The scoreline of 3-0 in favour of England after four Ashes Tests suggests that they have dominated the series. Indeed they have, but the most amazing part of England’s performance has been the manner in which they have fought back in each and every game after being under immense pressure. There were numerous moments during the series when it seemed that Australia held the upper hand. On each occasion though England managed to find a way to release the pressure, and put it back on Australia. Here’s a recap of England’s glorious fight backs, which have been instrumental in them clinching the Ashes.
1st Test at Nottingham: The series began on highly promising note for Australia as they bowled out England for215 on the opening day, with Peter Siddle grabbing a five-for. But, England got their own back, reducing the Aussies for 117 for 9, James Anderson picking up five wickets. Although Australia recovered to 280 courtesy a sensational 98 by debutant Ashton Agar, England got themselves back on top courtesy Ian Bell’s magnificent and half-centuries by three other batsmen. England put up an impressive 375 in their second innings, leaving Australia to get a challenging 311. The Aussies were in with a chance, but Anderson again came up with a five-for, including the last scalp of Brad Haddin for a fighting 71, as England escaped to a 14-run win.
2nd Test at Lord’s: This is the only match in the series so far that England actually dominated, but even here they had to face troubled times. Batting first, England were in all sorts of trouble at 28 for 3, having lost Cook, Root and Pietersen cheaply. Ian Bell then led England’s fight back for the second time in two Tests. His 109 coupled with fifties from Trott and Bairstow helped England recover to 361. Graeme Swann then bowled brilliantly to spin out Australia for 128. There was a glimmer of hope again for Australia as England collapsed to 30 for 3, but this time Root made 180, and England went on to win by a massive 347 runs.
3rd Test at Old Trafford: It must be said that England were lucky to walk away with a draw in this match. Michael Clarke’s massive century and 80s from Chris Rogers and Steven Smith took Australia to a mammoth 527 for 7 decl. In reply, England found themselves under immense pressure for the third Test in a row. But Pietersen’s sublime ton and a fighting half-century from Bell rescued them. They were still bowled out for 368, but had the partnership not taken place, England might well have ended up losing the Test. As things panned out, they escaped with a rain-hit draw.
4th Test at Chester-le-Street: Yet again, Australia got England out cheaply in the first innings. They were bowled out for 238, with only Cook making a half-century. Rogers’ hundred put Australia in command in reply, but Stuart Broad’s magnificent spell put them right back in the game. His five-for kept Australia down to 270. And then, we had the familiar batting collapse in England’s second innings which reduced them to 49 for 3. Bell though came up with his third ton of the series to set Australia a target of 299. Having put on 109 for the opening wicket, Aussies were in command. Once more though England found a hero in Broad, whose 6 for 50 led to a dramatic Australian batting collapse.
--By A Cricket Analyst