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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Brilliant England dominate Aussies

A win over Australia on their home turf is always impressive but England didn't just beat Australia at Adelaide, they demolished them with a magnificent performance from every member of the team.

This win was something special. From one to eleven, England were outstanding and bossed the game from the first ball to the last. It all started with Jonathon Trott's superb run-out of Simon Katich followed by Ricky Ponting's first ball dismissal and then finished with a peach of a delivery from the outstanding Graeme Swann to wrap up an innings and 71 runs win.

It's the same old story yet again with this years Ashes. One team struggling for form, selection problems, ineffective bowling attack and batting collapses. Whereas the other have a settled side, batting with ease and causing all kinds of problems with the ball. Same old story.... oh wait.

A sign of the tide turning in England's favour is perhaps luck. Less than two hours after their resounding win, the heavens opened and unleashed a barrage of rain on the Adelaide Oval that would have washed out any play after lunch. In years gone by this would never have gone in England's favour but now that they're the superior side, it may be a sign of the power switching sides.

This the scene of Adelaide just hours after England has sealed an innings and 71 runs win over Australia to take a 1-0 lead in the five match series. 

It would have been so harsh on England had the weather forced a draw. Andrew Strauss' men were utterly dominant throughout and finished off in style with some immaculate bowling on the fifth morning.

In years gone by, many a England side may have crumbled at the thought of beating their biggest rivals in their back garden but not this team. Andy Flower has installed a belief and a winning mentality into this young side. He and Strauss never let them get carried away, always maintaining focus on the task in hand.

Flower is always aiming higher and is rarely content. Not only does he want his team to win the Ashes down under but he wants them to become the best team on the planet, something which undoubtedly this side are capable of.

They have the quality and skill to become the number one side. James Anderson is possibly the best fast bowler in the world at the moment. Against Australia he bowled with intent and pinpoint accuracy, getting the ball to swing away after pitching it on the perfect line and length. His wickets of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke on the opening morning were perfect examples of how to bowl in Australia.

And then there's Kevin Pieterson. He was back to his arrogant best with a magnificent double century where he produced numerous stunning shots. He whipped, hammered and crashed the ball all around the park. He never looked like getting out and, despite going 18 months without a century, never lacked the confidence to go on and get a big score and that is when Pieterson is at his best.

The pivotal moment of the match was arguably down Pierterson as well when he took the vital wicket of Clarke with the last ball of the fourth day. Had Clarke, who had played well for his 80, survived until the close then we may have been contemplating a different result.

Graeme Swann also came to the party during the final day with a some perfect spin bowling. Many pundits picked out Swann as being the key to England's quest to retain the Ashes prior to the series. And if he continues to bowl as he did on the final morning in Adelaide then that Urn may be on it's way back to England.

Graeme Swann finishes Australia off with a peach of a delivery to bowl Siddle and complete a resounding win.

His match-winning dismissal of Peter Siddle, getting the ball to grip and spin through the gap between bat and bad to clatter into the stumps, emphasised his ability to cause havoc amongst the Australian ranks.

The other eight players weren't too bad ether. Cook hit another beautiful hundred in the first innings, Trott looked good for his 78, Collingwood and Bell both looked in fine touch during England's mammoth first innings of 620-5 declared as did wicketkeeper Prior.

Stephen Finn was impressive with the ball and Strauss led his team with authority, never letting them get carried away at any stage. The only blip for England was the unfortunate news of Stuart Broad's stomach injury that will keep him out of the rest of the tour.

Of course some of England's success is down to the shoddiness of their Australian counterparts. Very rarely before has their been such a lack of quality within an Australian side. Their bowling attack has no penetration and will not be feared by England during the rest of the tour.

They'll struggle to take 20 wickets in the whole series never mind in one match, based on this performance. And so many of their batsmen are out-of-form, giving more confidence to this already buoyant England side.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has plenty to ponder with his side needing two wins from three games to reagin the Ashes

Only when Matt Priror dropped a difficult chance from a Hussey edge off the bowling of Graeme Swann was there brief moment of concern. To give such a determined and dogged player as Hussey a second chance would have caused pessimists to perhaps fear the worst but this England side has learnt how to win.

Just over an hour later they sealed an outstanding win over a poor Australian side, they will head to Perth full of confidence that the Ashes are on their away home.

Player Ratings, England:

Strauss - 8 - Didn't contribute with the bat but led his side superbly and has become a accomplished captain.
Cook - 9 - Another fine century helped set up England for a huge total.
Trott - 8 - Fantastic run-out of Katich after 4 balls and also hit a nice 78.
Pieterson - 10 - What can you say? Brilliant double ton where he was back to his best then took the crucial wicket of Clarke.
Collingwood - 7 - Looked in decent touch with his 42 and also took a couple of neat catches at slip, particularly important one to get rid of Ponting.
Bell - 8 - Played well for his 67*
Prior - 7 - Didn't have to much to do but did take a couple of important catches.
Broad - 6 - Only took one wicket throughout and unfortunately was ruled out the rest of the tour with injury.
Swann - 9 - Was back to his best on the fifth morning after some beautiful bowling to take England to victory.
Anderson - 9 - Has grown accustomed to bowling in Australia, produced some perfect deliveries in the first morning to dismiss Ponting and Clarke.
Finn - 8 - Again he shown he can be a threat in Australia and picked up some crucial wickets.


Katich - 6 - Ball watching for his run-out first time round but played nicely in the second innings and would have liked to have gone on to a much bigger score.
Watson - 7 - Same old story, always gets in but never goes onto make a big score, although did manage two 50s.
Ponting - 3 - Failed miserably with the bat and lacked ideas as captain.
Clarke - 6 - Looked to be getting back to his best with a fluent 80 and will be kicking himself for getting out to Pieterson last ball of the fourth day.
Hussey - 7 - Most in-form of all the Australians but did produce a rash shot at the wrong time in the second innings.
North - 3 - Doesn't look a test-calss player, no runs and no form so far this series.
Haddin - 4 - Showed signs of being in decent form but Anderson put an end to that with a peach.
Harris - 5 - Best of the bowlers, however a king pair tells its own story.
Doherty - 1 - Has made the selectors look like muppets with some worse than average bowling.
Siddle - 2 - No wickets and 9 runs, sums it up.
Bollinger - 3 - Rarely threatened with the ball.


  1. How about your ratings for the Aussies?

  2. Pretty fair rankings. A little too generous to Strauss, I feel. He won't be happy with himself for a second failure with the bat in three innings; although I agree the captaincy has been assured and intelligent, and the declaration (now) turns out to have been perfectly timed. Conversely, I think you're a bit harsh on Ponting. Admittedly two very disappointing at-bats, but given nothing to work with in the field, and hinted as much beforehand with his comments about selection. Think X-Doh warrants a 2 for effort in spite of inability, and for getting KP's wicket - albeit after about 17 sessions. That was more than we expected of him. Aside from that, this is hard to disagree with.