Underdogs skin the pedigrees!

England coach Trevor Bayliss with captain Alastair Cook. How much has the induction of the Australian Bayliss helped England’s cause?-REUTERS ?

As the Aussies head back to their jetliner, this 2015 season has risen from England misery to mastery and sent a less than dominant Australia side home with their kangaroo tails between their legs. The present is worth remembering but the future can be even brighter. By Ted Corbett.

As the Australian cricketers climbed aboard their jet plane for the trip to England for the 2015 Ashes tour you could barely find a bookmaker to take your money. They thought it was all over before a ball had been bowled.

No one in England thought their haphazard, win-one, lose-one side had a chance and I have a suspicion that a goodly number of home patriots backed Australia to win every Test as they had 18 months earlier Down Under.

So what happened that recently England wrapped up the series after just four short Tests and that by the Trent Bridge game — with the Oval Test still to be played — Australia were exposed as weak, unskilled and lacking the heart for a fight. How un-Aussie was that?

There was the lack of runs from Michael Clarke, the captain, the unconvincing show by Steven Smith who had arrived as the top batsman in the world, the odd business of the wicket-keeper Brad Haddin whose daughter’s illness seemed to cast a lengthening shadow over the whole team and the smile on the face of the tiger Mitchell Johnson.

I am not impressed by any cricketer who smiles, but the grin from Johnson, a guy who is supposed to feed on raw steak, grew broader by the day. Perhaps he likes England, their players, their pitches and their fans even — despite their abuse — but only in one over of the Edgbaston Test did he produce his X-factor.

There, in the space of a couple of balls, he sent Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes leaping into the air and the commentary teams began to talk about the “return of his mojo.” It was never in evidence again.

You don’t have to be a prophet to know that with so many players out of form there would be dissent in the dressing room. There was probably resentment that England had recruited an Australian coach although he prefers the dark corner and silence so much that even after victory had been confirmed it was difficult to know what part he had played and whether he would be a major force in England strategy in the future.

Perhaps there will be no need for input from Trevor Bayliss; the lasting effects of Peter Moores’ encouragement before he was sacked are still being felt, it is said.

Actually, England finished with the same problems they started with; the lack of an opening partner for Alastair Cook and a spinner. Half a dozen partners have been tried without unveiling a consistent run-scorer and there is no sign of a man who can turn the ball, tie down an end or mystify the opposing batsman. As for a doosra, forget it. I hope the selectors will attempt to persuade Ian Bell or Joe Root to open while they search for another middle order batsman but I suspect they have already tried that solution and been repulsed. Surely one of the constant stream of young Yorkshire batsmen who have sprung forward in the last two years might fill the bill, but not even such a dedicated supporter of Yorkshire as this writer can look to Headingley for the solution to every problem.

Besides, although Bell has not produced a magic innings often enough this summer, he has already moved to No. 3 and Root is making so many runs at No. 4 that it would be a mischief to promote him even in the cause of team success.

The most impressive part of the England summer came in the last two Tests when they forced Australia to look vulnerable making tiny scores. At the same time as Root, Stokes and the wicket-keeper Jos Buttler were turning in consistent performances, growing into adult cricketers you might say, they won the fourth Test on day three as they had the third Test.

Now we must ask where England go from here. Can they make themselves the undisputed world champions, can they build on four successive home victorious Ashes series and is there back-up for the day when, for instance, Jimmy Anderson, already the greatest England bowler statistically, looks round for an easier life?

No obvious name came forward when I sought to cast my vote for the Young Cricketer of the Year but, if I may be allowed another plug for Yorkshire, there are just as many bonny fighters in that corner of England. Recently they were bowled out for 162 by Durham and their response was both dynamic and crushing as they sent Durham packing for 156. Then they topped 400.

That is the sort of spirit England demand and it is also the spirit Australia lacked in this remarkable summer when the underdogs growled so loudly that they were allowed to steal all the bones laid out for the pedigree types.

This England side is worth preserving for they have a captain who is rapidly growing to maturity, a fielding outfit that latches on to impossible catches and, in Stuart Broad, a sporting icon who will make a fine England captain, with respect from his fellow players and the skills to demand his place.

As the Aussies head back to their jet liner, this 2015 season has risen from England misery to mastery and sent a less than dominant Australia side home with their kangaroo tails between their legs. The present is worth remembering but the future can be even brighter.