.

The papers on Saturday morning were full of pictures of glum-looking Australian players and headlines about the need for big changes from top to bottom. Usually it is English cricket in crisis at the end of a tour.

But we shouldn't enjoy ourselves too much. On the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald there is a "cut out and keep guide" entitled "What to do with a gloating Pom".

It says: "Some day soon an English cricket fan is going to nudge you in the ribs and say 'not so barmy now, eh?'. It's going to be unbearable. They're going to be unbearable." The paper then offers a five-point plan for dealing with the problem, like "mention the weather, remind your gloating Pom how much they hate where the live" and "mention the Empire. Empire. What Empire ? Oh That's Right. At least its only our batting that's collapsed not our banks".

One person who will not fall into the trap of gloating is England's highly impressive coach Andy Flower. He is a man who, when it comes to triumph or disaster, treats both just the same.

After the defeat at Perth he didn't panic, just exuded calmness. And at the news conference before England boarded the bus to Canberra ahead of their warm-up one-day game, he was again calm and measured.


The two Andrews who masterminded England's victory share their moment of victory

Flower told me the victory had just about sunk in but it was difficult because the tour moves on so quickly. Did he have a sore head after celebrations last night. "Not me," he said.

But Flower did explain how special Friday's celebrations were. "The families came into the changing rooms which is always really nice and then we went into the Australian team room to have a chat with them," he said.

"The Tests may be hard-fought but it's just sport and its great to be able to just have a chat with them about cricket and life."

Flower then told me how the team all went out and sat on the field. He said: "We had time out in the middle at the SCG, had a drink together. The players wanted to be there as it had been the battleground and they had come out as victors.

"We shared a lot of laughter and there were some very emotional moments as well. These are memories that will remain with us for the rest of our lives."

Flower admitted he was unaware of the reaction the series had created in the UK, but was happy if people had been inspired.

"It should create something because the Ashes is very special with a great history," he said. "If it has ignited interest and imagination in supporters young and old then I think that is magnificent."

Well, I know from all the e-mails, tweets and texts that you have kindly sent into the programme that this Ashes has certainly been special for you - and it certainly has been for us.

Finally, as always at the end of the series, people provide their lists of where the Ashes were won and lost or who were the top performers.

Well, as an alternative, I would like to provide my TMS top-10 moments of the Ashes 2010/11, some relate to events on air while others from things that took place in the background or on our travels around Australia.

Feel free to add your own below or disagree with mine...

1. Two hours after the Melbourne victory, Jonathan Trott wheels a pram onto the middle of the ground so that he can show his baby daughter and wife Abi just where he scored another Ashes century.

2) The announcement from the pilot as we prepared to take off from Adelaide airport on the way to Melbourne. "We apologise for the late departure of this flight...this has been caused by an agitated cheetah in the hold." I don't know about you but I'm getting sick of agitated cheetahs causing delays.

3) Aggers interviewing Ashley Kerekes aka @theashes. The 22-year-old American children's nanny who landed a trip to Australia just because of the Twitter name. Half-way through the chat with Jonathan she casually mentioned: "Its been great. A guy called Steve Waugh has been teaching me about the rules of cricket. He's really nice. And this morning I interviewed the Prime Minister."

4) Vic Marks being forced to show his pink pants live on air to Aggers to prove that he was supporting the "Jane Mcgrath Day" at the SCG.

5) Justin Langer, the Aussie batting coach who has also been working with us this series, fronting up and offering an honest assessment when his team were bowled out for 98 at the MCG.

6) Stuart Broad, who joined the TMS team at Perth, giving me a smile of relief after just about surviving a barrage of banter from Sir Geoffrey Boycott after the defeat at the WACA.

7) Injured Aussie bowler Nathan Bracken appearing on TMS partly because Aggers has a dog named after him. "My wife says the dog looks exactly like me, is probably better behaved and a nicer thing to be around," said Nathan.

8) Michael Slater celebrating his bird winning the Channel 9 pigeon race before launching into a series of "12th man" impressions. "It's 222 for 2" as Richie might say. On this "telecast" as if it was Tony Grieg.

9) The wonderful interview with Arthur Morris conducted by Tom Fordyce. Amazing stories of Bradman and a fantastic chuckle.

10) The "sprinkler" dance performed by Aggers. Although my favourite bit was when Geoff Boycott criticised Aggers' dancing technique. "Is that it? It just looked like a bit of wiggling about."

So the Ashes is over...but the tour most certainly is not and we have plenty more coverage coming up.

We'll have commentary on the whole of the limited overs series with Simon Mann and Michael Vaughan joining the ABC Radio team as we share coverage of the matches.

It starts with the first Twenty20 at Adelaide on Wednesday - our coverage under way at 0815 GMT on Five Live Sports Extra and then Sports Extra and Radio Four longwave listeners will have commentary on the seven-match ODI series starting at the MCG on the 16 January.

So after your through the night Ashes marathons, you've just got a few more days and you will have to be awake early again!


  • Comment number 1.

    The moment Cricket Australia opted for a 17-man squad for the first test and then announced it with much extravagance at a gala lunch marquee with only about seven rain-bedraggled fans in attendance. It doesn't come close to TF's interview with Arthur Morris, but the idea that a few smoked salmon nibbles would distract from the selectors' obvious fretting and indecision must have brought a wry smile to Andy Flower. If he ever smiles, that is.

  • Comment number 2.

    The moment when Justin Langer asked CMJ what he did in his man-time. At first it made me feel slightly uncomfortable - like the scene in the film "Airplane!" when the pilot asks a small boy visiting the cock-pit whether he enjoys watching gladiator movies. Initially CMJ thought he had misheard so there was a pause. But he recovered well and managed to bluster some answer about walking dogs and playing golf. Hilarious

  • Comment number 3.

    My absolute favourite moment was Boycs, within the first 3 overs of the Melbourne Test, telling Aggers that England didn't didn't have a chance in the series, after Perth. When Aggers attempted to disgaree, Boycs interrupted him saying something like 'I have experience and I know these things'. Ooops! :)

    My other favourite, personal, things were you mentioning me and the Twitter Night Squad on your last blog and Aggers mentioning me and the Night Squad at the start of the SCG Test. For which, many, many thanks!

    TMS -always has been quality and continues to be. Long may it reign!

  • Comment number 4.

    I want to take this opportunity to thank the whole TMS crew and their guests for helping to make this one of the most enjoyable ashes coverages I can remember. I haven't enjoyed staying up all night so much in thirty years! A big part of this was the way that the radio broadcasts combined with the twitter, flickr and blogs engagement to involve listeners in a way that hasn't been managed before. Congratulations to all involved!

  • Comment number 5.

    It has to be Collingwood belly-surfing in his pants on the outfield in the pouring rain after the win in Adelaide.......and Mitchell Johnson's first- baller at the SCG as the Barmy Army sang his anthem........and KP's wink at Punter as he goes ballistic over that referral.......... KP's pie that dismissed Clarke....... Siddle's hat-trick (always awesome whichever side gets one)........and yes that moment of Boycs hubris "that's why I'm an expert and you're a commentator" - I hope he has apologised.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Adam, well done to TMS great coverage of a great series as ever.

    I was wondering if you know who else we will be hearing from on the ABC coverage of the one-day series? Are the likes of Tim Lane and Geoff Lawson likely to be involved?

  • Comment number 7.


    How about some coverage for the girls who are out there at the moment? At least the T20s at the grounds with the lads. Happy to volunteer to come out and commentate! Cheers

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks Adam and to to the whole TMS team for some great coverage, as always.

    Re no. 6 on your top 10. I'm glad Broad could laugh it off - if it was me in his place, I think I would have been tempted to thump Boycott for what I considered unwarranted abuse. Fair enough, England hadn't played well at Perth, but along with what other commenters have highlighted as Boycott's hubris early on at the MCG, it seems to me to exemplify his reactionary nature - much like Botham on Sky's coverage.

    Any thoughts of teaming up Vic Marks with Agnew on the podcast? I think that would ensure the blend of shrewd analysis and whimsical humour that epitomises TMS.

    P.S. A personal commentary highlight was CMJ's brisk ennunciation of "Hello, Monty" to the dog that went crazy for him and Boycs. Vic Marks pointed out that the dog must be even worse when they were on together - it occurred to me that it might be even worse than that if Panesar was in the team.

  • Comment number 9.

    The best moment for me was when Sky televison captured the KP wind up wink at Ponting who was about to lose 40% of his match fee and a much higher percentage of self control in his finger jabbing rant at the umpires over the not given thin edge catch.

    It does not come any sweeter than that!

  • Comment number 10.

    I don't know if anyone else remembers the occasion when Pieterson emerged to bat & was met with a chorus of booing from the Aussie supporters. Geoffrey chuckled & launched into a spiel about what a great sign that was, "Cos of course they're afraid of you when that happens!!" - to which co-commentator (CMJ?) politely inquired of Geoffrey if he could recall having been on the receiving end of similar treatment. "No,, never," chirped Boycs cheerfully.

  • Comment number 11.

    For the "sheer lump in the throat", "tears in your eyes" and "you just had to be there" moment, Mitchell Johnson's first-ball dismissal in the 2nd innings at the SCG as the fans went absolutely delirious

  • Comment number 12.

    My top ten:
    1. Winning
    2. Winning
    3. Winning
    4. Winning
    5. Winning
    6. Winning
    7. Winning
    8. Winning
    9. Winning
    10. Tough one this, erm... WINNING

  • Comment number 13.

    Agree with previous posts about Mr. "the expert" Boycott, we're all getting a little tired of his reactionary rants. Where has Phil Tufnell been? His humour adds nicely to the otherwise brilliant TMS team?

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    One of my favourite bits of TMS was on ?Sydney Day 4, when MPV went through the Bangladesh team and worked out that 4 of them would get in the Aussie team...

    Thoroughly enjoyed MPV, he'd be the first name on my teamsheet for summarisers, it's great to hear someone talking hardcore tactics as part of the TMS "mix" - and he's close enough to the current team to get a bit of gossip.

    I kind of made my peace with the other Yorkshireman - maybe I was just too tired to get upset with him but this time he did seem to be talking a little bit more about cricket happening in the 21st century than usual. It was still a great series for Boycott Bingo though.

    "I'll go to bed once Ponting's out" was a recipe for a good night's sleep.

    Is it me, or is Aggers not mentioning the score as much as he should? Maybe it's just the comparison with Jim Maxwell, who is ruthlessly efficient about giving it and the batsman's totals, even if he did get less good about saying the score the right way round as the series wore on.

    A big thankyou to the underling (Adam?) who put together the highlights package on 5SX loop - that worked brilliantly, it helped make sense of some of the things I heard whilst half-asleep at 3am, and had a nice TMS flavour with the off-topic bits thrown in.

    Worst bit - our decision not to open another bottle on late on Christmas night, but to be sensible and go to bed....

  • Comment number 16.

    Echo the sentiment regarding the highlights package that ran after each day's play - a stroke of radio broadcasting genius from someone who clearly understands the inherent confusion in the average TMS fan who gradually falls asleep around 2am, waking sporadically to cries of "Bowled him, he's gone!" and "That's his hundred!" only to fall straight back to sleep again. All too often I started the day with absolutely no idea of who was batting, or occasionally which side was batting, with the summary providing a much needed recap of the night's events to jog the memory and clear the fug. By the way, tommyfisk @ no.10, Boycs went on to clarify, saying he was so focussed that he couldn't hear a thing. I do believe he mentioned not hearing his Mum calling him in for tea to illustrate the point.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think next time the Australian media attacks the English for gloating they should perhaps recall their own pre-series predictions and comments... a perfect example here I feel:

    Thanks to the TMS team - terrific commentary on a quite brilliant tour. 2013/14 will have to be pretty great to top this!

  • Comment number 18.

    Makes great reading. I posted a response but predictably it was not accepted. here is the text:
    Will, with the benefit of hindsight and in a spirit of commonwealth brotherhood, I would dearly love to hear your further thoughts on your prediction in the light of recent results.
    To help you along, here are ten reasons why England won:
    1. Overrated.
    England brilliantly induced soporific levels of complacency among Australian public, selectors and squad.
    2. KP
    Managed to set ego aside and become a team player. 227 reasons why this worked at Adelaide, plus one crucial wicket and some smart fielding.
    3. No top speedsters
    No England bowler managed to achieve the 90mph of Johnson, but neither did they achieve his woefully wayward delivery either. Instead five supremely fit and disciplined fast-mediums exploited Australian batting fragility ruthlessly and repeatedly, making two world class players (Clarke & Ponting) look hapless.
    4. Passive Captain
    Unlike his opponent Strauss failed to be provoked into losing his rag publicly and making an utter idiot of himself. Neither did he tinker with ridiculous bowling plans and ludicrous field placements. Stuck to the basics and trusted his players.
    5. No Superstars
    Thankfully no-one to compete with Johnson’s monstrous and fragile ego.
    6. Cute Analysis
    A game plan for every opposition batter and every bowler. Unheard-of fitness levels that kept a four-man attack functioning through five tests and fielding routines that saved tens of runs in each innings.
    7. Depth
    Key bowler injured? No problem, step up Chris Tremlett. Young bowler tired and a little expensive? No problem, step up Tim Bresnan.
    8. Guts
    England’s reply in the second innings at Brisbane......the first day at Melbourne after the disaster in Perth......Bell and Prior adding late-innings runs to kill off any opportunity of an Aussie second-innings revival....England’s bowling with the old ball. Performance when it was needed.
    9. Warm-ups
    Pitch-perfect preparation, and the chance to suss out Khawaja and Hughes in the ‘A’ game.
    10. Scars
    Revenge is a dish best eaten cold. Cook and Anderson had points to prove, and so they did.

  • Comment number 19.

    Spaced Invader, thank you for posting that article, one of my highlights of the ashes has been to on a daily basis read the ashes gossip column and click the links on all the Australian websites, hilarious, utterly hilarious, reading almost daily a constant barrage of negativity, punctuated by the occasional bout of blind faith, and seeing their media gradually move towards utter surrender has been SUPERB!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    anything boycott says - cacking at the suggestion of picking 'buffet bowler' hauritz, the classic adjective 'rrrroobbish' to describe the aussies and how the batsmen have no brains, and his bickering with aggers - all that topped the series for me

  • Comment number 21.

    that should be cackling...

  • Comment number 22.

    TMS highlight for me was when Vic Marks and Aggers were looking at Trott's near run out at Melbourne. Ponting had blown his top earlier that afternoon and the review pictures showed that the conclusive answer was between frames and Trott would be not out due to benefit of the doubt.

    Marks speculated as to the message that would be relayed to the umpire. "He's not going to like this, but....."

  • Comment number 23.

    Great stuff this! One of my moments to remember was Trott's riposte to Doug 'the rug' Bollinger getting in his face - 'now now Dougie, keep your hair on' - priceless

  • Comment number 24.

    Icing on the cake was Boycott uttering the incredible line
    "Good hookers are always looking to score"
    during the 5th test.
    I almost died choking on a hobnob.

    Thanks TMS for more wonderful moments of commentry gold.

  • Comment number 25.

    If an Aussie tries to wind you up on the decline of the Empire just remind them who their head of state is and whose flag appears in the corner of theirs! Should shut them up for a while longer!

  • Comment number 26.

    My favourite moment has to be when Jonathan Trott threw down the wicket in the first over at Adelaide. Katich was gone without facing and at that moment something profound happened. The England team were saying "Look, don't you dare make one mistake, not ONE - because if you do, you will be punished" and, at the same time, some psychological damage was done to the Aussies. It was a great moment, made all the greater by James Anderson's first ball dismissal of Ponting with the next delivery - the PERFECT delivery. England were up and running and with the exception of Johnson's very effective - but also very rare - burst at the WACA, the team never really got out of their stride. Great throw Trotty!

  • Comment number 27.

    I think my favourite moments were every time Ponting got out....these moments of elation were made even greater as I was usually still bubbling with happiness from the previous wicket...

  • Comment number 28.

    Good blog Adam. Team TMS did a fine job.

    Andy Flower is doing wonders for his team. Congratulations.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 29.

    I'd like to echo Dr Cajetan's comments regarding the blog and TMS.

    My favourite moments were: -

    1) Brisbane 2nd innings 517 for 1 - Strauss, Cook and Pietersen all scoring tons.

    2) Mitchell Johnson spectacularly failing to live up to all his pre Ashes bragging.

    3) Anderson leading the England attack afetr being considered "weak" by the Aussies.

    4) Hussey's batting. He was the only one who really took the fight to us.

    5) Swann's bowling. The wickets weren't condusive to spin but he still took wickets and was economical too.

    6) Justin Langer's honesty.

    7) The numpty contributor known as Shango getting every one of his/ her predictions wrong and throwing his toys out of the pram when he/ she couldn't take the flack he/ she richly deserved from other contributors to these blogs and now they're comments have been removed as if they didn't contribute anything.

    8) Pietersen's wink to Ponting when being given not out when he didn't hit the ball.

    9) The Barmy Army's version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division.

    10) The absence of Australians at teh end of Day 1 in the MCG.

  • Comment number 30.

    pretty quiet on the cricket blog front, considering there's an england tour of oz still ongoing, and a world cup just a couple of weeks away. is simon mann not blogging while he's out there? with only 2 games a week you'd think there'd be time...


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