The Iconic Edition
News
|11 Sep|4 mins

Why This Ashes Series has Recovered our Love of Cricket

The urn is back Down Under
Nick Banks
11 Sep
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2001. The year Kylie released ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ and Big Brother debuted on Australian TV. It might seem like yesterday but in fact it’s 18 years ago: enough time to be born, enjoy your childhood and then record a number one single - if you’re Billie Eilish.

It’s also the length of time we’ve had to wait for Australia to win the Ashes again in England: there have been four series defeats since. Last Sunday though, as Tim Paine’s men took an unassailable 2-1 lead in the latest series between cricket’s oldest enemies, the tiny old urn was guaranteed a spot on the plane back down under. What a turnaround after 2018’s year to forget.

And while beating England on their own turf is good enough in itself, this Ashes has reignited our love for cricket for a host of reasons. But be warned, Steve Smith is only allowed to feature once.


News
|11 Sep|4 mins

Why This Ashes Series has Recovered our Love of Cricket

The urn is back Down Under
Nick Banks
11 Sep
Share:

2001. The year Kylie released ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ and Big Brother debuted on Australian TV. It might seem like yesterday but in fact it’s 18 years ago: enough time to be born, enjoy your childhood and then record a number one single - if you’re Billie Eilish.

It’s also the length of time we’ve had to wait for Australia to win the Ashes again in England: there have been four series defeats since. Last Sunday though, as Tim Paine’s men took an unassailable 2-1 lead in the latest series between cricket’s oldest enemies, the tiny old urn was guaranteed a spot on the plane back down under. What a turnaround after 2018’s year to forget.

And while beating England on their own turf is good enough in itself, this Ashes has reignited our love for cricket for a host of reasons. But be warned, Steve Smith is only allowed to feature once.


@steve_smith49

@cricketaustralia

1. Steve Smith

What’s left to say about the all-twitching, karate-chopping, batting-Terminator that is Steven Peter Devereux Smith? After the ignominy of his year-long ban following the ball-tampering affair in 2018, he came back to cricket like he didn’t just want to atone for his own sins but the sins of all mankind. He’s scored 671 runs already in this series so far - despite missing three innings. Six hundred and seventy one! The Don has finally found a successor.

2. The Friendly Rivalry

After South Africa and all that, Cricket Australia promised an overhaul of the culture of the team, which had become, ahem, a little bit too much. Coming up against England was always going to test the newfound nice-guy image, but the battle between the sides has been as good natured as it’s been hard fought, marked by handshakes and hugs rather than threats of physical harm. Skipper Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer deserve the high-fives for that.

3. Test Cricket Being the Best Cricket

Hot on the heels of a thrilling one-day world cup, there was a danger the five-day format might again be seen as the game’s eccentric old grandparent, jabbering on incoherently for hours before falling asleep in the sun. In fact, this Ashes just proved test cricket is still king, with more twists and turns than a Scandi Netflix crime show. From holding on for a draw at Lord’s to Sunday’s victory in the dying overs, it’s been a hell of a ride. And then there was Headingley…


@stokesy

4. The Headingly Test

Some straight out called it the best test match they’d ever seen, as a superhuman innings from Ben Stokes gave England victory when they looked all the world like they were beaten. After a few days of ups and downs and tos and fros at Headingley, the nerve-shreddingly explosive ending will live forever in the memory – especially Nathan Lyon’s missed run-out - and highlighted every single last detail of why test cricket isn’t just the best form of cricket, but the best sport in the world. If you saw this one, you’ll agree.

5. Australia are Back

Last year there were many writing off Australian test cricket forever more. The damaged reputations, the weakened selections, the poor results. Fast forward to this series and, though there are still question marks over the batting, the side has balance again, with Smith proving himself to once more be the outstanding stick-wielder in the world. He’s backed up by a pace attack – led by Pat Cummins - so potent they are able to switch and change between tests with similar dead-eyed results. Is it too early to proclaim a new era of dominance…? Let’s just win the next test first, eh.

Wear your love...

Wear your love...

...when you set up those backyard stumps.

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Nick Banks
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