Ashes HQ ASHES HQ 2010-2011

The End of Series Awards

The End of Series Awards

Towards the end of the Sydney Test, we asked you for your opinions on a variety of categories, namely:

Player of the Series
Batsman of the Series
Bowler of the Series
Innings of the Series
Bowling Performance of the Series
Shot of the Series
Ball of the Series
Moment of the Series
Best Match of the Series
Clown of the Series

Thanks to those who voted and also to those who provided plenty of opinion, I have tried to include as many comments as possible.

Player of the Series

Well, this was almost unaninmous. And you will not receive any prize for guessing who it goes to. Alastair Cook has had the sort of series that seemed unthinkable three months ago as he prepared to set off to the antipodes. Sometimes statistics lie and sometimes they don’t. Alastair Cook scored 766 runs at an average of 127.66 in the five tests. Bear in mind that on three occasions England only batted once, as well. In his vote Spark stated that, “the number of runs he’s scored almost beggars belief” with regards to Cook and he’s absolutely right. In 21st century Ashes series, it stands with Warne and Flintoff’s 2005 efforts as one of the great efforts. Hats off to him.

Batsman of the Series

Do you really have to ask? Alastair Cook (or Sir A Cook as four_or_six stated in her vote) takes it as a canter.

Bowler of the Series

This one actually was unanimous. James Anderson, fresh off the series of his life, will no doubt be delighted to hear he has won this prestigious honour (someone tweet him and tell him). You can’t say he doesn’t deserve it though. There may have been doubts for some as to how he would handle the Kookaburra, and whether his 2006-07 troubles in Australia would play on his mind. It’s fair to say these doubts were blown away. To borrow again from Spark, “Didn’t bowl a single bad spell, rarely bowled a bad over. Showed in Adelaide and Sydney that he could still do a fine job without swinging it. Bowled superbly without any luck in Brisbane. Had the wood over Ponting, a huge factor in England’s triumph.” Anderson finished the series with 24 wickets @ 26, not bad for a bowler who some had dismissed as a vampire – goes missing when the sun comes out – just months earlier.

Innings of the Series

Finally, a hotly contested category. With three innings towering above the rest, it seems fitting to inform you what the runners-up were.

3. Jonathan Trott, 168 @ Melbourne
2. Mike Hussey, 195 @ Brisbane

It should be noted that Hussey’s Brisbane innings only just missed out on victory and it would have been a worthy winner – not bad for someone who most of his side’s fans didn’t seem to want in the side, “It must surely go to Hussey’s 195 in Brisbane. Everyone, and I mean everyone – including me – didn’t think he should be playing, especially after he’d nicked his first ball a foot short of Swann. To come out and play the innings he did, with such energy, positivity and precise aggression (his pull quickly became a thing of wonder) was just an incredible performance.His dismantling of Swann was especially brilliant.” (Our good friend Spark once again)
Indeed, Hussey faced some of the best bowling of the whole series on the third morning, with Broad and especially Anderson heaping the pressure on. Whilst Hussey and Haddin would weather that storm, the way Anderson bowled was a sign of things to come for the rest of the series, but the real turning of the tide came in England’s second innings, which is where our winner comes from.

1. Alastair Cook, 235* @ Brisbane

Not a bad week for Cook this, he was given the Freedom of London earlier in the week and now he’s winning Cricket Web awards left, right, and centre. Callum Dinnen said of Cook’s innings that, “[he] would probably still be batting just now if the Test was timeless.” He might well be right, but what is remarkable is that England came out to bat with an innings defeat looking like a distinct possibility. Whilst Strauss counter-attacked at the other end, Cook just stayed in, and stayed in, and scored some runs, and then some more. I’m sure you’re aware of how that innings finished but in case you’re not, England declared on 517-1. Had Cook got out for a low score, who knows what might have happened? It’s not unfeasible to suggest that England might have gone on to lose the match, and probably the series as well. He didn’t get out, though, and the rest…yeah, exactly.

Bowling Performance of the Series

What was interesting about this series was that England’s bowling has been praised to the high heavens, but there was no standout magic spell like there perhaps was in their previous Ashes victories this century (think Simon Jones at Trent Bridge in 05 and Flintoff at Lord’s in 09). That is reflected in the voting for this category, which saw various spells touted. I must confess to being surprised that the third placed spell didn’t run away with this one:

3. Mitchell Johnson, 6/38 @ Perth

I can only presume his filthy bowling throughout the rest of the series put people off voting for him at all.

2. Peter Siddle, 6/75 @ MCG

Siddle had a very good series, he would probably be my second choice for Australia’s Player of the Series (after Hussey and just ahead of Watson). He wasn’t consistently good, but when he was good, he was very good. In the aforementioned spell, you had to feel for him, as he “ran in all day”, being the only Aussie bowler to really trouble the England batsmen as they romped to an innings victory. He also had a blinder in the field in that innings, so he earns his plaudits, but there are more to come.

1. Peter Siddle, 6/53 @ Brisbane

Hat-tricks are a rare thing in Test cricket. To take one in an Ashes series? That must feel amazing. I would imagine doing it on the first day of said series would be pretty special too. And hey, iimagine doing such a thing on your birthday! Yes, it’s easy to forget just how brightly this series started for Australia back in November. Peter Siddle – like Hussey, hardly a universal first choice amongst supporters – pitched the ball up at England’s batsmen to remove Alastair Cook, Matt Prior and Stuart Broad in successive balls. He had already removed Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, and would take Graeme Swann not long later, capping off a dream 26th birthday for the Victorian.

Shot of the Series

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this category saw a fair scattering of votes. Most popular, it seems, are when tailenders clobber bowlers about a bit. And as such, the winning shot comes form Ben Hilfenhaus, the bowler on the receiving end being poor Tim Bresnan, at Sydney. Hilfenhaus didn’t have a lot to smile about during the series so hopefully this award will put a smile on his face.

Ball of the Series

A clear winner in this one. James Anderson picks up his second award for his ball to dismiss Ricky Ponting in the first innings at Adelaide. With Australia reeling from a first over run-out, Anderson delivered the perfect follow-up by putting the ball on a perfectly full length to Ponting. He had little choice but to play and rest? History innit. As Will Quinn of the CW team said when delivering his vote, it “defined the series.”

Moment of the Series

Siddle’s hat-trick pushed hard for a second accolade here but in the end, the chaos that was the opening couple of overs of the Adelaide Test takes this one. From Simon Katich’s disastrous diamond duck, to the aforementioned magic ball to Ponting, and then Clarke going as well two overs later, England were in dreamland and Australia complete disarray. They went on to level the series at Perth but those first ten minutes at Adelaide were a massive clue as to who would be holding the urn come the end of the series.

Match of the Series

Cheeky English bias seems to have won through in this category as to both my surprise and delight, the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne snatches this one. Well, you can’t blame us English fans; years of torment from Australia may have stopped with series wins in 2005 and 2009 but we never really got to inflict that same level of pain; in fact in winning the Ashes in 2009 we still managed to stumble to an old-school humiliation, 102 all out on the first day at Headingley and an innings defeat to boot. Whilst England returned the innings win at Adelaide, it still didn’t have that level of total and utter embarassment that the Aussies quite frankly deserved! And as such, after a long Christmas Day, it was beautiful watching Australian wickets fall at ease. When they were 98/9, I simply needed them to get out without scoring more than three more. I had been at Headingley on that 102 day the previous August, and it wasn’t pretty. Oh, and it was the match that retained the Ashes for England as well!

In truth, Perth was probably the most interesting match and perhaps should have taken this accolade, but the people have spoken, Melbourne it is.

Clown of the Series

Honourable mentions to Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting and Andrew Hilditch but this award goes to Shane Watson. Reasons cited include his induction to the Inzamam running between the wickets hall of fame, and, most memorably, for this:

To sum up then, our winners:

Player of the Series: Alastair Cook
Batsman of the Series: Alastair Cook
Bowler of the Series: James Anderson
Innings of the Series: Alastair Cook, 235* @ Brisbane
Bowling Performance of the Series: Peter Siddle, 6/53 @ Brisbane
Shot of the Series: Ben Hilfenhaus hits Tim Bresnan for six @ Sydney
Ball of the Series: James Anderson to Ricky Ponting in the first innings @ Adelaide
Moment of the Series: Chaos in Adelaide leaves Australia 2/3
Match of the Series: Boxing Day Test, Melbourne
Clown of the Series: Shane ‘Aw no’ Watson

Alternatively, I did receive these votes from forum member four_or_six that I felt deserved to be shared.

Player of the Series: Doherty
Batsman of the Series: Siddle (>Ponting)
Bowler of the Series: Johnson
Innings of the Series: Katich, 1st innings @ Adelaide
Bowling Performance of the Series: Johnson @ Brisbane
Shot of the Series: Hughes @ MCG – Bresnan has his first Ashes wicket. Full and wide, inviting a slash but Hughes didn’t get enough of it
Ball of the Series: Oops, poor old Hilfenhaus has slipped as he tried to deliver this ended up with the ball getting stuck in his hand and delivering it close to his own boot. Bowden calls no ball before realising it’s a dead ball
Moment of the Series: Beer to Cook, 1 no ball, 55.3 mph, Beer has a wicket! Or does he? Cook has gone for a big slog sweep and skied it to mid-on. But Beer’s celebrations are short-lived – Billy Bowden asks for the third umpire to check on a suspected no-ball – and Beer has overstepped! Oh, a horrible moment for the debutant!
Best Match of the Series: WA tour match
Clown of the Series: Hildich

And with that, that’s it for Ashes HQ. All being well, we will return in 2013 when hostilities resume. Until then, thanks for reading.

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