More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Ashes 2006-2007

Order has been restored once again with Australia reclaiming the Ashes from England after 15 months of hard work. Australia had lost the Ashes to England 15 months ago in English soil and did that hurt. I remember watching every test late at night and getting more and more worried at the state of affairs. The series started off in the usual fashion with Australia winning the first test easily. However, from there on, it all went wrong. Glenn McGrath rolled his ankle, Adam Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden and Michael Clarke all out of form. Why they left out Michael Hussey is a mystery. From the moment Australia lost the Ashes, they have upped the ante and worked even harder in order to regain the Ashes.

Their hard work started immediately. The Super Series games were taken very seriously where they destroyed a "World" Team in the one day and Test games. From there, Australia went on to record convincing wins in the Tests they played, even winning the ICC Champions Trophy, something they hadn't done previously. Nothing was taken lightly anymore, each match was played with ferocity and purpose.

England's fortune after their Ashes win last time has gone the other way. Injuries to key players (Michael Vaughn and Simon Jones), out of form players (Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff) and Marcus Trescothick's depression have stripped that team of much drive. They have not continued on with their hard work and that has resulted in many losses in both Tests and one dayers. They were easily beaten by Pakistan in the Test series that they played even.

Coming into this current Ashes series, there was a lot of talk from England that they still had it within them to win. However, none of that talk has translated into actions. England have played well in parts of matches, but just couldn't maintain the same intensity as Australia for long periods. England were abismal in the first test in Brisbane. Australia bowled England out in the first innings for a meagre score. I was surprised that Australia didn't get England to follow on. But the decision to post a big total and make England chase in the fourth innings worked and Australia won the match handsomely.

The second match at Adelaide was one of the most miraculous you will ever see. After each side had batted for over 500 runs in the first innings, there was only one day left and most people thought the match would end in a draw. The amazing Shane Warne showed he still has it, bowling unchanged for about 30 overs, he pulled wickets from sheer will. Australia managed to bowl England out within half a day. At the office, we were checking the scores all day and couldn't believe it when wicket after wicket kept falling. Steadied by Ricky Ponting and the emergent Michael Hussey, Australia chased the total and won with overs to spare.

So it looked like the natural order had been restored. Australia were 2-0 up in the series. However, as long as Australia wasn't holding the Ashes, the job was not done. In the third Perth test, Australia posted a meagre total in the first innings. Immediately there were comparisons to the previous Ashes by the media in that the Aussies were too old and may be crumbling again. When they bowled England out for an even lower first innings total, all was well again. Then some of the best batting you will ever see was produced by Australia. Mathew Hayden made a gutsy 92. This was followed by a well worked 100 by Michael Hussey. Michael Clarke then showed that he was truly back in form with a great stylish 100. However, you cannot go past Adam Gilchrist's innings and some of the sweetest batting you will ever see. Gilchrist produced the second fastest century in test history. He smacked balls all over the place with such ease and helped Australia to a huge 500 plus lead with still two days to go.

The odds were not looking good for England. No team has ever made more than 450 in the fourth innings to win a match. The impossible looked like it may happen when Alastair Cook and Ian Bell put on a good partnership. Glenn McGrath though made sure Australia could sniff victory. Two late wickets on the fourth days play put England behind the eight ball again. The fifth day, England showed some resistance again. But once Flintoff fell, the end with nigh. Shane Warne cleaned up the tail and the cycle was complete. The Ashes had been with Australia for 16 years before being lost for 15 months, and in that 15 months of hard work, Australia had regained the Ashes in 15 days. All is well again, for this one-eyed Australian cricket tragic, yours truly. :-) If you're an English supporter, you must be thinking "Here we go again".


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