Rain helped Australia as they were rescued from the clutches of defeat in the fourth Test of Ashes 2023. England were in the driver’s seat to win the fourth Test and level the series 2-2, setting the stage for a grandstand finish in the final Test in the Oval, London. But they lost around two sessions of play on Day 4 of the second Test and the entire Day 5 leading to the match ending in a draw. This means Australia have retained the Ashes for the fourth time in a row. Here are three reasons why they have been successful in achieving this feat.
Australia have been inconsistent with their opening stand in the series. The duo of David Warner and Usman Khawaja have been largely inconsistent, barring the first Test in which Khawaja was adjudged the ‘Man of the Match.’ But, the Aussies have been largely reliant on their middle order. The likes of Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and Travis Head have been solid and dependable. Moreover, the Australian tail has shown great reliance and resistance over the series. The first game was won largely due to Pat Cummins’ brilliance. The lower-order batter took them over the finish line and that shows Australia’s tail has one of their strengths.
Australia boasts one of the best pace attacks in the world led by the captain himself, Pat Cummins. Australian pacers have been very consistent with their wicket-taking, especially in the first two games that gave them the early advantage in the series. While the chart for the most wickets taken is led by Stuart Broad with 18 wickets, the next three bowlers are Australian pacers. Pat Cummins is number two with 16 wickets. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood followed their skipper with 15 wickets and 13 wickets, respectively. Their pace attack has been a big reason why they retained the urn for the fourth time in a row.
Finally, the depth and adaptability of the Australian squad is remarkable. They have expertly managed their players throughout the series. The pace options including Scott Boland, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc have been rotationally used. They have also had options among the all-rounders in Cameron Green and Mitchell Marsh. Both Todd Murphy and Nathan Lyon have got games. The way they have rotated and used their players, ensuring rest, recovery time as well as competitive action is commendable. There’s always a plan up the sleeves of the Australian team management and the flexibility offered by the squad depth and adaptability has certainly aided Australia in retaining the Ashes urn for the fourth consecutive time.