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Turning Points
The Australians regain the Ashes at Perth
December 18, 2006
The English resistance fell with Flintoff
 
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Well, the Ashes victory for England 15 months ago might have been sweet but was short. Just 15 months, that's how long they held the Ashes and here at Perth the Australians regained it and did it emphatically. They are 3-0 and you can't do any better than that.

There was resistance from England first thing this morning; in fact it was a bit more than resistance, it was a bold counter attack from the England captain - Andrew Flintoff. He'd been struggling for batting form throughout the series and the best way for a stroke maker to get back in form is to come out and play his shots and that's exactly what Flintoff did. Some wonderful driving against Brett Lee and I'm not sure whether it was courageous or stupid shot but it was very effective.

He (Flintoff) lofted one delivery that was angled in from Lee, he lofted it over mid-wicket, Michael Hussey was out there on the rope, it is a very long boundary, but the burly English captain just cleared Hussey's head and hit it for a six. He played very well, (especially) when you have Kevin Pietersen contributing very little to a 50 partnership. He was the main man in that partnership. But eventually his innings ended when Shane Warne, in typical fashion, bowled a skidder out of the front of his hand, it curved a little bit in the air and in the end Flintoff yorked himself and it crashed into off stump. That was the end of the English resistance.

Geraint Jones has been picked for his batting and it is said that his temperament is better than Chris Read's, well he certainly hasn't shown it in this series. I understand how he would've been interested in what the umpire has to say about his lbw decision, but when you see silly mid-off rushing forward to grab the ball and have a throw surely his cricketing instincts tell him to get his foot back, behind the line. He didn't and he was run out. From there on there wasn't much resistance, perhaps one lbw - Steve Harmison's - might have been a little unfortunate. But Warne finished up the match with a brilliant delivery that collected the stumps and gives him 699 victims in Test cricket. It is appropriate that he heads to Melbourne, his home ground, for the opportunity to take his 700th wicket. He has been an incredible Test match cricketer, particularly the Adelaide victory that couldn't have been achieved without Warne.

The difference between the two sides, England has played some very good cricket at times but the difference is they haven't been able to maintain that form all the way through. Australia, they were challenged yesterday, but once again their ability to play good cricket for long periods and keep it going, eventually just told on England. As I said they gave great resistance on day four, but just the quality of the Australian bowling over a long period paid off. They got a wicket and another wicket, so Australia's all-round cricket has been superior.

England came to Australia under prepared I would say, it has been a total turnabout. Australia went to England in 2005 a bit under prepared, and they paid for it and this time England have done the same and they paid for it. So Australia, have regained the Ashes and they've done it emphatically with a big win in Perth to go 3-0 up in the five-Test series, they've done it by playing some brilliant and consistently good cricket.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist


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