Ashes 2013: Four talking points as England win fourth Test & series

Ashes 2013: Harry Kemble reflects on the main talking points from the fourth Test which saw England win the Ashes

Harry Kemble
By Harry Kemble
stuart broad
Stuart Broad took 11 match wickets in the fourth Test Photo: The Sport Review

Broad’s on a roll – again

Stuart Broad has long been famous for blowing away opposition middle-orders out of nowhere. His spells in the 2009 Ashes Test at the Oval (5-37) and at Trent Bridge against India (6-46) stick in the memory. The Nottinghamshire seamer took 11 wickets in the match at Chester-le-Street and certainly cannot be accused of simply picking up nine, ten and Jack; seven of his wickets were Australia’s top seven batsmen. When the chips are down, Broad has real knack of getting something from the pitch when others seem unable to. Shame he can’t seem to do it on the sub-continent, too, but at 27, he still has time on his side to become the complete article. James Anderson has been slightly below-par for a couple of Tests now and may ask for a rest come the final match at the Oval – a dead rubber. If that was the case, Broad would have a rare chance to lead the attack, an opportunity in which he would surely thrive.

Warner’s individual brilliance

Australia’s opening batsman David Warner has had a tricky tour to say the least; crowd abuse after punching Joe Root in May, persistent questions from the press and a pressure to perform following his lengthy ban would have seen many players wilt. But the 26-year-old came through it all to nearly beat England single-handedly in Durham. His second innings’ score of 71 guided his side to 168 for two. Australia at that stage were well on top chasing 299 to win. However, Tim Bresnan produced a rip-snorting delivery to catch Warner’s outside edge. By then, the left-hander had proven his worth to a developing Australia side and showed he must continue to open alongside first innings’ centurion Chris Rogers, in place of Shane Watson.

Durham atmosphere

The fourth Ashes Test was just the fifth Test hosted by Durham since their inaugural match back in 2003. The picturesque ground – overlooked by Lumley Castle – hardly has a deep cricketing heritage but that is not to take anything away from the hard-working county. The Riverside ground may lack the history of stadiums further south but if the convivial atmosphere for each day of this Test is anything to go by, the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground has a bright future.

Well-played England or unlucky Australia?

A 3-0 score-line flatters England slightly. By Andy Flower’s own admission, the hosts have not played their best cricket in this series. What they have done, though, is held firm in those critical situations that decide the course of a Test match and they have won the crucial sessions. Just when Australia thought they were in with a sniff of knocking off the final 131 to win with eight wickets in tact, England blasted themselves right back into proceedings, taking nine wickets in one crazy hour. It is little wonder coach Darren Lehmann has threatened to sack the Aussie middle order and find a set of batsmen who can build an innings or at least stem the flow of wickets. “If they don’t learn, we’ll find blokes that will. No-one’s guaranteed (their place). Apart from probably Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers,” he said after the match in Durham. Australia should take note from Ian Bell – the series’ top-scorer. Bell used to have the insufferable habit of scoring a flashy 20 or 30 and then throwing his wicket away but has seemingly overcome the problem in this series: three hundreds and two fifties have forever placed the Warwickshire man in the hearts of the Barmy Army. He is only 31, and as a middle-order batsman, has many more years, hopefully, in Test cricket.

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