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A Moment in History…

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I have never liked the Aussies, but yesterday, they captured my admiration, respect and dare I say it, love. The love will be temporary, but the respect and admiration will still be there. This team has done all that can be done, beating all comers ruthlessly and convincingly with total commitment, discipline and pride in representing Australia. Ricky Pointing said at the post conference that the guys had kept their emotions in check to focus on the game and they showed it.

England was a major disappointment. Showing fight only in spurts, they were a shadow of the team that won the last Ashes or beat Pakistan in their last series. Of the bowlers, Hoggard I will praise for great effort. Monty Panesar is deserving as well, picking up 10 wickets despite coming into the series late. Of the batsmen, I will pick Bell ahead of Pietersen. Pietersen should have done a lot more with the lower order. Selfishly, he never sheltered them from the Aussie attack, taking a single at the start of the over and leaving the tail ender to face 5 balls. Compare him to Michael Hussy and you will see the difference.

What a swan song for Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, Justin Langer and yes, Damien Martyn. You could not want a better way to go, ever. It was the Lord of the Rings trilogy at the end, leaving you just a bit sad, but contented with a job well done.

So what’s in the future for this Aussie team? Gone are Wane & McGrath, the guys who always took at least half of the wickets in an innings. Gone are Justin Langer, that giant trapped in a short, bruised frame and Damien Martyn, that artist amongst batsmen. Unlike the great West Indies side of the past, the Aussies have reserves and a proper and proven method of bring players up through the ranks. They will continue to be the ones to beat.

And England, where do they go from here? Freddie Flintof has tasted the poisoned chalice of captaincy and will become the better player for it. They have learned, I so hope they have learned, in the most excruciating way possible, that you can’t take past glories and expect that it will take you through hard times. Focus and proper preparation are the essential ingredients and Duncan Fletcher now has the brutal reminder of what it took to bring England to the #2 position. I suspect that the 2009 Ashes are going to be a real ripper. Until then, we have the World Cup to look to and again the Aussies are looking good to make it three in a row.



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