They defeated australia even when they were 155/6 and had to nearly hundred runs at almost 8 runs per over. They managed to tie the final even when they needed over a hundred and fifty runs and had just 4 wickets in hand. And australia was even loosing to bangladesh.
They started hoping for return of "ashes" which has been away for 16 years. And they had all the reason to do so. Aussie batting seemd to be completely dependent on Andrew Symonds and Hussey, both not in the test squad. Bowling did not seem to be at its lethal best and always so accurate fielding was looking to be patchy.
But they had discounted the most important factor. Shane warne. Wanre who has been a real terror for england for last 12 years. Warne, who has beaten english batsmen all around their legs.
Warne is a great bowler. But I am not sure if his success in Ashes shouls be credited to his brilliance or stupidity of english batsmen. And if one looks at the way Ian Bell got out, he'll endorse the second reason. How can you not offer a shot to the ball which is pitched in the line of middle stump. If its a googly, its on a bad line. You cant expect warne to do that. Hardly 5% chance of that. If he is going to leg-spin it, he would like to lure you into the drive and will pitch it on or out off off-stump. So chances of being a leg-spin, hardly 20%. 75% of the times its going to be a straighter ball. Well if you think you can pad at that, go play hockey.
Ian bell averages 45 in domestic cricket in 78 matches. Not a bad average at all. But against what attacks. Against the likes of Roni Irani and mark Elham who will get murdered anywhere in the world but in the seeming and swinging conditions in England. Or against the likes of Ashely Giles, whose only skill is to consistently bowl a negative line and bore a batsmen out. Only players who could play warne with some confidence were Flintoff, surprisingly is a real good batsmanof spin, and Pietersen, who is imported from South Africa.
Now the tone is set for the Ashes. England has played very well for last one year or so. But the hsitory is going to repeat it self. Australia will crush their confidence so badly that they will take atleast a year to rebuild it. Year next to that will go strenghtening, rebuilding the team and its image, finding and importing/stealing new talent. But for what purpose. By that time Ashes 2007 would have arrived and I will be copy pasting the same article after changing the date and few names.