Home > Features > Serials >

Highlights of England’s disastrous tour of Australia — Part I

Hanging heads and drooping shoulders, an image that encapsulated England's disastrous Ashes down under © Getty Images
Hanging heads and drooping shoulders, an image that encapsulated England’s disastrous Ashes down under © Getty Images

By Abhijit Banare

Hello and welcome to the highlights of England’s phenomenal tour to Australia spanning from November 21, 2013 to February 2, 2014. If you are an England fan, then you may proceed, if you are an Australian fan you would love to absorb and enjoy each and every point in this article and also read the Australian version of the report here. If you are an Indian fan, just relax and enjoy someone else’s misery. And the best part of this article is, everyone else apart from the Big Three can also read it till the end. So here’s England’s forgettable tour described in a nutshell.

England arrive in Australia with two things

Well, England’s 82-page recipe consisting of their dietary requirements is not one of the two things I am talking of. On a serious note, the two things were, confidence they carried after a 3-0 victory in England and the burden of Ian Botham’s (now embarrassing) 10-0 prediction! The visitor’s started off positively with some impressive performances in the three warm-up games. The preparations were well on course, except for Stuart Broad. The Australian media was licking its lips to pounce upon Stuart Broad and use as many disgusting words available in the ASD (Australia’s Sledging Dictionary). But the England team, high on confidence remained unperturbed.

The start of the whitewash by a black mustachioed Johnson

‘He bowled to the left and bowled to the right but the England batsmen couldn’t bat right’. It was not just the start of England’s disaster but the rise of Mitchell Johnson — the Man on a Mission. England often boasted about their awesome pace attack, and the dream continued with Australia’s nemesis, Broad picking a six for 81 in the first innings. But they paid little heed that the opposition was sharpening its teeth as well. Johnson literally blew away the English side thereby kickstarting one of the finest bowling performances in Tests in recent times.

The depressing blow to England’s No 3

Michael Clarke did sledge James Anderson at the end of first Test; the Australian aggression, however, took a toll on the English batting with Jonathan Trott returning home with a stress-related illness. A little controversy ensued as David Warner had sledged at Trott during the second Test. But Trott’s departure was just the beginning of the crack in the fragile mental strength of the English side. They were once again taken apart by Johnson. What once looked like just a test defeat at Brisbane now fuelled the media at home to sharpen their critiquing skills. Cook remained defiant and so was the confidence of the team (externally). A series defeat ahead at Perth loomed large.

England slip in to the cracks of Perth

That final wicket of James Anderson (right) ended all English hopes for good © Getty Images
That final wicket of James Anderson (right) ended all English hopes for good © Getty Images

It all boiled down to the ‘bouncy’ Perth wicket for England to survive the Australian pace onslaught and the in-form Johnson. The heat at Perth and the cracks on the pitch were too hot to handle. Ian Bell and Ben Stokes put up a stiff resistance but the defeat was inevitable with yet another frail performance by England. George Bailey dived to a catch offered by James Anderson and that was it for the English side, Australia had won the Ashes but there was scope for landing two more blows and make it 5-0.

Ben Stokes becomes England media’s Andrew Flintoff

If there was anything that England could think positively about after 74 days of misery, it’s the all-rounder Stokes. His 120 at a testing Perth wicket under torrid weather and then a six-for in the fifth Test made him the ideal all-rounder since Andrew Flintoff. Much of England’s future will be pinned upon him.

Graeme Swann bids adieu

Even Graeme Swann's jolly behaviour during the press conference when he annpunced his retirement came as a shock © Getty Images
Even Graeme Swann’s jolly behaviour during the press conference when he annpunced his retirement came as a shock © Getty Images

The second casualty of the Ashes tour was the retirement of Graeme Swann after the Perth Test. The off-spinner’s decision left everyone in shock. With a smiling face and maintaining that same humour, Swann faced the media and England were in doldrums. Swann’s retirement was once again an eye-opener for England who don’t have a reliable spinner. With Monty Panesar spinning his own story off the field, England have a task on hands.

Kevin Pietersen vs Andy Flower

They were thrashed 5-0 and the swords were out between coach Andy Flower and the maverick batsman. It ended on a bitter note, with Flower ending his coaching stint by resigning just days before the tour came to an end. It once again showed that having match-winners is of no use if the team management can’t effectively deal with them. Special players require special treatment and Flower’s disciplined methods seemed to be too hot to handle for the team.

Same old story in ODIs

An exasperated Alastair Cook headed in to the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series and the fortunes remained the same. The Aussies, who rested their key players at different stages of the series, were still confident and strong enough to give the same treatment. The England batting was once again not good enough with Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler being the only ones to make notable contributions.

Ravi Bopara keeps England’s misery burning

Ravi Bopara (left) choked in the final ODI in the final moments, as England lost another chance to grab a consolation win © Getty Images (File Photo)
Ravi Bopara (left) choked in the final ODI in the final moments, as England lost another chance to grab a consolation win © Getty Images (File Photo)

Purely on the basis of performance, Ravi Bopara would fit well in the South African side — of course for choking! 217 was the least Australia could have served England to end the ODI series on a high, but even that chance went begging. With eight required in nine deliveries, Bopara facilitated a bizarre stumping. The five-run loss was not only a painful blow to the demoralising tour so far but also set them up for the T20 series loss. Fine end to the ODI series on Australia Day though.

Smallest punch in the shortest format


Sigh! By now the T20 series loss looks like a miniscule part of the grand disaster that culminated in the months preceding it. T20 was the best possible opportunity for England to make amends but the blunders continued.

Well, at best, let’s hope everyone else in the team lies back at home, watch some sheeps in the farm and unwind themselves. Errr! Isn’t Cook exactly doing that?

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah


Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)


Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra


SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

India vs Australia 2014-15: Harry Conway replaces Gurinder Sandhu in CA XI squad

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Ahmed Shehzad set to return for ODIs; Sohaib Maqsood ruled out

Australia vs India 2014: Shane Watson uninterested in captaining Australia

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s overseas performances have impressed Mike Hesson

Moeen Ali: Would love to open for England again

Rohit Sharma: India are serious contenders

South Africa may lose momentum ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Has Umesh Yadav cemented his place in India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The Melbourne Cricket Club is formed

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here