WHINGING POMS – SELECTIVE MEMORIES IN ASHES DRAMA

Could have would have should have but you didn’t England, you did not win back the Ashes in this brilliant cricket series against Australia.

ANOTHER CATCH DROPPED - BEN STOKES

You didn’t win because in case you haven’t noticed, and it seems quite a few Englishmen haven’t noticed, Australia lead the five match series 2-1 with one test to play starting at the Oval in London on Thursday (July 27).

England were certainly in a dominant position when rain washed out most of the last two days of the fourth test at Old Trafford. Australia batted first scoring 317, England replied with 592 and when rain finally wiped the match out Australia were fighting hard at 214-5 needing another 61 runs to make England bat again.

Some of the tripe coming out of English mouths after the disappointing end to the match. Former England captain Michael Vaughan, “I always say in a five match series the best team always wins. It’s such a long process you always end up with the best team winning.

“I honestly think England have been the better team for the four matches.” 

England fast bowler Stuart Broad, “I have never felt the momentum has left us in this series because ultimately we played a brilliant game at Edgbaston, although Australia came out on top. In our on minds we felt we played all the cricket-we declared on day one, bowled them out and tried to set up a game to get a result. Yes, Australia got the first two results with victory at Lords too, but it didn’t feel like the impetus was with them.”

England captain Ben Stokes, “We literally did everything we could and the weather didn’t help us. It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing that’s the reason we sit here with a draw.

“I think we were completely and utterly dominant in the cricket we had. We were pretty much perfect throughout the whole game.”

ANOTHER WICKET TAKEN - BEN CUMMINS

Just a wee heads up Ben. There is no guarantee you would have won the game if rain had not intervened. In case you didn’t notice Marnus Labuschagne scored a magnificent century, Mitch Marsh was unbeaten on 31 coming off a brilliant ton in the previous test. Alex Carey, also more than capable of scoring a test hundred was in followed by Mitch Starc and Pat Cummins, both capable of scoring test 50s. At no stage have I heard any of the England team congratulate the Aussies for being ahead 2-1.

Stokes might do well to research Ashes history and in it he’ll find a team winning from what everyone thought was an impossible position.

It was 1981at Headingley. Australia made 401-9 batting first, England were skitled for 174 in reply and in their second innings following on slumped to 105-5. Then the impossible unfolded. Ian Botham smashed a brilliant unbeaten 149 at a run a ball and suddenly the Aussies needed 130 to win.

At 56-1 they were on track comfortably, that is until big fast bowler Bob Willis sparked up. He steamed in at great speed and at the end of 15.1 overs he’d obliterated the Australian batting lineup taking 8-43, England doing the seemingly impossible and winning by 18 runs.

An interesting sidelight to that match. Australian team-mates Dennis Lilley and Rod Marsh both bet on Australia losing that test as did England wicket-keeper Bob Taylor, all of them pocketing a bag full of cash at such good odds.

Also worth remembering in this current series, Australia lost their best bowler, off-spinner Nathan Lyon to a series ending leg injury in the second test at Lords having played the previous 100 test matches.

Pat Cummins has lost all four tosses giving England a decisive early advantage.

But of course the main reason for England not winning the Ashes back is their abysmal fielding led by wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root. Both Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon were dropped early in their innings when they guided the Aussies home by two wickets in the first test and the same thing has continued throughout the series. Catches really do win matches.

Bairstow’s inattention arguably cost England the second test when he wandered out of his crease before the umpire had called over and Aussie wicket-keeper Alex Carey ran him out at a time when he and Stokes were mounting a serious challenge.

England’s selectors didn’t do themselves any favours either waiting until the third test to being speedster Mark Wood in and allrounder Chris Woakes.

Bring on test five this is certainly one of the great Ashes series and despite the pommie whinging they are playing a great brand of cricket (Bazball) and they’ve actually forced Australia to play quite differently than they would normally with defensive fields from the start to cut off the big shots.

Interview & Story by John Alexander | Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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