The 2013 Ashes is over, and now it’s time for some rewind. So here’s a look back at from impressive performances in the series, one from each Test.
Ashton Agar: Without doubt, James Anderson was the hero of the opening Ashes Test at the Trent Bridge with his 10-wicket match haul, which sunk the Aussies after they had gained some sort of momentum in the Test. But, we picked out debutant Ashton Agar’s batting exploits just for the alacrity of the effort. He was a youngster playing in his first game, chosen primarily for his bowling abilities, coming in at number 11 and thrashing the best of English bowlers all over the park. The impressive aspect of his knock was that he did not slog, but played proper cricketing shots and yet made 98 from 101 balls in an incredible innings.
Graeme Swann: The second Test at Lord’s saw many brilliant performances. Hundreds from Ian Bell and Joe Root and a five-for from Ryan Harris. But, the standout effort came from the off-spinner who ended up with nine wickets in the match. Significantly, it was his five-wicket haul in the first innings that set up the victory for England. Having put up 361 on the board batting first, Swann’s 5/44 saw Australia crumble to 128 all-out, from which they was no way back for them. With an improbable target to get, the Aussies were again done in by Swann in the second innings, who grabbed 4 for 78.
Michael Clarke: The Australian captain had a forgettable series but for the one spectacular knock at Old Trafford. Having been beaten in the opening two Tests, Australia sought some inspiration from their skipper to stay alive in the series, and Clarke did exactly what was required. It helped that Aussies got first use of the good batting wicket, but that takes nothing away from the quality of Clarke’s knock. His 187 off 314 balls was arguably the best knock of the series considering the kind of pressure it was scored under. Had it not been for the weather, it might well have ended up as a match-winning effort.
Stuart Broad: The England all-rounder has rarely lived up to his potential over the years, but at Chester-le-Street, he was unstoppable with the ball. While he picked up a five-for in Australia’s first innings to keep England in the hunt after they themselves had been rolled over for a low score, it was his second-innings effort that was match and series-clinching. Chasing 299, Australia were coasting at 147 for 1 before Broad blew away the middle and lower order with his figures of 6 for 50. Australia collapsed to 224 all out and The Ashes was England’s.
Shane Watson: The Australian all-rounder was literally playing for his place in the eleven when he came out to bat at number three at The Oval. And, Watson delivered with an incredible knock. Instead of hanging around like the typical number three,he adopted the Ricky Ponting approach, going after the bowling, and succeeded.The number of times he thrashed the ball to the boundary made it seem like he was taking out his frustration of failure in the early games. In the end, his 176 was anamazing effort.
--By A Cricket Analyst