After completing the most remarkable of turnarounds to beat India 3-1 with victory at the Oval, England’s Test side can put their feet up until next year.
Alastair Cook’s side don’t play another five-day match until April, when they visit the West Indies, but the main event next summer is the Ashes, with England desperate to erase memories of the 5-0 thrashing they received Down Under.
While their fine performances against India are tempered a little by the weakness of the opposition, there are plenty of reasons to think England can make good on their 6/4 odds to win the 2015 Ashes.
The senior players have found their form at last
After two matches of the series against India, there was a case for saying England would be better off jettisoning any player with more than 50 Tests to his name.
Cook and Ian Bell couldn’t scrimp together enough to buy a run between them, while Stuart Broad and James Anderson were comprehensively out-bowled by their Indian counterparts.
However, Cook rallied to score three 50s in four innings, while Bell notched a classy 167 in the win at Southampton.
Meanwhile Anderson and Broad rebounded to finish first and joint-second in the wickets-taken standings respectively.
Their batting line-up is long enough to counter Australia’s bowlers
Perhaps only South Africa can currently claim to have an attack to match Australia’s, with Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris taking their wickets at 16.25 and 21.05 apiece respectively in 2014.
England had little clue how to deal with the deadly duo Down Under, but now have a batting line-up that runs deep enough to give them a better chance of avoiding complete collapses in 2015.
Seven members of the side already boast Test centuries and only two of the eleven that played at the Oval have never passed 50.
The new wave have all found their feet in Test cricket
Six of England’s side in the final Test were aged 25 and under and apart from Sam Robson, it’s fair to say the young guns look at home on cricket’s biggest stage.
Joe Root boasts the second-best batting average in the world in 2014 with 97.12, while Jos Buttler is eighth on the list and Gary Ballance 15th.
Meanwhile, bowlers Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan served as able deputies for Anderson and Broad in the final three Tests, with the pair taking 11 wickets between them at the Oval.
Australia haven’t won in England since 2001
Lest we forget, whatever has happened since, England thrashed this Australia side 3-0 just last summer on home soil.
In fact, none of the current Australia side have ever won an Ashes series in England, while captain Michael Clarke is a three-time loser.
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