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Please don’t blame me for jinxing anything, but it appears as though England may just be on the road to recovery. However, that’s a big may.

We all know about the series loss over in the West Indies (not our finest hour) and needless to say, it wasn’t the best start for our World T20 campaign.

Then to top it all of a defeat in our first official T20 game versus New Zealand, really want to cover it up and blame it on the Duckworth Lewis method, but the scorecard just goes to show our batting had seen no sight of improvement over the winter.

So you can imagine my surprise, shock, amazement at the spectacular show we saw today. Less hiding behind the sofa, more me staring open-mouthed at the television screen.

Alex Hales. Need I say more, just when England wanted a boost they certainly got one.

With Sri Lanka posing a somewhat tricky target of 189-4, I hope I’m not the only one to say that the thought of Malinga, Mendis et al against our batting line up was not a pretty one.

Who knew that what we would witness would be a power-hitting master class from Hales, smashing 116 of just 64, yes 64 balls.

I’m still in shock this very second as to how he could pull off such a show, England’s first international T20 century and an incredible one at that.

Hales not only created the innings of the tournament so far (if I say so myself), but in alliance with Morgan helped push England to reach their highest successful run chase in T20 history.

Now come on, if this isn’t a glimmer of hope I don’t know what is.

A victory to England’s name at last, now me and every fan alike definitely won’t mind seeing the same performance next match, pretty please.

In two days’ time South Africa will be next in line for England, now if Sri Lanka can be beaten, surely we can beat these guys too, right? Fingers crossed.

Luck definitely is not a word appearing in the England team’s vocabulary this winter. With 5 ODIs and 3 T20s England managed just one win across both formats.

Whatever happened to Australia over the course of four months I don’t know, or to England for that matter?

Is it bad that I’m going to focus on England’s ODI win? Just for a little bit at least, you have to give me something to be happy about where cricket is concerned.

Again, it was Ben Stokes who stepped up to the mark in the 4th ODI with 70 runs and a nice 4 wickets to accompany that. Bell, Cook and Buttler were also among those who performed, the latter in particular pulling out all the stops to stop what could have been another Australian whitewash.

To be fair England weren’t too bad in the limited overs, ok they were, I mean the scores show that. But Balance, Morgan, Root and Bopara individually made pretty decent contributions across the board.

But like I’ve said so many times already these past few months, and yes Australia revel in your glory, as they were just the better team… again.

As an England fan it’s been tough going sitting through defeat after defeat, all I want is just a glimmer of hope and to take a series win away with us this winter.

Not too much to ask is it?

I hope not as we have the West Indies limited overs series’ coming up at the end of this month, not to forget the World T20 (my hopes will be high, whether that’s a good thing or not).

And whether we win or not it will be without controversy maker number one, yes, KP. As we’ve seen, Pietersen no longer forms a part of the England cricket team and never will. Shall we call it KP-gate? That’s what most people seem to do now.

Regardless, a big shake up is happening, Flower’s resigned, Swanny’s no longer the team joker – yes I’m still in shock – and a new England set-up is already in the making.

Hopefully exciting and new challenges lie ahead, don’t know if you agree but I totally feel it’s time for something different, especially with such poor results Down Under.

All we can do is see what’s to come this summer, but one thing’s for sure, it won’t be the England team we know.

So that same old feeling returns, the one we haven’t felt for the past couple of years and one we would rather be without. The Ashes are back in Australia’s hands. Just the words alone are painful enough.

I am sat here quite embarrassed, having said in my first post of this 2013/2014 Ashes series that England could still win in from 1-0 down. If only I had hindsight hey?

Having been on such a role recently and with one Ashes win already under our belts from the summer, it was like we had reverted back to the England team of old. Whitewashed and no win to our name.

I’m surprised every England fan isn’t having nightmares about our play this winter in the Land of Oz. Only one simple point can be made, Australia were hands down the far better team.

Our batting line up just ceased to exist, our bowling wasn’t really up to scratch and don’t get me started on team morale (you all know where I’m coming from).

It really is a shame to be honest, so many good players just not a decent result to show for it. It begs the question, was it worth the lack of sleep and dreading the alarm the next morning just to watch the below-par performance?

Wait, silly question… it’s still the Ashes after all!

But it doesn’t go to say that I wouldn’t have like to have seen a win in Adelaide or Melbourne, of course I would. Or even just a sparkling show from Cook, Bell, Anderson or Broad.

Well anyone if truth were told.

Instead it was left up to the young guns, Ben Stokes namely in Melbourne, top scoring for England across both innings and 8 wickets to his name. So maybe England did something right with Stokes’ selection.

The continual changes to the team, however, tells me that something’s not going right – ok well that’s obvious with us not winning anything – but like I said earlier I don’t think team morale is up there with the best.

I suppose all we can hope for now is a tiny miracle, or for a game just to go our way in the limited overs games coming up.

And seeing as keeping my fingers crossed hasn’t worked so well this series I’m not sure that’s the way to go, so we’ll see what we get shall we?

Hmm, so what was painful watching over the past two tests over in Australia was made even more so at Perth. Yes, as hard as it is for me to say, the little urn is back with the Aussies.

After many late nights and early mornings to catch up on the goings on Down Under, it all seems that little bit disappointing that the England boys couldn’t secure, not just a series win, but at least one win so far.

Yes, I know we have two more tests still left to go, but for us that’s all about regaining form and pride as there’s not much left to do now than avoid that ever-humiliating whitewash.

It has to be said that Australia have played far superior than they have over the past few years, with Smith, Warner and Watson all racking up three figures at Perth.

England did play a somewhat better game, however, breaking the 300 barrier for the first time this series. Mainly this was all down to one man, Ben Stokes.

Now in my last post I did say runs would be lovely from him and well, it seemed to work didn’t it? I did not expect however, a brilliant 120, England’s first centurion of the series that reduced their defeat to a miserly 150 runs.

Bar Stokes’ maiden ton, England yet again seemed outplayed throughout the five days. Moving onto the Boxing Day test at Melbourne we’re definitely going to have to pick up our game.

With Stuart Broad now injured yet again this means our number one wicket-taker spot is up for grabs, so I think we’re going to need a little bit of Jimmy magic.

Especially if we hope to replicate the 2010/11 Ashes score at the MCG, Australia all out for 98 and a victory of an innings and 157 runs.

What a day that was, what a series in fact.

But that’s now all in the past and England are faltering, we may have lost the Ashes but I know we can regain them just as quick as we lost them this year.

Let’s just see if they can keep them as long as we did, yeah?

Well anyway, we’ll leave it with Belly to have the final word…

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Well, where do I start? I think it’s a little bit of an understatement to say I was hoping for a better result, just the tiniest bit of improvement at The Adelaide Oval.

Instead, we were treated to Australia leading the way, just as we had done in the summer… oh how long ago that now seems.

Australia winning by 218 runs was not my prediction, neither was another great consecutive spell of bowling from Johnson, or Clarke and Warner yet again scoring runs aplenty.

And what’s happened to England? I’d rather not mention our batting if I can avoid it. It’s quite similar to a horror movie, in the sense that you want to hide behind the sofa, scared of what is coming next.

Again, there were glimpses of hope from Carberry, Root, Bell ad KP, but we can’t keep relying on those few individuals.

The question comes about whether we should change the team but I really do hope it’s just a phase – hope being the operative word.

We’ve already introduced debutant, Ben Stokes, into the fold but it looks as if we’ll have to wait and see what he has in store for the test team (runs would be lovely please).

With the third test at Perth arriving quickly it hasn’t left much time to get used to the idea that England are now 2-0 down in  the series already.

It’s not as if we’re renowned for winning at Perth either, 35 years since we last did in fact.

So England aren’t just going to want to win to break that spell but it just happens to be Captain Cook’s 100th Test, Captain Clarke’s too as it goes so Australia will be pulling out all the stops too I guess.

So two big momentous occasions for the captains, but it all depends on the result. Cook I couldn’t say it better myself.

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I don’t just want an England result, of course it would be great, but we need it too – lose at Perth and we lose the series and come on we don’t want that to happen now do we?

So all we can do is watch in suspense, oh and keep our fingers crossed to help secure that England victory.

If not I think I’m just going to stay behind the sofa…

It’s that time of year again, sleepless nights and endless caffeine intake to keep you up throughout the night to endure England (fingers crossed) win another Ashes series in Australia.

With the first test been and gone, I can definitely say the 2013/2014 Ashes Series has already bought its fair share of drama.

To start with though do I have to talk about the way we played, it was bad enough watching it let alone write about it? My pride just won’t take it.

We all know the result, Australia won. No in fact, Australia smashed us by 381 runs and although I hate to admit it, outplayed us by a mile.

Mitchell Johnson has seemingly come out of nowhere once again to baffle our top order, in fact our whole batting line-up come to think of it.

Not forgetting Warner, Haddin and Clarke who were the thorns in England’s side where their batting was concerned.

Though to be honest, just look at the rest of the batting from the Aussie’s, it’s not that impressive as England’s so, where are we going wrong?

It’s those few individuals that can make a match, a victory. England don’t have those key players, well they do, it’s just that they didn’t seem to show up on the day.

Now us fans could all sit here and look mournfully into our cups of tea, imagining the Ashes Urn being reunited with Australia once more… but it’s not all bad, trust me.

It wasn’t as if no one performed, Stuart Broad, pantomime villain to those Down Under showed glimpses of skill.

Yes we’ve seen the footage of how he should have walked earlier in the summer, and yes we know he shouldn’t have done it etc. etc.

But, to hear the Aussie crowd that predominantly filled The Gabba silenced after Broad’s first wicket, don’t say you didn’t enjoy that moment.

It is ironic and to my extreme amusement though that the 2nd highest run-scorer in our 1st innings (not hard I’ll admit), and 2nd highest wicket taker so far, was Broad.

The man who received article after article in the Aussie media, the man who the whole of Australia had written off before play had even begun.

If this doesn’t make you the slightest bit happy after the result… yet hopefully it is onwards and upwards for England, well it better be anyway.

I’ll be brave and put it out there, I think England can still win it from here even without our number 3 stalwart Jonathan Trott.

As you may know Trott has flown home due to a stress-related illness, so all the best to him. In his absence however, I’m sure the team will come back fighting.

Let’s hope next time round you’ll be reading about an England victory, they are much better to write about believe me!

Four days have passed and it has just, only just, sunk in that England now have three consecutive Ashes series wins under their belt.

I had a sneaky feeling back in July that it was again our year, come on don’t say you didn’t either, I think most people across the country had written Australia off before they had even started.

You could say I was slightly shocked of how much of a fight Australia put up after seeing their performance at Trent Bridge, and fair play to them as well.

But for me, every moment that had passed in the series was all forgotten as that little urn was held aloft, in front of an ecstatic England crowd at The Oval.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (zimbio.com)

Photo Credit: Getty Images (zimbio.com)

Despite the fifth and final test being a draw and we all know why – I won’t go into it, as I feel a rant may ensue – it just doesn’t take away that special feeling does it?

With the 5th Test initially going Australia’s way with Watson and Smith both scoring centuries, of equal importance in their careers, it was England who were in with the chance of yet another victory.

Whether it was a win or draw however, the test result, much to my delight, prevented the Aussies from claiming a single win.

The 3-0 win margin, just looks oh so more attractive… surely that now gives us bragging rights over in Australia later this year?

The challenge I set myself for this blog though, was to look back over the 2013 Ashes as a whole and pick my favourite moment. I failed.

Now I am known for my exaggeration, but to pick one moment for me was truly impossible. How can you do it?

As I got thinking, I built up a small collection of moments that would always stick in my mind of how great a series this was. Where to start…

Well there was Bell’s fantastic form throughout the series, then Root’s maiden century at no other than the Home of Cricket, as well as Broad’s magical bowling spell to secure that amazing series win.

It’s been one extraordinary series, one that makes so much more excited for the winter. Is it too early to hope for yet another English success Down Under?

Nah, course it isn’t, because for me, England just keep on surpassing all expectation over recent years.

Roll on the T20 and ODI series!

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