The Last Rites…

Were duly completed by the England team at the MCG today. Perth was an aberration for the Pommies. The domination that started on the 4th day of the 1st test has resulted in a much anticipated Ashes win. Ashes have been retained, the series is yet to be won. Strauss’s boys have been clinical and exceptional in their performance.

24sport-James-Anderson-0014A huge shout for James Anderson – my man of the series so far. He has wiped out all the bad memories of his last trip Down Under with a fine display of seam and swing bowling. When you bowl the right length, when you hit the deck relentlessly without giving an inch, you are going to reap rewards and he did aplenty. I always go back to that evening in 2003 WC in Capetown when he had ripped apart the heart of Pakistan’s batting line-up with his spell of 10-0-29-4 as a 20 year old. Anderson looked special then and remains so today. Though he had his ups and downs; this year he has looked his best. The key to England’s success down under, rested with him and he has not disappointed.

There is no flaw you can find with the England team currently, they got the early breakthroughs, the got the best partnerships at the top, they fielded well – look at Graeme Swann’s catch in 2nd slip to send Ponting back in the first innings. They dominated Australia like never before. 2005 and 2009 were closely fought but this one has Pommie dominance written all over it – and I re-iterate Perth was an aberration.

What do you say of a team whose top 5 out of 6 batsmen have come good, all the bowlers have got wickets and Broad has not been missed. They seem such a closely knit unit whose players complement each other well, and you can see the camaraderie in their back slaps and constant cheering. The Barmy Army may get on the Aussie and our nerves but they have been a great support to this unit and the team enjoys it. The team came down with a mission and achieved it, now what is left is a much awaited series win at SCG.

The death of Australian cricket is near, it’s almost in its final stages. A major overhaul is needed or maybe they all need some time off cricket to assess what went wrong. Their batting main-stays Ponting & Clarke did not click, Hussey faced his first failure of the series and the bowlers never looked threatening despite bowling on their homeground. There will be much analysis of the Aussie plight and it will be tough months ahead for Ponting – seriously such a great cricketer in all forms of the game, unblemished record at the World Cup since 2003 but joined the elite club of Aussie captains to lose the Ashes thrice. His stupid argument with Aleem Dar over the review was needless, unwarranted and a disgrace to his captaincy. For all his greatness he has been a sore loser all his cricketing life, unsporting and arrogant and this image will stay with me forever. The guy in many ways is responsible for this Aussie decline more so in the way they played the game – all started with the infamous SydneyGate – it is all coming around – KARMA you see has a funny way of teaching us. Aus is learning the hard way. It worries me, this plight of Aussie cricket but then again they are not Waugh’s Warriors anymore; which makes me far less sympathetic to the current Aussie side and its state.

I’ve been a huge fan of Waugh’s team and have even sided with them against India, no other opposition team has earned that respect from me but looks like Strauss’s boys looking to fill that gap. I’m turning into a huge fan of all, never thought I’d live to say this – me a England cricket team fan:-)

So while we all savour the England win by joining the team in their sprinkler dance – tell me has anyone else noticed England’s Superman – and I mean seriously – do you not see the similarities?