As promised yesterday, here are several compelling reasons Why England Will Win the Ashes. Get these down you as quick as you can… by the morning you should be feeling fine.
England Are In-Form & Also Better
(And if that sounds like incautious hubris, that’s because it is.)
Games won by Australia in the last 10 Ashes Tests.
- If you ever get stuck in an elevator with a baseball nerd well-versed in “sabermetrics,” he will at some point definitely say “The best indicator of future performance is past performance.” (I couldn’t advise what to do next, although outlining the statistical aberration of Don Bradman’s batting average would certainly be worth a try.)
James Anderson’s bowling average in Tests played in England since the start of 2010.
- Everywhere else, Anderson is still very good. At home in recent years, he’s better than Wasim Akram (career bowling average: 23.62), Michael Holding (23.68), and Dennis Lillee (23.92).
Hours batted by Jonathan Trott in his debut Test. (Opposition: Australia.)
- Trott isn’t always easy on the eye but he is extraordinarily effective. Batting number three, he never sells his wicket cheaply and, whatever the match situation, is consistently reliable. Since Ricky Ponting stopped playing (frankly, since he stopped playing well), Australia’s number three position has been miles less productive.
Test wickets taken (in 52 matches) by Graeme Swann since Shane Warne last played for Australia.
- Easily good enough to keep Monty Panesar out the team (himself the taker of 164 Test wickets), Swann is also – as everybody knows – especially excellent against left-handers, something this Australian team has in unfortunate abundance.
Test wickets taken (in 67 matches) by 15 Australian spin bowlers combined since Shane Warne last played for Australia.
- How do you replace one of the greatest players the game has ever seen? Not easily.
Matt Prior’s batting average (in 28 matches) since the start of 2011.
- These days, he’s a great keeper too.
Combined batting average of Matthew Wade (12 matches) and Brad Haddin (13 matches) since the start of 2011.
- Yep, advantage England.
(But What’s Up With Ian Bell?)
Ian Bell’s batting average in 19 Tests played between July 01, 2009 and July 01, 2011.
Ian Bell’s batting average in 23 Tests played since July 01, 2011.
- All the talent in the world; still weirdly frustrating. Seemingly never really out of form, but with a maddening habit of getting himself out anyway, Bell could average 20 or 80 in this Ashes series, and either way you wouldn’t be too surprised.
(Please note: portions of this post may have been negatively affected by my baby daughter crying earlier. It took me a while to help her think happy thoughts again [I should have said, You may be a New Jersey girl, but you’ll love cricket someday too].)