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  • Writer's pictureSean Sandys

A trip to the past inspires hope for the future

England find their form compiling 381 runs in a thrilling days action at Trent Bridge.

Huddled up on our grey sofa brimming with excitement eyes glued to the TV my brother and I excitedly devoured the DVD series ashes 2005 the greatest series ever. Mouth’s gaped, open jaws dropped, and imagination filled to the brim we hurried outside into the back garden and recreated the action we had just witnessed. No doubt channelling the fierce hostility of Harmison, the unplayable brilliance of Flintoff, the all conquering quirkiness of Peterson and the calm classiness of Strauss.

This was the glory days of English cricket a reborn and rejuvenated side rapidly revamping and rethinking the ideas of the past tearing up the rule book and the opposition with equal measure. This inspired, rethought ‘newlook’ England cast aside the labouring ideals of yesteryear and implemented a radical and high paced approach. This was nevermore so exampled then on day one in Edgbaston where England amassed a staggering 407 at four and a half runs and over. Scintillating stuff which kickstarted what some might argue was the greatest test ever. Fast forward to modern day and England is once again at a crucial Cross Road. Languishing at the bottom of the world test championship winless in their last three ashes series vastly losing support and equipped with a new person filling just about every job. England is once again an evenly poised on a precarious knife edge and is desperately in need of a kick up the backside with McCallum Stokes and key they rest all diminishing hope. A reconstructed rejuvenated and importantly ‘newlook’ England side has been assembled. Ready to take on the reigning world test champions in a gripping 3 match test series. One match down and one win to the good.

But England win at Lords in the opening test can only be like in to doing the complete wrong workings out for a question in your maths test but still getting the correct answer period once again a spirited bowling attacked failed to be provided with run support before being demoralised by a fresh-faced S player and riding their luck in a shaky run chase. Something had to change with England yet despite their victory that something still didn’t seem to have been changed. So, to Trent Bridge for the second test period more trauma and PTSD for English fans as Stokes wins the toss and bowls on a dry green Notts wicket. Buoyed by no swing short boundaries fast outfield and the pitch offering as much assistance as a 40 New Zealand led by Mr fresh face amassed a staggering 553. 49 runs short of being the most conceded by England having won the toss and elected to bowl first (a fact which speaks more to the shitness of England’s past rather than a saving grace).

So on to batting and with a session to bat in fading sunlight more problems arise as Crawley does what he does best and nicks behind leaving England 6 for one. Pope however country to recent performances ignites a spirited come back which steadies England at the close of play just one down and with him on a 50. So, what is the importance of that ashes 05’ day one in relevance to this vastly different contest staged in a vastly different ground? Well, watching this fresh faced naïve England line up whack and bulldoze their way to 407 was a clear sign of what that reimagined England team looked like. Fast forward 17 years and another reimagined England has been forged except with essentially the same team picked as previous failed tours this new look one can only assume that the changed side will become apparent in mindset and tactics. And finally on day three in Trent Bridge it showed its first sign of proof of this new mindset working. A characteristic 145 personal best by Pope accompanied by a vintage Joe Root unbeaten 163 (scored at a 81.5 strike rate) and a slashing and destroying 45 off 33 balls by the captain meant England mounted 381 runs in the day for just the loss of four wickets. Yes, the pitch’s flat, yes there’s less pressure than the ashes, yes, the other side managed 553 in their first innings, all those are true however, England’s fight determination and character merged eloquently with the evident arrival of a new mindset and tactics speaks volumes and can only mean positives for the future.

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