Tuesday, December 23, 2008

England's Test Debacle

Well most of the world is now casting its eyes of the decline of the world dominating Australian team. Since the retirement of many greats of the caliber of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist and lot others, this has been the case. And more so after Australia failed to continue their winning streak of 16 consecutive wins in tests. And this followed by a 2-0 defeat at the hands of old foes India recently. Adding fuel to the fire would be the loss to South Africa despite posing them with a stiff target of 414 at Perth on Sunday, which they did it with ease. This is needless to be said I suppose.

Anyway, a lot has been spoken about the issue in recent times. However, in addition to Australia who is facing a major set back in tests, there is another test team who was once upon a time one of the opponents who had posed a threat to the then mighty Aussies. This was England, when they regained the Ashes in 2005, after beating the No 1 Australian team 2-1. This was no fluke. Similar to Australia, even England was found to destroy the opposition in test cricket until then. This had also seen England being placed in the No 2 position as per the then ICC test rankings. And most of the cricket stalwarts were of the opinion that England should have been No1.

Until the Ashes victory in 2005, England had beaten all the major test teams in world cricket namely South Africa, Australia, New Zealand & West Indies. Of course Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. The stats of England until then read : 7 wins out of 8 tests against West indies, 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand, 2-1 series win against Australia, 2-1 series win in the 4 match series against South Africa. The only loss being at the hands of Sri Lanka, in late 2003, which saw England draw the first test by batting the fifth day with only one wicket in hand. This was the caliber of the then England test team.

The only team that England hadn't faced during that period was India and Pakistan. Finally a series against Pakistan was on the cards, and the unexpected happened. England lost the 3 match test series 2-0, with the third test by an innings in early 2005. Still, all was not lost for England though. They later beat Pakistan at home, which is famous for the DarrelHair episode and then a series level against India in 2006.England had still made it to the No 2 position, despite leveling the home series against Sri lanka later that year. It all started with the next Ashes, where England were brutally thrashed by Australia 5-0, which started the end of England's dominance. And until today, England have never been able to wake up for that trauma.

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