The Roar
The Roar


The one reason England can't win The Ashes

Who's going to take 20 wickets? This guy? Don't make me choke on my decaf chai mocha latte. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Roar Guru
24th July, 2015
4230 Reads

The dust has settled on the proverbial nuclear bomb that Australia exploded at Lord’s.

A 405-run win, even for someone who has never been exposed to the silky rays of the cricketing sun, just sounds like a smashing.

It’s the cricketing version of a 7-0 FIFA World Cup Final win.

The momentum is clearly with Australia. How could it not be?

But the wiser head does not get caught up with this common group think. Instead, the scientific mind notes that the score is just 1-1. England beat Australia in a Test match, by plenty, only two weeks ago.

Surely they can do it again?

Perhaps they can, but it is highly unlikely. England are lacking key ingredient that every tasty Ashes winning recipe requires.



To win a Test match, one must find a way to take 20 wickets. In Cardiff, Australia found a way to gift most of these. England did not earn them.

At Lord’s, the visitor’s batting efforts better resembled what is required from the world’s number two ranked team. Even then, David Warner still found it within his heart to hand over a cheap dismissal.

However, England’s problem is that they currently possess a bowling attack that could be best described as ‘pop gun’.

James Anderson has continued to enhance the well-accepted, but little-whispered notion that he is extremely overrated. A hat trick of innings where has not taken a wicket. Not with the swinging new ball and not with the old ball. No, not even a tailender.

Like Mark Waugh, he’s a player that looks better than his long term results can support. If he was Australian, his numbers ensure he would not have taken 400 Test wickets. He wouldn’t have been selected in enough games.

Compounding the awkward positive dialogue surrounding his abilities is that this current Ashes campaign is played on his turf with his favoured Duke ball. To better rate Anderson, we should compare him to Peter Siddle, whose record is against England is decidedly better than Anderson’s against Australia.

If England’s so called best bowler can’t take Ashes wickets, then who will?


Stuart Broad is much-maligned. He shouldn’t be. Yes, he has a habit of moronic appeals, but clearly has a crack, and can take wickets in clumps.

He is the only English bowler to show any ability to extract life from the flatter pitches we have seen in the series to date. His average of 24.88 provides a clue that he can be impactful.

Coincidentally, Nathan Lyon shares the same series average. We haven’t even noticed him yet.

Most importantly, while the Australians respect Broad, they do not fear him.

Mark Wood is meant to be the third seamer. If he is the best that can be found in England and Wales, then there are some radical inadequacies in their bowling stocks.

Ben Stokes is averaging 171.

Moeen Ali is a part-time spinner who extracts little turn. In fact, is probably best described as a practitioner of the slow straight ball.


All in all, these English bowling cogs are a long way from consistently taking the 20 wickets required to win a Test match. Compounding this, the pitches being produced offer little to the one trick pony.

Contrast this to the Australian bowling line-up. Mitchell Johnson could legitimately feature in Nightmare on Elm Street. He is genuinely feared. Starc has the best fast in swinging yorker currently in cricket. Josh Hazlewood is unaware that the loose ball is even a thing. Nathan Lyon is a world-class off spinner.

Johnson-Ashes-wicket Australia’s Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking a wicket.(AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON)

These guys will take 20 wickets a match. They have already done it twice.

Behind them is Siddle, Pat Cummins and Fawad Ahmed.

Who is next in line for England? Finn? Footitt?

It’s not a fair comparison.


The English may well put up some decent scored going forward. It’s possible, irrespective of the fact that their top order is a mess.

However, the single blaring reason why it doesn’t matter if they do is that they have no bowlers. They can’t get Australia out.

In the game of cricket, this is the most important thing.

You can follow Dennis’ cricket rantings, ravings, and educated commentary on Twitter.