Like a lot of the country, I stayed up late last night to watch Australia win the first Ashes test against England. In the end, it was pretty easy.
You couldn’t have predicted this on the first day. Not long after lunch, Australia had fallen to 8-122. In the end, we made 284, thanks to the tail wagging mightily and an out of the box innings by Steve Smith. It was a handy effort considering, but come the turn of the innings we were 90 runs in deficit and lost the openers in quick time. From there on in it was all Australia.
The batters played committed aggressive cricket. Smith played another great innings for his second century of the match, Wade made another hundred, Head a fifty, and the tail went the tonk big time. Coming into the last day England needed not much under 400 to win, and a whole day to bat if they wanted to survive. In the event, they didn’t make it to tea.
It was another committed effort, this time by the Australian bowlers. Lyon got six wickets, Cummins four, but all were good. England was bereft and demoralised, all out for 143.
This was a great win, and particularly satisfying. In his first test match after the ban, Smith reminded everybody why he’s the best batsman in the world and probably one of the best ever. And in the face of a feral and hostile crowd, the Australian team became a tight and determined unit. By the end of the match, I’d suggest all the carry-on and abuse affected the English team more, while it served to steel the purpose of the Australians.
It’s particularly nice to win in these circumstances. Off to Lords now, where Australia has an excellent record, and where Starc will likely be unleashed. This is a good team.