Every time an Ashes series is around the corner, there’s a lot of buzz around and the pressure soars high. Over the years, the battles between England and Australia have provided the cricketing world with players who made a great impact on the game.
There are players who relish the big stage and want to raise their game in order to help their team’s cause. These types of players draw everyone’s attention in almost every game they play.
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But there are a few players who go about their work quietly and do their job wonderfully well. However, their performances largely go unnoticed because they weren’t as impactful as some of the other teammates. Let us take a look at five such performances which went unnoticed in the history of the Ashes.
#5 Moeen Ali (1st Test, 2015) – 77 & 15, 2/71 & 3/59
On the back of a nightmare Ashes down under in 2013-14, hosts England were keen to erase those memories as quickly as possible. But they got off to a poor start as they were reduced to 43/3 in the first hour of the first Test.
But Joe Root’s counter-attacking 134 and Stokes’s 52 helped them rebuild the innings. However, after the dismissal of both set batsmen, England were in a peculiar position at 293/6 and it looked like the hosts would be bowled out for less than 350.
But Moeen Ali (who walked in at number eight) started taking the attack to the Aussie bowlers. He scored a stroke-filled 77 off 88 balls including 11 fours and one huge six. The left-hander took England from 293/6 to a formidable total of 430.
Ali wasn’t done yet. England looked a little flat in the field when Rogers and Smith were motoring along nicely to propel Australia to 129/1. When his team needed him to come good, Ali struck gold as he sent back the in-form Steve Smith (33) and skipper Clarke for 38 to reduce Australia to 208/4 which eventually became 308 all out.
Extra Cover: Under the SKanner - Moeen Ali
In the second innings, Ali didn’t contribute much with the bat as he scored only 15. But with the pitch deteriorating rapidly, his role with the ball became crucial. And he delivered. The off-spinner picked 3/59. His timely dismissals of David Warner and Brad Haddin helped England bowl Australia out for 242 and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
While Joe Root was declared the Man of the Match for his splendid batting in both innings, Ali’s performance went unnoticed.