So that’s that then. A summer of men’s international cricket that for a long time looked as though it might never happen is in the books and what a summer it has been.
England’s three-match ODI series against the Aussies proved a fitting end to an action-packed summer, with every clash full of drama, entertainment, and some top quality cricket.
Aaron Finch’s side narrowly got over the line in a nail-biter at Old Trafford last night and claimed a 2-1 series win.
It’s been a fantastic week or so of cricket, here are our five takeaways…
Eoin Morgan remains the right man for the job
The gamble to hand Adil Rashid the last over of last night’s decider didn’t quite pay off but Morgan has been excellent once again this summer.
His bold and risk-taking style of captaincy has been integral in helping England to become the most feared one-day side in the world and to get their hands on the trophy last summer.
Morgan never shies away from a big call but neither does he make decisions in an attempt to seem clever and we saw just how effective that can be in the comeback win in the second ODI and as England nearly did the same in the third.
You only have to hear the way his teammates talk about playing under him to know he still has their full faith.
One thing seems certain, he remains the right man for the job.
Sam Billings provides the selectors with a good headache
The 29-year-old has been an England favourite for some time and this summer we’ve really seen why.
As he did against Ireland, Billings proved himself the man for a crisis against the Aussies on a number of occasions – scoring a century in vain in the series opener and then 57 as he played second fiddle to Jonny Bairstow.
In fact, Bairstow, whose quality in the white-ball game is beyond any doubt, was the only England player to outscore Billings this series.
With Ben Stokes still to return to the side, the lower order batsman’s strong performances will have given Ed Smith and co. a selection headache – at least it’s a good one!
Excitement building for the Ashes? Check out our latest edition of Barmy Army Ashes Memories on ‘that’ win in Melbourne (probably best avoided if you’re an Aussie)…
Chris Woakes continues to impress
There have been so, so many narratives in what has been a crazy summer, with both Jimmy and Broady reaching major milestones, Zak Crawley’s emergence, and of course the return of cricket among countless other major moments.
That has meant that the consistent excellence of Woakesy has flown under the radar.
Whether with the red- or the white-ball, the Wizard has shown his quality time and time again this summer, and against the Aussies it was no different.
The Aussies look vulnerable
Did you really think we weren’t going to mention the Aussies’ batting collapses?
It seemed at times that whenever they were in a strong position they couldn’t help but try to throw it away.
They may have got over the line in the end but there is no doubt that the Aussies have shown a vulnerability over the past month or so.
With the 2021/22 Ashes not far away, that’s great news for England.
With England men’s summer schedule now over, it remains unclear when we’re next going to see Chris Silverwood’s side take the field.
They’re scheduled to travel to India to play both red- and white-ball series early next year, while reports have indicated there are also hopes for an ODI/T20 tour to South Africa in November/December.
Fingers crossed that will be with fans inside the stadium – with efforts seemingly stepped up on that basis recently – because we can’t wait to get back there and we know many of you can’t either!