Blame it on the weather, curse the umpires for their dubious decision making, or even go into the tactical side of it and hold a grudge against the Three Lions for wasting as much time as they possibly could.
The bottom line remains that The Urn will stay in England. It’s the first time since 1927-28 that England have wrapped up a series against the Aussies within the first three Test Matches.
It would’ve been so much better to have seen this happen to Ricky Ponting, who must surely rank highly amongst the most irritating faces to have (dis)graced the game.
Clarke was always up against it though, leading a young and inexperienced side to the British shores. The fact that the visitors went on to getting bulldozed in the first two matches was sad enough, but to think that the weather would come to England’s aid on the final day of a match that they really wouldn’t have fancied themselves in, leaves a rather bitter taste.
Australia would honestly know within their hearts that they just haven’t been good enough. If it wasn’t for Ashton Agar and Brad Haddin with the bat, they would’ve certainly lost the first match much more convincingly.
In truth, that might just have been what broke their backs. To come so close and not get over the finishing line must be devastating for a team as young as they are, as well as one that is facing huge criticism for being only a shadow of the previous squads to have come out from the country.
A win at Old Trafford would’ve really instilled belief in the unit, since it’s as easy to get the spirits of blossoming men up as it is to see them break down. It would’ve helped to instil the much required belief in their unit to even go as far as to dream of overturning the deficit.
But when you see the Gods spit down at you, quite literally here, as they did pretty much throughout the last 4 sessions of the match, there doesn’t really seem like any plausible redemption.
Let’s face it, the militia at the disposal of this Aussie team is so bad that even a lowly Zimbabwe team could give them a run for their money. Okay, maybe that’s pushing it a bit too far. But they’re still distinctly average, and even an under-par England have just about done enough to make them well aware of that.
Where do Australia go from here? There have been cries about a radical overhaul in the domestic structure and all the panic that you generally associate when an influential figure gets hit hard in public (trudge your mind back to when Bush was assaulted by a flying shoe).
I think realistically the road is pretty clear for Australia. A fresh team has its own advantages, with the most obvious being that more often than not, they tend to only get better. And while their batting has been distinctly lacklustre, the bowling continues to give reasons to be excited about. If nothing else, get the bowlers to do the batting as well, they’re so much handier than some of the batsmen that have been employed on the tour.. *cough* Cowan *cough*
One positive about their new look team is in the management, with Darren Lehmann instated as the new head coach. He’s been injecting positive ideas in the team, much akin to how he was as a player back in his day. It’s so much better to see a team losing a match when they actually give it a shot, contrary to England’s approach, who seem to enjoy playing out maidens as if they get a huge pay-incentive to do so.
The last two Test Matches should be used by the Aussies to try to get something out of this series. Technically, they can still draw it. While the folks back home wouldn’t ever appreciate a series loss at the hands of their arch rivals, a fighting effort, and some sort of redemption would be appreciated. Vengeance could be around the corner, when Australia play host to England at the end of the year, and the path to winning any mind games must begin now.
Regardless of the 2-0 scoreline, the Ashes has been a treat to watch this year. Let’s hope that the English weather permits full games for starters though. There’s nothing more annoying than to see it rain so fiercely in another country while I sit here in this crazy heat without an Air-Conditioner. Isn’t college life a treat!