but not much.
Stuart Broad ended his cricketing career with a six and the winning wicket, it could only have been better if the victory sealed or emphasised a victorious Ashes series, instead of just making sure the Aussies didn’t win.
Denying Australia their first Ashes series victory in England since 2001 is all well and good but England should have won this series and won it handsomely. 5-0… 4-0… 4-1. Something like that. But for the rain in Lancashire they would have least won 3-2 but they gifted the Aussies those first two tests.
They did at least learn from those opening games, as Bazball evolved in the latter three tests. Bazball with brains, as yes they kept banging in the runs but weren’t doing quite the stupid things to get out as they had in the first two tests. The Aussies losing Nathan Lyon did help. How many English batsmen did he get out? Of those nine wickets the vast majority were gifted by England players, who were usually in and cruising at 5 to 6 an over.
So while England learned from those first two tests with the bat, they didn’t learn with the ball. Or more specifically who to give the ball to. While Stuart Broad announced his retirement, Anderson was banging on that he’d no interest in following suit. He was gonna stay on playing – obviously doesn’t want to spend more time with his family.
It’s a decision that shouldn’t be his to make. It’s a decision that should have been made already. It was interesting hearing the Aussie commentator Jim Maxwell having a go at England picking Anderson for four out of the five tests. Making points that the English commentators just can’t bring themselves to address.
OK, you give him the first and when he doesn’t perform give it a rethink. I mean, 1 wicket for 109 runs and that wicket being a the keeper – middle order – not one of the top players. You might think it’s a one off, so give him the second, but if he’s not doing it at Lord’s then what’s the point. 2/117… one in each inning, a tailender, a top order. That’s failure. Especially in the second innings when his economy rate was the highest.
And I mean that’s what they kept trying to use as a mitigating factor, his economy rate. But he’s there to take wickets. Next game he was rested and England won. Yes they were going to win at Old Trafford but for the rain and did so at the Oval with him being present but not involved. One wicket in each test. Tailender and middle order. Of the players who took a wicket only Boland had a worse average than Anderson’s 85.40. Boland’s strike rate was over 40 balls better.
It was ridiculous going into those final two tests with just 10 men. How Tongue wasn’t seen again after Lord’s is shocking. He got as many wickets in that game as Anderson did in four. And Tongue’s wickets were top order wickets. Warner twice, Khawaja once, Smith twice.
They bang on about the amount of wickets but longevity does not equal greatness. Of those that have taken 300 or more test wickets, if they’d bowled the same amount of balls as Anderson and you take their strike rate, then the Burnley Bumpkin isn’t even in the top 20 wicket takers. Steyn would have over 900 wickets, 927 to Anderson’s 690.
His good friend Broad would have 703.
Finishing his batting with that six and then the match with those two wickets were fairytale stuff. He could have been a great all rounder but for that smash in the face, amazingly still he’s ranked fourth in the list of England players for six hitting in tests. Behind Stokes, Pietersen and Flintoff. Is 26th over all in test history. And of course had that highest test score of 169, seven runs more than his dad’s best.
The only way he could have topped the ending on a personal level would have been one of those spells. A Broad spell. The type where he ends up with 8 for 15.
Yes, I’ve had my problems with Broad previously. There was a period there where he was being picked, like Anderson, on name and past deeds. A period when he only seemed to turn up when his place was being questioned. It usually ended up with one of those spells but it would be the only one of a series. He turned up for this series. From the start and throughout. He did play all five, well four and half tests, finishing England’s top wicket taker, second over all after Starc, with 22.
Though it has to be said the series turned with the addition of Wood and Woakes. Not many teams have gone two down and not lost a series. That pair played those last two and half tests and took some wickets. 33 between them. Wood’s pace at Headingley caused the Aussies so much trouble, as did his movement. While Woakes showed he should be an automatic in England. 19 wickets at 18 in two and half tests. Outstanding and a worthy player of the series for England. It was great when the pair were swinging the bat as well.
So it was when Bairstow was swinging and looking a bit angry. Took some great catches as well, didn’t shut up those that are desperate for his dropping, missing the fact his catching percentage is much higher than their golden boy.
Should have won it. Only one team seemed to want to win it. England. from the first ball, which England normally lose, through Australia setting the field as far and wide as anyone can remember before England have even hit a run, to them batting just to stay there and not bother about scoring – never seen such a passive Aussie side.
Should have stuffed ’em. Should have sent Smith and Warner off crying…