Reality Check: Why England Will Lose The Ashes

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Easy wickets
There are too many softies in the current English batting line up. The West Indies, South Africa and Pakistan have all demonstrated that.  Alistair Cook is a gimme, with a test average of 27.60 in Australia. In Perth, he was bowled for 5 by a Leicestershire 2nd XI tryer called Steve Magoffin. Kevin Pietersen has declined significantly since he was last in Australia. His pre-tour form, in England, South Africa and in the Australian warm-up games is poor – as it has been for over a year. Neither Bell nor Collingwood frighten the Aussies. They’ll respect Strauss, remembering all the while that he was ranked the 11th best batsman of the 2006/2007 series, with an average of 24.70.

KP bowled: Oops. There he goes again.

Lack of Stayers
Full credit to Mr Trott for finally nailing a double ton for England vs Bangladesh in the summer. At last someone has done it; the last player to do so anywhere for England was Rob Key, versus the West Indies in 2004. In other words – Bangladeshi heroics aside – this is a team with a proven track record of not scoring the kind of big ton which is a critical element of a successful tour down under.

Four Bowlers
What on earth are we thinking? Typical Australian scores in Brisbane at the end of day one: 2/321, 3/344…These guys are bred to occupy the crease for hours on end, and the longer and hotter it is, the more they like it. There is no way this quartet is going to survive a five match series, let alone snaffle up 20 wickets a go. Expect some brutal days in the field.

James Anderson
Terrific against Pakistan in the summer, but the conditions in Australia are the opposite of jimbo-land, and we know from previous experience that when the shine goes off the ball on a day of blue skies and hot sunshine, then the great Jimmy starts to go for some, and then some more, and some more….Rewind just one year to the tour in South Africa, and Jimmy’s 1-104 at Centurion or his 0-111 at the Wanderers. Is he really that much better now?

Jimmy Aaaaah: Have I got to 100 yet?

Ricky Ponting
He is by far the best batsman in either side. Yes, Ponting has the burden of captaincy on his shoulders, but he remains the real deal: obdurate, destructive, hungry. You’ll remember that he wasn’t at his best against England in 2009, struggling to a series of average of…just over 48. That’s the thing about this guy – his wicket is so precious that we forget how expensive it is to acquire it. Playing at home, against a side he’s successfully bashed about for years is likely to bring the best out of him. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Mitchell Johnson
Australia lost the 2009 Ashes as a direct result of Mitchell Johnson’s abysmal display in the Lords test of that year. He was so bad that even Cook filled his boots. All the signs are that Johnson has long since got his mojo back and – being the best and fastest bowler on either team – that’s bad new for England. Even including the Lords debacle, Johnson still took 20 wickets in that series, compared to Broad (18) and Anderson (12). Playing back home in his favourite conditions, don’t expect the wheels to come off again. MJ’s got unfinished business to attend to.

MJ's Mission: I Want My Ashes Back

Home Advantage
Look, mate, Australians are always going to enjoy watching an England team struggle. But an England team as full of itself as this one, a team so quick to assume the mantle of favourites, with that bloody Graeme Swann mouthing off… The Aussies are really going to love watching the slide from The Hill in Sydney. All this Australian pre-series doom and gloom…you’re not really falling for it, are you?

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