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England. Have. Won. The. Ashes.

I cannot think of 5 better words in the English language right now!

They have won, actually won.

Not that I doubted them at any stage, but tell me that at one point today when it was 100-0 and Australia needed 199 more runs to win, you didn’t have a “oh wait a minute, the Aussies could win this one” moment.

I’ll admit I did, just for a few seconds before tea. Then I remembered, “no this is England we’re talking about.”

It’s like they love teasing Australia. Yeah we’ll let you get your first hundred opening partnership since 2005, but then after tea, we’ll knock you down for 104 runs.

Just once, it would be rather nice for my nerves to have a rest and for England to win 2010/11-esque by securing victory with an innings to spare.

Today was still as equally thrilling though. Broad’s inspired spell simply tore through the Aussie’s batting line-up, you could just see the emotion and determination with every wicket.

The best of which had to be the beauty to Clarke, now this is not up for debate. It was just one of those deliveries, one that potentially sealed the deal.

Figures of 11-121, amazing. Yet there was one other performance at Durham that made all this possible.

How can I not mention Belly? His third century of the series and clearly the highest run-scorer to match. We just couldn’t have done it without him… you can always depend on a Warwickshire Bear.

Just writing this I still can’t believe the position we’re in, surely time for celebration?

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The last test at The Oval is 9 (very long) days away, I’m sure everyone is with me when I say I’m sure we can get over the line with another win. Now what a feeling that would be!

I already can’t wait for the next battle – sorry I mean test – to commence. I have no idea what my emotions will be like after those gruelling 5 days, and all this just for a little urn. That’s cricket for you.

It really has been great cricket from both sides, as not to forget Rogers’ gritty century, or Ryan Harris’ best bowling figures of 7-117.

But England, this 2013 Ashes series is now yours, there’s just the last test to win. Who will be next to #RISE?

England don’t half test your stress levels.

If this Ashes series couldn’t be any more tense, Australia decided to step up to the mark and put in a more than decent performance with the bat at Old Trafford.

And despite a KP 100 – at last – and another Swann 5-fer, it remained the Aussie’s test. Clarke in particular the stand out man.

But lo and behold, the good old English weather made an appearance for what seemed the first time this summer.

Now I’m usually all “sun, sun, sun”, but when it comes down to it, I couldn’t have been happier on the last day when that rain fell.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved England to have won this third test and retained the Ashes in style (along with a 5-0 whitewash of course).

But all the same, I’m sure any England fan can’t deny that the fact the Ashes stay in England once again, is one amazing feeling. A view shared by the England team themselves.

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Yes, the test was a nervy one, in which England benefitted. For me the highlight however, was not necessarily the cricket.

Warner. The pantomime villain. The Manchurian crowd supporting their beloved Yorkie Joe Root as Warner came out to bat… it seems as though the Roses rivalry was soon forgotten.

It was Warner taking it all in his stride, playing along with the fans that I liked. Instead of an atmosphere being created, he merely added to the humour and intensity that an Ashes series brings between the teams and their loyal supporters.

So it may have been a subdued ending to what looked like an Australian win, but all in all, it sure does make the next two tests even more enticing.

The Ashes could still be drawn… but come on lads, I know there is more fight to come to #RISE for that series win!

Just a quick little post about the blog itself.

As you can probably tell, I have decided to tackle the world of social media with my blog.

You can now find Caught At Slip on Twitter (@caughtatslip_) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/caughtatslip)!

How exciting?! I really hope you lot will take kindly to ‘following’ and ‘liking’ these two pages… it is mainly to promote the blog to a greater audience of cricket fans to get them interacting and reading about the sport.

So if you’re one of those social media types please (pretty please?) take a look at Caught At Slip.

Oh… and thank you in advance if you do!

P.S. Don’t forget you can also follow the blog, just click the ‘subscribe here’ button at the right of this page.

“The Root, the Root, the Root”

Come on, don’t say that you didn’t join in the chants with the rest of the Lord’s crowd. It was hard not to as England’s newest member of the team, stepped up to the occasion to appear as if he had been playing Ashes cricket all his life.

I think (no, I know) Root has cemented himself as opening batsman after that stunning knock at the Home of Cricket merely hours ago.

Honestly, I have rooted (sorry had to be done) for him to be in the England side for the past two years and after his ‘honour’s board worthy’ 180, and fantastic figures of 2-9 I don’t know how anyone can argue against the young guy’s talent.

I’m still sat here now, saying to myself 2-0. Is it really 2-0? England lead 2-0 in the Ashes. Yeah… it still hasn’t sunk in.

But what do the lads think?

 

I don’t want to jinx anything but could we go all the way, *cough* whitewash.

I don’t see why we can’t, Bell’s in superior form, our bowlers are excelling and we have Captain Cook at the fore.

With now a 10-day break between the next Ashes Test at Old Trafford, we are going to have to wait even longer to see if England can actually win the Ashes. As yes, if we win the next test that Ashes Urn will remain in English hands!

Could this battle be any more tense? I think not. #RISE

And to sum it up in the words of Graeme Swann… 

“Ohhh, Jimmy Jimmy!”

Talk about edge of your seat stuff, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I don’t know about anyone else but I need to sleep for a week after that nerve-shattering final day at Trent Bridge. England don’t half do it the hard way. I could barely watch those final few overs, will Jimmy do it, or won’t he?

And it all just happened to end in a DRS decision, swaying England’s way. Either way, it didn’t stop me – and by the looks of things, everyone at the ground – fist pumping the air and cheering non-stop as England players, arms aloft, sped round the ground in their usual manner.

Their tweets later on that day replicated this scene, Matty P sums is up for me…

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Then we have Brett Lee, rather 2005-esque wouldn’t you say?

I’m not going to lie, but emotion does take over, well what do you expect enduring five days of intense, compelling cricket from both sides? It was like I was a member of that winning side, especially after experiencing the atmosphere myself.

Lucky enough to have tickets for the first day (I know, I still can’t believe it), I witnessed what was the best day of cricket I have seen live. The atmosphere was incredible, the crowd electric, and the cricket was played at a different level.

Both the English and Aussie fans revelled in each other’s misfortunes as the day unfolded. Ashes cricket just brings it out in you.

Over the course of the five days, we saw young number 11 wonders, a match-saving century and decision debacles. If this continues over the next few weeks, I’m telling you now, I don’t know if I can cope with the drama.

Emotional? Yes. Patriotic? Yes? Incredible cricket? Absolutely.

Let’s see who is next to #RISE for England in this Ashes series.

The front page of the Daily Telegraph captures the feelings of players and fans alike.
Photo credit: caughtatslip.wordpress.com

So, England managed to pull of an impressive win in time for the Champions Trophy this weekend. Despite losing the series 2-1, the outstanding batting performances from Buttler and Morgan, 47* (28) and 49 respectively, have set England’s sights high. Not to mention Broad and Finn are back, fit and ready to take England to supremacy in the 50-over game.

New Zealand did prove to be a tough match in this ODI series, with the likes of Guptill, Southee and Taylor a contest for our side. But, England was not without talented individuals, with Trott, Anderson and Bell all proving their worth; not forgetting Tredwell’s notable first performance in the series, along with Root’s maiden international ODI wicket.

With the Champions Trophy and Ashes series ahead, it could be said that England were in great form heading into the busy summer that awaits.

It wasn’t necessarily the individuals’ performances however, that were catching the attention of the public, media and the commentators themselves. The topic on everybody’s lips over the past One-Day series was the concern over England’s kit in the shorter formats.

Bright, bold and somewhat controversial, England’s vibrant red attire led some fans reminiscing over the kits of previous years. But the question is, is it really that bad?

It isn’t as if we haven’t seen red England shirts in the past, take 2006 and 2009 where red was the “dominant” colour. Some fans and pundits alike just can’t get their heads round the idea, I guess I didn’t even realise that it was such a major part of the game as it is.

Out of interest what do you as the fans think… is it that you just prefer the kits of the recent years, or maybe are you just a die-hard fan of the kits of yesteryear? Let’s see if this year, it really is a big deal, especially with the Champions Trophy about to get underway.

With that debate started, only time will tell as to how England will fare in this year’s competition. With the first game set for this Saturday against our closest rivals, Australia, it sure will be a battle worth watching. Let’s hope for more of the same this weekend where our batting is concerned, as it doesn’t come more entertaining than that.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

In what was the first test series of the summer, England did not fail to disappoint as much expectation lies ahead in the rest of the 2013 cricket calendar. With back-to-back Ashes Series and the Champions Trophy soon to get under way, it could be said that the New Zealand Test Series was overshadowed. But, by the calibre of the performances as well as the excitement and support that was seen over the past two weeks, it was clear that this was not the case.

In just a two test match series, Lord’s set the international season off in style. In a low scoring test, many fans were sceptical over England’s chances, as New Zealand’s pace attack kept England to 232 all out. With the young middle-order Yorkshire pair, Root and Bairstow, the highest scorers with 40 and 41 respectively, it seemed as though a lot of hope was pinned on England’s bowlers.

Who could doubt our bowling line up though, when you have the likes of Anderson, Broad and Finn. Knocking New Zealand out for 207 left England with a surprising lead, leaving Jimmy with a five-for and surpassing that amazing 300 test wickets mark. After England scored only 213 in their second innings, New Zealand were chasing 238 as Southee, the pick of the Blackcaps bowlers, claimed seven wickets. This time round however, it was Stuart Broad’s turn to show off his skill, tearing through the New Zealand line up, Broad was left with figures of 7-44. The opposition fell to a measly 68 all out, in what was an amazing couple of hours of test cricket. It was England’s hour of glory as they left the infamous Lord’s ground with a 1-0 lead as they headed off to Headingley.

Yet if we thought the first test match was England’s bowlers in top form, Headingley made way for the batsmen to prove their worth.  At 67-3 and losing two wickets in two balls, it seemed as though it was to be yet another low scoring game. Bring on young Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, both playing for the first time internationally on their home turf. It was Root who stole the limelight, in a sparkling show of talent, skill and maturity at the crease for such a young player. Just missing out on a debut hundred at Lord’s with 71, it then seemed rather fitting for him to finally reach the milestone in front of a home crowd. The emotion was clear for everyone to see, including Bairstow who was equally happy for his fellow team mate. He was not to be overshadowed however, he himself making a brilliant 64, contributing to take England to 354 all out.

Reducing New Zealand therefore to 174 was an even greater achievement for England as they had a 180 run lead at the end of the second day’s play, with Swann finally making an impact in this series. Captain Cook was the next man to rack up three figures with 130, as he and Trott fought long to take England to 287-5dec. New Zealand now required 468 runs to win but having not scored above 207 so far in the series, it was inevitable that England were about to steal the win. Swann for the second time in the match destroyed the batting line up, resulting in a 10 wicket match haul and an England series win as New Zealand were all out for 220.

With winning margins of 170 and 247 runs in the tests respectively, England were by far the dominant team, setting them up perfectly for the summer ahead. And by the look of it, certain players who were in supreme form over both games, show a lot of promise to display some amazing talent over the next few months to come.

The Aussies better watch out this year, as who knows what lies ahead for this England side!

Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

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