That’s a headline I spied when browsing for the updated score yesterday – with the sub heading along the lines of there “only being one away win in the last ten years”.
I didn’t read the whole article because a) the content may not have lived up to the click bait headline or b) it may have wound me up and c) It may have influenced what I’m about to write and d) I was watching my son’s match and shouldn’t have been on my phone anyway …
So I just threw it out there to the scorer next to me, and a couple of the other mums nearby.
They were as incredulous as me. Clearly, we felt that the point of The Ashes as an event is in its heritage, the outcome of each series being only a part of that. Otherwise it’d be just another Test Series. The fact is – as with all the great annual sporting events such as Wimbledon, the FA Cup, The Open – there’s a bigger buzz and hopefully, more people are drawn into the sport.
The Ashes now, taken on an individual match basis, is far from predictable – this series has shown that. Australia were favourites yet we won the first match, lost the second and then basically whupped their backsides in the next two. All out for 60 before lunch? Predictable? Really? I’ve never seen social media so excited over a cricket match.
So who would have thought that, after the last two matches, we’d be heading into Day 3 of the final one on 100-8 after an Aussie innings of 481? Predictable says we’ll be out very quickly, follow on and Australia regain some pride. But the way things have gone, who’s to say our last two batsman won’t put on a record breaking stand, followed by our bowlers sticking it to them again? We just don’t know. And we’re loving it like that.
Pre 2005, The Ashes was predictable: Australia always won. Well, actually they didn’t – our record isn’t as bad as you might think – it was just that extra long stretch from 86/87. But the public’s misconception was that we always lost.
So if predictable = England winning at home, we’ll take it.