Today, for the first time in 75 years, England completed a win over Australia in a Lord’s Test. Flintoff, who has already announced he will retire from Test cricket after this Ashes Series, will be the big hero, with five wickets in the last innings, but there was more to it than that.
A superb opening partnership between Strauss and Cook on the first day meant that the Aussies were always on the back foot, and an unusually potent last stand from Anderson and Onions rounded off a good opening innings.When the Australians came in to bat, it was Anderson and Onions who did most to take wickets from them.
The captain took the brave decisions not to enforce the follow on and then to declare on 311-6 on Sunday morning. Those appear to have been vindicated when wickets started to tumble early on in Australia’s second innings.
All credit to Clarke and Haddin, who caused a few English jitters late yesterday by holding out for hours and getting a century and a fifty respectively. But they could not rescue a team chasing 522, and this morning Flintoff and Swann took the wickets needed.
After a tenacious (and gamesmanship-fuelled) draw in Cardiff, England are looking strong to regain the Ashes. The 2005 Series was an unexpected victory against a superb side after 16 years of failure. The 2006/7 tour series was a drubbing by Australia, restoring their pride and severely denting ours. However, since then England have been playing better cricket and Australia have lost some of their top players. If England can win the series, they will prove that 2005 was not a flash-in-the pan. What’s more, it’ll knock some arrogant Aussies down a peg or two, which is always good for a laugh.