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The Ashes are as good as won

Shane Watson. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Expert
7th November, 2013
51
4062 Reads

As we survey the cricketing landscape, any Australian fan must feel satisfied to the point of smugness.

It has become abundantly clear that not only should the baggy greens be favourites to avenge their Ashes defeat in spectacular fashion, the series is already practically a foregone conclusion.

England would do well to forfeit now and slink home to avoid the much more painful humiliation that awaits should they be so foolhardy as to actually take the field.

The portents are in our favour. The omens smile on us. The very entrails of the beasts speak an encyclical of doom to the Three Lions.

Let us take a look at the form lines.

Firstly, David Warner has just blazed a century at better than a run a ball. This follows three consecutive hundreds in the one-day competition, including a record-breaking 197.

In the same innings, Steve Smith also smacked a hundred. Clearly they are in magnificent touch and primed to plunder.

Again in that same innings, Michael Clarke struck a sturdy 43, the perfect score, giving him time in the middle without tiring him out and hurting his back.

And in that same match, Chris Rogers hit 88 – the top order is looking great!

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It looks even greater when you consider Ed Cowan just struck 78.

Meanwhile, Phil Hughes scored a solid 25 and 23 for South Australia, which is excellent – you wouldn’t want him to peak too early.

As for other top-order hopefuls, they are busily engaged in the Australia A game against the touring party, which ended the first day at 0-318 and the second day on the same score after play was rained out.

This means the aspiring young batsmen have been able to relax without the pressure of facing any balls, which will do wonders for their mental state.

Indeed, the main problem with Australia’s batting is there are just too many contenders for the top six – or would be, if Shane Watson hadn’t just done a hammy, thus easing the pressure on selectors and giving the team a nice settled look. Everything’s coming together.

And what of the bowlers? Well Nathan Lyon took two wickets in the first innings of his match. Peter Siddle took two wickets. Ryan Harris took two wickets. Mitchell Johnson took two wickets.

That’s eight wickets right there, and when you throw in the almost certain wicket apiece that Smith and Clarke will take, it makes ten! And that’s all you need in an innings!

It couldn’t have been scripted better – clearly the attack is ready to run through the Poms.

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And what of these Poms? How are they faring?

Well, on their side, the picture looks even gloomier for them than the Australians’ own spectacular form.

For a start, their attack has not been able to bowl in Hobart due to a combination of weather and their teammates’ selfishness.

Rusty and lacking match fitness, they’ll be lucky to get through a day’s work on two legs, let alone actually take wickets against the Aussie line-up which, as we discussed, is in perfect form.

Secondly, only two of their batsmen are getting any time in the middle: with no wickets down on the first two days of the Australia A game, the only men to have a hit have been skipper Alistair Cook, who will be cursing his luck in wasting all his run-scoring in a lead-up match, inevitably drying himself out before the Tests; and Michael Carberry, who may not even be a real person, but if he is, probably won’t even play in the Tests, and if he does, will displace a member of the home series’ victorious side, causing destabilisation and discord in the dressing room.

Morale will therefore plummet, and performances will go south. The English team is, frankly, ripe for destruction.

Need further evidence? Well for a start both Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting think Australia will win, and let’s face it: they know more about cricket than you or I, so who are we to contradict them? Nobody, that’s who.

And if you’re the superstitious type, consider this: in the first Test of the series earlier this year, Ashton Agar made his Test debut at the age of 19. It is now 19 years since the 1994-95 Ashes series, which Australia won, with Michael Slater hitting three centuries.

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In that game, Agar hit 98 in his first Test innings, which corresponds to the 1998-99 Ashes series, in which Michael Slater hit three centuries.

Three centuries is also the number hit in the 1986-87 series by Chris Broad, father of Stuart Broad, who was born the same year that series began, but who didn’t play in a winning Ashes series until 2009 when he was 23, the same age Michael Slater was on his Test debut, in which he hit 58, which happens to be the year of the 1958-59 Ashes series, in which Australia regained the Ashes after losing the previous three series – which is exactly what is about to happen this year. Need we say more?

Tell your story walking, Pommies. This fat lady is singing.