Ten years ago the greatest Test series in history reinvigorated global interest in cricket’s most exciting format. The 2005 Ashes Series in England reminded everybody how unpredictable and entertaining Test cricket is when two decent sides get stuck in.
In 2005 Australia were untouchable and they went 1-0 up at Lords in the first Test. But England had belief, a crafty captain and desperate and rowdy support. A thriller followed at Edbaston and England won by 2 runs. As soon as they got a sniff they went in hard and their fans and the English media followed. After 16 years without a series win England defeated Australia 2-1. The result was the foundation of the fervent interest in the Ashes series that followed.
Including 2005 England have won four Ashes series in ten years. Since 2005 Australia has won only two Ashes series: both in Australia and both by a 5-0 margin. They haven’t won in England since 2001. The Ashes kicks off again in July and Aussie fans will be super confident (what’s new say the English?). But success is nowhere near guaranteed for Australia and Froth is predicting a combative series.
Cricket Froth will cover every Shane Watson LBW, every one of Alistair Cook’s snicks to slip and while attempting to get around Jimmy Anderson’s swing, lament the inevitable rain and bad light.
West Indies hosts Australia for two Tests this June. Fresh from an encouraging draw against England in April, the Caribbeans should present some resistance on slow and low pitches. In remarkable news, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been dropped. It is a controversial decision; popular commentator and former fast bowler Michael Holding says Shiv is no longer good enough and Brian Lara is disgusted at the WICB’s ‘treatment’ of Chanderpaul. Chanderpaul’s recent record is lean on runs and the Windies leadership have identified younger talent.
Chris Rogers is out of the first Test because of a concussion sustained in a tour match and it will be interesting to see what the selectors do. Shaun Marsh nailed a ton in the same match partnering Rogers. Of course, Shane Watson is another option at opener with Warner, but Watto is better off at six if indeed he plays at all. Mitch Marsh, Adam Voges, Mitch Starc and Fawad Ahmed are all in the mix. Hazlewood out-bowled Siddle in the Antigua tour match and Fawad Ahmed is a pitch specific option. Ryan Harris is on ice until the Ashes.
Steve Smith has been confirmed as Australia’s new Test number three. He is the tenth number three since Ponting dropped down the order in 2011. The first Test in Dominica begins in the wee hours of Thursday morning Australian time. For early risers you can catch an hour or two before work on one of the Fox Sport channels or follow Cricket Froth for updates.
The Black Caps
Tonight New Zealand will be hoping rain and bad light stay away on day five at Headingley. The Kiwis put on 8/454 declared in their 2nd innings after both sides scored 350 in the 1st. Most of day four was lost to rain in Leeds and England is 0/44 in reply. England cannot win the match. A draw will win them the series as they beat New Zealand in a thriller at Lords last week.
Froth is furious that there is no third Test match. Instead the two sides will play five ODIs and a T20. This is a colossal waste of time considering the cricket public was subjected to 47,000 ODIs in a row in the cricket world cup a few months ago. Seriously, who cares about these ODIs? Find me a cricket fan who’ll be on seat’s edge during another meaningless series…
The argument that this is done for money is weak. Cricket’s establishment perpetuated the fallacy that Tests were boring and ODIs and T20s were EXCITING!
Time for a new message and a new commercial direction.