I’ll let you think which cricket team is which, but for now England came, they saw and conquered everyone in their path besides one lone salvo in Perth from the Australian bowlers and Michael Hussey but with Andrew Strauss holding aloft the replica urn, we look back with a sepia lens on the highlights of the tour.
From the moment, England landed in Perth they have been on a programme of ruthless effientcy, where they have stuck to their plans and these have been enough to see off an Australia team who at times didn’t know if they were Arthur or Martha, turned out they were the latter.
It wasn’t even the first ball that trouble began for Australia, playing a meaningless ODI series against Sri Lanka (sorry Lankan fans), picking a seventeen man squad then sticking to the status quo besides a spinner, who did well in a One Dayer or resting/rotating whatever word they’re using this week for dropping certain bowlers, meanwhile England went about their business getting use to Australian conditions.
This brings us to the GABBA, all the hype was over and it was time for action and boy did we get it. Peter Siddle’s hat-trick which sent a country into raptures, Alastair Cook starting his mission to avenge the previous series in Australia where he as tormented by Glen McGrath scoring a double century, along with Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott to record a mammoth 1/517 after being rolled for 260 in the first innings.
Michael Hussey stuck it up all his critics, scoring 195 to save the game for Australia, also Brad Haddin offered great support to leave the game a draw 0-0 going into Adelaide which is generally considered the flattest pitch in Australia.
Adelaide, with it’s new grandstand looking magnificent, was the first indication that England were going to romp home, Australia started off horribly again, being 3/2 (three wickets for two runs) with James Anderson ripping through the Australian top order helped along with a run-out to Simon Katich on a diamond duck. Australia crawled their way to 245, thanks to Hussey and Haddin again!
England showed the true nature of the pitch, also the lack of discipline in Australia’s bowling attack when they piled on the misery and runs, scoring 620 again Alastair Cook was the star, with a second successive hundred, also Kevin Pietersen showed he enjoyed Adelaide scoring a double century to go with his one in 2006/07. Fighting gallantly but it wasn’t enough for Australia to avoid an innings defeat, their first in over a century in Adelaide, Michael Clarke making his only substantial score of the summer (80, before being caught off the bowling of Kevin Pietersen, yes you heard that right)
All eyes focused on Perth, a remote part of Australia, where it seemed everything was turned upside down and it was, first Stuart Broad was ruled out of the series and was replaced by Chris Tremlett who took eight wickets for the match and Australia due to an injury brought in Simon Katich also their joker Steven Smith. Australia batted first again, collapsing… again surprise, but thanks to a lusty 62 from Mitchell Johnson to climb to 268.
It seemed to be the same record again, when Strauss and Cook got to 80 without loss, but enter Mitchell Johnson who seems to enjoy the WACA, getting some of his best hauls there to destroy England’s top order (Cook, Trott, Pietersen) and Paul Collingwood to reduce England to their second lowest total on this tour, 187.
Armed with a lead of 81 runs, Australia made a respectable 309 to set England 391 to win, again Michael Hussey was the star scoring his second century of the series and this time in front of his home fans. Chris Tremlett repaid the faith English selectors showed him taking a 5 fer and giving a warning shot for the rest of the series.
It was to be too much of a task for England, with five of their wickets falling late on the third day, Ryan Harris taking a six wicket haul for Australia to level the series at 1 a piece heading onto the big stage, the boxing day test in Melbourne.
This was it, the big stage, Boxing day 90,000 fans baying for English blood and Australia put the pressure on, batting first like they have most of the tour but on the stage, they fluffed their lines, bowled out for 98, breaking another record for the lowest score on the MCG in 100 years. England, well it just business as usual, fillinf their boots as most English fans were tweeting and fill them they did, Australia’s bowling attack was toothless and England only needed one innings again, scoring 513.
Peter Siddle was the only bright spot for Australia, taking six wickets for the second time in the series, batting started off brightly but succumbed to England bowling dry and sharing the wickets to take their second innings victory, this time by that and 157 runs to make sure the urn would return to England.
Ashes secured but it was time to finish the job for England, Australia brought in young prospect Usman Khawaja (Usmania) and the “man of many puns” Michael Beer and new captain Michael Clarke at his home ground, the SCG. Australia even with new leadership didn’t buck the trend and batted first, getting a better start but lost wickets in clusters, with the bright spot being Usman Khawaja’s debut and 37, though Mitchell Johnson while not proving himself with the ball contributed with the bat to get 280.
I’ll sound like a broken record but England tamed Australia’s bowling attack again, Alastair Cook signing off with his second century to go with his double, Ian Bell rode his luck in making his first ever century against Australia and Matthew Prior struck some powerful blows to compound the pain and give England their highest score ever in Australia, 644.
Australia huffed and they puffed but their batting fell down again, Steve Smith was very unorthodox in making fifty while everyone got starts and departed, Englands bowlers continuned to do this throughout the series, they wou;dn’t let Australia get away from them combined with superb fielding. Chris Tremlett signalled it was party time when Michael Beer chopped and England won 3-1.
This series also marked the end for a stalwart of the English middle order Paul Collingwood, who didn’t have quite the best series himself but he’ll leave on a high off a dominant Ashes victory.
Most Runs: Alastair Cook (766)
Most Wickets: James Anderson (24)
Man of the Series: Alastair Cook (England)
Australian Man of the Series: Michael Hussey/Peter Siddle