England have surrendered the Ashes to the mighty Aussies who just took three straight tests to regain the urn. It was a memorable series victory for the Australian team although there are still two more tests to come which would be of academic interest. The victory is sweet because lots of its players may not be figuring in the next Ashes Series which is scheduled in 2009. For the English players, most of the players are relatively young and this series has taught them several things and come 2007, they would be much improved players ready to challenge what could be a new look Australian side.
Everything was done and dusted in a little over one session on the fifth and final day’s play. Once again Kevin Pietersen showed his great character by remaining unconquered, he fought with whatever he had. Pietersen could get a good support from Skipper Freddie, but as and when his partner was done in by the drift from Shane Warne, it was the end of the fight from England with the remaining lower order batsmen falling in a heap. Andrew Flintoff did get to his best score in this series, 51 runs having faced just 67 balls which had come with 8 fours and a six. He was bamboozled by a leg break that had drifted onto his pads inducing him to play against the turn and then the ball turned away sharply to beat the bat and disturb the woodwork which ended the 75-run partnership between England’s super heroes.
At the same score of 336 at which Flintoff was dismissed, Geraint Jones was also sent back to the pavilion. Geraint Jones had crumbled under pressure, he was anxious about the umpire’s decision over a loud and confident shout for lbw from Warney and party. Jones was so worried about the appeal that he didn’t realize that his backfoot was out of the popping crease. Ricky Ponting at bat pad was awake to the situation and he got the run out out of nowhere! Geraint Jones, the preferred keeper to Chris Read so far had registered a pair in this test match! The Aussies had little trouble in packing off the tail, the last five wickets fell for just the 14 runs in the space of 45 deliveries. Monty Panesar was the last man to be dismissed but there was a 40-minute lunch break that had separated the fall of the 9th and the 10th wicket. Out of those three wickets to fall after Jones, Stuart Clark had removed the first one, that of Sajid Mahmood who was leg before to a reverse swinging yorker. Warne had taken the wickets of Harmison and Monty who had played onto his stumps in the second delivery after the lunch break. It wasn’t Kevin Pietersen’s fault that he stayed at the other end seeing England crumble to defeat, the big man remained unbeaten on 60 having fought out for 150 balls!
Shane Warne finished with 4 for 115 in a little over 39 overs, he has taken his wickets tally to 699. So the Melbourne Test match which begins on the 26th would most probably be the venue for his 700th wicket! The Man of the Match went to Mr.Cricket, Michael Hussey for an unbeaten 74 in the first innings which was followed with his fifth test match hundred.