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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Andrew Strauss lifts the 2009 Ashes
Strauss' men will attempt to defend the Ashes in Australia in 2011

Some people at The Oval took umbrage at Ricky Ponting's honest assessment that, as far as statistics are concerned, the outcome of this series seems hard to understand.

With eight hundreds to England's two, and with Australia's bowlers at the top of the wicket-taking list, you would expect his team to have won.

But one moment of brilliance from Andrew Flintoff rather summed it up. He had not much of a reason to remember his final Test appearance until the remarkable run-out of Ricky Ponting that brought The Oval to its feet.

Characters like Flintoff are never out of a game, even when they are standing almost stationary at mid-on. Mike Hussey's call for a run was probably a misjudgement, and Ponting hesitated fatally.

Still, as Flintoff wound up his powerful right arm 25 yards away, the throw had to hit the stumps with a direct hit, and it was only when it was too late that Ponting realised that he was in trouble.

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The arrow-like throw demolished the wicket, and even from that distance, Flintoff knew he had nailed Ponting, and finally broken the stand of 127 that had become so frustrating to England.

Astonishingly, five balls later, the vice-captain - Michael Clarke - followed his captain, also through a run-out. This one owed more to bad luck as Clarke turned Graeme Swann firmly into the leg side and the ball struck Alastair Cook before rebounding comfortably to Andrew Strauss, three yards away at backward short leg.

Clarke had left his crease, expecting to take a run, only for Strauss to hit the stumps before the mortified batsman could make his ground.

It was unbelievable cricket - but somehow typical of the way Australia have played in this series.

In the main, Australia have been in charge, but they have had some dreadfully casual moments - such as the batting collapses at Lord's and Edgbaston and, critically, here at The Oval that has cost them the Ashes.

Let's hope that England learn from the 2005 experience, and treat this triumph as a start of an era, rather than the end of one.

If they do that - and I suspect that under Andy Flower they will - South Africa will have good reason to be very wary of their visit in November.



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see also
Victorious England regain Ashes
23 Aug 09 |  England
Media reaction to Ashes victory
24 Aug 09 |  England
Flintoff surgery brought forward
24 Aug 09 |  England
England v Australia photos
23 Aug 09 |  England
Classic Ashes: The Oval
19 Aug 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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