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February 8, 2007
Duncan Fletcher believes England can put "a lot of pressure on Australia" in the CB Series finals after a strong finish to the preliminary rounds. The first decider is at the MCG on Friday and Fletcher said his young team was capable of an upset.
"We've won these two games against two very, very good, experienced sides," he said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "The way we beat Australia was quite clinical, so there is a very good chance that we can go in there and beat Australia.
"There could be a lot of pressure on Australia, from the point of view that we beat them last time, we've beaten New Zealand quite convincingly, and they put up a very good game against Australia the other night." England eased to a 92-run win against Australia on Friday and then earned their spot in the finals by shutting down New Zealand at the Gabba on Tuesday.
"We're the underdogs - we've got a few injuries and a very, very young side and we've played some very good cricket," Fletcher said. "What's the limit of this side? There's a lot of growth in it and we could upset a lot of top sides."
England have lost Chris Tremlett and Jon Lewis, who have returned home with injuries, while Paul Collingwood has a foot problem and Michael Vaughan's left hamstring is sore. There had been talk of Kevin Pietersen returning to the side for the finals after recovering from a cracked rib, but he will stay in England and prepare for the World Cup.
Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, said in the Herald Sun the tourists' performances in the past two games had been "nearly perfect". "England have shown that they can beat Australia and have a belief now that they can beat Australia," he said. The second final is at the SCG on Sunday while the third game will be played at Adelaide on Tuesday if required.
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