Bloody good show, eh? England win back the Ashes from the Ozzies who have been hoarding them since 1987. The Ashes, lore has it, symbolized the cremation of the English cricket after their first defeat by Australia on home ground in 1882 [at the Oval]. The urn doesn't really exchange hands - it just sits pretty at 132 years of age [ok, sometimes it goes for a walk]. This "trophy" gets handed to the winner of the Ashes series every two years between England and Australia.
In any case, Go England.
Some questions now occur. With Warne retiring and McGrath getting really long in the tooth, is this the end of Aussie dominance of world cricket? Check these stats: Between Warne and McGrath, we have 60 English wickets. Lee took 20 as well but Tait, Gillespie, Katich and Clarke did jack-all. On the batting side, we only had three Aussie centuries in the whole series [Langer, Ponting and the beleagured Hayden] and 6 half-centuries [besides the three centurians]. Compare that with England where five bowlers had over 15 wickets; 5 centuries; and 8 half-centuries. All in all, the house that Waugh built is in disarray and I'd imagine the Australian press is sharpening those knives as we watch the Poms celebrate.
More importantly, England is visiting Pakistan next month for a 3 test series. What do we expect? It is no secret that Flintoff and Jones have finally learned the black magic of
ball-tampering, er reverse swing that made Pakistan's two W's [Wasim and Waqar] such feared adversaries. Pakistan weather will be condusive to the fast bowlers but we are not looking too sharp lately. Shoaib Akhtar is a diva and Shabbir has some kink in his shoulder and Sami disappears every two weeks. My fear is that the Board will do the usual boneheaded trick of making the flattest, most daft, wickets possible where the ball can't even bounce an inch and then, fill the side with spinners. I am so sick of that. Woolmer is right to pick on Flintoff and Pieterson as most capable of damaging Pakistan. So, let's give these young guns some green wickets and let them at us. We should be able to counter. I think.
Also: Has anyone seen Agent Smith in a cricket movie?
Also, also: Reason #1 Europe is better than US: I'm not sure where the party is but I do know that I'm going to get very, very drunk because this has been the toughest summer of my life. Says Simon Jones. Can you imagine someone from BoSox saying that after their win last october?
Also, also, also: Is this a sign of things to come for both Aus and England? Paki bowlers beating up Australia batsmen? Umar Gul, Sami and Shahid Nazir cleaning it up - bad news for Australia - in general - and cautionary note for England who is about to tour.
Whodathought it, the Aussies down to two decent bowlers? (One of the commentators mentioned two words the other day that just brought back this rush of primal fear: Merv Hughes. He was an animal.) And us up to five? Crazy stuff. Still grinning.
He's the dude from Bodyline?! Nice find, sepoy.
How about Agent Smith as drag queen? :) An unlikely & mindbending journey from queen to agent to elf. http://imdb.com/title/tt0109045/
It's taken ten years (one my earliest memories of an Ashes Test is Allan Border destroying England at Headingley with a double century; they racked up 600 in that innings), and finally I've seen an England cricket team win the Ashes. I think Pakistan are coming here next year too for some tests and limited overs matches. I'd better make plans to go see a few games at Lords and the Oval. And if Simon Jones' words brought a smile to your face, you should have seen Flintoff's interview after the match. It went something like this: Commentator: "What will you now?" Flintoff: "I'll probably get hammered and think about it tomorrow."
Safe to say he got hammered. Great clips of them coming out of the hotel on the way to the bus: Pieterson waving this huge jug of beer, Freddy nearly falling over and grinning sheepishly at the camera. 'Twere grand. http://sport.guardian.co.uk/ashes2005/story/0,15993,1568998,00.html
Despite all these heroics from the English side, Australia could so easily have won the Ashes again... lets not forget that the second test was decided by just two runs... it would only have taken one boundary... a half-volley put away by a tailender, a Chinese cut to fine leg, Geraint Jones messing up the catch down leg which sealed the match... An undeserved series victory it would've been, but a victory nonetheless... Congrats to England on a job well done... As far as Pakistan's pace attack is concerned, the promising Umar Gul just made his comeback against Australia A, and Woolmer will, sooner or later, make a test match bowler out of Rana Naved-ul-Hasan... and why not... he has some decent pace in addition to control, reverse swings the ball, and is a real workhorse...