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.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments