And so the battle is nearly joined. England will be playing Australia in the First Test of the Ashes Series in less than 2 hours and for the first time in my time as a cricket fan, England will have a genuine chance of beating the enemy down under.
So, why will this series be different? We’ve got a collection of excellent bowlers, and that’s where test matches are won. If they can come to terms with the conditions, and given the performances in the 3 warm up games, there’s no reason to think they can’t, we will be able to seriously challenge the Australian batting. Then there’s the preparation, its never gone so well. Our batting, although capable of collapsing, can on its day perform very well. On that subject its good to see Cook back in form. Let’s hope Pietersen can find his touch as well. But, finally and perhaps most importantly, the Ausies themselves are not the side they once were. Well, when you lose players of the quality of Warne, Mcgrath et al, you can’t expect to perform as well as you did with them. They’ve just lost to India as well.
Let’s just hope my PC won’t let me down because unlike my first tour of Australia, back in 94-95 I won’t be staying up all night. I’m too old to manage that trick now.
It would be interesting to draw comparisons between that tour and this one. A few differences off the top of my head. England players are now contracted to the ECB rather than their counties. This places England at the centre of cricket rather than the counties. We’ve got a relatively young team, in 94-95 Gooch and Gatting were taken on the tour, if my memory is write one of them was 39 and the other 40 and they looked it. In 94-95 England were out played in fitness and in the field. Now we are far fitter and more athletic in the field.
I can’t think of any others at the moment but then I’m knackered. Good night and good luck.