24 years of hurt, never stopped us dreaming
Like many we wrote before the series that this Australian team was there for the taking, but despite this our natural English pessimism led us to predict that the series would end 2-2. How wrong we were. All 13 players used by England during the series performed well – even Paul Collingwood who led the way in the field, whilst only four Australian players turned up – five if you include Mitchell Johnson at Perth. England prepared thoroughly, were well led and performed brilliantly, and after 24 years of woe down under, it feels good to give the Australians a dose of their own medicine. Long may it continue.
Just before noon it was Chris Tremlett who fired the final bullet by bowling Michael Beer and so consigning Australia to a third crushing innings defeat of the series – the first time that they have suffered this ignominy even against the mighty West Indian sides of the 1980s. Tremlett has been a revelation since coming back into the side at Perth, but this is the moment that will be retold again and again to the grandchildren.
Jimmy floors ’em like Tyson
Alastair Cook deserves all the plaudits coming his way as Man of the Series, but James Anderson deserves equal mention. The wicket of Ben Hilfenhaus gave Anderson an impressive 24 wickets at 26 for the series – the most wickets by an England seamer in a five-Test series in Australia since Frank Tyson took 28 in the 1954/55 series. The ‘Typhoon’ has gone down in Ashes folklore for his contribution on that tour and that is exactly what Anderson deserves for proving all the doubters before the series incontestably wrong – including us (see Dear Jimmy…).
A bright future
Collingwood may be retiring but the rest of the squad should be around for some time yet. England’s current ICC ranking of 3 is about right as there is still some way to go before this side can be mentioned in the same breath as India and South Africa. But with the Proteas being perennial bridesmaids and with the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman probably nearing retirement,England’s goal of becoming the number one side in the world seems more than realistic. A downer like the one suffered by the Ashes winning side of 2005 doesn’t seem likely for this team with Messrs Strauss and Flower at the helm.
Player of the day
Paul Collingwood led England out on his final day as a Test cricketer and as such he is our sentimental player of the day – farewell to England’s working class hero.
Zero of the day
This one has to go to the Australian selectors. Their confused selection of a 17 man squad before the series set the tone and plenty of strange selections followed – Australia’s best spinner Nathan Hauritz didn’t play a single Test with the selectors preferring a man with a first-class average of over 50 (Xavier Doherty) and then Michael Beer – a bowler with only a handful of first-class matches under his belt. Phil Hughes was picked with a first-class season average of 15 and Steve Smith was picked for… well despite his plucky 50 today we are still trying to work that one out.
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