Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Overton: England determined to avoid Ashes whitewash

Overton: England determined to avoid Ashes whitewash

Sack the tea lady's cat's cousin. But for me, it's not about how proud I am as a cricketer, it's about winning games for England. Blame Ben Stokes. Blame Avon and Somerset Police.

For 15 days, England tried their level best to compete, but had to endure another Ashes humiliation Down Under.

They're the best young players coming through in England at the moment.

It is one of sport's oldest cliches that "the opposition are allowed to play well", but the fact is that Australia have played well - much better than England.

With the Ashes won by Australia and with two Tests left to play, organisers and fans alike are searching for ways of making the rest of the series interesting, aside from the obvious answer that seems to be the solution to most English cricketing problems: drinking responsibly. It's a shock to those guys when they get out. When Australia gets on top in a sporting battle they go for the jugular and don't let go.

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The remaining two Tests will be played in Melbourne starting on Boxing Day and in Sydney from Jan 3.

None of the other shenanigans, however regrettable, have played a significant part in the loss of the urn before Christmas. They also drew with Pakistan.

Australia were able to pick the same team throughout the series sweep in 2013/14 but Smith may not have that luxury due to an injury doubt over Mitchell Starc. While England's first-choice off-spinner Moeen Ali first fell to a side strain and then bruised fingers as a result of the unfriendly Kookaburra ball, his counterpart Nathan Lyon's reputation as one of the world's most improved bowlers has further enhanced.

Broad, meanwhile, has managed only five wickets at an average of 61.80 and suffered the worst test figures of his career at the WACA, where he went wicketless for 142 runs.

"The pitches out here are generally quite flat and you've seen from their bowlers if you have a bit of pace you can still take wickets here".

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Smith is extremely eager to experience another 5-0 whitewash, after tasting its sweetness in the 2013-14 series.

Australia struggled through testing weather, less than ideal pitch conditions and the determination of England. Why do we not have express pace bowlers?

Though they say they love us like brothers that colonial chip many Aussies carry against the mother country continues to drive them relentlessly on.

In a probable playing eleven where England would surely field Mark Stoneman at the top and two out of James Vince, Dawid Malan and Gary Ballance, their eventual numbers three and five - Vince and Malan, respectively - meant that the tournament commenced with sufficiently threatening inexperience in the batting line-up.

In the final analysis, the climate, the lifestyle, the pitches - all these factors are significant in explaining why certain teams thrive in certain conditions.

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The reason it is hard to post those enormous totals is because tailenders or lower-order batsmen of the visiting teams simply can not stand the bouncer barrage of the Australian attack.

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