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The Ashes series that doesn't add up

Roar Rookie
4th August, 2009
4
5232 Reads

Cricket is a numbers game, yet this Ashes series doesn’t add up. Over the first three Tests Australia have scored more runs (1,933) and lost fewer wickets (41) than England (1,799 and 45).

Australian batsmen have made six centuries to England’s one.

»The Ashes Fixtures

Five of the six leading runscorers are Australian and four of the five leading wicket-takers are Australian.

Where it counts, however, England are 1-0 in front.

What to make of it all?

Having won the previous series 5-0, Australia had their foot on England’s throat throughout the first Test in Cardiff.

But England drew confidence and momentum from their fighting draw and roared back to win at Lord’s.

Ricky Ponting is counting on Australia doing much the same after a resilient last day at Edgbaston.

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There are plenty of positives he can take from the game.

Mitchell Johnson got his radar recalibrated somewhere on the road between London and Birmingham. He is beginning to relax and smile, more like his old self again. He may be a force at Headingley.

Mike Hussey made runs in the second innings, which will have retrieved some of his self-belief after a first innings golden duck when he lost his off stump without offering a shot.

Ponting clearly likes having Mr Cricket in his corner.

Graham Manou’s keeping was exemplary. His polished glovework will make the selectors reluctant to take the risk of rushing back Brad Haddin while his busted finger remains tender.

Shane Watson made a great fist of opening the batting, taking strike and scoring half-centuries in each innings. On the other hand his bowling was a worry; his three feeble overs handed England a momentum swing.

Ponting says he plans to give Watson much more bowling at Headingley.

Really? Perhaps it’s a double-bluff to get a wounded Andrew Flintoff off the physio’s bench and out into the middle, so much did he enjoy whacking Watson to the Edgbaston fence.

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Australia need to find a way of bowling England out twice, something they have yet to do in the series.

Flintoff’s fitness is England’s main concern. For only the third Test in his career he failed to take a wicket, yet he remains such a dominant figure that England look half the team without him.

Andrew Strauss conceded that Flintoff would not play unless he could guarantee his fitness.

He’s hobbling, but you wouldn’t bet against him missing his final two Test matches, no matter how much cortisone they have to pump into him.

When Flintoff’s around, statistics don’t seem to matter.

THE ASHES SO FAR
MOST RUNS
Michael Clarke (A) 352
Andrew Strauss (E) 309
Simon Katich (A) 248
Marcus North (A) 239
Ricky Ponting (A) 233
Brad Haddin (A) 229

CENTURIES
Clarke (2)
Strauss
Ponting
North
Katich
Haddin

MOST WICKETS
Ben Hilfenhaus (A) 13
Jimmy Anderson (E) 12
Nathan Hauritz (A) 10
Peter Siddle (A) 10
Mitchell Johnson (A) 10

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