Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney January 1, 2011

Melbourne hangover sorted out - Swann


Graeme Swann insists there will be no hangover from England's Ashes-retaining heroics in Melbourne as they eye a first series win in Australia in 24 years. The tourists partied hard after holding on to the trophy at the MCG but Swann, who details some of the exploits in his latest video diary, said everyone had re-focused on finishing the Test campaign on a high.

"It's been sorted out already," Swann said after training at the SCG. "We haven't had celebrations going on for many days. We had one night out after the game, you should celebrate a Test victory and an Ashes-retaining victory heavily. I tried to a lead a merry dance, but that was one night and we've moved on."

England will face an unfamiliar Australian line-up after the captain Ricky Ponting was ruled out with a broken finger. That has provided Michael Clarke with his first game in charge and Usman Khawaja, the No.3, and Michael Beer, the spinner, are both expected to debut. It should mean that England have a huge advantage with all their experience, but Swann remains wary of so many news faces.

"On one hand there is a whole pile of pressure on them because it is a New Year's Test match and they will be shaking like big dogs, but on the other hand coming in for your first game can be the best time you ever play because you don't know what it is all about," he said. "You've not got the pressure on your back ... You have to hope it goes the first way as you don't want two people on debut and one getting a five-for and the other a hundred."

Swann has 13 wickets for the series and has been satisfied with his contributions in the wins in Adelaide and Melbourne, but he starts this Test with different expectations on him. This pitch is traditionally a slow bowler's surface and England will look to him to provide significant damage.

"You always look forward to bowling on pitches renowned for spin, but that can bring pressure as well if people expect it to turn square like Sydney did 15 years ago," he said. "I'm reliably informed by people in Australia that it doesn't turn like it used to, but it will offer some assistance later on in the game."

Swann's 64 Test wickets were the most in 2010 and he has been a key man in a series of England successes. "It's been pretty much a dream year," he said. "I got married in January, won the Twenty20World Cup [in May], retained the Ashes in December. If 2011 can be anything like that, I will be over the moon. It's been a dream period for me.

"We've played some very good cricket and there are not many England players who can say they have played in two Ashes, won one, retained the other and won a [Twenty20] World Cup. I'm pretty chuffed the way the last 12 months have gone."

Swann is not sitting back enjoying the view because there is still work to be done to ensure this side is the first since Mike Gatting's in 1986-87 to win the Ashes in Australia. "In South Africa last year I thought I'd draw a line under the end of the year and we got absolutely hammered at the Wanderers," he said. "I'm going to draw a line under this series after the series and hopefully we can win 3-1."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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  • Ponmuhil on January 3, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    @ all english fans (including me!), first of all congratulations on winning (retaining) the ashes trophy. I m an Indian but a great fan of English cricket as well .. I ve been following the ashes series more aggressively than our current Ind vs SA series .. to see the pictures of celebration after the melb test was smthin tht will stay a long time .. it will be the end of an era (of aus dominance) .. n India, Eng and SA all have a part in it .. cherish the moment guys! .. the Ind vs Eng series in August would be abs fascinating to watch .. looking forward to it eagerly! .. post ur comments - Ponmuhil R

  • jake on January 2, 2011, 22:40 GMT

    Shaking like big dogs? Like england were in perth! Swann, you are an idiot.

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    the best answer from our cool captain.. lets devise a 7 day test format 1st... @addiemanav.. wt say?.. n i back u!..

  • Martin on January 2, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    I'd really like for an INDIA fan to explain to me why they are posting on ASHES conversations...............? INDIANS - if you are reading this you are in the wrong conversation - your conversation is SOUTH AFRICA v INDIA....................... INDIAN followers; You will get your chance against England this summer. @longdonkey; worth reminding you that your team no longer contains any sharks. They have been replaced by minnows. I have lived and worked on and off in Australia for years and have put up with some terrible wind ups. Being English I would say just at the moment that Australians in glass houses should not be throwing stones.... "Cat" ha ha ha!

  • aaditya on January 2, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @landl47,look man,i didnt say tht the former plyrs decide the fate of the game..ur sarcasm looks out of place,dont hav to tell me that current guys do it..all i was saying was ,that eng can enjoy their win against aus & they shud considering that they had been hammered there on every tour for the last 20yrs..they can reach the top spot,surely..but they need to be gracious enough to acknowledge competition from other places as well..ind r top team,but not by far distance..i accept it..but i am not going to say that we will beat u every day of week..these r great times for test cricket when equally balanced sides are fighting it out against each other.india may not stay at top for a long time,because in another year or 2 our senior players will retire..the period after that will be the toughest for the team..eng has nice blend of age and can reach the top spot!!but lets just wait for challenge in front of us ,the next summer..lets hav some green tops in eng,some square turners in india!!

  • vinay on January 2, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    Why use ICC rankings to back Swann as the best spin bowler in the world but discard the rankings when it comes to the best test team in the world.

  • Anoop on January 2, 2011, 1:45 GMT

    Swann is not a Master of Off Spin. Even Offspinners can be hitted rather than defended. When you defend you will perish.. Same with the case of Miurali , Harbhajan, Saqlain etc. When tamed Swann will be the most economical bowler for the batting team. We saw it in Australia. Especially Brad Haddin picked him so beautifully. I can saw Swanny feeling immense pressure when bowling against Haddin. So listen others, please....You Dominate Swann from the very first ball... Take some risks in the 3rd and 4th overs of Swann and definitely he'll be the milking Cow.

  • Paul on January 1, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    To all the visiting Indian fans why not go and comment on your own teams series against the Saffas??? Go Saffas Back to the Ashes it may not be between the number 1 and 2 ranked teams but ask any aussie or pom fan and it's the series they care about above any other. England will win in Sydney unless the weather gets in the way because they have the best spinner in the world according to the much quoted ICC rankings and the SCG traditionally takes spin. Much respect to Andy Flower as a former Zim star he must be used to getting the most out of the resources to hand and he certainly has taken England to a new level they are not there yet but they look set to go to the top. England will have a few bumps along the way but they will progress up the rankings as they have the right blend of age and experience and strength in depth in the pace bowling dept

    Looking forward to Indian vitriol but your days at the top are limited stars too old look at Aus team now, your turn next..!

  • joel on January 1, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    Obviously England have been incredibly lucky taking so many wickets and scoring so many runs , or perhaps as logic may explain we are simply cruising . It doesnt matter if Australia win the 5th test , we have retained the ashes . And to boot beaten our oldest foe twice easily . Im for one am looking forward to India and Sri Lanka visiting next summer .

  • aaditya on January 1, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    @Shan156 i wud also like to add that this english team is not as good as the eng team during michael vaughan's leadership ..that was some 18month period in 04-05,when they were beating SA,WI,and also the ashes..that was the team to beat..and u r also also right in saying that we dont hav any other sport to enjoy coz we r pathetic in is as gud as yes,cricket is the only thing we love,and talk about..cant help it!!

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