The rain won the Ashes

in Manchester, what are the chances?

England sit here on Tuesday morning still holding the Ashes but they could quite easily be sitting there looking down the wrong end of a 2-1 deficit to the worst Aussie side since crying Kim’s.

Lost by 14 runs in the first test, stuffed at Lord’s and the rain and yet more inept use of DRS by Michael Clarke and the umpires saved England in Manchester. Two nil with two to play could have been two one, very easily.

England may have handed out a thumping in the previous game there were periods when it was touch and go – 28 for 3 on the first day? Hell if Australia were any good that would have been four because Bell was in and any decent side would have him out for not much when the pressure was on.

Problems in all areas that need sorting out if they want to retain the Ashes not by default and keep them come the next series. Cook, two half decent scores – i.e. 50s – far too many in single figures or just into double figures. Same with Trott, who hasn’t played the way he did and should when he ground down the Aussies before. Ever since they had a go at him for his one day performances it’s buggered him up. Too busy flashing about instead of just digging in and frustrating them. They’ve talked him into being an easy wicket.

Pietersen, all or nothing – it’s the way I play and that all was lucky, very luck and was given up as soon as three figures reached. Prior, the curse of the England player of the year. He’s been hopeless. Hell all of them should hang their head in shame at the thought that Bell has got them out of trouble.

Then the bowling. They keep talking about Anderson’s wicket total but take out that first match and 5 wickets over 4 innings doesn’t look that crash hot for the world’s greatest bowler (&copy British media). People picking Bresnan to be dropped for Onions for the next game. Yet the fat lad has one more wicket than Broad from two innings less at nearly half the average (two runs worse than Anderson) and better than half the strike rate. And while Broad opens the bowling – bar the first innings of the first test – he’s got four wickets out of the top four – as has Anderson – while Bresnan has five, in fewer innings.

The way this England team have played over this series so far – where we’ve seen on both sides far more players getting out to inept shots than great deliveries – retaining the Ashes by default in the damp Lancashire rain is quite fitting.

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