In 2005 the T20 win, and the ODI wins over Australia were vital victories before the Ashes. That is not the case, for either team, this year. In 2005 England were so terribly used to being beaten, well beaten, by Australia (then the number one team in the world by a mile) that a few must have doubted that any victory over them at all was permitted.
The T20, where England scored 179 and Australia were reduced to 30 odd for 7, made some people believe that some of the Australians had human frailties. The Australians, with a degree of validity, brushed this T20 loss aside as insignificant and a bit of a laugh; after all, no-one was quite sure what to make of T20 at the time (it was the only the second international).
After that, during the one day triangular series with Bangladesh, England scored a victory, a loss, and a tie against the enemy. Even in spite of that loss England again ended the series with the feeling they were no longer a hopeless case, the final was tied and the series shared.
To follow were another three ODIs in a NatWest series – which I had completely forgotten about! Aus won it by two thrashings to one hammering. But the important thing about all these series was that England had learned that is WAS POSSIBLE TO BEAT AUSTRALIA. For the entire preceding decade, this appeared not to be the case.
That self-belief meant that England knew beating Australia was not only possible, but likely if they played their best cricket. The “momentum” they gained from the ODI series that year was vital as it removed age-old mental baggage.
This time, even for Australia, the level of mental scar tissue is nothing like as deep. As a result of this, there isn’t the same level of self-belief to be gained from a victory either way in the following ODI. Let us therefore, enjoy this ODI for what it is, a highly appropriate appetiser for the Ashes series to come!
“In 2005 Glenn McGrath missed two Ashes test matches. England won the Ashes 2-1. In 2005 England beat Australia, but they did not beat McGrath.”