England laying platform for Ashes success Down Under in 2021
ENGLAND’s emphatic triumph in Port Elizabeth not only showed they should go on to win this series in South Africa, but also that they are laying the foundations for Ashes success down the line.
The victory for Joe Root’s men – by an innings and 53 runs – marked an impressive turnaround following the shambolic defeat at Centurion in the first match of the series.
And if they avoid defeat in the final showdown in Johannesburg, they will wrap up a very welcome success away from home.
England travel to Sri Lanka in March and have further adventures scheduled for India and Bangladesh next winter.
But the big fixture on the horizon is The Ashes in Australia, which starts in November 2021.
And after some feeble performances in a bizarrely tight series last summer, which the Aussies drew to retain the urn, England are finally showing some Test pedigree that will be much needed Down Under if they are to enjoy success.
Ollie Pope’s maiden Test century in Port Elizabeth was a most welcome sight. The 22-year-old’s unbeaten 135 had the hallmarks of Ian Bell and his fantastic touch should stand him in good stead on the hard Australia wickets.
Another youngster, Dom Sibley, finally looks like the Test opener England have been crying out for since Alastair Cook hung up his spikes.
The ageing warhorse bowling department might be on its way out, with Jimmy Anderson injured again and Stuart Broad showing his advancing years – even though he is still performing well with ball in hand.
But with Jofra Archer hopeful of returning for the final Test and Mark Wood back and firing with his express pace, things look pretty rosy for head coach Chris Silverwood.
Some big runs for skipper Root would be welcome; the same goes for Jos Buttler.
But with all-rounder Ben Stokes capable of both the sublime and ridiculous in a single performance, those backing the Baggy Green will be wary of what the Poms can do in 22 months time at The Gabba.
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