Ashes 2010: England’s Inspiration for a 5-0 Victory…

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94 Days Until The Ashes…

above: A.P.F Chapman’s side of 1928-29

It may not have been quite to the extent of Glenn McGrath’s habitual 5-0 to Australia predictions, but Ricky Ponting’s answer that a whitewash in favour of his side was “absolutely possible” this winter has caused hoots of derision in the English media.

Andrew Strauss has chosen to keep his counsel as to whether England could triumph 5-0 and referred to Ponting’s remark as the start of “silly season”. England won’t win 5-0 of course, but we thought it would be fun to devote number 94 of our Ashes 100-1 countdown to the prospect of a such an emphatic series win for England this winter. If Strauss and his men can be inspired by their triumphant predecessors and draw inspiration from famous victories at each of the five venues, then who knows?

1-0 at Brisbane – inspired by A.P.F Chapman’s side of 1928-29

A.P.F Chapman’s side of 1928-29 has a strong claim to being the best England team ever considering it contained greats such as Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hammond, Mead, Hendren, Jardine, Larwood and Tate. They certainly walloped the Australians 4-1 and in the first test ever at The Gabba (also the first of the series), they humiliated their hosts by a still record test runs margin of 675 runs (see scorecard). Hendren hit 169 as England amassed 521 before as a forerunner to what would happen four years later, Larwood ran through the Australian batting line-up to finish with six for 32 as Australia were dismissed for 122. Chapman chose not to enforce the follow-on in what was a timeless test and Jardine made 65 not out as England made 342 for eight declared in their second innings. Set a mammoth 742 to win and with two men absent through injury, Australia capsized to 66 all out. The game is also notable as it saw the test match bow of one Donald Bradman. It wasn’t the most auspicious of debuts as Bradman only made 18 and 1 and was dropped for the second test.

2-0 at Adelaide – inspired by Len Hutton’s side of 1954-55

Despite a crushing defeat in the 1st test at Brisbane, Len Hutton’s team inspired by Frank ‘Typhoon’ Tyson retained the Ashes with a 3-1 victory, which was sealed by a five wicket victory at Adelaide in the fourth test (see scorecard). Tyson, Bailey and Appleyard limited Australia to 323 in their first innings before Hutton (80) and Cowdrey (79) ensured England gained a slender 18 run lead on first innings. Tyson and Appleyard again, this time in tandem with Statham skittled the Australians for 111, before Compton steered England to their target of 94 after Miller had set hearts a flutter with three early wickets.

3-0 at Perth – inspired by Mike Brearley’s side of 1978-79

England have only one won test at the WACA, which came during the series of 1978-79 (see scorecard) when Mike Brearley led England to a 5-1 series stroll against an Australian side severely depleted by the defection of most of its star players to World Series Cricket. In a relatively low-scoring contest, England won the Perth test by 166 runs. Gower scored 102 as England reached 309 in their first innings, before Willis took five for 44 to dismiss Australia for 190 and give his side a decisive lead. England didn’t fare much better in their second innings as they slipped to 208 all out with Hogg (who took 41 wickets in the series) taking five for 57. But it was still too much for a weakened Australian batting line-up, which subsided for 161 to give England a 2-0 series lead.

4-0 at Melbourne – inspired by Mike Gatting’s side of 1986-87

The team that was famously tagged as the side that “can’t bat, can’t bowl and can’t field” retained the Ashes and sealed the series by going 2-0 up in the fourth test at Melbourne (see scorecard). Small and Botham took five wickets apiece as Australia were skittled for 141, before a third century of the series for Broad formed the basis of England’s reply of 349. Australia fared little better in their second innings as they fell for 194 to complete a sorry three day defeat. Little did English cricket fans realise that it would be over 18 years before England would hold the Ashes again.

5-0 at Sydney – inspired by Douglas Jardine’s side of 1932-33

Cricket’s most infamous test series began with England recording an emphatic 10 wicket victory at Sydney (see scorecard) in the first test as a precursor to a controversial ride to an eventual 4-1 series triumph, which saw the Ashes regained by the same score as Chapman’s side had done four years earlier. Bradman, the primary target of Jardine’s leg theory approach, missed this test due to a dispute with the Australian Board and watched McCabe play the best innings of them all against what would universally be forever known as Bodyline. McCabe’s 187 not out amounted to over half of Australia’s first innings total of 360, with Larwood taking five and Voce four. In reply, England had three centurions – Sutcliffe (194), Hammond (112) and Pataudi (102) as they recorded 524. Larwood then took another five for to reach ten wickets for the match as Australia were bundled out for 164 leaving Sutcliffe to fittingly hit the one run required for victory. The die had been cast.

A 5-0 victory for England? It’s absolutely possible!

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