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Ashes 2023 – Opportunity missed for England

Ashes 2023 – Opportunity missed for England

Office Leisure |

by Rex Clementine

We had a fitting farewell for the Ashes with the fifth and final Test match stretching to the last session of the series with England walking off with deserved winners. The series ended 2-2 but with Australia being the holders of the Ashes retained the urn.

It was a fabulous display by both teams and you’ve got to concede that England were the better team and at times they were denied by rain and at times by their own over aggressive approach. This could have been a come from behind 3-2 win for England had it not rained for the last two days in Old Trafford.

This could have been England’s Ashes (4-1) had they not declared on day one at Edgbaston. In the end, that proved to be costly.

Nevertheless, it’s been a breathtaking Test match. Both sides didn’t score that many in the first innings but went onto do better in the second essay.

England virtually squared this series without a frontline spinner. Moeen Ali called out of retirement looked past his prime and he wasn’t available for all games.

How well Chris Woakes and Mark Wood bowled. Wood always had energy and pace but now he has added accuracy too and he has become deadly. He’s bowled some devastating spells. Woakes is an underrated bowler and this series he earned his dues.

England have tried many openers in recent years and finally seemed to have settled with Zak Crawley, who produced vital runs throughout the series and in the deciding final Test as well when The Oval wasn’t all that conducive for batting although generally it’s a batsman’s paradise.

As for Jonny Bairstow there’s been a lot of criticism about his keeping, but he held his own towards the tail end of the campaign pulling off some stunners and contributing valuable runs with the bat.

Mitchell Starc struggled initially but came to his own in the last game and walked off with eight wickets.

Pat Cummins at times looked flat but finished off the Ashes with flying colours, but we may not see him leading the Aussies again. More than any other era, the present era is tough for a fast bowler to captain the side given how much cricket is being played.

One player that Australia missed was Nathan Lyon. Even when he doesn’t get wickets, he does the containing job well and Australia lacked that aspect in the Ashes. Wonder how the series would have ended had Lyon been part of the side.

You also wonder what lies ahead of David Warner? Despite decent runs in at The Oval, Warner struggled to make an impact and the World Cup later this year in India could be his swansong although he would want to go on a high with a farewell Sydney Test at the dawn of the New Year.

As for Stuart Broad, what a sendoff he received – a wicket off the last ball he bowled and a six off the last ball he faced – not sure who is writing his scripts.