Melbourne: England’s journey to Success from down under did not come in a fortnight. It started just after the 5-0 hammering they had suffered at the hands of Australia in 2006-07 Ashes. Since then England completely changed their approach to the game and towards the Aussies.
From Andy Flower’s guidance and James Anderson or Tremlett’s discipline in bowling to captain Strauss’ diligence, all summed it up for their breathtaking haul over the Australians helping them to retain the Ashes as of now and giving them hopes of winning the series, a completely unexpected and unlikely event as it was thought before.
The 2006-07 clean sweep
One cannot underestimate the impact of the 5-0 whitewash that had on the English team four years ago, especially Andrew Strauss who was amongst those players who felt this embarrassing situation. Amidst the humiliation, he understood the prime importance of batsmen posting huge totals on the board. He also learnt from this experience the pressure on batsmen imposed due to the pinpoint accurate bowling from both ends, backed by great fielding.
The Coach: Flower
England’s major turnaround after the tragedy in 2006-07 can be looked on to the appointment of Andy Flower as coach. Flower has a deep understanding both of the game and people.His choice of assistants has also been great especially Graham Gooch who looks after the batting and David Saker who handles the bowling department.
Strauss’ narrow escape
When England started their second innings in the first Test at Brisbane, Australia were ahead by 221 runs. There were some 15 overs left on the third evening. Strauss left the first delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus, which swung back to hit him on the pad. Aleem Dar gave it as not out, the Australians referred but Dar just managed to get it right.
Australia could not take a wicket until the score was 188, and the deficit had almost been wiped off. And it was the only wicket they took in the match as England piled up an extraordinary 517 for the loss of one wicket
The Perth disappointment
Instead of freaking out unnecessarily by their humbling experience at the WACA, the England team dismissed it as an aberration. There was no need for a knee-jerk reaction, just a calm and composed assessment of what extra was needed to outperform Australia at the MCG.
England’s new ball unit
With everything at stake, it needs a great amount of belief for one to have faith in your bowlers to put Australia in to bat at the Colosseum of Australian sport, as England did at the MCG on Boxing Day. These England bowlers were mentally all prepared and calm and did just what the doctor ordered and thus justified Strauss’s faith in them.