Jim Lyon - Go for the whitewash, this is payback time

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

It was a Thursday in early June 1997 when we possibly, maybe, perhaps started to believe.

I remember Darren Gough ran through the Australian top order and then Andrew Caddick finished the job off.

The tourists were all out for not much more than 100 and England went on the win the first Ashes Test of the summer.

Could this be the time?

Ten years had passed since the Aussies had last been felled but now we perhaps had a side to compete.

Well, no. We didn’t.

Australia woke up and won the six-match series 3-2 with England claiming the last dead rubber to make it look more respectable.

In fact we had to wait a further eight years before there was finally anything to cheer in an Ashes summer.

But what that also means, something that will be a strange concept to those of us who have lived through the years of humiliation, is that anyone born while Gough and Caddick were doing their bit at Edgbaston that day will probably know little else other than English supremacy.

Anyone in their mid-teens will have only a limited experience of Ashes defeat.

Anyone over that age could still be forgiven their reluctance to get too carried away.

It can’t last, can it? England must throw it away at some stage. The Aussies will come back and win 3-2.

It is hard to banish that ingrained feeling of impending doom that came with those long years of losing.

Watching the Ashes was like watching Dr Who as a child. You did it through your fingers for fear of seeing something truly horrible happen right in front of your eyes.

The moments like Gough and Caddick provided that day were merely to lull you before the vicious attack came along.

And boy did they like to tell us about it.

Which is why I disagree with Alastair Cook.

The England captain says no one is thinking about completing a 5-0 whitewash.

One game at a time, keep doing things right, good areas, right processes.....


I want to think about the whitewash.

I want every England player to think about the whitewash.

I want every England player to say they want the whitewash.

Why should we be coy about these things?

Let us twist the knife in the same way Australia always did to us.

The only Ashes misery our young teens – those born around the 1997 mark - have experienced came in 2006-07.

That was a series made to convince us loss-weary England supporters that the guard had not been changed and things would continue to be as miserable as they always had been.

That was a whitewash and one the great Glenn McGrath was not shy in predicting long before they were 2-0 up.

I was told by someone a few days ago there was no fun in the Ashes now.

Seeing them at such a low point made it almost irrelevant as a contest.

Nonsense, I said, and promised to shed as many tears for a struggling Australia side as they did for us when the roles were reversed.

Sport is cyclical and it will not be too long in the grand scheme of things before the power shifts again.

So let us enjoy the moment while we can.

And, with that in mind, bring on the whitewash!