England regained the Ashes at Trent Bridge with a convincing victory over Australia. Here’s 10 key reasons behind the success...
BAYLISS BEGINS REIGN IN SPAIN
Trevor Bayliss had precious little time to settle into his new job, starting work just a fortnight before the series.
Andrew Strauss duly packed the Australian and a 14-man squad off to an Almerian resort for a get-to-know-you trip.
It may have been written off as a ‘holiday’ by the opposition, but England have repeatedly stressed the importance of the excursion - both as a bonding exercise and, crucially, a catching camp.
RYAN HARRIS RETIRES
Harris was never likely to drag his creaking body through a full five-match series but he was surely inked in to play a lead role in at least three Tests.
His record against England is superb too so when a chronic knee complaint forced him to call time on his career before the Ashes had even started it was a hefty blow.
DIZZY CALLS OUT ‘DAD’S ARMY’
The ageing Australian squad came under fire ahead from an unlikely source ahead of the Cardiff Test, with former Baggy Green Jason Gillespie likening his compatriots to Captain Mainwaring and co.
Skipper Michael Clarke brushed the comments aside but the tag never disappeared.
HADDIN DROPS ROOT
Day one of the opening match saw England slip to 43 for three against the new ball.
That should have been 43 for four when Joe Root nicked his second ball from Mitchell Starc. Instead of bagging a duck, England’s golden boy posted 134 and laid the foundation for a handsome 169-run win at the SWALEC.
The Australia selectors ditched the experienced all-rounder Shane Watson after defeat at Cardiff, where his status as an lbw magnet and his tendency to fritter away reviews cost him dear.
It showed that there was uncertainty over their best team, which continued when Watson’s replacement Mitchell Marsh was himself dropped two games later for brother Shaun.
CLARKE CALLS RIGHT
Both captains wanted to bat first in Birmingham, but the flip of the coin went against Alastair Cook.
It was a fortuitous moment as heavy, low-lying clouds descended and a handful of short rain breaks made for brilliant bowling conditions.
James Anderson starred as Australia subsided for 136 - a position they never recovered from.
FINN FINDS FORM
After Australia levelled the series with a resounding win at Lord’s, England opted to rest Mark Wood at Edgbaston and recall Steven Finn after two years in the Test wilderness.
It was something of a gamble but the 6t 7in seamer took just six deliveries to show it was a smart one, taking the edge of world number one Steve Smith and kicking off what became a man-of-the-match display.
SKIPPER SLIPS UP
When Clarke put down a sitter from Ian Bell on the third and final day at Edgbaston it probably didn’t change the result, but it showed the touring captain as a man whose game was in tatters. With a severe lack of runs, increasingly soft dismissals and strained press conferences, Clarke was starting to look like a man carrying the weight of the world.
BROAD JOINS 300 CLUB
Stuart Broad arrived at his home ground of Trent Bridge on 299 Test wickets and his father Chris admitted concerns that the imminent landmark could distract the seamer.
Instead he picked off linchpin Chris Rogers with his third delivery and never looked back as he bagged best-ever figures of eight for 15 and Australia crashed for a scarcely credible 60 all out.
Broad’s fourth victim was Adam Voges but the wicket would be just as fitting on Ben Stokes’ CV. The all-rounder pulled off a quite outrageous catch at gully, flinging himself back and across for an unforgettable one-hander.
Broad’s hands-to-mouth, wide-eyed expression swiftly became a social media sensation.