Since the decline of the glorious 1960s West Indies team, Australia has seemed to be the powerhouse of cricket. The Australians were the team every England captain needed to beat to be judged a success; and at least since the 1970s, the English team has always entered these contests as the underdogs. Until 2010.
With a reasonable — if somewhat unsteady — record of success against good teams in the last couple of years, England traveled to Australia for this edition of the Ashes with their heads high and hopes even higher. Several of the Australian players who had been the strength of their team for the last decade have retired recently, to be replaced by less tested youngsters. The five game series is to be played on Australian pitches which gives them an advantage but, all in all, England began the series as favourites.
The first game in Brisbane ended in a high-scoring draw but it was generally agreed that England came out of it with the momentum. This week in Adelaide that momentum swept Australia away. It took almost the full five days — especially as rain threatened to save the Aussies — but eventually England prevailed by an innings and 71 runs — a huge margin.
Because England currently hold the Ashes a drawn series allows England to keep the trophy. Therefore, Australia now need to win at least two of the final three games and, in their current state of disarray, that doesn’t see likely. This could be a marvelous winter!