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THE ASHES POSTMORTEM






           Many predicted a red ball whitewash in the 2019

           Ashes, with England following up their triumph of


           the World Cup to beat Australia.





















                                                                                                                                                                                                                By Timothy Mottram


                                                                                                                                   at the top of the list. The only real   When talismanic paceman Jimmy   getting a win from a seemingly
                                                                                                                                   question over him is whether he   Anderson was ruled out after the first   impossible situation.
                 t was believed that the      world right now, in terms of both   tests before being axed for Marcus               should regain the captaincy. If Paine   test, the issues with the English attack   Captain Joe Root creates as many
                 post-sandpapergate           quality and depth. This summer saw   Harris, whose average was similar to            were a better batsman, keeper or   were exposed. Stuart Broad was as   questions as he answers. He has been
              IAustralia was too fractured,   Pat Cummins justify his position as the   Warner’s.                                  captain this would be a non-starter.   reliable as ever, and took particular   charged with part of the reason for
            too undercooked to handle the     best bowler in the world. He bowled   There was also a softness to the               And Smith’s ridiculous form seems   enjoyment from placing Warner in his   the drawn series with some poor
            conditions in England. As it turned   with character and range, taking   middle order. Tim Paine put in a few          even more supernatural without the   pocket. Jack Leach came back into the   choices as captain. His fields and
            out, Australia managed to retain   29 wickets at 19.62. Australia kept   captain’s knocks, but nothing even            pressures of captaincy crowding his   side to replace the woeful Moheen Ali   bowling changes have not convinced
            the Ashes with a 2-2 series draw.   the others fresh through a rotation   close to what is required when the           mind. Yet he is simply pure cricket: he   and took 12 wickets at a pretty miserly   that he can alter a match or even read
            Despite the drawn status of the   system, where bowlers were chosen   top order needs protecting. Matthew              is strategically better than Paine and   economy rate. The most obvious   one. And then there is his batting. An
            tournament, there was little      based on conditions and weariness.   Wade’s futile century in the fifth test         an icon to boot.                  bowling move that England can do is   average of 32.50 is creditable for a
            doubt after the second test which   Form did not seem to flag for any of   was everything one should see in the                                          keep Jofra Archer fit and progressing   middle order stop gap, but not the
            country had the better team.      them.                            middle order: gritty, determined and                England                           if they wish to compete with Australia   premier batsman of a national team.
               So the question should be        Peter Siddle was brought in for his   without fuss, but he could not bring            The good news for England is that   on foreign territory. Quite rightly,   Before taking over, his average was
            asked: where next for both teams?   craft and consistency, while Mitchell   this heat consistently. He is pushing      they have plenty of people telling   he lit up the series the way only a   53. Perhaps England could solve two
            Preparations are already underway for   Starc was used sparingly. Josh   on in age and cannot be seen as a             them what went wrong. On a post-  young paceman can do, but this has   issues in one strike if they demote
            the next meet-up in 2021, and there is   Hazelwood played in four tests and   long-term plan. Another interesting      World Cup high, there was a sense   happened before. The next two years   Root, and he gets the chance to focus
            plenty of test cricket on the way prior   took 20 wickets. Nathan Lyon, though   inclusion from the fifth test was that   that English dominance was just   will determine whether England have   on his batting.
            to that. Both teams have issues to deal   perhaps not at this best, took 20 as   of Mitchell Marsh. This guy can’t be   around the corner. It didn’t take long   the fulcrum of their attack for the next   England have replaced Trevor
            with, and the clean up starts now.  well. Australian’s bowling ain’t broken:   killed, and fans keep asking how many   for the World Cup to be reviewed: it   decade, or just another tyro.  Bayliss with Chris Silverwood and the
                                              and doesn’t need fixing.         chances the Marsh boys get, but if                  was not the supreme expression of   Overall, in the batting department,   change in direction should have the
            Australia                           The same could not be said for   he could manage to score runs in the              English skill, it was the reason for the   England had too many players who   desired result. Should the ECB harness
               Retaining The Ashes was not a case   the batting. The opening partnership   same match as when he takes wickets,    test team’s failure.              couldn’t hold down the fort when   the power that won them the World
            of papering over huge issues: this is   was pathetic, breaking records for   he could be the all-rounder Australia        English cricket has been gearing up   required. Joe Denly was the only   Cup for the good of the test team,
            a team that finally has something like   low scores at the top of the order.   has desired since Steve Waugh hurt      for the home tournament by placing   opener from both teams who did   the next series can certainly be more
            an identity. The most important issue   David Warner seemed to have been   his back 20 years ago.                      the needs of the one day team over   not disgrace himself, turning out a   competitive.
            at play is how they can double down   rehabilitated and scored a stack of   The best thing Australia can do to         that of its red ball brother. Proper test   creditable average of 31.20. At 33,
            on their advantages and fix some   runs in India to qualify at Number   retain the Ashes? Keep Steve Smith             players were not being schooled: it   though, he is hardly a player around
            peripheral issues.                2. He went on to score 95 runs in 10   alive and interested. Smith is a freak,       became about hitting the white ball   whom to build a side. Naturally, Ben
               It could be argued that Australia   innings. Fellow sandpaper-criminal   and it is possible that the team sheet     hard.                             Stokes is a vital player, whose 135
            has the best bowling attack in the   Cameron Bancroft played in two   comes with his name pre-printed                                                    in the third test saved some pride,







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