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.

Proteas’ plight

The 3- 1 margin, truth to tell, takes on a whole new meaning when you reckon with the fact that England, for much of their time on the tour, missed some of their front-rank cricketers because of a viral infection which going by reliable accounts had reporters from London discussing, even if somewhat fancifully, which ones among them stood a chance of being invited to join the squad, just in case.