England win the Ashes
ENGLAND have won the Ashes, after defeating Australia by 197 runs at The Oval.
Andrew Strauss has lifted sport’s most pathetic trophy while joy erupted around him.
But England’s victory proves one thing – this Australian team must be really bad.
Both of these sides would have been heavily beaten by their 2005 counterparts.
It is difficult to work out how England have won this series – Andrew Strauss is the only batsman who looked vaguely solid with a bat in his hand and even he failed in two of the five matches.
Australia made eight hundreds compared to England’s two, although four were made in their 674-6dec at Cardiff.
England’s bowlers have only showed their best form in patches.
Strauss said: “When we were bad we were very bad, but when we were good we were just good enough.”
But when hands needed to be stuck up, it was the English players who stuck them up.
Stuart Broad stuck his hand up brilliantly to swing the final test in England’s direction on the second day.
Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden hyperboliclly described Broad’s spell as “one of the best spells in test cricket history.”
It was fantastic bowling, that owed nothing to the state of pitch.
Australia’s bowlers, while more consistent, never produced spells as inspired as Broad’s or that of James Anderson at Edgbaston or Andrew Flintoff’s at Lord’s.
Another crucial factor, overlooked by most, was England’s lower order batting compared to Australia’s.
Mitchell Johnson, despite a test hundred to his name, made only 105 runs all series, but was still the top scorer among Australia’s tailenders.
In comparison Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad scored 249 and 234 runs respectively, putting them fourth and fifth in the list of England highest run scorers.
After the weaknesses of England’s middle order, those were often runs that rescued England from perilous situations.
And those are the main reasons why the urn is coming home.