Ashes is a cricket competition between England and Australia. It is one of the oldest rivalries in the game of cricket. Quite understandable, as England and Australia are amongst the first countries to adopt cricket as a sport. The Ashes series takes place every year, with both the countries getting a chance to host in alternate years. The team that wins the series, gets the small, brown, iconic ashes trophy. The next year, the successful team defends and tries to retain the trophy. This is what Australia had in mind before competing with England in 2021-22 home Ashes, after successfully retaining it in 2020-21 Ashes off-shores. This year’s Ashes was titled as Vodafone Men’s Ashes series.
VODAPHONE MEN’S ASHES SERIES
The Vodafone Men’s Ashes series consisted of five test matches, played in different cities of Australia. The matches were to be staged in the Gabba (Brisbane), Adelaide Oval (Adelaide), the MCG (Melbourne), Sydney cricket ground (Sydney), and the Perth Stadium (Perth). However, due to Covid-19 restrictions and protocols, the last test match was shifted from Perth to Hobart. This was the first time when Hobart hosted an Ashes test. The five tests were also a part of World Test Championship cycle, thus increasing its significance. The series started from 8th December 2021 at Brisbane, and the last test at Hobart was scheduled to end on 18th January.
A SHORT SUMMARY
This Ashes series proved to be a nightmare for English team. Australia absolutely thrashed the vistitors in all departments. It seemed like the English team never found its groove. Apart from Joe Root, no other English batsman could show consistent performances with the bat. On the other hand, whatever Australia touched, turned it to gold. Whether it be new faces in Scott Boland and Michael Nesser, the seasoned campaigners in Josh Hazelwood, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, or the super comebacks in faces of Travis Head and Usman Khawaja. Australia defeated England in four out of five Ashes tests this summer, and the remaining one test was drawn by some dissonance-reducing batting by James Anderson and Stuart Broad towards the end.
This brutal takedown on English team started from the very first match at the Gabba. Australia (427 and 1/20) outclassed England (147 and 297) at all days in all departments, winning the game by 9 wickets. Travis Head announced himself with a brisk century in first innings, bagging the player of the match award.
The next game was no different for the English side, except for the margin of defeat. Australia defeated England by 275 runs in second Ashes test at Adelaide Oval, despite captain Pat Cummins sitting out. The player of this match, Marnus Labuschagne scored century in first innings.
The third test was even worse for the visiting side, which could not compete Australia’s first innings score in both of their innings combined. England scored 185 and 66 in their two innings respectively, against Australia’s 267. Scott Boland was named the player of the match for his brilliant bowling figures of 6 wickets for 7 runs.
The fourth test showed some competition to the thirsty fans, resulting in the draw. Even in this game, Australia (8/416d and 6/265d) dominated England (294 and 9/270). But, time didn’t show mercy to the home side, and the English tail resisted yet another loss.
A rather gutsy fight in the 4th test invoked a new hope in the English fan army moving towards the fifth test. A new hope and belief served them nothing but yet another disappointment. Travis Head’s another man of the match performance saw Australia’s another comprehensive victory by 146 runs, culminating the Ashes series.
England will have to wait a year more before getting hand to the dynamic Ashes trophy. They will try to back themselves for the next home Ashes, and get into a good shape prior to that. Currently, England test team lacks balance and requires stability. Whereas, Australia will have their heads high and upright. They were surely the better side.
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