Ashes slip

Did “clashing ideologies,” as was being said until Ricky Ponting and Usman Khwaja spoke up and hit a discordant note, really “script an epic Ashes” series? Was it, as the Australian duo suggested, a bit of jiggery-pokery which may have sensationally fashioned the result of the Oval Test or was it the eternal “sour grapes” story playing out again?

Missing link

econd Ashes Test, which began at Lord's on Wednesday with Australia 1-0 ahead, was of greater significance, considering it was a national, rather than individual, headache.

Bazball way

Importantly, though, it was only England's third defeat of the Bazball regime, which meant that you couldn’t really dip your pain in acid and write disdainfully of Brendon McCullum, the coach who preaches hyper-aggressive Test cricket or Ben Stokes, the captain who made himself conspicuous with his rash first-day declaration.