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Ashes: Australia getting a dose of their own treatment

Hrishikesh Kanitkar | | Updated: October 7, 2015, 4:20 PM IST

Watching England's victory in the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street in Durham reminded me of the way the great Australian team under Steve Waugh won matches from seemingly hopeless situations. What Australia has done to all the other teams in that golden period was done to them by England. With a great opening partnership put up by Chris Rogers and David Warner, everything seemed lost for England at one stage.

These two completely opposite characters, with the most different attitude towards batting, put on a magical display of Test-class batting. Rogers was ever watchful and very protective of his wicket. Never wanting to chance a flowing attractive shot if there was any possibility of losing his wicket. While at the other end Warner was as always busy looking and ready for an opportunity to pounce on anything wide and sloppy to hit.

There were patches of play when these two were batting where England managed to stop the flow of runs with some good line and length bowling, and at such times Warner, the instinctively attacking batsman was willing to wait it out so that an opportunity to score may present itself. Even though Warner played a lot of shots right from the start, it was clear to see that he prized his own wicket and didn't want to sell it cheap. In the end it needed a beauty from Tim Bresnan to get rid of him.

One always had the feeling that it was crucial for the openers to keep going once they got a start, mainly because when England got a breakthrough they would immediately smell blood and go for the kill. England is a team that is at the top of their game for some time now and have proven to be invincible at home. Any opening given then, however small, was sure to be exploited.

At the fall of the first wicket, Australia were well ahead of the half way mark. What the situation required was someone with the experience and tenacity to see the side through. Sadly, this Australian side while having a good crop of exciting players who love to get on with the scoring, lack someone like a Steve Waugh or Mike Hussey to steady the ship if necessary and see the side through. The lack of a solid stalwart at one end meant wickets kept falling at regular intervals and what looked like a comprehensive victory for Australia at one stage turned into an amazing victory for England.

England looked like a side hell bent on winning the match. When the Aussie openers were having their way, there was a passage of play when the England bowlers looked despondent. But as soon as they got the first breakthrough, one could see the keenness to win in their eyes. They knew that they had made an opening. And the world-class bowling unit that England has went in for the kill. There was a certain look in their eyes, especially Stuart Broad. Everything he did once the ball was in his hands looked purposeful. He knew what he needed to do to keep the batsmen in a defensive frame of mind and he did it with some fast, accurate and clever bowling.

There is no doubt that England made things happen the way they wanted them. The bowlers created a win when all seemed lost. As usual, Graeme Swann troubled the batsmen as he has done throughout the series. one man who was capable of winning the game for Australia once the openers were dismissed was Michael Clarke and once he was dismissed off a very good legcutter from Broad, it was looking ominous for the visitors. England finished in style and in the end it was a very comfortable victory.

Australia got close to pulling off a victory in this series a couple of times but in the end England proved too good. It was England who won the crucial sessions. In the last Test, Australia will desperately want a win to feel as if they have come out with something positive. However small a positive it may be, it will help the visitors salvage some pride from this Ashes tour in England.
First Published: August 15, 2013, 9:16 AM IST

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