The Light Roller: Back-to-back contests will fire up the Ashes down under

Diary of a cricket obsessive

The grudges of London and Nottingham will make for tasty Tests this winter

As thrashings go, this Ashes victory was a pretty functional one. An England side that often seemed devoid of personality (referring so ubiquitously to 'executing skills' tends to do that) came up against Aussies who tried to talk the talk but who, aside from the occasional pretty quickstep, were ultimately less able to walk the walk than Stuart Broad.

But somewhere in the middle of it all was a rather feisty contest waiting to come out. Consequently, while a few voices have talked of overkill at the prospect of ten Ashes tests in a row, the return series which begins in Brisbane on 21 November could be perfectly timed. The grudges of this series – of which there are clearly several – will be too raw to have been forgotten or forgiven (apologies notwithstanding), and both teams will think they have serious room for improvement.  We could be in for a real ding-dong this winter.

 

A few purple patches won’t console the Aussies for long

That having been said, for all that Australia are supposed to take succour from their more competitive performances of the summer, it's hard to feel sure that they will be long sustained. After all, it was often said that England sides in the '90s could kick on from the odd victory - but it tended not to lead to greater things, especially in Ashes series.

Australia undoubtedly played well in patches but they rarely looked likely to win. They still lack a match-winning spinner and the seam attack is inconsistent and injury-prone. And for all that the batting line-up is apparently more settled, the facts are these: Chris Rogers is old; Michael Clarke has captaincy and a bad back on his mind; Steve Smith's technique makes Paul Collingwood look like a model from the MCC coaching manual; while Shane Watson only looked really good on a flat track with the series gone.

By contrast, just three of England's recognised batsman averaged in the 30s or above yet they won 3-0. I'd rather take succour from that.

 

Bad bowling does not, yipso facto, make a bowler bad

When I predicted a big haul for Simon Kerrigan at the Oval, I had anticipated it being signalled in the space for wickets, not the runs column. Instead, he experienced the kind of match every spinner has had - except most of us go through it in the backwaters of Bedfordshire or Oxford (to choose just a couple), rather than in a test against Australia.

The yips are a terrible business but, right from the start of his first spell against a dominant Shane Watson, Kerrigan looked tentative - almost like he was trying to put the ball on the spot, rather than pushing through the crease to bowl as normal. There are plenty of fans who will have written him off.

Yet in spite of everything, he was getting sufficient revolutions on the ball at the Oval to get it drifting in significantly at times. And yesterday he was back on his horse, Lancashire's most economical bowler in a one-dayer against Essex. This is a guy who two years ago took nine wickets to beat Hampshire with just a few balls to go as Lancs won the Championship, so he knows about pressure. He's just got to hang on in there.

 

Instead of the light meter, Aleem Dar should have asked for the DRS

More than anything, the series was dominated by debates about umpiring and the Decision Review System. The DRS evidently needs work and there ought to be better guidance for off-field officials about how to use it.

But let's not forget that the most egregiously awful decision was the ending of the game at the Oval. It was also one which nobody could doubt was absolutely correct - and we didn't even need to consult the third umpire to be sure of that.

The DRS has generally improved the game. The ICC needs to employ some common sense to improve the spectacle.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks