I arrived at the Oval for what was going to be the final day of The 2015 Ashes; when I bought my tickets for this Test I had in mind that I may well be at the decisive day in the series. That wasn’t going to be the case – in a topsy turvy 5 Test series England had already won the Ashes at Trent Bridge.
With the 5th Test lost, England were on 203 for 6 in their 2nd innings and still 129 runs behind there was little or no hope. On that basis I’d say lots decided to stay away. They must have forgotten that we’d see The Ashes returned into English hands.
This isn’t going to be a long blog, there isn’t really too much to describe, but here goes! Joe Buttler and Mark Wood carried on where they left off, Wood had a reasonable time with the bat as the good old night watchman but that wasn’t to be the case this time.
Peter Siddle trapped him LBW for 6 and the end of the series drew nearer. Step up Moeen Ali – he would finish the series on the 3rd highest run tally for England having had more than one decisive innings.
With Buttler and Ali in I was hopeful that England would at least make it to lunch time – but Buttler made a poor shot from a Mitch Marsh ball and was caught by Another of the Mitch’s – Starc. Buttler was clearly unhappy with himself, the series hadn’t gone well with the bat, this was his top score at a mere 42.
Stuart Broad was next up, he and Ali had been partners on more than one occasion, it was a familiar summer sight. Praying for rain, umbrellas started to appear, before the rain actually did I feel. However rain did start to fall and he teams left the field for an early lunch with the score on 258 for 8 – the deficit was still 74.
The joys of being in the pavilion meant I was able to treat myself to Victoria sponge and tea for lunch – not very healthy I know, but very nice! I was also able to sit in the dry and edit and delete some of the thousands of photos I’d taken over the last 3 days – so, a useful interlude.
Play was stopped by rain for a little under 3 hours with the players returning at 3:04pm – Stuart Broad made the return journey 2 minutes later as Peter Siddle again showed why he should have been picked earlier – he set Broad’s stumps flying to take his 5th wicket of the game.
The end was near with Steven Finn in next, he always looks a very ungainly batsman, this time he actually made 9 runs and survived as Moeen Ali fell victim to Siddle, caught behind by Nevill, he’d made a very respectable 42.
And so the Test was over Australia winning by an innings and 46 runs – England hadn’t managed that elusive 4 to 1 victory. But, after the disgrace – not too strong a word I feel – display in Australia in 2013 this was an important Ashes Series win for the home side.
The ceremony took place in front of the pavilion which was great – it would’ve been even better if I’d used my brain to go up a level so I could take photos over the heads of the TV people and official photographers. But hey ho I was close to the action.
Steve Smith was rightly awarded Man of The Match and the Chris Rogers Australian Man of the Series. Joe Root received the England Man of The Series and the Compton-Miller Medal for overall Man of The Series. His 460 runs were instrumental in England being victorious.
All 3 men were interviewed but it was Michael Clarke in his last Test as Australian captain who pulled at the heart strings, he made a very gracious speech after what was a pretty bad series personally. He’s really impressed over this series.
It was wonderful to be there to see Alastair Cook lift the glass trophy and to see the rest of the team celebrate – and as an added bonus due to the number of overs bowled everyone received a 50% refund.
I’m not sure if I’ve listed ticket prices but each day was £85 therefore Day 4 was £42.50 – well worth it to see the culmination of the series. A strange series – but wow I saw some amazing cricket!