The Ashes 2013-14 December 17, 2013

Johnson, Warner blaze the trail

ESPNcricinfo looks at five reasons for Australia's dominance in winning back the Ashes
35

Johnson falls into place
Mitchell Johnson would not have played at the Gabba had Australia had a fully fit corps of fast bowlers. James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc would likely have been ahead of him, maybe even Jackson Bird. Even when they were all ruled out due to injuries, it seemed a gamble to pick Johnson alongside Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris, given his fragile history against England. But Johnson had matured since his previous Ashes experiences - marriage and fatherhood had given him a sense of perspective - and he'd been searingly quick in the recent ODIs in India and in the early Sheffield Shield rounds. At the Gabba and Adelaide Oval, England had no answers to Johnson's pace and improved consistency and with strong support from Harris, Siddle and Nathan Lyon, they were repeatedly shot out. Johnson took 17 wickets in those two Tests, won both Man of the Match awards, and the Ashes were all but regained.

Warner fires at the top
David Warner may become the most consistently destructive batsman in world cricket, or he may never reach this level of reliability again. But whatever happens, he has been enormously important in Australia's Ashes campaign, just as his failure to fire - or even allow himself to be selected - was critical in the Ashes in England this year. Had Michael Clarke not declared with him on 83 at Adelaide Oval, he may well have had three second-innings centuries from the first three Tests of the series. True, first-innings hundreds may have been preferable, but if the door was slightly ajar for England in any of those matches he slammed it shut on them. His power ensured there were no fightbacks.

Haddin holds the fort
And on the subject of fightbacks, Brad Haddin could vie with Johnson for the Player of the Series honour, if it was judged at this point. When he skewed a catch to point chasing quick runs in the second innings at the WACA, it was the first time in the series he had failed to reach fifty. Most importantly, his runs had come with the team under pressure. In Brisbane he came in at 5 for 100 and fell just short of a century but steered Australia to 295. In Adelaide he walked out at 5 for 257, and his hundred helped put the match completely out of England's reach. In Perth he arrived at 5 for 143 and together with Steven Smith saved Australia from a potential collapse. Add to that his outstanding work behind the stumps - his diving take of Joe Root's edge on the fourth day in Perth but one example - and his contribution has been immense. England would be happy had Matt Prior had half the series Haddin has had.

A 7-1 victory
No, not in matches won, in hundreds made. While the series was alive in England this year, the Australians managed only two centuries; Ian Bell scored three alone. It was symptomatic of Australia's batting troubles in the English conditions. Similarly, England's batsmen have struggled to build on their starts on the quicker pitches in Australia. Only Chris Rogers and George Bailey of Australia's top seven have failed to score tons so far in this Ashes. Ben Stokes became the first England player to get there after six innings. The hefty scores meant Australia were able to set England 500-plus totals in each of the first three Tests. Of course, winning three tosses helped too.

The Lehmann effect
Yes, Darren Lehmann was coach for the Ashes in England, but he had no part in picking the squad or the long-term planning that went into the tour. And yes, Australia might have found themselves in this same position had Mickey Arthur stayed on - who can know for sure? But Lehmann's approach - relax and play with intent - has now had time to sink in with the squad. Of course, there will be times when aggressive play backfires, as it has done for Australia in the past. But the players seem more comfortable than at any time in recent memory and for this series, against this England outfit, the Lehmann effect has been palpable.

  • George Dobell on how England contributed to their own downfall


    Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • stormy16 on December 17, 2013, 12:47 GMT

      Ugly! yes strange thing to say but the ugly Aussie is back. Its the in your face, brash and confident Aussie which we havent seen for a while is back. I think this attitude alone put Eng off and gave Aus the confidence to deliver the knock out punch. Finally Mitch shows us what he can do and we all knew he could do it but for some reasons Mitch went walk about for a long long time. We have seen this before in SA when we all expected Mitch to be devastating in Eng but he flopped and lost the plot. Remains to be seen if this is long term but if it is lookout the rest.

      Warner has been nothing short of sensational and I guess the only debate is who will partner him and if not for the wins, we would already be talking March and Hughes - we had this debate at the begining of the Eng summer. I must say I take back all the nasty things I have said about Haddin - the man is re-born at gone to a new level. He has never convinced me untill now, of being a reliable batter.

    • on December 19, 2013, 1:26 GMT

      I would say the complete ineffectiveness of Swann and Anderson has been missed here. Maybe that comes down to the Aussie batsmen and we'd prefer to credit them rather than discredit the bowlers, but the their lack of success is significant. Neither bowler had sustained periods of threat. Anderson was comfortably played by everyone and Swann was occasionally batted out of the match. When your main spinner is kept on for no other reason than to absorb the punishment being meted out by the opposition, you know you've got a problem. Clearly the conditions here in Australia are not to their liking. When the pace and bounce is true and you need to put a bit more top spin on the ball and rely on flight and bounce to get wickets then both these guys seem to be rendered ineffective.

    • on December 18, 2013, 22:27 GMT

      @wellrounded87

      Bailey hasn't made a significant contribution/shown he's up to red ball cricket?

      I think anyone that can hit James Anderson over his head for 6 3 times in an over might be able to play the game (if you look at the rest of the most expensive overs they were all spin bowlers). Yes you could argue that he's an ODI-only player and that's why he smashed Anderson in that over and it was a fluke etc, etc, but Bailey to me has proven himself, especially in Brisbane in the second innings he came in, in search of quick runs, and did what was required of him, while not being worried about his own statistics. Players don't average 55 in ODIs by chance. Yes, he may be the wrong side of 30 but I think it's a well justified selection to play an experienced head in this still rather inexperienced, young lineup.

    • izzidole on December 18, 2013, 20:10 GMT

      Johnson was included in the side only because of injuries to Pattinson, Starc, Cummins and Bird. His omission from the last ashes series in England was the first sign that he no longer deserved to be in the side after years of erratic bowling and repeated poor performances despite being one of the most senior players in this Australian side if not in world cricket counting nearly ten years. Warner was originally in the team for the last ashes in England but was sent home early due to poor behaviour and was also dropped from the team for the limited over series against India. Only some fine performances in the Ryobi Cup and the Sheffield Shield paved the way for him to be included in the side.. After being left out from the side in recent times Brad Haddin made it only as a reserve wicket keeper to Matthew Wade only to be included due to some poor glove work from Wade. Well how things have changed for the better in less than six months under coach Darren Lehman? It's just incredible.

    • on December 18, 2013, 7:38 GMT

      Guys.. all said and done.. Aus was the better team hands down... some one always raised their hand when the situation demanded... Steve Smith is a classic case of buccaneering through a rough situation and Haddin... man has tht guy stood up or what. Absolutely love the way Clarke s looking forward as well... atmosphere looks to be fantastic. Btw.. don't forget that Lyon has outbowled Swann and Haddin has outkept Prior. But the 3 best sides in test cricket remain SA, Aus & Eng... I hope Ind gets the 4th spot but honestly we just don;t have enough good bowlers coming though

    • whofriggincares on December 18, 2013, 6:00 GMT

      @Chris_Howard," 150kph is not searingly fast" mate are you serious? He bowled a perfectly directed bouncer (not a full delivery) at 152.6 kph ! Have you played much cricket? We had a guy clocked in our competition at 138 I faced him and I am telling you even that is quick. It is all relative and people have bowled faster I know but 150+ is bloody quick in anybody's language. And saying that Patto , Cummins or Starc (I rate all 3 fairly highly) would have done just as well are the words of a Mitch hater methinks, his performance so far in this series rates up there with the best I have seen for strike power intimidation factor and a true leader of the attack performance. 23 wickets at 15.47 and a strike rate of 33 and 147 runs at an average of 49 from your number 8 (after only 3 tests) , mate it doesn't get much better than that!

    • silence66 on December 18, 2013, 5:32 GMT

      @ wellrounded87, you can't be serious, already looking to change the team - they just emphatically won the ashes!! Part of the reason why Australia has been underperforming is the constant changes of players and the injection of untried players (Maxwell a prime example).

      As for Rogers not having an impact - at lunch on day 3 with 6 wickets falling in the fist session, England would have thought they could come out and maybe run through the Aus team quickly to ensure a not too difficult target to chase - but Warner and Rogers completely batted them out of the game. Going to 0/150 or more (which is some sort of record for the WACA opening partnership) is exactly what hasn't happened in the past - with invariably clarke having to come in and rescue the team early. Leave Rogers where he is please.

    • sgk.97 on December 18, 2013, 5:06 GMT

      Dont forget peter siddle.He has played a crucial part in all 3 matches.First test breaking Cook-Bell partnership,Second test breaking Root-Pieterson partnership & Third test breaking Bell-Stokes partnership.

    • on December 18, 2013, 4:53 GMT

      I think England body language is the same as what Aussie had when they were in England before some months,,,, I dont see any difference. Now we can see spark in clarke,, but it was missing on england tour,,,same way Cook seems out of place and he seems a guy who wants to finish off early and go on vacation

    • on December 18, 2013, 4:35 GMT

      But who can forget the cracks on the pitch?? Does ICC will probe into that?? If think neutral even english bowlers failed to extract advantage out of that,,,,

    • stormy16 on December 17, 2013, 12:47 GMT

      Ugly! yes strange thing to say but the ugly Aussie is back. Its the in your face, brash and confident Aussie which we havent seen for a while is back. I think this attitude alone put Eng off and gave Aus the confidence to deliver the knock out punch. Finally Mitch shows us what he can do and we all knew he could do it but for some reasons Mitch went walk about for a long long time. We have seen this before in SA when we all expected Mitch to be devastating in Eng but he flopped and lost the plot. Remains to be seen if this is long term but if it is lookout the rest.

      Warner has been nothing short of sensational and I guess the only debate is who will partner him and if not for the wins, we would already be talking March and Hughes - we had this debate at the begining of the Eng summer. I must say I take back all the nasty things I have said about Haddin - the man is re-born at gone to a new level. He has never convinced me untill now, of being a reliable batter.

    • on December 19, 2013, 1:26 GMT

      I would say the complete ineffectiveness of Swann and Anderson has been missed here. Maybe that comes down to the Aussie batsmen and we'd prefer to credit them rather than discredit the bowlers, but the their lack of success is significant. Neither bowler had sustained periods of threat. Anderson was comfortably played by everyone and Swann was occasionally batted out of the match. When your main spinner is kept on for no other reason than to absorb the punishment being meted out by the opposition, you know you've got a problem. Clearly the conditions here in Australia are not to their liking. When the pace and bounce is true and you need to put a bit more top spin on the ball and rely on flight and bounce to get wickets then both these guys seem to be rendered ineffective.

    • on December 18, 2013, 22:27 GMT

      @wellrounded87

      Bailey hasn't made a significant contribution/shown he's up to red ball cricket?

      I think anyone that can hit James Anderson over his head for 6 3 times in an over might be able to play the game (if you look at the rest of the most expensive overs they were all spin bowlers). Yes you could argue that he's an ODI-only player and that's why he smashed Anderson in that over and it was a fluke etc, etc, but Bailey to me has proven himself, especially in Brisbane in the second innings he came in, in search of quick runs, and did what was required of him, while not being worried about his own statistics. Players don't average 55 in ODIs by chance. Yes, he may be the wrong side of 30 but I think it's a well justified selection to play an experienced head in this still rather inexperienced, young lineup.

    • izzidole on December 18, 2013, 20:10 GMT

      Johnson was included in the side only because of injuries to Pattinson, Starc, Cummins and Bird. His omission from the last ashes series in England was the first sign that he no longer deserved to be in the side after years of erratic bowling and repeated poor performances despite being one of the most senior players in this Australian side if not in world cricket counting nearly ten years. Warner was originally in the team for the last ashes in England but was sent home early due to poor behaviour and was also dropped from the team for the limited over series against India. Only some fine performances in the Ryobi Cup and the Sheffield Shield paved the way for him to be included in the side.. After being left out from the side in recent times Brad Haddin made it only as a reserve wicket keeper to Matthew Wade only to be included due to some poor glove work from Wade. Well how things have changed for the better in less than six months under coach Darren Lehman? It's just incredible.

    • on December 18, 2013, 7:38 GMT

      Guys.. all said and done.. Aus was the better team hands down... some one always raised their hand when the situation demanded... Steve Smith is a classic case of buccaneering through a rough situation and Haddin... man has tht guy stood up or what. Absolutely love the way Clarke s looking forward as well... atmosphere looks to be fantastic. Btw.. don't forget that Lyon has outbowled Swann and Haddin has outkept Prior. But the 3 best sides in test cricket remain SA, Aus & Eng... I hope Ind gets the 4th spot but honestly we just don;t have enough good bowlers coming though

    • whofriggincares on December 18, 2013, 6:00 GMT

      @Chris_Howard," 150kph is not searingly fast" mate are you serious? He bowled a perfectly directed bouncer (not a full delivery) at 152.6 kph ! Have you played much cricket? We had a guy clocked in our competition at 138 I faced him and I am telling you even that is quick. It is all relative and people have bowled faster I know but 150+ is bloody quick in anybody's language. And saying that Patto , Cummins or Starc (I rate all 3 fairly highly) would have done just as well are the words of a Mitch hater methinks, his performance so far in this series rates up there with the best I have seen for strike power intimidation factor and a true leader of the attack performance. 23 wickets at 15.47 and a strike rate of 33 and 147 runs at an average of 49 from your number 8 (after only 3 tests) , mate it doesn't get much better than that!

    • silence66 on December 18, 2013, 5:32 GMT

      @ wellrounded87, you can't be serious, already looking to change the team - they just emphatically won the ashes!! Part of the reason why Australia has been underperforming is the constant changes of players and the injection of untried players (Maxwell a prime example).

      As for Rogers not having an impact - at lunch on day 3 with 6 wickets falling in the fist session, England would have thought they could come out and maybe run through the Aus team quickly to ensure a not too difficult target to chase - but Warner and Rogers completely batted them out of the game. Going to 0/150 or more (which is some sort of record for the WACA opening partnership) is exactly what hasn't happened in the past - with invariably clarke having to come in and rescue the team early. Leave Rogers where he is please.

    • sgk.97 on December 18, 2013, 5:06 GMT

      Dont forget peter siddle.He has played a crucial part in all 3 matches.First test breaking Cook-Bell partnership,Second test breaking Root-Pieterson partnership & Third test breaking Bell-Stokes partnership.

    • on December 18, 2013, 4:53 GMT

      I think England body language is the same as what Aussie had when they were in England before some months,,,, I dont see any difference. Now we can see spark in clarke,, but it was missing on england tour,,,same way Cook seems out of place and he seems a guy who wants to finish off early and go on vacation

    • on December 18, 2013, 4:35 GMT

      But who can forget the cracks on the pitch?? Does ICC will probe into that?? If think neutral even english bowlers failed to extract advantage out of that,,,,

    • on December 18, 2013, 4:29 GMT

      The 3-0 loss in England was a lot closer than it seemed. Yes the final result said England dominated the series, but Australia had chances to win the 1st test and the two drawn tests. Only the second test did England totally dominate the way Australia has in this series for 3 tests. Plus the form of Ian Bell was superb, much like the form of Mitchell Johnson is in this series turning it to Australias favour.

    • wellrounded87 on December 18, 2013, 2:59 GMT

      The result was inevitable really. 1 side full of young talent that have shown individual improvement but a failure to put together a complete performance combined with probably the best cricketing coach in Australia possibly the world Versus an aging English side weary from a packed schedule with key players out of form and the squad ripe with complacency.

      However the emphaticness of Australia's victory couldn't have been predicted. A lot of the team seem to have hit their straps all at the right time to completely pummel England into the ground. Only Rogers and Bailey are yet to make a significant contribution in this series. Question marks have to be put on both of their positions in the team. I know Lehman won't want to change a winning side but Rogers is too old to be averaging anything under 40 at this stage, and Bailey really hasn't shown he's up to Red Ball cricket. Personally i'd make the MCG their last chance, i'd bring in Hughes and Doolan as replacements and have Watto @ 6

    • chicko1983 on December 18, 2013, 2:18 GMT

      @ Nadeem Sharifuddin - Test cricket is far from being dead in Australia and England. Both series have seen recod attendances and it has been some of the most covered in the media in recent memory. It may be dead in other test playing nations, but Aussies and English could not care less about what is going on in India, South Africa or Packistani cricket. Aussie era of dominance about to begin.

    • __PK on December 18, 2013, 1:53 GMT

      It makes great copy, but I'm not convinced Johnson was only selected because of injuries. It was his ODI performance in England that got him into the team, not injuries. Johnson was always going to play in the ODI's as he's been our best ODI bowler for a while now. Lehman has always been a believer. In my mind, he deserves some of the credit for Johnson's performance, too.

    • couchpundit on December 18, 2013, 0:36 GMT

      @Buggsy - Clarke has been the same aggressive captain in England and Cook was the same lame(will do what coach says) captain. Difference is england won ashes at home(this year) and Australia recaptured the urn at home now.

      It remains to be seen how Australia fare in next ashes in England. I bet Clarke will still be the same attacking Captain. Cook might find a voice once the dictator/coach leaves his job.

    • Robertito on December 18, 2013, 0:35 GMT

      If the other two tests are rained out without a ball being bowled, my player of the series award would be shared between Haddin and Johnson. A great keeper is the heart of a Test team, and Haddin's flawless keeping has set the mood for the whole series, as has his courageous batting. Obviously I don't need to make an argument for Johnson.

      On the subject of David Warner, I've decided I wasn't wrong to bag him in the past. He's clearly a completely different player now, with Boof having explained to him the difference between batting with intent and going the slog. Now he punishes hittable balls, but can still face a couple of maidens without getting twitchy.

    • on December 18, 2013, 0:30 GMT

      Presence of Darren Lehman AND McDErmott (Don't forget the latter). And:

      Absence of Mickey Arthur.

    • heathrf1974 on December 17, 2013, 23:13 GMT

      I always find the number of centuries a pretty good indicator on the closeness of a series. I think the English bowlers have struggled under Australian conditions, but the batsman have been under par as a whole for some time (since the Indian tour victory). When Australia go to England in 2017 I think we'll see a closer series. I don't think England will go down the lean years of the 90s, but them contending to be number 1 is over for some time.

    • Chris_Howard on December 17, 2013, 23:00 GMT

      Although everyone talks up the "Mitch factor", I do think any of our other bowlers if available, Pattinson, Starc, Cummins etc, would have done just as well.

      And 150 kph is not "searingly fast". If it it is then what hyperbole can you use for Lee, Ahktar, Tait,who bowled over 160? Impossibly fast?

    • ShutTheGate on December 17, 2013, 22:56 GMT

      No doubt a great performance by the Aussies in this series but we're far from being world beaters. I think Watson add's value to the team but I do not think he's a genuine number 3. I think we need someone at first drop who is really hard to get out. I'd put Watson in at 6 with his spot in the team dependant on his ability to bowl. I'd try Doolan at number 3 and I think Phil Hughes for Rogers for the South Africa tour.

      I hope that Faulkner gets a run during this series. I think he has a lot of potential and I think Australia need to avoid having a team with too many players that will retire together.

    • The_Rohit on December 17, 2013, 22:54 GMT

      Funny how when IPL has to be showcased as evil, no one misses that opportunity. But when it is time to showcase the benefits of IPL, it is forgotten. A big part of Mitchell Johnson's revival started in the IPL - much before the India ODIs. Bowling 2 over bursts at express pace against top quality batsmen from all over the world, sharing the dressing room with the likes of Ponting & Tendulkar must have given Johnson the much needed confidence to be where he is today. But hey, why tarnish the good name of test cricket and Ashes by mixing IPL with it.

    • Chris_Howard on December 17, 2013, 22:48 GMT

      Come on! The most obvious reason was the Poms couldn't bowl Australia out cheaply in each first innings when they had them 5 down for not too many.

      Look at Perth. The top 5 put on 143, the bottom 5, 242. Winning margin, only 150.

      Adelaide, top 5, 257, bottom 5, 313. Winning margin, 218.

      In Brisbane, although the winning margin was much greater than what the bottom 5 put on (162, margin 381), England had Australia on the ropes at 6 for 132, and psychologically on the precipice. If They had've wrapped that innings up quickly, say 180, the effect on theAustralian psyche could have been devastating, not to mention how much pumped the Poms would have been.

      Day 1 in Brisbane cost England the Ashes when they couldn't wrap up the Aussie tail and gave Johnson - of all people! - a nice confidence booster with the bat that flowed on nicely to his bowling.

      If you want to win cricket matches, you've got to turn the screws when you have a team 5 for not a lot.

    • DragonCricketer on December 17, 2013, 21:56 GMT

      Dont forget the difference in catching. A lot of wickets there.

    • on December 17, 2013, 21:37 GMT

      @stormy. If winning is Ugly then beat me with the ugly stick! I see a lot of comments in the vein of "Yes Australia has thrashed England, but...." The result here indicates that both teams are reasonably well matched what England suffered here was essentially what Australia suffered in England. The true test of a number one team is winning away and neither f these teams have done that with any consistency recently. The historical record tells the full story. of the 334 matches the two teams have played Australia has won 40.71% with England 31.43%. Proud to be Ugly!

    • BarrytheH on December 17, 2013, 21:35 GMT

      My five reasons: 1. Australia's fielding - absolutely world class 2. Aust's agression with both bat and ball 3. Swan and Anderson being demoralised. Both are over the hill. 4. Pieterson's ego 5. Aust's return to good, sensible coaching and team bonding

    • SRK666 on December 17, 2013, 21:34 GMT

      #6: Australia's catching. Apart from an inconsequential drop by Clarke off Panesar, they've caught everything they should have caught. And they've also taken a good number of half-chances. That's been a big contributor to England's below par scores.

    • Sagarneel on December 17, 2013, 18:18 GMT

      Brydon, you missed the most important point of all - Australia played at home, or rather England played away.

    • Jagger on December 17, 2013, 16:14 GMT

      All I want for Christmas and New Year's is:

      1) Shane Watson is a genuine Test batsman. 2) Brad Haddin to realise his Perth wicketkeeping form is the standard we expect and to improve on it. 3) Steve Smith has it in him to bowl leg spin and be the 5th bowler. 4) Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson to lead the bowling in the World Cup final for Australia. 5) To win 10 million dollars.

      In that order.

    • on December 17, 2013, 11:35 GMT

      very well written. Hundreds was what Australia were struggling to get last time England arrived here in 2010-11 - while English players were making 150's and 200's. now it is the aussies making centuries and england aren't and look how tables have turned. Regarding johnson, one must also pay tribute to the thankless contributions of siddle, harris and lyon. These guys have been pin point accurate and also chipped in with top order wickets. Their economical bowling made the English more inclined to go for the pull/hook resulting in catches in deep. And johnson, bowling high speeds very accurately.

    • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 17, 2013, 11:33 GMT

      It's been a fantastic display from this Australian team, and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed it despite being on the losing side. I particularly love great bowling spells, and boy have the Australian's delivered. I like Lyon - if you look back through the archives you'll find I've supported his inclusion in these games. Now then... Mr Warner. I guess now's the time: sorry Australian fans for being harsh on him and labelling him as a short-format specialist. @Mitty2 & co. - you guys were right and I wish I could buy you a round. In the first or second game, I saw him play one of the most glorious drives off a fired-up Anderson. I thought then - "oh boy, here we go; this guy is going to deliver this series in style!" Big fan of Haddin and still can't believe some were calling for him to be replaced by Wade last series. Really happy for MJ, but I just want to make it clear that this Australian team has delivered in style as a complete unit; now if that ain't fantastic cricket, what is?

    • on December 17, 2013, 9:12 GMT

      I think it's very simple to make this statement now. Austaliaizm is back and Australia is again back to dominating best team among the two.

      Some how i feel ICC is culprit for these two boring ashes tours in year 2013 due to tight schedule both teams had planned to win at home and lose easily away which kind of make their cricket lame as they can get.

      Sad test cricket is dead now because now players are not playing Ashes with great intent.

    • Buggsy on December 17, 2013, 9:09 GMT

      I think Denis has hit it on the head - the gulf between the captaincy of Clarke and Cook is almost immeasurable. Cook may well be one of England's great opening bats, but he is by far the worst England captain in the last two decades. To have such an immense amount of talent in his side and lacking the leadership (and intelligence) to see them through a rough patch is beyond incompetence. The only head to roll after returning to England should be his.

    • i8uall on December 17, 2013, 8:29 GMT

      i believe that the Aussies won because they played total cricket .They werent looking for a fair fight just shock and awe

    • aus_trad on December 17, 2013, 8:23 GMT

      Listing the reasons why Aus won this series before the scheduled end of the 3rd test is almost beyond what seemed credible on day 1 at Brisbane. I tipped Eng to win a close-fought series. Aus had a chance, but a lot had to go right for them (bowler fitness, tosses, weather, ump decisions, etc). Eng had on paper the better team, and a psychological advantage. Aus had the home advantage, and the knowledge that they had established a hold over England's batting in the northern Ashes. To put it simply, the cards have all fallen Aus' way: 3 tosses out of 3; Trott's malady; Bresnan's injury; Cook, Pietersen, Prior, Anderson and Swann being well below their best; Johnson's almost miraculous form turnaround; runs by Clarke, Warner and Haddin (and the tail) which have papered over the cracks in the top 6; but perhaps most of all, extraordinarily well executed strategies by all the bowlers, which have left Eng well short of the runs they needed. 4 years of (Aus) Ashes misery over before Xmas!

    • on December 17, 2013, 8:12 GMT

      Brydon I think you could extend those reasons to 6 or include somewhere Michael Clarkes incredible captaincy and batting form

    • on December 17, 2013, 8:12 GMT

      Brydon I think you could extend those reasons to 6 or include somewhere Michael Clarkes incredible captaincy and batting form

    • aus_trad on December 17, 2013, 8:23 GMT

      Listing the reasons why Aus won this series before the scheduled end of the 3rd test is almost beyond what seemed credible on day 1 at Brisbane. I tipped Eng to win a close-fought series. Aus had a chance, but a lot had to go right for them (bowler fitness, tosses, weather, ump decisions, etc). Eng had on paper the better team, and a psychological advantage. Aus had the home advantage, and the knowledge that they had established a hold over England's batting in the northern Ashes. To put it simply, the cards have all fallen Aus' way: 3 tosses out of 3; Trott's malady; Bresnan's injury; Cook, Pietersen, Prior, Anderson and Swann being well below their best; Johnson's almost miraculous form turnaround; runs by Clarke, Warner and Haddin (and the tail) which have papered over the cracks in the top 6; but perhaps most of all, extraordinarily well executed strategies by all the bowlers, which have left Eng well short of the runs they needed. 4 years of (Aus) Ashes misery over before Xmas!

    • i8uall on December 17, 2013, 8:29 GMT

      i believe that the Aussies won because they played total cricket .They werent looking for a fair fight just shock and awe

    • Buggsy on December 17, 2013, 9:09 GMT

      I think Denis has hit it on the head - the gulf between the captaincy of Clarke and Cook is almost immeasurable. Cook may well be one of England's great opening bats, but he is by far the worst England captain in the last two decades. To have such an immense amount of talent in his side and lacking the leadership (and intelligence) to see them through a rough patch is beyond incompetence. The only head to roll after returning to England should be his.

    • on December 17, 2013, 9:12 GMT

      I think it's very simple to make this statement now. Austaliaizm is back and Australia is again back to dominating best team among the two.

      Some how i feel ICC is culprit for these two boring ashes tours in year 2013 due to tight schedule both teams had planned to win at home and lose easily away which kind of make their cricket lame as they can get.

      Sad test cricket is dead now because now players are not playing Ashes with great intent.

    • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 17, 2013, 11:33 GMT

      It's been a fantastic display from this Australian team, and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed it despite being on the losing side. I particularly love great bowling spells, and boy have the Australian's delivered. I like Lyon - if you look back through the archives you'll find I've supported his inclusion in these games. Now then... Mr Warner. I guess now's the time: sorry Australian fans for being harsh on him and labelling him as a short-format specialist. @Mitty2 & co. - you guys were right and I wish I could buy you a round. In the first or second game, I saw him play one of the most glorious drives off a fired-up Anderson. I thought then - "oh boy, here we go; this guy is going to deliver this series in style!" Big fan of Haddin and still can't believe some were calling for him to be replaced by Wade last series. Really happy for MJ, but I just want to make it clear that this Australian team has delivered in style as a complete unit; now if that ain't fantastic cricket, what is?

    • on December 17, 2013, 11:35 GMT

      very well written. Hundreds was what Australia were struggling to get last time England arrived here in 2010-11 - while English players were making 150's and 200's. now it is the aussies making centuries and england aren't and look how tables have turned. Regarding johnson, one must also pay tribute to the thankless contributions of siddle, harris and lyon. These guys have been pin point accurate and also chipped in with top order wickets. Their economical bowling made the English more inclined to go for the pull/hook resulting in catches in deep. And johnson, bowling high speeds very accurately.

    • Jagger on December 17, 2013, 16:14 GMT

      All I want for Christmas and New Year's is:

      1) Shane Watson is a genuine Test batsman. 2) Brad Haddin to realise his Perth wicketkeeping form is the standard we expect and to improve on it. 3) Steve Smith has it in him to bowl leg spin and be the 5th bowler. 4) Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson to lead the bowling in the World Cup final for Australia. 5) To win 10 million dollars.

      In that order.

    • Sagarneel on December 17, 2013, 18:18 GMT

      Brydon, you missed the most important point of all - Australia played at home, or rather England played away.

    • SRK666 on December 17, 2013, 21:34 GMT

      #6: Australia's catching. Apart from an inconsequential drop by Clarke off Panesar, they've caught everything they should have caught. And they've also taken a good number of half-chances. That's been a big contributor to England's below par scores.