England have won back the Ashes as Australia in the fourth test appeared to play a poor rendition of the game duck duck goose.
The expected ‘return’ of the Australians never came. There was a lot of speculation about Jimmy Anderson and his side strain. Was his injury going to be England’s McGrath of 2005? Who would replace him? Would Stuart Broad be able to lead the attack? Just as Australia had bounced back from SWALEC to Lords, they were expected to do the same going from Edgbaston to Trent Bridge.
With ‘the king of swing’ out of the picture, this was Australia’s best chance of taking the series down to the fifth Test. The toss had feelings of deja vu from 2005. Alastair Cook won the toss and decided to bowl. The conditions were definitely good for bowling however without Jimmy, England were in unchartered waters. Jimmy had missed very few tests over the years through his reign as England’s spearhead and apart from Stuart Broad, the rest of the bowlers lacked real experience.
It seemed however that Alastair Cook had made the right decision. It was an incredible day of almost ODI like behaviour from Australia. They hadn’t learnt from their mistakes. ALL 11 players were the Brendon McCullum of the team. They had no Kane Williamson or Joe Root to steady the innings. 9 of the 10 wickets that fell were catches behind the batsmen. Only one of which was from the keeper. It was as though the innings was a package highlights from later that day. Australia were nine wickets down before they had even hit 50 runs. All out for 60 with ‘extras’ claiming top scorer for the innings. However the poor batting cannot take away from the fact that it was a phenomenal bowling and catching performance from England. Cook’s men had come through for him with Stuart Broad fitting perfectly into Anderson’s shoes. An incredible eight wicket haul for only 15 runs. His best ever Test figures. Backed up by Steven Finn and Mark Wood (who each picked up a wicket) and the slip cordon, Broad had basically won England the Ashes.
It was almost as though England were batting first. By the end of day 1, Australia were trailing by 214. Joe Root once again played a solid innings and scored a century to build up England’s lead. Backed up by Johnny Bairstow who scored a half century, England declared with a lead of 300+ on day two. A very ‘Michael Clarke-like’ decision from Alastair Cook.
Once again it was Australia’s turn to bat. To turn over a deficit of 331 AND build up an innings lead for England to chase. They got off to a solid start with Chris Rogers and David Warner scoring half centuries but it was all downhill from there. Only Adam Voges was able to muster a 51* as the rest of the batsmen continued to fall around him. This time it was Ben Stokes to do it for England, picking up his best test figures he removed both openers and picked up six wickets. Stokes hadn’t had a great Ashes but this test he proved himself worthy of the all-rounder position.
Australia lost the match by an innings and 78 runs and with it, the Ashes. It was a comprehensive performance from England who cleaned up the Ashes in 14 days of play.