And that’s that. The Ashes are done and dusted. England win 3-0 with today’s play, fittingly, ending in an umpiring controversy, in the London gloaming.
There’s not a great deal more to add at this point. The real dissections will come later from all sides. Kneejerk reactions to Test cricket do not do it justice, and it is always best to take a couple days and let the day, match, and series sink in.
But here are some things we do know:
1. Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen are two of the most stylish and prolific batsmen on earth.
2. DRS is broken.
3. The bad light rule needs to be re-written
4. Australia are really poor, but not as bad as 3-0 makes them look
5. England’s bowling attack needs work if they are to bring the Ashes back home this winter
6. Cook has proven himself a capable and worthy England captain
7. The series was far more entertaining than it appears on paper
8. Test cricket is not just the heart and soul of cricket – it is the skin and the brains and the bones, too. It is the best format times 1,000.
And now we have that sense of melancholy that always comes with endings of much anticipated events: sport, vacations, long weekends, weddings, holidays. Few things make me more blue than the Olympic Closing Ceremonies and the taking down of the Christmas tree, for instance. I think about where I am now, and where I will be next year, or two years from now, or four years from now. All that is guaranteed is that I will be older, and that is not even a guarantee.
I was very much looking forward to this series, and now it is over. Just like that. And we will all wake up tomorrow and there won’t be a Test match to think about – after 46 days of thinking about the match ongoing, or the match that was, or the match that will be.
The good news, here, however, is that we all get another Ashes in just three short months – not to mention County Cricket and India v Australia and Pakistan vs South Africa and South Africa vs India and on and on and on. And so some of the melancholic wistfulness is missing – which is fine.
In cricket, there are very few actual endings. The cycles start up again almost immediately after stopping. And so I must say that while the melancholy of ending is there, it’s easier to shake than it usually is. Sometimes, in world cricket, it is nice to be able to put a cap on things for a bit – like we got today in London.
And now: back to our regularly scheduled programming.