Wednesday, 29 December 2010
So in the end if all proved to be fairly straightforward, but that shouldn't detract from a glorious England display as more records tumbled at the MCG.
Boxing Day morning was where the game was won. This must rank as one of the most perfect days in English cricket history. To bowl Australia out on day 1 at the MCG for 98, its lowest score EVER against England at the G, and then reach 157-0 at stumps is not something that will be repeated often, if ever.
Helpful conditions but what superb bowling from the England seamers. Tremlett getting the ball rolling, Jimmy to the fore once again and Bresnan offering great control on his Ashes debut.
No-frills Trott then made sure there was not even the merest chance of an Aussie comeback and come the end of the innings the lead was insurmountable.
More resistance second time around for Ponting's men. But not much more. A second innings victory of the series was duly completed. Kingpin Anderson now top of the wicket-taking charts, Cook and Trott averaging over 100 for the series. Amazing stuff.
Teams are routinely crushed at this iconic and historic ground. In 2006 it was Ponting's men who prevailed by an innings. That man Warne was to the fore that day but his chief role this time around was as a hologram in the superb National Sports Museum at the MCG. A waste of his talents you might say.
England must complete the job in Sydney now. The players have every right to celebrate hard after this thumping win...but briefly. The tour will only be a qualified success if the sides revert to the form shown at the WACA and Australia wins. There is no excuse for taking your eye off the ball in an Ashes series. Winning any Ashes test is a huge task and with the Aussies determined to show some heart to the disgruntled fans, England will have to continue these incredibly high standards to come out on top.
Difficult to know who to leave out for Sydney. Tremlett cannot be discarded now. Will Finn, leading wicket-taker in the series before this game, replace Bresnan? What about playing Monty and Swann if it's the traditional SCG spinning-top? Tricky choices but nice problems to have. Suddenly there seems to be great strength in depth in the bowling department.
The batsmen pick themselves...aside from one man. We'll leave further analysis of Colly's form and role in the team for another day and just enjoy the simple fact that...
...the Ashes have been retained!
Strauss & Cook work off the turkey on Boxing Day. Where have all the Aussies gone?
That incredible Boxing Day final scorecard
Takes all sorts
Boxing Day Crew
Back for the last rites
The winning moment