Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/dean-wilson/2013/8/26/the-ashes-part-one

Dean Wilson

The Ashes part one

26 August 2013 17

Cricket Correspondent for the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper Dean Wilson reflects on part one of the Ashes in England

So that was the Ashes part 1 then.

A fairly comprehensive 3-0 win for the home team and it could oh so easily have been 4-0.

The final Test of the series went right down to the wire and England came within a mere 21 runs of inflicting the heaviest Ashes defeat on English soil ever.

The fact they didn't was down to the rules of the game governing bad light and it was a crying shame.

A full house at the Oval, loving the game, enjoying themselves and the entertainment. Floodlights on and batsmen and bowlers who can clearly see the ball as evidenced by Mitchell Starc's run out of Ian Bell.

Yet the rules state that the umpires must take the players off if the light becomes too dangerous.

Park your support for your team for a moment and just look at it objectively.

The ICC took offering the bad light to batsmen out of the equation because too many players were using to their own means when they could see the ball perfectly well.

The decision now rests in the hands of the umpires and they are given the task of deciding when it is too dark.

Yet the darkness is negated by the floodlights at those grounds that have them. So why on earth do they not just play the game with the lights until the overs have been bowled?

It is just ridiculous that you cannot play under lights to finish a few measly overs.

Part of the problem is over rates.

Teams should be bowling 15 per hour but they slow it down to 14 or 13 or 12 or 11 in England's case at times.

This is not good enough. If Australia had bowled their overs at 15 per hour then they would have go the final four overs in without fuss and the game would have reached a natural conclusion.

What actually transpired was for the game to once again stick two fingers up to the paying public, most of whom will also pay for subscriptions to the TV channels that fund the game.

These are the people that matter. These are the people who deserve to be entertained and not treated with contempt by the men in suits who run things.

It is making me angry just tapping these words out.

It is such a shame, because 95 percent of the final day of the Ashes was a brilliant barmy advert for the sport that we all love so dearly.

A whopping 447 runs were scored and 17 wickets were taken.

Players like Kevin Pietersen scored runs in a way that only genius' can manage and bowlers like James Faulkner showed just what they were capable of at the highest level.

It was a wonderful day of cricket.

There was positivity coursing through the veins of the day and a huge amount of credit for that must go to two men, Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook.

Clarke deserves credit for opening up the game once his bowlers had bowled England out for 377.

He was determined to get to a score that he could declare on and set England are target.

Clarke chopped and changed his batting order so that they could score enough runs, quickly enough to launch a final assault on English wickets and minds.

But credit too for Cook who set the tone either side, firstly by telling his batsmen to go about avoiding the follow on positively and trying to get as close to Australia's score as quickly as possible.

If they had taken their time over it then the game would have died around lunchtime.

After those instructions he then set the example himself by batting positively with Joe Root and signalling England's intention to go for the run chase when they could have ignored it and been negative.

They weren't and the game was richer for it.

In the end the target proved just a little too stiff for the conditions, and England could reflect on a job well done and a 3-0 result.

Ian Bell rightly collected the man of the series award and Ryan Harris rightly deserved his Australian man of the series award.

With Shane Watson getting the man of the match prize there were two Aussie men going home with something to smile about, but when it came to Clarke he had nothing.

He might get a few pats on the back for being an inventive captain and being positive and doing the best he could with the players he had, blah blah blah.

He leaves the UK with nothing. No Ashes and no Test wins and that will hurt like hell.

Who can't wait to see the next instalment of this famous old contest.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
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