February 12, 2007

Australian cricket

How Australia fell back to earth

Brydon Coverdale
Andrew Flintoff looks to the heavens after Michael Hussey's wicket, Australia v England, CB Series, 2nd final, Sydney, February 11, 2007
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Christopher Martin-Jenkins writes in The Times that England need to maintain their perspective after their surprising CB Series win against Australia.

For England to have their best chance of maintaining their recent momentum when they start their campaign in the Caribbean, Michael Vaughan has to be restored as captain.

That is not a view shared by Mike Selvey in his blog for The Guardian.

To select Vaughan would go against all the benchmarks for proving form and fitness that have been set over the years. Were the selectors a little more pragmatic, they would save Vaughan for the summer.

According to Andrew Ramsey in The Australian, Liam Plunkett was the man who revived England’s flagging tour.

When England hands out MBEs for its stunning tri-series turnaround, the person who alerted the team hierarchy that Liam Plunkett was in the touring party should be at the head of the queue.

Alex Brown, in the Sydney Morning Herald, argues there is one player who has made all the difference – through his absence.

Australia's losses to England have coincided with the long-term biceps injury to Andrew Symonds. Without his power and versatility, the Australian line-up suddenly appears unbalanced, unsettled and unsure of itself.

And also in The Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Roebuck ponders the astonishing transformation of England's fortunes, on a tour "that started in a tunnel of wretchedness has ended in a sudden blaze of glory."

At times, it is almost impossible to pinpoint the precise moment the turnaround began. Certainly, the teams have not undergone any radical rethink. England fielded much the same outfit that for several months has been battered and beaten, though not, as it has turned out, into submission

Perhaps the last word, however, should go to The Sun, who declared in a banner headline on the back page of their sports section: "Our trophy's bigger than yours!"

Forget that piddly little Ashes urn — England landed the big one yesterday with their third straight win over Australia.Okay, so England lost the historic little Ashes urn, but at least they have the mighty new Commonwealth Bank Series lump of silver

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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