Will Quinn | 12:44pm gmt 25 Aug 2009
Cricket Web's Ashes Predictions Revisited
On the eve of the first test in Cardiff, eight of us here at Cricket Web gave our verdict on how the Ashes would go. The results are in, and it's time to see how we fared. It's a bit of a mixed bag...
Let's cut to the chase- who's going to win, and by what score?
Three out of eight correctly predicted that England would take the series, with Manjunath and Cricket Web owner James getting the 2-1 scoreline spot on. Martyn's typically optimistic shout of 3-0 to England turned out to be a little too far, but I suspect he's still too drunk to care. Ganesh and I called 2-1 to Australia and missed out by 200 runs on Sunday, while Martin and Swaranjeet called 2-2 and missed out by Monty Panesar's wicket at Cardiff. Widest of the mark was Richard, who predicted a comfortable 3-1 win for Australia.
Who will take the most wickets?
Frankly, this question leaves me looking a bit of a prick. While none of us quite saw Ben Hilfenhaus coming, I managed to miss the entire dartboard and hit a barmaid in the eye when Stuart Clark managed a measly four wickets in the two games he actually played. Other answers varied between Mitchell Johnson, James Anderson and Graeme Swann but Hilfy stumped us all by coming out of the blue to snare 22 wickets at an impressive average of 27.
Who will score the most runs?
Martyn, Richard and Martin share the wooden spoon in this round by incorrectly predicting that Kevin Pietersen's achilles would stay put long enough to bag him leading run scorer. Manjunath and Swaranjeet nailed it though, with Andrew Strauss dominating the Aussie bowlers with 474 runs @ 52. James and Ganesh came close with their calls of Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting respectively, while I was let down by Simon Katich's notorious failure to build on his starts.
Who will be the worst player on either team?
Yet again, Richard is the man with egg on his face by claiming that Nathan Hauritz would be the series' joke-bowler. Never mind. I'm sure if you asked him he'd insist that he really was the worst and it's just a case of the moons aligning against him.
The undisputed winner here is Martin Chandler who predicted Ravi Bopara's nightmare series with the bat. My call of Monty Panesar, Steve Harmison or Ian Bell- all of whom somehow got a game at some stage- isn't too shabby either, nor is Swaranjeet's controversial prediction that Andrew Flintoff would have a below-par Ashes. James's somewhat bizarre prediction that Ricky Ponting would have a shocker fell flat, and Brett Lee didn't even make it on to the field in order to fulfill the doomed prophecy of Ganesh and Martyn.
Which tail-ender will frustrate the opposition most?
Martyn Corrin and Martin Chandler take the plaudits here by correctly predicting Graeme Swann being a thorn in the side of the Australians. His 249 runs @ 35 undoubtedly caused all kinds of swearing amongst the frustrated Aussie bowlers. Manjunath and James named Stuart Broad, whose 234 runs give him the runner-up spot in the "Little ****" competition.
Richard once again missed the mark dramatically, with neither Mitchell Johnson nor Peter Siddle managing to stick around too often, while I was let down by Nathan Hauritz only making it out to bat three times.
Who or what will be the Ashes' surprise package?
Finally some modest success for Richard here, as his prediction that the pitch at Cardiff wouldn't turn as much as expected held up reasonably well. I'm pretty content with my prediction that Nathan Hauritz wouldn't be quite as bad as everyone expected, but the best (and bravest) call belongs to Martin Chandler, who told us all seven weeks in advance that Matt Prior's keeping would be absolutely fine.
James ended up with egg on his face within a couple of days when his "Ponting to not score a single century" bet fell at the first hurdle. Martyn's patriotism let him down for once as Australia did in fact win a single test. An Australian struggle to take 20 wickets was predicted successfully by Manjunath and James but Swaranjeet and Ganesh were neither here nor there with their predictions of Ponting doing better than expected and Michael Clarke's left arm nothing-breaks surprising the Poms.
Any other predictions?
A dismal round to finish, with very few of us coming out with any credit. Graeme Swann did not reach his maiden test century by hitting Brett Lee for six (Martyn), Peter Siddle did not injure himself and miss most of the series (Manjunath), Michael Clarke did not become Australia's front-line spinner after one test (James) and the series was most certainly not boring, one-sided or uninteresting (Ganesh).
On the other hand, Richard had some success by saying Australia would call up an unexpected squad reinforcement, the prophecy materialising in the form of Tim Paine. Martin Chandler correctly predicted Steve Harmison's late-series return but also expected the big man to celebrate with a five-fer which never looked likely.
As much as I'd love to gloat over my prediction that Harmison would be welcomed back into the side then unceremoniously dropped when England remembered he's no good anymore, the squad for South Africa hasn't been announced yet. Besides, I may as well have been predicting snowstorms in Alaska. Something which the team at Cricket Web probably wouldn't even manage.