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 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,

 8  |  TOUCHLINEMAGAZINE.COM                                                     TOUCHLINEMAGAZINE.COM  |  9
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