At the awards ceremony, both sides scrambled to celebrate in the most restrained manner. A welcome glimpse into the more competitive competition. England won the trophy after losing an innings. Think of the 405-point loss at Lords that took the paint off this relic.

The series has been described as excellent by many cricket writers and broadcasters, and in many ways it has been, but not necessarily in the way they would have liked. For example, it doesn’t have the quality or haunting intensity of 2005. It’s every bit as extraordinary as Light Brigade Raid, but without the grandeur. Someone made a mistake, Tennyson said. At the Oval, England continued to err, with Cook firmly at the center of the carnage.

The Ashes were known for their upside-down results and poor shooting displays from both sides. At the top of the series in batting average and bowling average are the Australians. Based on statistics alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking Australia won the series. Australians must be wondering how they lost theirs. You’ll be scratching your head like England are scratching for a run. I guess they won the individual battles but lost the collective war. For sure, Ed Smith will deconstruct Aesop’s fables to explain the absurdity of it all.

Day three started with an eight-run defeat for England, but Alli and Wood, as No. 8 and No. 9 batsmen, joined Rutter in beating the home side’s batting average. Statistics tell a story. Neither lasted long. The breakdown was so inevitable that the most exciting part of the first forty minutes was when Melinda Farrell promised on Twitter that she would circle the oval naked if England’s game lasted more than an hour Running around the shaped court and yelling “Give me a banana”. Needless to say, her modesty was not compromised. The Englishman’s tail wags a bit, but it’s really more like a dying rattle.

Experimenting with Bale shooting threes instead of Ballance has given England a net advantage of around 2.3 points per innings. Around the same time Bale left Marsh for Schnauzer, Gary Ballance scored a century for Yorkshire, and you’d expect he might be playing Pakistan at five. Bale has drawn so much from past credits that you’d think Carey Street would be just around the corner from Chancery Lane for him.

Bairstow could be another victim. He hasn’t really shown enough desire to justify the No. 5 spot as a hitter, and overall, Butler hasn’t been bad enough to justify Bearstow replacing him as the goalie hitter.

England are going through the Forrest Gump phase of their recovery – you never know what you’re going to get. You’ve gotten rid of the greaves, but haven’t learned to walk without falling. The series was won thanks to some inspiring performances in key segments, notably from the bowlers. The hits range from Joe Root’s talent to, well, honestly, nothing more. The rest are puddles wrapped in enemas. Had Lehmann and Rod Marsh viewed the option differently, it could have been a no-brainer and the Ashes could have stayed in Australia.

Strong Yorkshire, strong England. Roots fail, England fail. Trevor Bayliss started earning his golden shell by adding some ballast to his batting. First on the list of fixes is failed open partnerships. Lyth was on the wrong side of a series of frustrating opening levels – 7, 17, 0, 12, 19, 11, 32, 30 and 19 – and his Test career is now over, catching Clarke bowling Siddle. He failed to perform the most basic function of an opening batter: knocking off an opening bowler and taking some of the shine off the new ball. The cherries are conveniently in cellophane wrappers every time Bell walks to the center.

The first notable event of the day was Michael Clarke performing a follow-up, the first of his captaincy. I think this is his last chance to put it on his resume. The other was Alastair Cook’s innings. He is the epitome of melancholic focus. He was Atherton for the Rangers in 1995. In 2010, he worked as a chef in Brisbane. With England feeling uneasy about the future, Cook turned back the clock and reignited his career and he looks a lot better. In the end, he was crushed by Steve Smith’s comedic bowling. You need a heart of stone to not laugh. It’s almost as happy as Warner’s against Moen Ali. four times

When disaster strikes the circus, they send clowns. Jos Buttler and the lower ranks put on the red nose for England and while they may have some of our best batsmen at the back, they never looked like they needed to avoid a loss 130 points.

In the end, England’s relentless blushing to an ignominious defeat was so perfectly planned that even Melinda Farrell didn’t have the guts to repeat her bravado shenanigans.

For UK fans, the series win was the icing on the cake of a decent summer. If that’s a good ashes from a cricketing point of view, then I’m a bananas!

By x59ok

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