MONTHLY STUDENT’S FEATURE – Jacob Wrigley writes on “Why Australia will win the Ashes”

The game of cricket originated in England in the late 16th century and has been England’s national sport since that time. With this long history, it is never easy for the English to lose at cricket.  The very first test match at the MCG dates back to 1877. Australia beat England by 45 runs. The name “The Ashes” was born a few years later when the English lost again to the Australians. A publication “The Sporting Times” printed a piece saying “In affectionate remembrance of English cricket which died at the Oval on 29th of August 1882….. the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” Over the years, both countries have had a number of outstanding players to support them in their wins- Kevin Pietersen, Ian Botham, Don Bradman and Shane Warne.  This long history of contest is more than national pride; it is a die hard, emotional sporting battle between two closely tied nations.
So now three tests in, Australia versus England in the Ashes series 2019 stands at 1 all. The first test was won by Australia; Smith made plenty of runs, including 2 much-needed hundreds. Lyon and Cummings tore England’s top order (the top order are the seven first batsmen out of the eleven players) apart taking them onto a victorious start.
Heading over to Lords for the second test, the Australian team were feeling confident. The rain on days one and two meant not much play which helped keep Australia’s winning mood and confidence.  England’s new bowler, the daunting Jofra Archer was there to make a statement and scare the Australians. Jofra ran in and shortly after hit Australia’s best player, Steve Smith, on the head resulting in concussion.  Australia were then 8 down. Smith came back out, after passing the concussion tests. Woakes was determined to get Smith out and scared him with a perfectly straight bowl. Test number 2 ran out of overs. Australia got lucky with a draw so scored 1-0, 2 tests in. 
The 3rd test was at Headingley, Australia did not have Smith. The Australians struggled and fought hard but only made 179. They then came out firing with the ball, Australia fast bowlers knocking over England for 67. This put Australia back into bat. The Australians had a lead of 360, leaving a tough task for the English. Heading into day 4, The English were 3 for 160 needing 200 plus to win the game. Stokes going on to lead England to an unwinnable game, tying the series to 1 all. This close competition has made the Ashes very exciting.
So where does this leave us? Game number 4 is starting today at Old Trafford. The English do have a large home ground advantage, not just a passionate crowd behind them but also conditions that suit them and they are used to. The English players know the pitches very well and where dead patches may lie etc. Having the usual rainy and variable weather may be different for the Australians but the home team are used to this. They are also very familiar with their Duke ball, different to the Australian’s Kookaburra ball, although Australia have now started to use the Duke ball in the Sheffield Shield league here in Australia.
Smith is back for game 4 making for an interesting match with his rivalry against Jofra Archer. The Australians’ bowling attack is stronger than England’s. England do have a strong batting line up but Australia has a number of great bowlers that are in form. Why else has Australia the edge? Australia has more depth with the bat so they bat all the way until their 11th man on the ground. Finally, despite England’s confidence skyrocketing after a World Cup win, history shows Australia is ahead; winning the Ashes 33 times compared to England’s 32 times. Once again, English cricket will “die” at the Oval and the Australians will push ahead to 34 victories compared to England’s 32. 

1 Comment

  1. Marty Box on 6 September 2019 at 11:51 am

    On current performance, it looks like you might be right Jacob!

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