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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ashes to Ashes: When England re-wrote history Down Under

Ashes to Ashes: When England re-wrote history Down Under

July 09, 2013 08:41 IST

It marked the end of a 24-year drought

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When England outplayed Australia in the 2010-11 Ashes series, they not only retained the urn they won on home soil about 18 months back, but also ended a barren run.

The triumph marked the end of a 24-year drought, the last English team to win on Australian soil being Mike Gatting’s side way back in 1986-87.

While the English triumph wasn’t surprising, considering the Aussies had seen their stock go down in the preceding years, it helped banish the demons of a 5-0 whitewash on their previous trip to the southern hemisphere.

Now, as back-to-back Ashes series beckon, the English have grown even more formidable, and the Aussies are on the decline.

The opening Test gets underway at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Thursday, and the home team looks set to complete a hat-trick of triumphs over the arch rival. The last time the English retained the urn on three consecutive occasions was way back in 1956.

Bikash Mohapatra looks back at performances that mattered in the last series, leading to England, under the astute captaincy of Andrew Strauss, rewriting history Down Under.


Image: Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann and James Anderson of England celebrate in the dressing room with the ashes urn after winning the series 3-1
Photographs: Tom Shaw - Pool/Getty Images

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Pietersen's double at Adelaide was a defining moment

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The opening Test at the Gabba (Brisbane) was high-scoring, with the likes of Mike Hussey (195), Brad Haddin (136), Andrew Strauss (110), Alastair Cook (235 not out) and Jonathan Trott (135 not out) making significant contributions.

However, it was from the second Test that the series became exciting.

Turning the tide in England’s favour was a usual suspect.

Kevin Pietersen’s 227 at the Adelaide Oval was a defining moment. It not only ensured England amassed a whopping 620 for five declared in response to the home team’s modest first innings total of 245, but also laid the foundation for an innings victory.

Cook also contributed a valuable 148, but it was KP’s knock that laid the foundation for what was eventually a memorable series win.

 


Image: Kevin Pietersen of England celebrates after reaching his double century at Adelaide
Photographs: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

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Johnson helped Australia draw level

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The third Test at the WACA (Perth) had an unlikely hero.

It was quite a while since Mitchell Johnson played a starring role for Australia. But on this occasion he delivered, both with the bat and ball.

While he top-scored with 62 in Australia’s total of 268 in their first essay, his 6 for 38 kept England’s reply down to 187.

Johnson took three more wickets as England were bowled out for 123 in the second innings, helping Australia seal a series-levelling win.


Image: Mitchell Johnson of Australia celebrates a wicket at the WACA, Perth
Photographs: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

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Trott's unbeaten 168 ensured an innings win at MCG

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Jonathan Trott was one of England’s most consistent performers in the series.

The South Africa-born player’s aggregate of 445 was the third best in the series. His most important contribution was in the fourth Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Having bowled out the home team for a meagre 98, England scored a whopping 513 in response.

Trott led the way with an unbeaten 168, and was involved in a vital 173-run stand for the sixth wicket with Matt Prior (85). The partnership ensured the inevitable.

For the record, the visitors won by an innings and 157 runs.


Image: Jonathan Trott of England celebrates reaching his century at Melbourne
Photographs: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

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Cook amassed 766 runs in the series

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Alastair Cook was, by far, the best batsman in the series, aggregating a whopping 766 runs (@ 127.66).

While he scored a match-winning double hundred at the Gabba, it was his 189 in the fifth and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) that was crucial.

With England ahead in the series, and having restricted Australia to just 280, the need was for a batsman to take the game away from the hosts. Cook took up the responsibility.

His formidable innings helped England amass 644 in response. The visiting bowlers restricted the hosts to no more than 281 in their second innings.

England won the Test by an innings and 83 runs and sealed a memorable series win on Australian soil.


Image: Alastair Cook of England acknowledges the crowd after scoring a century in Sydney
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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Anderson picked up 24 wickets in the series

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While the likes of Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Prior and even captain Strauss contributed heavily with the bat in the English cause, their bowlers weren’t far behind.

The likes of Chris Tremlett, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn and even Tim Bresnan impressed, though it was James Anderson who led the way.

England’s strike bowler finished the series as the highest wicket-taker, picking 24 at a measly 26.04.

Anderson’s consistent performance ensured England got the upper hand over Australia when it mattered most.


Image: James Anderson of England celebrates a wicket
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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