Choose one of A, B or C to finish each sentence to create your own match report of Australia’s Ashes retaining win over England at Old Trafford, as well as further comments on the series in general.

Australia retained the Ashes at Old Trafford after

A) England batted with grit and determination to come within 13 overs of keeping the series alive.

B) England were once again the inferior side losing by 185 runs.

C) Manchester provided spectators with its only cloudless day of the summer, selfishly meaning the game wasn’t suspended early for bad light.

The hosts, who are now 2–1 down in the series,

A) will no doubt have a deep inquest into where it all went wrong, with some needing to take a long hard look at themselves.

B) looked beaten from day one against an Australia side which, let’s be honest, are much better than them.

C) at least provided us with some good memories.

England captain Joe Root

A) will be worried about his own place in the team after two golden ducks and one two-ball duck across the series; which were supplemented with questionable leadership decisions throughout.

B) will be ruing losing the toss as Australia posted a first innings total of 497–8.

C) is still the best batsman England have got and will come good.

Australia’s batting

A) put their side in a commanding position, as their batsman played with the kind of poise and patience England’s selectors can only dream of.

B) consisted solely of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschange with the pair putting on a 116-run stand in the first innings.

C) would be an awful lot better if they found some openers that could make it past the seventh over.

England’s batsman

A) are just a bunch of white-ball specialists who need to learn how to defend.

B) showed a surprising lack of game awareness for a side who had just won the World Cup eight weeks ago.

C) need to score some runs in the county championship before being introduced into the team à la Marnus Labuschagne, and then bat in the position they scored those runs in.

England’s bowers

A) may feel they should have been on the winning side having reduced Australia to chaseable first-innings targets this summer, thanks to the continued brilliance of Stuart Broad and the emergence of Jofra Archer.

B) have, at times, been a little loose, allowing their opponents to score quickly, releasing any crumbs of pressure.

C) are still all inferior to James Anderson and having him miss the last three tests shows just how vulnerable the side is without the 37-year-old.

Jack Leach

A) could not repeat his Headingley heroics, falling for 12 off of 64 deliveries, to take Australia to within a wicket of winning the test.

B) is a national hero and should: be the face of Specsavers, win Sports Personality and receive a Knighthood. Not necessarily in that order.

C) will forever be haunted by taking Steve Smith’s wicket with a no-ball on Day Two, an unforgivable sin for a spinner.

Steve Smith is

A) not human and probably second to only Bradman on the all-time list, having not scored lower than 82 this Ashes series.

B) a cheat, always will be, and should’ve been banned for longer.

C) a little bit strange but has won the hearts of all neutrals after some sensational batting performances to complete a comeback for the ages.

Australia, who have a chance to win the Urn outright at the Oval next Thursday,

A) had been the better side for virtually every session of this series and if they’d have lost the Ashes it would have been one of sports’ biggest injustices.

B) will be relieved to no longer have to consider dropping their own captain after he scored a much needed 58 in the first innings.

C) were very nearly embarrassed for a second time this summer against a team that literally cannot bat.

While England

A) have completely messed up their preparation for this Test series, I mean seriously Jason Roy over Dom Sibley? The World Cup was great and all but the Ashes should’ve been the priority and don’t even get me started on the Hundred.

B) played their part in one of the greatest Test Cricket series in recent memory. That last hour at Headingley will be replayed at every rain delay in future Ashes tests until the end of time.

C) are crap.


Featured Image: Joe Rindl

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