What we basically had were two inexperienced teams who can’t bat

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Joe Root having all of the Ashes runs in big numbers
Photo by Sarah Ansell

Where does 2015 rank in the pantheon of Ashes series? Somewhere in the middle, we’d guess. It was certainly dramatic, but it probably wasn’t even the best Test series this summer.

It was unpredictable from one match to the next, but the same quality wasn’t particularly apparent within any individual Test. There were no plot twists here, just derivative scriptwriting linking together the occasional explosive action sequence. To confusingly and unnecessarily switch art forms a moment, if a Rolf Harris drawing starts out looking like one thing but ends up as something completely different, these Tests had bold outlines drawn right from the outset.

What we basically had were two inexperienced teams who can’t bat, only one took much longer to come to terms with this. Australia’s batsmen didn’t accept that they were inexperienced in English conditions and played as if they knew better. Australia’s selectors didn’t accept that at least one of their inexperienced bowlers should have made way for some less dynamic steadiness.

As for England, they didn’t so much play to their limitations as resign themselves to them. They accepted that the cupboard was more or less bare and so vowed to feed voraciously, like a pack of starved velociraptors, on those rare occasions when they did get to tuck in.

It was playing to your strengths taken to an almost delusional extreme. If a triathlete can’t swim and doesn’t have a bike, you wouldn’t think they could compete. England borrowed their gran’s shopping bike with a basket on the front, did a bit of doggy paddle and then basically just sprinted through the run as fast as they could.

And they won, so yeah… approach vindicated. It will be 18 years since Australia last won the Ashes in England when they next get a chance to have a go.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


    1. Doesn’t have to bring anything additional with it, does it? It was the best way of explaining what we wanted to explain.

    2. I know. But I’m too conditioned by the media to get outraged at the mere mention of someone like that.

      Interesting to consider where you would draw the line. Would you make a ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ joke if James Anderson rescued England from a perilous situation?

    3. Maybe we need a trigger warning. Although it’s hard to imagine a trigger warning that didn’t mention the same thing – Warning, this article mentions Rolf Harris. Maybe the trigger warning needs a trigger warning.

      Or, maybe we should disguise his name. What about R*** Harris? I can’t see any potential problems with this approach. None at all.

    4. Ryan Harris hit the lines where he wanted. Classy kind of guy. Why is he suddenly persona non grata?

    5. I was Bob Carolgees’ candle shop the other week. On the walls, he has lots of fading photos from the 80s and 90s. Rolf Harris is in one of them or at least there used to be; there’s now a Rolf Harris-shaped black hole where he’s been carefully inked out a la Trotsky.

    6. Presumably other people are in the photo as well to warrant keeping what remains of it?

      Otherwise that’s a lot of effort to go to for no real reason.

    7. Looking at Bert’s avatar photo, that must have been a sole portrait from which he has airbrushed himself out of the entire picture.

      Unless Bert’s avatar is a representation of a black hole. That would make sense, given that Bert is this web site’s in house Physics Professor.

    8. Yes, the photo had an abundance of C-list celebs. I can’t remember who was in it but they were all at the Bobby Davro / Keith Harris level. Actually, I’m not sure that warrants keeping it at all

  1. Velociraptors were probably nocturnal, so that should stand England in good stead for the ODI matches too.

    Although without raptor-in-chief Stuart Broad for that series, perhaps that species analogy falls apart.

    1. Lord’s gets two. Because of course it does. Never mind the fact that it results in mind-bogglingly dull and stupid cricket, it’s in London!

    2. All overseas players must get the chance to play/get their name on the famous honours board at The Home of Cricket, (c) Lord’s

    3. I’m fine with the idea of two Lord’s tests. As Mike says, I think all touring teams should play a test there. What I’m not fine with is having three tests in London.

    4. There’s only one solution to this, which is to build a new ground for Surrey just over the border. Guildford, Cheam or Dorking, perhaps.

  2. Interesting post (received at 10:01 this am), and by that I mean I respectfully disagree.

    England are trying a new positive approach. They are inexperienced at trying to force the pace with the bat although their middle-order is packed with players who only know how to do so. Nevertheless they persevered when conditions demanded discipline and then they perished.

    Australia have been practising positivity with the bat for forever. They have sneered at England’s hitherto more-cautious approach.

    This Ashes series has only served to support the view that the first innings in bat is solely about accumulating as many runs as you can – the conditions merely influence how each batsmen should arrive at maximising his own score. If this is executed successfully by one team or other, chances are (in this series it was a certainty) the other side have/will not. The former wins and the latter loses.

    This was starkly the case in this Ashes series.

    1. Apologies if someone has asked you this question before, Stormin’ Turd Dancer, but I am fascinated by the little “turd dancer” icon accompanying your name.

      Did you take the name Stormin’ Turd Dancer because of the icon? Did you choose the icon because of your chosen use name? Or is the connection between your user name and the icon one of those extraordinary coincidences, akin to five extremely one-sided Ashes test matches fluctuating between one winner and the other?

    2. The poor chap joined up as Stormin’, some uncouth lout (cough) pointed out that his randomly designated avatar looked like a dancing pile of excrement, and he ran with it. Danced, rather.

  3. His avatar’s what an Irishman might say when trying to pronounce 100/3 as a fraction.

    Or, maybe, it’s the embodiment of that perennial favourite parting shot in these parts, ‘hope yer next shite’s a Christmas tree (pal)’.

    Btw, Buttler tried to curb his natural instincts and be defensive, and look where that got him.

    1. Indeed, Mike, whereas your avatar does not look like the tree turd’s anaemic twin at all.

      Your avatar is the very personification of dignity. Well done.

      Perhaps Bert could furnish us with an appropriate accent and mathematical expression to represent your avatar.

    2. No.

      But I will tell you that when at Leicester, Billy Twelvetrees was given the nickname 36 by Geordan Murphy, his Irish captain.

    3. I like a bit of union. I played both codes, and I coach union at the moment. It’s a good game, with flaws. At the moment, league is the more open game, and as a consequence the running and passing skills in league are much better, which I prefer (especially running off-the-ball, most league plays have four or five running players all doing a job on the defence).

      If union shifted the offside line back 10yds from the ruck (except immediately behind the ruck) for both teams, the game would open out far more. Then their runners could also bend and twist the defence the way league players do. Run so you can’t be ignored by the defence, as no-one ever said in union ever.

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