Saturday, 8 January 2011

England Win, This is Cool

It's become cool to say that Australia were awful and England did just enough to beat them. It's become cool to say that England clearly aren't very good, and are just organised. It's become cool to say that this was a meaningless contest between 4th and 5th in the world. But it's not cool.

Yes, England have been organised and determined, but they've been more than that. Yes, Australia didn't play well, but they weren't allowed to play well. And yes, this series masy have been between 4th and 5th, but the Ashes will always mean more than rankings.

England had the best team, the best plans, the best execution and the best fans. (That sounds like a poem, but it's not). Man for man, England outperformed their Australian counterparts (with the exception of Hussey ahead of Collingwood), but the key was that it was a team effort. Bowler's wickets were due to partnerships and the pressure they caused, and the runs were due to players who stepped up and anchored the innings. Yes, they were helped by wayward Aussie bowling and loose Aussie strokemaking, but England could only play against what they were put up against. Of course, organisation comes into it. Every bowler knew the plan for the batsman; the field they needed to set and the line they needed to bowl. And batsmen knew that certain bowlers would need attacking, and some would need defending until they were out of the attack. But organisation and planning only goes so far, it's about executing it out on the pitch. And England did that. This England team would give any other world team a run for their money.

England have strength in depth. Whereas Australia were struggling to find bowlers to put out, England had options coming out of their ears. Broad injured? No problem. Finn expensive? No sweat. Even Swann could have broken a finger, and England would have a test quality replacement waiting in the wings. There are currently two test quality spinners in Australia, and neither of them are Australian. The batting line up didn't need changes, but if it did, there were men available. But England didn't panic after the Perth defeat; they trusteed their batsman and gave them license to score runs. Which they did.

England were far and away the best side, and thoroughly deserved the Ashes win. While it wasn't a vintage, massively tight contest, when the key moments in the games came along, England won them. Heavily. England have won their first Down Under Ashes in 24 years, which out of everything else, is the coolest.

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