August 24th, 2009 by Ravi Matah | Posted in Sports   Comments Off on ENGLAND CRUSH AUSTRALIA – ASHES
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England regained the Ashes with a 197-run win over Australia in the fifth and final Test at the Oval here on Sunday. Victory was  achieved with more than a day to spare and  England took a 2-1 lead in the five match series. England outplayed Australia in all departments of the game.

Fifteen wickets fell in a dramatic day, which began with England ending its first innings on 332, then dismissing Australia for 160 when Broad claimed 5-37.  England was quickly reduced to 39-3 after being 27-0 at ane stage.
 In the two-hour afternoon session Australia lost eight wickets, and then saw all 10 wickets fall for 87 runs in 30 overs. They were playing at  61-0 at lunch

Broad sparked the collapse by grabbing the first four Australian wickets in almost three overs in which he conceded eight runs on the bowler-friendly pitch at  The Oval.  He went on to record his third five-wicket Test haul.
Australia seemed well placed at lunch, but collapsed after the interval. Shane Watson was dismissed  by Broad for 34, which made the score 73-1. Michael Hussey was out for  0  to Broad in his next over  and Australia was 89-3. Jonathan Trott’s debut hundred brought England in sight of an Ashes victory in the fifth and deciding Test at the Oval.

Australia, at stumps on the third day, were 80 without loss – still needing a further 466 runs to reach what would be a new Test record fourth innings  total of 546.

Australia took the new ball after tea but England  thrashed their pace bowlers for 83 runs in 12 overs. Swann made a dashing 63 off just 55 balls as he added 90 for the eighth wicket with Trott. Strauss declared to set Australia a fourth innings target of 546 runs to win the final.

Australia were  set to achieve a  victory total of 546,  and were bowled out for 348 with Michael Hussey last man out for 121, when he was caught by Alastair Cook off spinner Graeme Swann.

From 327 for five, the end came swiftly with four wickets went  down for 16 runs in 32 balls, with fast bowler Stephen Harmison taking three for seven in 13 himself. England beat Australia by 197 runs.

 Stuart Broad was named Man of the match. 

Australia, now are not invincible as they were a couple of years ago. Earlier India had thrashed them in the Tests as well as the one day series. One wonders as to what has happened to this world no. 1 cricket playing nation? Where this did down-slide begin?  I personally feel that it is the egoistic attitude in the Australian players, their infighting as well as not so good behaviour on the field that has led to their downfall. And I think it happened with the Andrew-Bhajji episode

 Most of the teams players including Ricky Ponting will have to be conveyed heartfelt thanks by the Australian Cricket Board for their valuable contribution to cricket. Watson, Hussey, Katich and Michael  Clark have performed well and should continue.

 Some young blood has to be pumped in and a psychologist – who should be also be a hard task master –  will have to stand beside the coach and captain. Leniency of any sort will not bring the desired results. This trio will have to ensure that the game is played in right spirit and the team excels in all departments of the game. Only then, Australia can hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

 Ravi Matah

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