It’s Ashes time again! The world’s oldest Test series played between eternal rivals is never short of attrition and drama. George Orwell must have written his “Sport is war minus shooting” following the Ashes. And, it definitely is not for the mild-hearted.
It would take more than one article to summarize the entire history of the Ashes, so instead, we thought we’d take a look at what happened in the previous Ashes series down under.
The series started with the England team landing in Australia, confident of retaining the urn they just captured at home. The Aussie group that travelled were labelled ‘the worst team ever to tour England’ as they lost the series 3-0. It was time to regroup under Darren Lehmann and it looked like England may have a slight edge at the outset.
And by the tea interval on Day 1 of the first Test, Australia were 132 for six and looked out of sorts. Enter Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson and the series turned. Their 124-run partnership not just won the match but also pegged the English back in their own minds to a place that they could never recover.
The mental disintegration of the visitors was complete with the departures of Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann. Trott went home with a stress-related illness right after the first Test. Swann retired from all formats immediately after surrendering the Ashes in the third Test.
There was no respite on the field, though. Johnson continued wreaking havoc with his fearsome pace. The Aussies went on to complete what was only the third whitewash in Ashes history. England also created an unwanted record by being bundled out in all 10 innings, becoming the first side ever in Ashes to lose 100 wickets in a series.
Johnson was the man of the series for his 37 wickets which came at just 13.9 apiece. More than the wickets, the trauma of facing his thunderbolts was more pronounced for the England players. Harris (22 wickets) and Lyon (19) ably supported him.
One player whose runs were equally important as Johnson’s wickets was Haddin. The veteran keeper scored 493 runs at an average of 61. He set the record for most number of runs scored in a Test series by a player batting at seven or lower.
The magnitude of the loss was so heavy that it ended the careers of many members of the England team. The scars from Johnson’s bowling will have gone away but the scars of the loss haunted them. For this reason at least, England will want to turn up for the 2015 Ashes, otherwise we may see old scars reopened.
The 2015 Ashes series kicks off on Wednesday July 8th, 2015. We'll have full previews of each Test match for you right here on Before You Bet.
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