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What did we learn from the Ashes?

Written by Big Jim

In the space of eight months Australia and England will battle it out in a total of 10 Test matches, which equates to two separate Ashes campaigns. It’s a strange way of splitting up home and away Ashes series and surely it would make more sense to separate them by two years, but for whatever reason the ICC have scheduled it this way for a number of years now, so it is what it is. For now, the first five Tests in England are over and the Ashes Urn will remain where it is after the Poms scored a 3-0 series win, but the slate will be wiped clean when they arrive in Australia in the coming summer.

With the limited over games about to start, it’s time now to reflect on what we learnt from the Ashes part 1 and what it means for the Ashes part 2.

  1. England is a very good Test team. They are well balanced, have a good mix of experience and youth, both grinders and stroke playing batsmen, pace and spin options and a very good captain.
  2. The English curators prepared pitches that suited the English. This is now the accepted norm around the world and we can’t blame them for that. But they will have to contend with conditions that suit Australia when the two sides next meet.
  3. Australia has some talented batsmen but still have a long way to go to settle on a solid and consistent line up – although some impressive individual performances late in the series from the likes of Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Steve Smith has boosted the confidence.
  4. Darren Lehman has made a huge difference to the Australian cricket side. He lives and breathes Australian cricket and the players seem to have responded to his good old-fashioned Australian culture.
  5. The video referral system needs to be fixed. Not removed or thrown away, but changed so it works significantly better.
  6. Test cricket is alive and well – in Australia and England at least!

So what do these insights mean for the upcoming Test series?

  1. England should start firm favorites. They are going to be hard to beat and if they can win a Test series in India they can do it in Australia too. They shouldn’t be as short as they were at home, though.
  2. Australia has to produce fast, green, bouncy pitches. They need to play four quicks and blast the Poms away to have any chance of winning the Ashes. They have pace depth and no credible spinning options so they need to play to their strengths.
  3. Australia needs to finalize their batting line-up. The selectors must pick their best six in the right order and stick solid through the series.
  4. Expect five incredibly entertaining Test matches in front of huge crowds of the local green and gold and the traveling Barmy Army.

We will examine the Australian Test series in greater detail later in the year but keep looking around for a good price on the Aussies – they just might surprise a few people back on their home turf.