Unless you’ve been nursing a festive hangover in bed or have been spending Christmas under a rock, you won’t need telling that England have retained the Ashes with their biggest triumph over Australia since the 1950s.
Of course, the celebrations amongst the dressing room and the Barmy Army will last a few days down under, despite the hosts still having a match left to square the series for pride.
But when the dust settles from the fifth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, be it a win, loss or draw for Andrew Strauss’ side, the 2010/11 tour of Australia will go down as one of the most memorable for England of all-time.
Of course, those who get free bets are aware that retaining the urn will be all-the-sweeter if the series ends two or three matches to one in the tourists’ favour.
Captain Strauss and head coach Andy Flower simply cannot top a series win in Australia given the euphoria that surrounds the Ashes, though according to the ICC, there are bigger fish to fry for England.
So, where to now? The destination has already been established by Strauss. To the top of the Test world rankings.
Sri Lanka are followed by world number one side India in touring England in summer 2011 and two more series victories would go a long way to securing that precious number one spot.
It’ll be easy for Strauss and Flower to deem that if it isn’t broke, not to fix it ahead of their summer programme. But then again, nobody deemed a change necessary ahead of the Melbourne Test, which saw Tim Bresnan come in for the unlucky Steve Finn.
The decision to drop the inexperienced Finn for the Yorkshireman was more than vindicated and perhaps demonstrated that constant evolution of a settled England side is beneficial.
Though those who Bet with Paypal will agree England’s four-pronged attack has bowled magnificently in recent months, a long-term successor to Paul Collingwood could arise soon.
The Durham super-fielder’s cutters and runs are more likely to be replaced by a specialist bowler, allowing Ian Bell and Matt Prior to bat higher up the order.
With Stuart Broad, Bresnan and Graeme Swann at seven, eight and nine respectively, England have three specialist bowlers that are capable to support the middle-order.
With James Anderson and Finn or Chris Tremlett (or even good old Monty on the sub-continent) at 10 and 11, there is an attack which is more than capable of taking 20 wickets on any surface.
And thus, world domination for England. But let’s finish the Aussies off first.