England are in real danger of suffering an embarrassing whitewash in the Ashes series in Australia after a thoroughly dismal three matches so far for Alastair Cook's side.
The 3-0 scoreline, which means the Baggy Greens reclaimed the urn for the first time since 2007, is no more than the home side deserved after totally dominating in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. England, who came into the series as slight favourites in the Ashes betting remember, have failed in pretty much every aspect of the game down under and there are now many questions to answer.
The recriminations - which are totally justified - have well and truly started with plenty of pundits suggesting changes are needed now to try and shake up a team that has underperformed so badly it is barely believable.
The fact newcomer Ben Stokes is the only man to hit a century in three Tests shows you just how poor England's supposed leading batsmen have been. Time and again, skipper Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior have given their wickets away too easily and only Ian Bell can truly say he has played anywhere near his best level on a consistent basis.
The tail have, sadly, been unable to offer much support either with Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann struggling to make much impact when it mattered most.
Equally, the bowling and fielding has not been up to the required standard with Anderson and co being nowhere near as dangerours as in the previous three Ashes series' - admittedly on three good batting pitches so far.
So what now? There are two important Tests to come in which England must approach with the positive mindset of at least recovering some pride. Plenty will say, 'what's the point in coming to the party now when the damage has been done and the Ashes lost' but some of the squad could well be playing for their futures.
No matter how the remaining Melbourne and Sydney Tests go, England have been so far behind that serious questions need to be asked and senior players - with the finger being pointed firmly at Cook, Pietersen, Prior and even Broad here - now need to stand up and be counted, if only to save some face.
England are in real danger of suffering an embarrassing whitewash in the Ashes series in Australia after a thoroughly dismal three matches so far for Alastair Cook's side.
England suffered a humiliating defeat by 381 runs in the first Ashes test at Brisbane with their batsmen failing miserably to cope with the short bowling of Mitchell Johnson in particular.
As well as the aggressive short pitched bowling there was also a torrent of sledging which clearly unsettled some of the England players but, for Broad, the on the field verbals are all part of the game.
“I think the on-field stuff has been fine,” the 27 year old said. “You’re playing in an Ashes Test match – you expect it to be tough. I grew up hearing all sorts of stories about ‘sledging’, and on the field I don’t think a line’s been crossed.”
In the aftermath of the first test defeat England’s Jonathan Trott has left the tour citing a stress related illness but before his departure was announced, Australia batsman David Warner was critical of his performance.
For Broad, taking criticism of individual opposition players off the field is a step too far and he would certainly not expect that from his England side.
“Off the field, there have been some mistakes made,” Broad said. “As an England side, we pride ourselves on how we conduct ourselves when talking about the opposition, because you never know what’s going on in their changing rooms and lives,” he added.
Australia will certainly go into the second test buoyed by their dominance at Brisbane but fans know that England still have the quality to turn the series round.
If Broad and his teammates can use the Australians’ on and off the field comments as motivation to lift their game ahead of the second test at Adelaide on 5th December then they could upset the Ashes betting odds and breathe life into the series.
Despite clearly not being everyone's favourite person, Kevin Pietersen's announcement that he wants to play on for England until 2016 is great news for Andy Flower and the rest of the squad.
Pietersen has rarely been too far away from controversy off the pitch and, if some reports are to be believed, he still does not enjoy a completely harmonious relationship with everyone inside the England dressing room.
However, what has never been in doubt has been the Surrey star's ability with the bat and, when in form, he is rightly regarded as one of the very best modern-day batsmen around. So, from a purely cricketing perspective, it is great to hear he wants to continue playing for his adopted country for as long as possible.
If Pietersen can stay injury-free over the next couple of years he may just get to tick that success off his cricket 'to-do' list as well, as England will be among the more favoured sides for the competition in the cricket betting.
The 31-year-old set England on their way to a 3-0 Ashes win on home soil in the summer with an outstanding 10-wicket display in the first Test at Trent Bridge.
Anderson's contribution thereafter was modest by comparison. He took 12 wickets in four Test matches, which owed much to a four-for in Australia's first innings of the series finale at the Oval.
Some cricket betting experts cited fatigue as the reason behind Anderson's relative slump in form. It was inevitable he would be rested for the one-dayers that followed the Ashes.
The Lancashire star has now had almost two months off, in which time he has enjoyed a holiday with his family and taken a break from cricket.
That break came to an end this week as Anderson rejoined an England squad heading to Australia in search of a fourth successive Ashes win, a feat last achieved by the Three Lions in 1890.
Anderson expects another fierce battle this winter, with a draining contest just gone fresh in his memory.
"It was a really close-fought series, even if the final scoreline says 3-0. The games themselves were very close and it was tough, both physically and mentally, as it always is," he told the Lancashire Telegraph.
"With the away series being so soon, it was good to get a break. It is frustrating missing cricket, especially when you're fully fit. But, seeing the bigger picture and with an important series coming up, it was probably the right thing to do."
Anderson, who has taken a total of 329 wickets in 87 Tests, could get some overs under his belt against a Western Australia XI, a match which begins on October 31.
Jonathan Trott has responded to Australia coach Darren Lehmann's recent jibe that England were "dour" in their 3-0 Ashes victory this summer in exactly the right way.
Lehmann branded some of England's play in their comfortable home victory as "dour", while he also claimed his side had "made inroads" into Trott's mind ahead of the return Ashes down under, which begins with the first Test in Brisbane on November 21.
Lehmann appeared to be suggesting the England star's below-par batting displays were down to his side being able to nullify him and work him out at the crease and not as a result of the Warwickshire man's own mistakes.
Several cricket betting pundits believe there is no disputing the fact that the 32-year-old was one of the big let-downs for England, in a series that otherwise will be remembered for one in which the home side got the job done in a professional manner, as opposed to a spectacular and dramatic win like back in 2005.
Trott only managed an average of 29.30 during the recent Ashes series, but says he has been working hard on improving and will be ready to face the Aussie attack again at The Gabba next month, a fixture for which England are the favourites in the cricket betting odds.
"When you don't score runs people like to think they've worked you out, but sometimes that's cricket, things just don't go your way," he said. "I've been working really hard to put a few things right technically and work things out and make sure I get to Australia playing really well."
Trott was also asked recently about the early comments coming out of the Australian camp as they continue to lick their wounds following another Ashes defeat in England and, while refusing to enter into anything remotely approaching mind-games, his riposte was perfectly judged and will no doubt have wound Lehmann and co up somewhat.
He said: "I'd take another dour 3-0 in Australia. I know Australians are a confident bunch of guys, but they've lost the Ashes series and they are making comments already.
"That's just the Australian way, that's how they are - I think we go about our cricket a little bit differently."
The words of a confident man who, while admitting on one hand he needs to improve personally, knows a 3-0 win for his team does very much speak for itself.
Image by Rae Allen.
Image by Harrias.
So, surely now it's time the Warwickshire star is heralded as one of England's most important players by Ashes betting pundits? Because if he doesn't get the praise now, he never will.
Bell has had to endure plenty of stick - some of it wholly unjustified - as he has risen up the ranks and he is now finally looked upon as a mainstay in Andy Flower's side as they aim to continue their push to win the Ashes outright once again.
His consistent performances this summer - Bell has now joined an elite list of men who have managed three centuries in the Ashes - means he has a very real chance of being named 'Man of the Series' and his knock in Chester-le-Street may well end up swinging the fourth Test England's way.
His crucial intervention was all the more impressive coming as it did when the usual go-to men, like Kevin Pietersen, skipper Alastair Cook or Jonathan Trott, were struggling with their own games and not looking like providing the much-needed inspiration.
Basically, England badly needed someone to step up to the plate and Bell was the man who came forward to enhance his somewhat unjustified reputation as a workmanlike batsman rather than one of the star turns.
Bell may not be quite like a Jimmy Anderson, Pietersen, or Stuart Broad and is unlikely to ever be a player who will generate the headlines regularly, but his quiet self-assuredness and consistent high scoring certainly means you cannot ignore him.
Just ask the Aussies that. But he also deserves more acclaim from cricket fans after proving he is, after all, the man for the big occasion and one England will look to rely on when the chips our down again in the future.
There was talk in the cricket betting world that selectors would drop Finn for Tim Bresnan after the former took just two wickets at the cost of 117 runs over the two innings. Finn struggled at Trent Bridge and was the main reason Australia’s fantastical run chase became so nearly a reality.
After Jimmy Anderson took three early wickets on Sunday, Cook turned to Finn in hope the 24-year-old would clinch the 10th but Brad Haddin had different ideas, smashing the seamer for boundaries past square leg and long on.
To compound a miserable final day, Finn gave away four byes and dropped a catch that cold have cost England the first Test. He was probably as relieved as Cook when James Anderson’s 10th wicket was given on review.
Bresnan, with bags of experience and the consistency to bowl a good line when required, would be a far better option heading into a Lords’ Test that Australia usually enjoy. The Yorkshireman’s average is slightly worse than Finn’s but his economy isn’t and that’s what almost cost England the match on Sunday.
As for Root, he joined the top order in controversy after ousting Nick Compton and was under pressure to perform. A 30 in his first innings showed promise but five off 31 deliveries in the second exposed a nervous player lacking confidence. Root’s place was probably saved by his wicket of Ed Cowan when playing two overs as recovery spinner and that talent means Graeme Swann is not the only spin man Cook can turn to.
Because the second Test is just four days after the first, it’s easy to see why England stuck with the same team. However, those who bet on the Ashes can expect a couple of changes if England fail to perform at Lords’, with Finn and Root the main candidates for demotion.
England clinched the 1st Ashes Test in the most wonderful fashion. This was a perfect Test match. Interesting on all days. At the end of Day 1, Oz were at 75/4 after England were all out for 215. While Australia scored a bit more runs than England, Day 2 ended with England at a slightly better score of 80/2. Day 3 ended with England leading by 259 runs. At the end of Day 4, Australia looked behind at 174/6 chasing a target of 311. Mostly though, you couldn't tell which way the match was going. Right till the end. When England reviewed for the 10th wicket, I was thinking this would be a replay of what we see often, England managing to almost win so Haddin being given out was a huge pleasant surprise for me.
Jimmy Anderson got the Man of the Match award as expected. I think it's wrong to suggest England are relying on one man. Finn, Swann and Broad have all won matches for England. It's too early to say anything like that. Even in this Test, it's not like they didn't perform. Finn and Swann took 2 wickets each in the 1st innings while Broad and Swann took 2 each in the 2nd. By taking Cowan's wicket, Root also showed that he can be brought upon to shake things up like Kevin Pietersen. This wasn't a high scoring game. No team scored 400-500 so you can't blame any bowler. Jimmy didn't leave much to other bowlers.
Haddin and Pattinson deserve to be praised to have taken the game to an exciting finish.
James Anderson 10
Pattinson, Starc 5
Finn, Agar 2
England go to Lord's with an advantageous 1-0 lead. The action begins at 11 am local time (10 am GMT) on Thursday, 18th. Exciting time for online cricket betting. See ya.
It wouldn't have made much of a difference to me if Agar would have scored a century rather than 98. If I had a choice, I'd have let the chap have his glorious moment. It would only cost England 2 runs though some would argue that centuries give you psychological advantage. I just don't see it that way personally.
James Anderson has taken more wickets at Trent Bridge than any other man and he is no danger of losing that spot anytime soon. The 9 men behind him have all retired. Jimmy has 44 wickets at the ground while the next man behind him who is still around is Stuart Broad, standing at 11 in the list with 19 wickets to his name. Betting is something most of us sports fans fancy. However, choosing which betting sites to try and if beginner bonuses really help can be tough. Here are some reviews of the top sports betting sites.
The scorecard would tell you that the match is evenly poised but as an English fan, I'm happy. England have played well. The wickets of Root (caught behind) and Trott (lbw) were also very controversial. Root should have reviewed in my opinion but Captain Cook probably suggested not to. Hot spot and Snicko didn't show anything. Though Snicko is not used in DRS so it wouldn't have saved Trott as Hot spot didn't show anything his time either.
Cook’s side face a tough test if they are going to triumph, coming up against Group A opponents Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka to reach the knockout stages. As well as looking to taste success for the first time in the Champions Trophy, Cook has also targeted victory the 2015 World Cup.
"We haven't won an ICC fifty-over event, so that's certainly a priority here. We have the ICC Champions Trophy this year under our home conditions, which we hope to make the most of,” admitted Cook.
"Then, in two years time, the World Cup - and we haven't won that either. They're two big tournaments coming up. If we keep developing like we have done, then we'll certainly have the team to have a chance of winning those tournaments."
While England’s one-day form has been inconsistent over the past few years, there is no doubt that they are still extremely capable of winning these tournaments. Having the Champions Trophy on home soil gives England a great chance to finally win a 50-over tournament.
Winning the 2010 World T20 showed that England have the ability to win a major tournament despite falling short so many times before, and having home advantage will give the hosts as good a chance as ever to add another trophy to their one-day collection.
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Pietersen, England’s talismanic number four, suffered the hurt during preparations for his side’s third and final Test with New Zealand, which begins on Thursday.
The 32-year-old is expected to be out for six to eight weeks, miss the Indian Premier League, and the start of the country cricket championship – an absence that could have a detrimental effect on his game heading into the international summer.
With England set to play a home series against the Kiwis before facing Australia, Pietersen will target that 16 May deadline as the date for his recovery.
However, there is still concern from cricket betting news outlets that he won’t be fit to face Australia later in the summer: a predicament that could leave England short in the batting order.
For Pietersen is the only real batsman England can rely upon to claw back a match-saving haul other than captain, Alastair Cook. Granted, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, and potentially Joe Root are solid at the crease but they lack that flair and persistence that make great batsmen stand out in Ashes series.
Cook proved it last time out against Australia with three centuries, while Pietersen managed a 227 haul in Adelaide the same series.
If England are to scalp an average yet improving Australian bowling attack they need Pietersen in their order. Root is a good number six but neither he nor Jonny Bairstow are strong and experienced enough to take up a more important role up the order.
Hopefully, KP will quickly recover from this injury and be back in the England set-up without a problem, but there will remain a lingering doubt in the minds of fans claiming their in-play bet offer regarding his fitness heading into a major summer of Test cricket. Many such offers can be found at sites featuring betting apps although England fans should be wary of being overly confident against any Australia team intent on reclaiming the old urn.
As a young child, my main sporting passion was football. I was obsessed with that small team
from the north called Manchester United. But come the summer of 2005, it all changed. Some
of my family already loved cricket and so got me watching that series. What a series it was, I was
encapsulated by the magic of the Ashes. The talent of players like Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan,
Shane Warne and Glen McGrath impressed me beyond belief. However, no one caught my attention
more than the tall, young and flamboyant Kevin Pietersen. His presence at the crease and his
attacking shot play ensured I was glued to the TV screens and radios.
His last innings at the Oval in the last test where he scored 158 was simply outstanding. His shot
selection was out of this world and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t really watched cricket before this
point. I don’t know what it was about him - maybe it was his entertaining and perhaps show pony
style that enabled my small interest in cricket to expand and really become what it is today.
England went on to win the Ashes and I was able to celebrate as an excited little ten year old. It was
my first cricket series and I think I picked the right one! Since then I have been to many different
cricket grounds and experienced many incredible innings but nothing stands out as much as Kevin
Pietersens innings at Hove. Since the Ashes of 2005, Kevin Pietersen has remained my favourite
player and I have followed him closely since. It hasn’t all been sweet glory- the captain antics with
Peter Moore were quite upsetting and his dips in form and twitter outbursts have been hard to take
and accept. But in the summer of 2010, I was able to watch him bat at Hove.
Kevin was playing for Surrey against Sussex and he produced a stunning century. It included
beautiful fours and splendid sixes. He even hit a six to get up to 50 and then again to get 100.
Because of the Ashes and Kevin Pietersen, I became a major cricket fanatic and therefore I must
thank them. I am now writing about cricket for a couple of websites and on my own blog
The Witty Cricketer, in the hope to become a sports journalist in the future. So thank you Kevin!
David Pope, 17, is a huge Sussex supporter who enjoys being a member at the Hove county ground every summer. David has been playing cricket for a few different teams over the last few years and thoroughly enjoys playing! He considers himself to be a medium-paced bowler with the best figures being 4-38 and he prefers not to talk about his batting.
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