Cow Corner

The time when England decimated Australia

Cow Corner

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England fans will forever cherish the memory of this series.
Decimation of Australia Down Under isn't likely to happen again, ever. And even if it does, the thrill
of one-sided victories will have waned, and it would certainly lack the shock
element of this series.

The Ashes supporting
tradition of watching the first hour before bed was extended for many beyond
lunch until tea. And for those unable to stay awake, they woke up to good news
on 18 of the 23 days of combat.

The domination
has been such that if you were picking an Ashes XI from this series, only Mike
Hussey would be sure of a place in the side. Andrew Strauss would edge Shane
Watson on his captaincy and triple-figure IQ, and it is hard to make a case for
any of the Baggy Green bowlers.

Although Alastair
Cook and James Anderson were the stars, this was a genuine team effort: five of
batsman averaged over 50, and five bowlers took 11 or more wickets.

Barring the 2006/07
series, this has been every bit as dominant a series as Australia enjoyed for 20 years. It
is the first time in Ashes history a side has won three matches by an innings.

Paul Collingwood,
like Nasser Hussain six years previous, departs the Test team having laid a
foundation of steel resolve that England will benefit from in the
coming years. Although it never quite works out like that, there is no reason
why any of the other 12 who played in the series should not be on the next tour
to Australia.

The 'whingeing
Poms' have nothing to complain about while Australia, to quote Martin Johnson,
have three problems: they can't bat, they can't bowl and they can't field.

Big decisions
need to be made about whether to retain Ricky Ponting lower down the order,
with or without the captaincy, and would the players and the country ever get
behind Michael Clarke?

The batting you
can see coming good eventually, when discipline is allied to talent, but the
bowling looks a bigger issue. The mental scars of bowling fruitlessly for
hours, not even expecting a wicket, hurt the careers of many English bowlers: it
remains to be seen if the Aussies from this series can bounce back.

So we're done for
another 29 months or so. Not a classic contest due to its one-sided nature (you
only have to have seen the concurrent South Africa-India series to appreciate
that), but one which left many an Australian fan on the lookout for a lobotomy.

Repeat this
another seven times, and Australia
will really understand why we needed that parade in 2005.

Man of the day: Steve Smith deserves applause for his
first Ashes half-century, but the award has to go to England's leader Andrew Strauss: the
first captain to lift the urn at home and then away against a full strength
Australian side since Len Hutton in 1955.

Shot of the day: There were few elegant strokes among Australia's
68 runs on the fifth day. The best was probably Peter Siddle's back-foot cut
for four off Graeme Swann, backing up Richie Benaud's belief that he could
become an all-rounder.

Stat of the day:
52. The number of years since a side lost by an innings three times in a
series. England beat New Zealand
back then.

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