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Revenge Is Sweet For Australia
England Tasting Unforgettable Beating

By Orin Davidson

Unless you are enduring Columbus syndrome which don’t differentiate between ignorance and discovery , Australia’s domination over England in the current Ashes series should be no surprise.

The results so far seem more like a countdown to glory for Australia with the series reading - two down three more to go.

And from the early going at Perth, it would soon be three down two to go.

At this rate, England face the prospect of suffering the first five-Test whitewash in Ashes history.

Australia has been domineering every step of the way.

Anytime England summoned enough pluck to produce a good session or an outstanding day Australia have matched them run for run, wicket for wicket.

It must be dawning now on Englishmen and other cricket followers the full extent of the Aussies hurt after losing the Ashes last year.

Not only intent on regaining the famous urn, Australia are about to hand England their worst beating in modern times.

From the time they hit Down Under after the Ashes last August, Australia seemed primed to unleash the whip.

The warnings were clear when they thumped the World XI, of all teams which comprised the world’s best players outside of those from the opposing country, in that solitary Test of the Super Series in October. The three-game limited overs clash was a similar one-sided whitewash.

They went to Bangladesh and summarily dismissed the minnows there 2-0 and then landed in South Africa to hand a humiliating 3-0 whitewash to the hosts.

In the return series South Africa did a little better to avoid a six-game sweep, by holding on to a draw in the Adelaide Test while being swept aside 0-2. Australia then made it three whitewashes for the season when they whacked the erratic West Indies 3-0 to complete their message of intent to England

Even if the defending Ashes holders got the message, they seemed helpless to avoid being rolled over in the first two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.

It is now no letting up at Perth as they find themselves under the gun, where the question now is how soon Australia will win, rather than who will win the five-match series.

The difference now compared to July/August 2005 is England as yet does not have the same team which clinched the Ashes narrowly 2-1 while Australia has maintained full strength.

It is significant the Aussies best fast bowler, Glen McGrath who significantly did not play in both Tests England won in 2005, is back to full fitness for all three so far. Whereas England are without three of their key men and seem unlikely to have them back in a hurry.

Simon Jones who mesmerized the Aussie batsmen with his brand of reverse swing has not completed one single Test in the 18-odd months since then because of a problematic knee.

To add insult to injury their captain and lead batsman Michael Vaughn also seems condemned to a premature career end because of another knee injury.

Then there is the mental stress problem that has sidelined star opening batsman Marcus Trescothick for yet another tour.

It may sum up why England has not won a Test series ever since, except beating minnows Bangladesh.

When you add the other influences like home advantage, England are now at a decisive disadvantage. The fact is they never play as well on the road as they are at home.

Their selection policies on tour are not helping as after Brisbane, Adelaide and now Perth, manager Duncan Fletcher and company must be kicking themselves for omitting Monty Panesar for Tests One and Two.

Now that he has become the first English spinner ever to bag a five-wicket haul at Perth, he has made them look more inept than the team on the field.

Especially so after Panesar bagged his haul in his very first Test ever in Australia after taking the highest number of wickets in England’s last two series.

With him resting on the bench after England failed to dismiss Australia in both innings at Brisbane, they will regret omitting him from now until the next Ashes series.

When it was felt England had gained the upper hand following their 500-run plus score in the Adelaide first innings, Australia countered right back by also posting their 25-score total.

But that’s where the similarities ended.

After England went on to lie down to be rolled over by Shane Warne in that dramatic last day collapse, Australia performed the opposite, by rattling off the 160-odd run target in limited time for the loss of only three wickets afterwards

Again when England thought they grabbed an advantage by dismissing Australia for a relatively modest 244 at Perth, especially after the Aussies Adelaide scoring spree, the former team flattered to deceive by falling for 29 runs less.

It is just plainly obvious Australia has far more depth in firepower than their old rivals.

Australia might have lost Damien Martyn through his shock retirement after Adelaide, but it hardly dented their strength, such is their depth.

On the contrary, England is struggling to replace Vaughn and Trescothick. And while it is fair to conclude they have an adequate replacement for Jones in Panesar, they blundered in the dressing room by playing him too late.

All the while they are making the home team’s job easier which includes giving longstanding coach John Buchanan a splendid farewell in his final Ashes series.

After McGrath boasted, he has never played in a losing Australia Ashes team, he clearly is in no danger of having to eat his words this time around.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage


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