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Comparing the series

FaaipDeOiad

Hall of Fame Member
With the result of this Ashes series decided, how do people feel it compares to the 2005 Ashes in terms of the standard of the cricket played? Note that I'm not asking about the level of competetition or the quality of the matches, because it's no contest. Only one of the three tests so far comes close to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th tests last year in terms of excitement. The quality of batting, bowling and fielding has been very high from both sides though, aside perhaps from England early in the first test, and there's probably been a general improvement from last year, IMO.

This is particularly true in the most recent test. In Perth, every bowler in the match aside from Mahmood bowled very well, even Harmison and Symonds. We also saw some spectacularly good batting and a fairly sporting wicket. In 2005 England bowled amazingly well and Australia quite well, but the quality of batting was down a little bit on what you might normally expect. Australia had no answer to reverse swing, and England were pretty awful against Warne and couldn't handle McGrath on the one lively wicket they faced him on.

In this series I think England have batted far better, particularly against Warne who is currently in the middle of his poorest non-India series in more than five years, and in each test they've posted a good score. The batting from 6 down has been awful, but the top order has functioned about as well as anyone could have reasonably hoped before the series. Australia's batting has been sensational, with three players averaging over 100 and in the form of their careers, and every player in the top 7 aside from Martyn/Symonds contributing.

England's bowling is obviously down, given the loss of Jones and Harmison's poor start, but you can't fault Hoggard or Flintoff, and Panesar has done very well in his only test. Even Harmison has come good now, and the English attack in the third test was as good as you're likely to see it without Jones in the mix. Australia has added Clark instead of Gillespie or Kasprowicz, who has bowled better than anyone, and Lee and McGrath have been as good as they were in 2005. Warne's figures obviously don't match up to '05, but I don't think he's bowled poorly aside from the Brisbane test, he's just been a bit unlucky and been played very well.

The other area which has obviously improved a long way is the fielding. The 2005 Ashes had a huge number of catches put down, and while there's been a few this year, it's been pretty good throughout, particularly from Australia. The only really poor period of fielding there's been was England on day 3 in Perth.

I'm hoping that the wickets in Melbourne and Sydney are a bit more testing for batsman than Brisbane or Adelaide, because if England play like they did in Perth again I think we could see a couple more really interesting matches.
 

GIMH

Norwood's on Fire
I think you're right about most of that. Certainly hope the next two Tests are closer, and I hope we snatch them, otherwise you get to dictate my signature to me :p

Australia really have played excellent Cricket here. I hate to think what they'd do to a lesser side than us on this form :p
 

pasag

RTDAS
Agree 100%. Was just thinking the same thing myself a couple of days ago. The overall standard of cricket has been much better in most aspects of the game.
 
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archie mac

International Coach
I have really enjoyed the cricket in this series, tough, uncompromising, Test cricket. England have only played three poor sessions and are 3-0 down, I thought the Aussies played a lot more poor sessions in 2005 but were flattered by the result
 

Top_Cat

Request Your Custom Title Now!
Australia's batting; Exponentially better. They cranked the juice when it as needed but were able to bat consistently and patiently too. Michael Clarke's knock in Adelaide, for sheer 'you're not gonna get me out today, boys' solidity was his best so far and it would be hard to top (I barely remember a mistake). For mine, that was the knock of the series for Australia so far. His ton in Perth almost equalled it.

Australia's bowling; much tighter. Even under very batsman-friendly conditions, England were made to work hard and the second innings in Adelaide was the ultimate in teamwork between the bowlers. Hard to match and gave England nowhere to go.

England's batting; Not as free-flowing but on occasion, has been quite good. Their second-innings fade-out in Adelaide and first-innings in Perth should be cause for concern because in both instances, had they pushed their positions harder, probably would have won.

England's bowling; nowhere near as good. Some sparks of excellent bowling (Harmi and Monty in Perth) but overall, mediocre.

Fielding; immeasureably better by both sides.
 

Jono

Virat Kohli (c)
Yeah good point, and I believe Dasa mentioned something of the sort a few months after the Ashes. Whilst the 2005 Ashes was absolutely brilliant as a spectacle, if one were to judge it on the quality of cricket alone, it was fairly mediocre in all major aspects, particularly I think batting and fielding. Bowling was mixed with some brilliance (McGrath at Lords, and then Warne, Flintoff and Jones) and then crud (Gillespie and Kaspa).

Very good post.
 

howardj

International Coach
The glaring disparity for mine, has been England's 2005 bowling compared to their efforts this Summer. I'm not just talking about the reversing of the ball either. Last year, they hunted as a pack, and bowled at the stumps a lot more. They were a well-oiled machine.
 

Top_Cat

Request Your Custom Title Now!
Whilst the 2005 Ashes was absolutely brilliant as a spectacle, if one were to judge it on the quality of cricket alone, it was fairly mediocre in all major aspects, particularly I think batting and fielding.
Yes but surely it was the brilliance of the bowling which made batting difficult and vice-versa? It wasn't so much poor batting by the Aussies as excellent bowling by the English, for example? It's not as if the matches were close because both sides played poorly. Quite to the contrary, the matches were so close because both sides were playing so well. This time, Australia appear to be batting better but also are much better at ensuring England's bowlers don't get a sniff.
 

mavric41

State Vice-Captain
The quality of the cricket has been fantastic on both sides. Its just Australia has been able to withstand and apply pressure much better than England.
 

ripper868

Cricketer Of The Year
i think for excitability etc the 05 series is way ahead, but the quality of play in this series has been much higher. this series has also had it's highlights, the adelaide test, gilchrists second fastest test century in history. the result this series has certainly been more pleasing :D
 

jammay123

State 12th Man
we played well part from day 1 brisbane and we gave it away in key sessions in which we seemed to just give up.but batting of the cons atleast has greatly improved i expect the reason for this is hussey clarke and ricky

our middle order has the ability to do the same but just bottle it
 

howardj

International Coach
FaaipDeOiad said:
With the result of this Ashes series decided, how do people feel it compares to the 2005 Ashes in terms of the standard of the cricket played? Note that I'm not asking about the level of competetition or the quality of the matches, because it's no contest. Only one of the three tests so far comes close to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th tests last year in terms of excitement. The quality of batting, bowling and fielding has been very high from both sides though, aside perhaps from England early in the first test, and there's probably been a general improvement from last year, IMO..
This whole thread is becoming undone, the longer the Series goes. In terms of quality, has the following been all that great?:

- England being skittled for 157 on a road in Brisbane?
- England's pathetic capitulation in Adelaide (their whole mind-set on Day 5)
- England producing a poor performance in at least one innings in every Test match.

There were no weak, meek capitulations in 2005. Rather, the close contests were brought about from some very good bowling from both sides - whilst only quality players got runs. Players were forced to fight for runs (unlike yesterday; unlike Gilchrist in Perth).

I just don't see this obvious gap in quality that people are talking about.
 
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Craig

World Traveller
I enjoyed 2005 better then this series. I guess from some of my posts I guess you lot might have figured out by now I like I good contest and I couldn't wait to watch the day's play or check the scores/highlights because it was so exciting and it could have gone either way.

However fast forward to now and at times I have been less inclined to watch it because it has been one sided for a good portion of this series and frankly I'm not all that fussed over McGrath or Warne retiring as a result. If it were 2-2 coming into Sydney then I would really want to watch.

But that's just me I guess.
 

ripper868

Cricketer Of The Year
I still think england have been better this series than last, its just that australia has been so much better than in the last series it has made england look a shambles, at least the tests have lasted for five days which is a welcome change.
 

Slow Love™

International Captain
I don't really know about a jump in quality all round, either. Obviously Australia's standard has dramatically lifted, and we're not carrying a Dizzy or Kaspa in the bowling lineup, even if Lee has been a bit unimpressive in general (good today tho). And the batting's gone through the roof, with the introduction of Hussey in particular.

But England's bowling has been pretty indifferent in the main, with the odd really good spell here and there. The surfaces probably haven't helped, nor the absence of Simon Jones, Flintoff's hot and cold spells and Harmison's listlessness. I guess it all depends on what you class as "quality of cricket" - if you mean batsmen having it more their own way, then maybe, though that to me is reminiscent of the flat road = great wicket judgement that commentators always seem to make. As I said in another thread related to the closeness of the contest, I think the conditions, certainly in the first half of the series probably made England's performances look better than they were, simply because the first three tests were pushed into fifth days.

Basically though, I think you've got one team raging in top form, and the other well below their best. I'd agree with howard that the last series saw far more of a tug of war between bat and ball, which generally, IMO produces a better standard of cricket as it's more a zero-sum, push me, pull you kind of contest. The conditions definitely offered more for the bowlers (than the first three tests did here at least), but 400 and thereabouts totals were still being scored.

Beyond this, captaincy has played it's part, too. When you're not quite up there, personnel-wise (in comparison to your opposition) you really need a good captain. Last time, Vaughan appreciably had the better of Ponting, while this time around, Ponting (who is still very defensive, but whose onfield presence and manipulation of his field has certainly improved) really had Flintoff's number.

A tight contest doesn't always mean a better quality of cricket, but I certainly wouldn't describe the quality on show from both sides here was high.

It's obviously not regarded as outrageous a comment as it was last series, but I'd say it's pretty obvious that we haven't seen England's best, and that's had a fair say in the outcome. Of course, saying that about Australia in '05 brought jeers, because it was taking something away from England's victory. ;)
 

GIMH

Norwood's on Fire
Slow Love™ said:
I don't really know about a jump in quality all round, either. Obviously Australia's standard has dramatically lifted, and we're not carrying a Dizzy or Kaspa in the bowling lineup, even if Lee has been a bit unimpressive in general (good today tho). And the batting's gone through the roof, with the introduction of Hussey in particular.

But England's bowling has been pretty indifferent in the main, with the odd really good spell here and there. The surfaces probably haven't helped, nor the absence of Simon Jones, Flintoff's hot and cold spells and Harmison's listlessness. I guess it all depends on what you class as "quality of cricket" - if you mean batsmen having it more their own way, then maybe, though that to me is reminiscent of the flat road = great wicket judgement that commentators always seem to make. As I said in another thread related to the closeness of the contest, I think the conditions, certainly in the first half of the series probably made England's performances look better than they were, simply because the first three tests were pushed into fifth days.

Basically though, I think you've got one team raging in top form, and the other well below their best. I'd agree with howard that the last series saw far more of a tug of war between bat and ball, which generally, IMO produces a better standard of cricket as it's more a zero-sum, push me, pull you kind of contest. The conditions definitely offered more for the bowlers (than the first three tests did here at least), but 400 and thereabouts totals were still being scored.

Beyond this, captaincy has played it's part, too. When you're not quite up there, personnel-wise (in comparison to your opposition) you really need a good captain. Last time, Vaughan appreciably had the better of Ponting, while this time around, Ponting (who is still very defensive, but whose onfield presence and manipulation of his field has certainly improved) really had Flintoff's number.

A tight contest doesn't always mean a better quality of cricket, but I certainly wouldn't describe the quality on show from both sides here was high.

It's obviously not regarded as outrageous a comment as it was last series, but I'd say it's pretty obvious that we haven't seen England's best, and that's had a fair say in the outcome. Of course, saying that about Australia in '05 brought jeers, because it was taking something away from England's victory.
;)
TBH, I said this about Aus the last time out, but I reckon part of the reason we haven't seen England's best is because Australia have played so well.
 

Slow Love™

International Captain
GeraintIsMyHero said:
TBH, I said this about Aus the last time out, but I reckon part of the reason we haven't seen England's best is because Australia have played so well.
Yeah, it's always gonna be part of the reason, but some folks seem to treat it as all the reason, when I genuinely do think that sometimes sides are rusty, low on confidence walking in, or just out of form for various reasons, and they perform below their best. It happens, and I think you can tell the difference most of the time between a side not quite performing and a side simply being strangled by a dramatically superior side, that did all it could. How well Australia have been playing could never account for how godawful Harmison was in those first couple of tests, for instance.
 

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