Day: September 12, 2005

A Hard Urned Victory…

That’s what the headlines on the front page of HT read today. It indeed was, for Vaughan’s young brigade.

I did not know a single soul who gave this team a chance to beat the Aussie Team. We were sure though that the Aussies will not have an easy victory. At the end of the drama, that began on 14th July, 2005 and lasted for one and half months the Poms were having the last laugh at all of us. They can laugh their heart out, they deserve it and they have earned it thanks to the stellar performances they put up.

Before I reminisce the series, I shall add one more person as Sunil and Michael pointed out to my Take a Bow list. Kevin Pietersen. What a knock! He completely mesmerized me. He and Flintoff make me wonder if I’m watching the Aussies in action or the Brits. Aggression and more aggression. They personify it. Yesterday it was that precise attitude that killed the Aussie hope of sneaking a victory on the last day of the match and keeping the “Ashes Urn”.

158 in 187 balls, 15 fours and 7 sixes. This, when your team was reeling at 126 -5, with only Collingwood and Jones to follow, before the tail began. He rallied his team along with Collingwood and Giles to 335! Unbelievable! What a moment in history to get your maiden century. What a series to debut in and most important of all, leave a fine mark on it! A debut that will be cherished by his countrymen for a long time just as we cherish Gavaskar’s debut in 1971 against the WI.

I must give a hand to Giles in this series. I’m no fan of his, he was run down by the media and critics alike but, he showed exemplary grit while bowling and batting. He added precious runs along with the tail and was instrumental in frustrating the Aussies.

The Aussies gave it all, McGrath, Warne and Lee (His figures don’t show, but how this man has fought in this series, that’s when you know you should not trust the numbers alone.) but they fell short.

Ponting has some serious thinking to do before he heads his team for the Super Series. So do Gilchrist and Damein Martyn. The Aussies have to go back and prove in the Super Series that they will go down as the Greatest Champions ever. None of us have doubts, but that will be one acid test and the failure to keep the Ashes will hit them hard. Not today, but once they land on their own soil. It really hurt to see the team down and out.

A Last Thought:
I don’t know if this thought crossed any one of you. When around 38-40 overs were left, England was at 258/7. If they had declared at that point; the Aussies would be left to chase 265 in 38-40 overs at a run-rate close to 7. It would be tempting enough. I would have loved to see what Aussies would have done in that situation. On the other hand getting them to bat and getting them out giving their final chase for the Ashes, Vaughan’s team would have dealt the final nail in the coffin.

Nice prospect. It would have been one hell of a scenario, a fitting end to the fantastic series. I was just imagining the scene.

But the Ashes victory was too precious to take that risk. Sigh!! We are left with the Ifs and Buts of the game and pondering what could have been. That for you my dear friend is the beauty of this game. The uncertainty that it has. The fact that it is a great leveler and no one is superior to it!

For the time being let’s join the celebrations with the Brits, celebrating Test cricket at its best!

Final Hours @ The Oval

There cannot be a better end than this. The series will go down as the best ever.

Yesterday, Australia looked good to take the lead. However, they were undone by Flintoff, Hoggard and bad-lights. A risk they took to force a win for themselves was not fruitful. Up against a resurgent English side and Flintoff lead a fine fightback bowling 15 overs unbroken from one end. He was relentless in his bowling and what a spell that was. It broke the back-bone of the Aussie batting! This should go down as Freddie’s Series. It has to!

Will Pietersen be the hero today? He has had a torrid time against Warne but, he is looking good to make up for it today!
Australia has not given up. They are fighting hard but, is it too late? Or will it be ‘So near but yet so far for England?

We will know today. Till then stay tuned! The heat is definitely on in the Ashes.

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