Ashes defeat 2021
I woke up in the early hours of this morning and, while I was checking the time on my mobile, I found out that England’s men had been defeated in the latest Test match, being played in Melbourne, against Australia. This was the third of a five match Ashes Test series and since England had lost the previous two matches, it meant that they lost the entire series. I was disappointed but not surprised. Such has been the largely lack lustre performance of this England side during this particular Ashes series that, more often than not, checking out the latest statistics was enough for me.
Those who follow my forays into the blogosphere will know that I am a life-long cricket fan, and especially when it comes to the game being played at the higher (international) levels. While often this is not the case because of the way the game is structured these days and the part money plays, I love to see the best playing the best, performing at their best. No more is this to be expected or at least hoped for than in an Ashes series. We live in strange days, not least because of the Covid pandemic that affected (in fairness) both sides. Also, in England’s case there was a woeful lack of preparation when it came to longer format of the game, that some argued was to have a significant bearing on the result. Such are the demands these days on all formats of the game, there were no warm-up games. That they were outplayed few would dispute and not just by a small margin either – the three defeats were all by large margins, not least in this last Test when a shell shocked England side simply rolled over.
While usually optimistic, especially as in my opinion and based on their recent record, the current Australian side are not in the same league as Australian sides of yesteryear, recent evidence has revealed England’s frailty, especially in the batting department, which turned out to be the case, but like many I had expected a close run, probably drawn, series. Looking at the scores, only Joe Root fairly acquitted himself as a batter, and it was golden oldie, Jimmy Anderson, who was the pick of the bowlers. No doubt, pundits will have and will express all sorts of views on what went wrong and what needs to happen now so England can become, if not a great Test cricket side, at least a decent one. I suspect the margin between victory and defeat at the highest levels is a small one and luck plays a small part, despite the large margin of this particular defeat. My own two penneth is, while team organisation, player ability and match preparation were all factors, the result was mostly down to the contrasting mindsets of the two teams that were involved.