Monday, September 12, 2005

A Hard Urned Victory…

That’s what the headlines on the front page of HT read today. It indeed was, for Vaughan’s young brigade.

I did not know a single soul who gave this team a chance to beat the Aussie Team. We were sure though that the Aussies will not have an easy victory. At the end of the drama, that began on 14th July, 2005 and lasted for one and half months the Poms were having the last laugh at all of us. They can laugh their heart out, they deserve it and they have earned it thanks to the stellar performances they put up.

Before I reminisce the series, I shall add one more person as Sunil and Michael pointed out to my Take a Bow list. Kevin Pietersen. What a knock! He completely mesmerized me. He and Flintoff make me wonder if I’m watching the Aussies in action or the Brits. Aggression and more aggression. They personify it. Yesterday it was that precise attitude that killed the Aussie hope of sneaking a victory on the last day of the match and keeping the “Ashes Urn”.

158 in 187 balls, 15 fours and 7 sixes. This, when your team was reeling at 126 -5, with only Collingwood and Jones to follow, before the tail began. He rallied his team along with Collingwood and Giles to 335! Unbelievable! What a moment in history to get your maiden century. What a series to debut in and most important of all, leave a fine mark on it! A debut that will be cherished by his countrymen for a long time just as we cherish Gavaskar’s debut in 1971 against the WI.

I must give a hand to Giles in this series. I’m no fan of his, he was run down by the media and critics alike but, he showed exemplary grit while bowling and batting. He added precious runs along with the tail and was instrumental in frustrating the Aussies.

The Aussies gave it all, McGrath, Warne and Lee (His figures don’t show, but how this man has fought in this series, that’s when you know you should not trust the numbers alone.) but they fell short.

Ponting has some serious thinking to do before he heads his team for the Super Series. So do Gilchrist and Damein Martyn. The Aussies have to go back and prove in the Super Series that they will go down as the Greatest Champions ever. None of us have doubts, but that will be one acid test and the failure to keep the Ashes will hit them hard. Not today, but once they land on their own soil. It really hurt to see the team down and out.

A Last Thought:
I don’t know if this thought crossed any one of you. When around 38-40 overs were left, England was at 258/7. If they had declared at that point; the Aussies would be left to chase 265 in 38-40 overs at a run-rate close to 7. It would be tempting enough. I would have loved to see what Aussies would have done in that situation. On the other hand getting them to bat and getting them out giving their final chase for the Ashes, Vaughan’s team would have dealt the final nail in the coffin.

Nice prospect. It would have been one hell of a scenario, a fitting end to the fantastic series. I was just imagining the scene.

But the Ashes victory was too precious to take that risk. Sigh!! We are left with the Ifs and Buts of the game and pondering what could have been. That for you my dear friend is the beauty of this game. The uncertainty that it has. The fact that it is a great leveler and no one is superior to it!


For the time being let’s join the celebrations with the Brits, celebrating Test cricket at its best!

6 comments:

Swapnil said...

Hi!

Yes, I completely agree with you. What a victory!!!Kudos to the Poms!
I was just wondering, what if Warne had held on to Pietersen's catch?
It will certainly be interesting how the Aussies handle this. With the upcoming Super series and test series with the Proteas & Windies, it sure will test their mettle.

Michael Higgins said...

Hi Minal
What a great series it was. After the first test in which Australia won easily, everyone thought it would be another one-sided Ashes. But England really improved.

What I like about England is that they have 5 real bowlers on their team and their tail can bat a bit. Consider the Indian team that only went in with 4 bowlers against ridiculously weak Zimbabwe and they are struggling to get them out. I really believe that India will never have an all-arounder until they pick someone and say "you - you are our all-arounder" and stick with him for some time.

Sunil said...

good stuff, wasn't it :-) What a great series.

Michael.........perhaps.....but I don't think India needs an allrounder. You work with what you have. But india definitely needs 6 consistent batsmen (two of whom bowl good, reliable part time, (Shewag might be able to some day), 1 wk who can bat, and 4 GOOD bowlers. That's what the great West Indian team of the 80's had, and they were almost invincible. Consistency....thats thekey.

Tugga said...

Sunil has a point there, why go back so far, even this great Australian team could make do with 4 genuine bowlers and no allrounders for the last 10 years that they dominated world cricket. And when one talks of allrounders one needs to be very careful, not specialist batsmen who bowl a bit, not specialist bowlers who bat a bit, and certainly not the bit part cricketers (a la Mark Ealham) who formed such a big part of the English cricket scene a few years ago. Much as one would like, there aren't too many of the genuine allrounders around, although with Freddie coming of age, things might just look up. Again, as I mentioned in my post, Brett Lee is one who can be groomed to be a genuine allrounder, and maybe Pathan for India(sorry Ajit, I've given up finally).

Anyway, like you said, great series, has to be the best I have seen.

Mary said...

Pietersen's innings was great, I have to give the poms that credit :) (it's a little bit easier to bear from an aussie point of view, cause he's part South African though!) but I can't bring myself to celebrate with the brits.. sorry!

Minal said...

@Swapnil: Aussies have their work cut out. We shall wait and see:-)

@ Michael: I shall not even get to Ind-Zim series.NZ won the matches in two days , trust me we will take atleast 4 if not 5 days:-)

I agree with Sunil & Tugga, 4 GOOD bowlers and consistency is the key. Aus did not have a genuine all rounder, but that Gilchrist! He was more like a batsmen who was a good wicketkeeper than the other way round. As for India, if we find someone who is 50% of what Flintoff is we should consider ourselves blessed:-)

@Sunil:You know we do have consistency in one aspect, we are consistently inconsistent:-)

@Tugga: Yes , now I have company. Finally given up on Ajit! Irfan, Lee being groomed into all-rounders, not a bad idea.

@Mary: No dear, we do not expect you to join in the celebrations. Trust me if I were an Aussies no way I would. But I know you blokes love good cricket and enjoyed this series.