DAVID PYE: It is always great getting one over the Aussies
11:00pm Friday 16th August 2013 in Sport
WHAT a fantastic end to the fourth Ashes Test we witnessed on Monday in the fading light at Durham as Stuart Broad fired England to a victory that meant they won the series outright after the Old Trafford draw helped them retain the urn.
There have been detractors who have bemoaned the standard of both sides in this series, despite the comprehensive home triumph but, like in any sporting contest, the age-old adage applies – you can only beat what is in front of you.
I do agree, however, this is one of the poorest Aussie teams in my lifetime and the fact England have stuttered on occasions but could still end up winning the series 4-0 is testament to that.
But does it make it any less pleasing? I do not think so.
As a youngster growing up who loved his cricket almost as much as his football, Ashes magic moments were about as fleeting as a controversial shirt sponsor at Wanderers.
Any odd highlight was usually a break from the norm of an Aussie battering.
I think that is why the 2005 series was such a landmark – and why it ended with an open-top bus parade. It had been that long since any of us had seen England win the Ashes, the euphoric wave swept us all up.
As we stand now, England have won three in a row and four out of five including that 2005 epic.
But the difference in mood is palpable. England are now favourites and it has been a routine victory on the whole.
And while I hesitate to take anything away from this crop, there is no denying the level of the opponent has dropped.
Even the off-field manner, aside from David Warner’s little altercation with Joe Root in Birmingham, is not the traditional Australian way.
Skipper Michael Clarke was that gracious and humble in defeat this week they should check his birth certificate to make sure he is an Aussie. Where is the brash and defiant attitude of the likes of Glenn McGrath or Merv Hughes?
I bet it even irks those greats because the rivalry is far less fierce circa 2013.
We all remember the 2005 series also had the sense of respect between rivals who enjoyed a beer together after each Test and I am sure that is still the case.
But they had villains we loved to hate like McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee.
Now we even sympathise when someone like Shane ‘lbw’ Watson is caught on his pads for the umpteenth time.
I think that is maybe why there has not been much furore over this series win – the fact the competition is just not there takes off the gloss a little.
Nevertheless, after the Lions rugby triumph and this Ashes victory this summer, it is still nice to get one over our antipodean friends and enjoy rubbing it in.