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The Ashes are not over, some optimism please

Charlie Hall
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
124   //    12 Sep 2019, 16:12 IST

England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Five
England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Five

A scroll through the morning news brief is unlikely to comfort you from your already poor night's sleep if you are an English cricket fan. It's best just to down that coffee and head out, there is no buzzing optimism to read of there either.

Is it really that bad? England have lost a game but not the Ashes. So far they have been beaten comprehensively by the better team. This is sport, someone loses. They will learn from it, and move on to The Oval knowing they have a chance of drawing the series and restoring some pride.

No one saying they should ignore some of their issues, but the Test team should be reminded of what has made them a very good team and what will continue to keep them competitive.

Without this positive mindset at The Oval, English fans will fear for them, they really will. The experts are eagerly anticipating that batting collapse, or that lack of energy in the field. They would enjoy this as much as they loved Ben Stokes' Herculean century to win a game.

There is far more to look at with this England team than the odd bad day. They are a good side with some obvious frailties. Stuart Broad's resurgence has been miraculous, David Warner is so deep in his pocket you have to wonder if they will find him, let alone pick him for the final Test.

Rory Burns has looked the business at the top of the order, the sort of steely resistance and technique England have been craving since Cook decided he wanted to go back to farming. Jofra Archer, the quickest the English have had for a decade, has also proven to have the skill of Glenn Mcgrath.

Ben Stokes, well, the vocabulary doesn't stretch that far. And Joe Root is one of the top four batsmen in the world. All batsmen go through lean periods. There are youngsters such as Sam Curran, Ollie Pope and Jack Leach primed for long careers as well.

So, with three young, decorated talents with much more to offer, the future is bright for English cricket.

As the boss says, where do we go from here? Well, an innings win and a Steve Smith pair seems the obvious solution for England fans at The Oval, which is obviously unlikely. Realistically, no doubt that the players will have one eye on a win, and one eye on a tour to New Zealand and South Africa over the winter. Expect some fighting performances from Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, and it will be these fighting performances that will win the game for them.

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