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From Stephan Shemilt
BBC Sport at Old Trafford
With the Ashes in their own luggage, Australia will head down beneath for the first time in 18 decades.
They went 2-1 up with just one match to play with to ensure at least a drawn string, which will be all the holders by winning at Old Trafford.
On the one hand, England may count themselves unfortunate. If it had not been at Lord’s, they could have won.
They were beaten in the fourth and first evaluations and wanted among the innings out of Ben Stokes to provide them success in a Test.
Here are some reasons England won’t be performing a World Cup-Ashes double and why Australia retain ownership of cricket trophy .
Let us start with the gap between the two sides: Steven Peter Devereux Smith’s door-sized bat.
He’s not a batsman, however, a relentless, insatiable, fidgeting run-scoring device.
To get tortured England in their tour down below in 2017-18, is 1 thing. To do it again, following 18 months out of Test cricket due to his role from the scandal that is ball-tampering, lifts him to the kind of Ashes greatness that is surpassed perhaps only by Sir Donald Bradman.
Has something Australian set together a body of work not since Neighbours came on TV displays.
Smith runs is almost twice as many as anybody else – and he missed one Evaluation. His score is 82.
Even though the next Ashes series is more than two decades off, England ought to be considering how to stop Smith from doing so again. He will surely be their biggest hurdle for regaining the urn.
Taking nothing away from Smith’s accomplishment, it is fair to contemplate the string could have been England’s James Anderson been match.
Whether it was wrong or right for Anderson to have started the very first Test, four months after having a calf is debatable, but the simple fact remains that he bowled four overs to Smith in the series and not one delivery.
To be without your, among the swing bowlers to have played the game, when seeking to dislodge the world’s best batsman is.
Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer performed in Anderson’s lack, but it abandoned the England attack incomplete.
Whereas Australia had three pace bowlers to call , never giving the home batsmen a minute to breathe, even the attack of England couldn’t offer the constant threat.
For seven years, going right back to when Andrew Strauss retired, England’s top order has contained a minumum of one hole.
It has hurt them but to get the bowlers they have scrapped runs together at home.
It should not happen to be a problem here – Australia’s batting, bar Smith, has been similarly shaky.
England, though, could not exploit that since their own collapses were not far away. Four wickets for 18 runs in the first innings of the first Test, 6-27 at the second innings; 138-6 from first innings of the drawn second Test, 161-5 in the next; and 67 all out in the first innings of the third Test (fair enoughthey still won).
On evenings, England sent three wickets for 30 runs, although there was fight from the next Test.
When it comes to staying vertical, Bambi stepping to a lake has had greater success. It’s the area of the team which requires the most care.
It can be contended that England are outplayed in 3 Tests (Edgbaston, Headingley and Old Trafford) and were the better side in another (Lord’s).
They also had chances in others, simply to let the moment slip through their hands, were denied by the Lord’s weather and managed to win at Headingley.
After bowling Australia out for 284 in the first innings of the first Test, England found themselves 267-4 at the end of the day, using the opportunity to bat the tourists from the match. They managed a lead of only 90.
Even after that, Australia were 75-3 in their second innings, still 15 behind. Matthew Wade and smith created centuries over the fourth afternoon, moving the visitors with the support of some England strategies which comprised a lack of Chris Woakes’ bowling from sight.
At Old Trafford, Australia were 224-5 to a pitch when Smith was joined by ruler Tim Paine. At a stand of 145 that took control of the Evaluation, Paine was shed and Smith, who went on to create 211, was captured off a Jack Leach no-ball on 118.
On such moments and show, hinge.
England have a record at home series. They haven’t lost this one – however – .
But just lately, those house wins have all come with caveats. The 4-1 win over India last summer was much closer than the scoreline suggested and has been countered with a draw with Pakistan where England were thrashed at Lord’s.
At the wins over South Africa and West Indies in 2017, England endured a chastening Evaluation defeat. They nearly came unstuck against Ireland this summer, also, winning after being bowled out for 85.
Put simply, England have managed to come through despite their own weaknesses, when an Australia team containing speed assault and the world’s best batsman came into town but those frailties were ripe for exposure.
England will deny that the concentrate on winning the World Cup has arrived at the detriment of the Test side, but tons of evidence indicates otherwise.
Some improvements have been made. Archer has brought the pace missing for such a long time, Leach seems like he is a spinner and application has been latterly demonstrated by the batsmen.
However, for the moment, Australia are simply a much better team.
From batting falls to Steve Smith’s genius, the motives behind the Ashes failure of England – and can we have called it all along?
Watch the second Josh Hazlewood traps Craig Overton lbw to wrap up an victory for Australia that sees them keep the Ashes.
England haven’t missed an Ashes series in the home – but do you remember who played that series defeat?
Joe Root says even though failing to regain the Ashes from Australia he is the right man to captain England.
Analysis and comment from the BBC’s cricket correspondent.
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