To be completely honest I do not think that England have been all that good this ashes series. Yes they won 3-0, but the main reason for that in my mind are the poor performances that the Australians produced.
Before the Ashes started many wrote Australia off, saying that they just weren’t good enough, therefore a solid start was crucial for the tourists.
England batted first in the opening test and delivered a mediocre display, and come to think of it, the English struggled with the bat for almost the entire series, but they were let off the hook as the Aussies replied with even poorer performances with the bat, often getting themselves out with silly shots instead of the English bowling being too good for them.
The poor performance in the 1st Test was something the Australians couldn’t afford, it knocked their confidence which coming into the series was already low, and it gave England a feeling of superiority, and at that point there really was no way back for the Australians.
As the series went on, Australia slowly started producing some good displays with both bat and ball, by this stage it was too late though, as England had already secured the Ashes after winning the 1st 2 tests, and the 3rd being heavily affected by rain which lead to an Ashes retaining draw for the hosts, but it showed however that England really weren’t that much better than the Aussies, and that the tourists really only have themselves to blame for not believing in their ability more.
The strong finish for the Australians does help them a lot with the next Ashes series only a few months away, and after seeing the improvements they made late on in the series, I will go out on a limb and back them in the coming Ashes series down under.
So when it comes down to it, I think the 1st test played a major role in the success for England, and the failure for Australia, as it gave the hosts a “we are simply better than you” feeling, and by the time the Australians had negated that and had got some belief in themselves back, it was all too late.
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