So we’ve regained the Ashes and that’s all well and good, but do we have the intangible ‘aura’ that Strauss claims the Aussies have lost? And have they actually lost it? I’m not so sure.
Have a look at the two sides and, well, there really is no comparison. Take the swarthy, gum-chewing Brad Haddin for example, caked in sunscreen and constantly chirping away at our hapless batsmen. Compare him to his opposite number, Matt Prior, a man apparently ageing Benjamin Button-style, who looks about as intimidating as, err…Graham Swann. They have Mike Hussey, we have Paul Collingwood; they have Peter Siddle, we have Stewart Broad. You get where I’m going with this.
And then there’s Ricky Ponting, a man who looks like I would imagine a convict looking like if I’d never seen a convict before, which, come to think of it, I haven’t. He has a cool weather-beaten cap and a permanent 5 o’clock shadow. In other words, he looks like a bad boy. Compare him with our leader and figurehead Strauss, with his high-pitched voice and gaylord wedding ring necklace. Who looks more like winning a game of cricket?
Let’s also not forget that, as in 2005, we scraped through. Sure, Australia didn’t take their chances and England performed when they needed to, but I can’t help thinking that the atrocious collapse at Headingley and the fact that Bopara, Cook and Collingwood failed to score any runs will be conveniently glossed over when looking back at this series.
We should also remember that when we went to Australia to retain the Ashes in 2006 they spanked us 5-0 (and Ponting was man of the series). Personally I can see exactly the same happening again in 2011, and won’t consider us to be truly dominant until we’ve won Down Under as well.
So I think Strauss is misguided. They may have lost some excellent players in McGrath, Warne and Gilchrist etc. but the Aussies are still a force to be reckoned with. I mean, be honest, when Hussey was still in at the Oval didn’t you think they still had a chance?! I have a horrible feeling all this aura chat will come round to bite us soundly in the arse.