'4-1 win will give England Ashes edge' - Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh, the former Australia captain, has said a victory for England in the final ODI at Lord's on Saturday will give them a definite advantage leading into the Ashes later this year.
"Australia would certainly like to be 3-2 rather than 4-1," Waugh said during a press conference for the MCC World Cricket Committee. "At 3-2 neither side can say they had a big advantage, but 4-1 and England will walk away thinking we have got it over Australia.
"They will think: 'We won the Twenty20, we won the one-day games 4-1,' and although Test cricket is a different game, momentum plays a big part in sport so this game coming up is important for Australia."
Waugh admitted England had grown more determined over the last year and will not be intimidated when they defend the Ashes this year. "I have noticed a bit of a change in the England side," he said. "In the last 12 months they have escaped three Test matches. At Cardiff last year they were nine down and then the same happened in two Test matches in South Africa. That tells me they are a tough side to beat and fight all the way. They will go to Australia and will not be intimidated."
England had regained the Ashes in 2005, after a gap of 18 years, before being thrashed 0-5 when they toured Australia next year. However, they beat Australia 2-1 in 2009 under Andrew Strauss. The lessons learnt from the defeat in Australia on their previous visit, Waugh said, will stand England in good stead in their trophy defence.
"I think they will learn from the last series, where they prepared poorly and were still thinking about the previous win in England . They got carried away but they won't have the same complacency this time around. Eoin Morgan has brought a new element to the English side as well with the way he plays.
"He has not lost in Australia, and it is really important whenever a side goes to Australia they have a lot of cricketers in there who have not been there before and experienced defeat. They go with fresh eyes and are not too worried about what has happened in the past and play on the present, so he [Morgan] will be an important part of the team."