Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

A Review of the Ashes

Australia have annihilated this wretchedly poor England side. England have been pilloried by the Australian media, pulverised by the pace of Johnson and Harris and battered submissive by the tenacity of the Aussie batsmen. The (deranged) English Supporters who presumed the series to be a foregone conclusion have been made to look foolish.

England were ‘marmalised’ in Brisbane by a colossal 381 runs thanks to hundreds from the pugnacious Warner and captain Clarke, sandwiched in between the mustachioed Johnson’s extreme pace, frightening the England batsmen into handing him 9 wickets in the match. In Adelaide, England were similarly thumped by 218 runs. Australia’s 570-9 dec was built upon hundreds from Clarke and the irrepressible Haddin. The English reply was nothing short of atrocious with a series of avoidable dismissals. Despite increased resistance in the second innings, the unrelenting discipline and aggression of the Aussie seamers told and Johnson took 7-40, regularly registering speeds upwards of 93mph. Knowing that defeat in Perth would relinquish the urn at the first available opportunity England succumbed yet again.

Their inability to finish off the Aussie tail, coupled with the Recurring ineptitude of the batsmen resulted in them sacrificing a 1st innings lead. What followed in the Australian 2nd innings was nothing short of carnage: Warner and Watson clubbed quick-fire hundreds and George Bailey (there hasn’t been a single It’s a Wonderful Life joke all series) hammered James Anderson for a Test Match record equaling 28 runs off an over. Faced with 504 runs to win or batting out two days to secure the draw England’s only noteworthy resistance came in the form of Stokes’ maiden Test century. Entirely unsurprisingly, England capitulated once again to lose by 150 runs. Swann’s cowardly retirement and wicket-keeper Prior’s poor form prompted changes to the team, but England’s batting frailties resurfaced in the 4th Test.

Pietersen’s uncharacteristically stoic 71 was the only form of serious resistance to the incessant probing of the Aussie bowling attack. Having bowled well and despite taking a lead into the second innings England crumbled pathetically to 179 all out, setting Australia a testing, though not insurmountable 231 runs to win. England duly offered three dropped catches, facilitating the 8 wicket defeat, this time carved from a position of dominance. The final Test initially followed the prevailing trend: Australia were 93-5 on day one, but recovered to 326 as Smith and Haddin resuscitated the innings. However, what followed was utterly farcical even for this dismal England side. Having collapsed to 23-5 in the 1st innings, they sunk to a new low in the 2nd, losing 7 wickets in a 10 over spell to lose inside 3 days by an enormous 281 runs. Where Australia, galvanised by Johnson and Haddin, have been mightily impressive, England have been unimaginably poor.

The gulf between the sides has been concomitantly catalysed and exacerbated by the contrasting approaches of the two captains. Clarke, a naturally flamboyant and self-confident leader, has returned the aggressive edge to Australia’s play, whereas Cook’s shy and defensive mindset has permeated his team.

Article: Chris Glover

Photographs: (Main); (Featured).