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Friday, January 07, 2011

England complete 3-1 series floorwiping,

England 644 defeated Australia 280 & 281 by an innings & 83 runs: T5 D5 at SCG.

England win series 3-1 and retain ashes.

Player of the Match and Series: Alistair Cook

As expected, England wrapped up the match and series this morning after some resolute if belated resistance from Steven Smith and Peter Siddle.

Congratulations to England: they outplayed Australia in all departments of the game. Alistair Cook and Jimmy Anderson were expected to be liabilities yet they turned into gilt-edged assets. England's off-field preparation was first-class, too, despite the occasional raised eyebrow about the number of support staff.

Australia will probably drop back to number 5 in the world Test rankings which, notwithstanding my disdain for that system, is probably a fair place for them. Their next encounter will be against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in August which may not bring much joy either. By then there will of necessity have been much soul-searching among the Australian cricket players and administrators to follow not just the reality checks of the scorecards and the painful reminders of the video records but also the outpourings of supporter criticism.

England may rise even further in the rankings: their forthcoming home series against India should be a cracker, for which they should IMO start favourites.

But that's in the future. Now to the limited over phase of the tour (which I, if you've not already gathered, find less interesting). After a couple of T20 games there will be an overlong 7 match ODI series. On their last tour England, on the ropes of their Test 0-5 drubbing, made an eleventh hour recovery to snatch the title. Can Australia regroup too (as they did after losing the Ashes in 2009)?
I'm not predicting anything.

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