‘Perfect’ England

England took a huge step towards retaining the ashes last night, bowling Australia out for 304, still 71 short of England’s huge first innings total. It was the first win by an innings and more over the Aussies in 24 years and thoroughly deserved. Many are calling it a ‘perfect’ performance; it’s certainly hard to recall any better. It’s hard to recall a more complete England side.
Every player is at their peak, playing in a side perfectly set up for beating the opposition. Yes Australia where below-par but you sense no team in the world was capable of beating us over the past five days. The last two innings, 620-5, and 517-1 add up to 1137 runs for the loss of just 6 wickets, the bowlers aren’t doing too bad either.
Swanny hit back at those questioning his abilities down under with his tenth five-wicket haul for England, his first against Australia. He is a genuine class act, showing he is capable of taking this series away from the opposition in a way counterpart Xavier Docherty could only dream of.
Australia’s struggle to find a competent spin bowler is such that old-timer Shane Warne may even be called to come out of retirement. 71% of readers in a Melbourne Newspaper supported the idea of a comeback for the 41 year old leg spinner. It would certainly add some extra spice to the fixture but come on, Australians are clutching at straws and it feels good.
Anderson produced yet again as did Finn who has shown a maturity in his game that belies his modest experience. Unfortunately Broad’s injury will now keep him out of the series. I’m a fan of Broad and it’s a shame to loose him but I believe he is replaceable. The loss of Katich on the other hand is a huge blow for Australia, the batsman being one of the few to give a decent account of themselves so far. It would be nice to see Bres given a chance but Tremlett is perhaps the wiser choice, particularly on a bouncy Perth pitch.
Of the batsmen Pietersen was probably the stand-out performer, his innings combined his trademark grace, power and prowess with a new found maturity and responsibility. If this new attitude is here to stay then surely there are many more runs to come from KP this series. Cook hit yet another century as did Trott, who also produced the moment of the match when he dismissed Katich with a superb run out.
If Australia is to have any chance in this series they will have to demonstrate a similar level of ruthlessness and sheer brilliance in the field as England have. A winning side is one that doesn’t drop catches and punishes teams at every opportunity; struggling sides tend to do the opposite. It may seem a basic point to make but psychologically England clearly have the edge and I believe this is the key reason. Australia are struggling for wickets so the few opportunities that come their way must be taken, particularly when everybody in England’s top order appears to be capable of such huge scores.
So England will head into the third test next week a confident and settled side, knowing a similar performance will almost certainly guarantee the ashes returning to these shores. Meanwhile Australia will be scratching their heads wondering where to go from here. I do not see 20 wickets in that attack, nor do I see a batting line up capable of fending off Swann and Anderson for long enough to cause problems. Having said that cricket is a funny game and you never know Warney may just save the day.


About haighsimpson

25 year old journalism student at leeds metropolitan university View all posts by haighsimpson

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