Michael Vaughan believes that, despite Australia retaining the Ashes due to a draw in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, England has been the superior team throughout the series.
England had the opportunity to level the Ashes and force a fifth Test decider but were thwarted by unfavorable weather conditions in Manchester.
Despite the frustrating draw, Australia holds an unassailable 2-1 lead going into the final Test at The Oval and will retain the Ashes regardless of the outcome next week.
Vaughan stated on BBC’s Test Match Special, “I always say in a five-match series the best team always win, it’s five games and it’s such a long process that you always end up the best team winning. But I honestly think England have been the better team in this series.”
England took a 2-0 lead in the Ashes with narrow victories at Edgbaston and Lord’s, and managed to stay in the series with a three-wicket win at Headingley.
England had Australia on the backfoot at Old Trafford before rain washed out play for the final two days of the Test.
Vaughan added, “Australia won the first two games and England will look back, particularly at Edgbaston, where they missed so many opportunities in the field and they had the period with the bat at Lord’s where they were 180-1 and Australia’s spinner Nathan Lyon was walking around the edge of the boundary injured.
“Pat Cummins turned to the bouncer theory and it worked, England lost all those wickets with silly batting and a mad approach.
“It’s dreadfully disappointing. It is the wrong way to decide a Test match, never mind an Ashes-defining kind of Test match.
“This is no way to retain the Ashes, let’s be honest. Australia will take it though. It’s similar to 2019, but this feels very different. They were the better team then.”
Vaughan also predicts that if Australia continues to play as they did in Manchester, England will easily win the final Test at The Oval.
During the Test at Old Trafford, Australia struggled to make a significant impact, while England posted a massive total of 592 runs, driven by Zak Crawley’s 189, Jonny Bairstow’s unbeaten 99, and notable contributions from Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, and Harry Brook.
If England manages to defeat Australia at The Oval, they will rightfully deserve it as the better team, according to Vaughan.
Meanwhile, Australia’s legendary cricketer Glenn McGrath acknowledged that Australia’s objective in the fourth Test was to avoid losing and retain the Ashes.
He mentioned that Australia played defensively to achieve this goal, even though their approach appeared negative and unattractive.
England will aim to avoid an Ashes defeat at The Oval next week, while Australia still has a chance to become the first Australian team to win a Test series in England since 2001.
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