With only a couple of weeks left before Test cricket’s most pulsating rivalry begins again, Steve Smith has sent England a timely reminder about what took place Down Under four years ago.
England’s horror tour in Australia in 2013 could well have been English cricket’s darkest hour with the fallout from the whitewash still felt today. Whilst England have bounced back superbly since then, which included a 2015 Ashes win at home against the old foe, Steve Smith is urging England to cast their minds back to 2013 in a bid to start the inevitable mind games.
Smith is intent to “open a few of those scars up”. There is no doubt that Smith’s reminder is an invite to the hostile home crowd to turn the heat up once the action gets underway on November 23 in Brisbane. For Smith to be able to inflict a repeat of the carnage that took place in 2013, he would need to ask Mitchell Johnson to come out of retirement. As much as the Australian captain yearns for the events of four years ago to take place again, it does seem unlikely.
That historic Ashes tour played out the way it did because of the fear Mitchell Johnson managed to instil in the England players. There was an ominous feel around the Brisbane ground when Johnson arrived at the first test in November 2013 sporting a Merv Hughes-esque moustache. He returned match figures of 9/103 and the rest is history. It will remain as history as England developed a steeliness in the wake of that disastrous result and will be relying on the old adage of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Trevor Bayliss will have the Three Lions mentally prepared and ready to cope with the pressure situations they find themselves in. Having an Australian coach in the England dressing room will also go a long way in terms of toughening up the English squad. They may have been a bit weak the last time out and the Australians pounced on it. Bayliss will know the importance of not giving the Baggy Greens a sniff when it comes to the mental side of the clash.
Even with Mitchell Johnson watching the action from home Australia will go in as favourites and are backed at 4/9 to win back the Ashes in cricket betting. Going to Australia is never easy and especially in a Test series of this magnitude. It will take a superhuman effort from England and they will know they have their work cut out for them. Australia have some of the game’s best players and a fired up Mitchell Starc will be looking to pick up where Johnson left off and could prove to be one of the pivotal figures in the series.
There could be an opening for England as proceedings off the field have rocked Australian cricket over the last year. The pay dispute may be over but it could have unsettled some of their more senior players. England could be the ones to pounce this time with Australia potentially not as focused.