by Kobe Jacobs, ACS Literary Scholar
This 2023 Ashes series will be long remembered. Not just because of the captivating cricket that was on display throughout all five Test matches, but also because of the controversies, storylines and bitterness the series generated between the two sides. At least in my time watching the Ashes, never before had I seen both nations be so fierce in the heat of the battle. And as Australia and England competed ferociously on the cricket pitch, so too did the fans of both teams both in the media and political landscape.
Not only can I recount seeing Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews providing his take on the Jonny Bairstow incident, but I will always remember the little encounter both Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had in teasing one another right after the Headingley Test. If you have Twitter, then most likely would you have seen prominent British media figure Piers Morgan ranting about all the supposed injustices England suffered at the hands of the Australians. Although probably not warranted, Morgan’s platform is undeniably large and his commentary throughout each Test only diminished the regard both countries have for one another when it comes to the game we love.
While England’s momentum was initially halted in Manchester, the Australians simply couldn’t stop what was to come on the fifth and final Day at The Oval. It was clear that the hosts weren’t going to deny Stuart Broad’s fairytale ending and it was only fitting that it was he who was able to claim the final wicket to hand his side the victory. And let’s be honest, England got their just reward in being able to draw the series at two games apiece. Their determination and vigour to stay the course was impressive. All that is left is to tip your cap to Ben Stokes and the rest of his side.
As we Australians are left undoubtedly disappointed that our boys just couldn’t get the job done in to winning this series, retaining the Ashes is still a significant achievement considering the gritty manner in which it had to be done. If you sit back and think about it, losing Nathan Lyon early as well as having the worst of the conditions throughout every match were two major roadblocks for the visitors. And yet, Pat Cummins’ men were able to prevail and hold onto the most prized possession in all of cricket.
It’s a series that will not be forgotten anytime soon and will likely be one that many will be able to recall and tell stories about whilst chatting over a beverage.
Australian Cricket Society’s literary scholar Kobe Jacobs is mentored by writer John Harms. His pieces are also published at www.footyalmanac.com.au .