Well done lads !!!

England embarked on their tour of Australia in November 2006, hoping for another Ashes encore. This is sadly, how the test matches went. The test matches were anything but competitive.

Test 1- Australia won by 277 runs

Test 2- Australia won by 6 wickets

Test 3- Australia won by 206 runs

Test 4- Australia won by an innings and 99 runs

Test 5- Australia won by 10 wickets  

Australia thrashed England 5-0 and Ricky Ponting became the first Aussie skipper to inflict a whitewash upon their bitter rivals since Warwick Armstrong in 1921. The English side was the subject of jeers from the crowd and the media. Somebody went on to say that the Ashes were lost the moment England stepped out of Heathrow.

England lost the 20-20 by 77 runs and had a disastrous start to the Commonwealth Bank Series, which also involved Australia and New Zealand.

1.) Lost to Australia by  8 wickets

2.) Beat New Zealand by 3 wickets—

Nailbiting win at Hobart chasing 205 and Freddie was the hero with an unbeaten 72.

3.) Lost to Australia by 4 wickets

4.) New Zealand won by 90 runs.

5.) Lost to Australia by 9 wickets

6.) New Zealand won by 58 runs 

That was 6 ODI’s with one win. New Zealand were almost certain to meet the men from Down Under in the finals.

Then at Sydney, the same place where the whitewash was completed, began England’s new innings. They beat Australia for the first time in the tour, by 92 runs.  Ed Joyce made a brilliant 107 as England made 292 batting first. Ravi Bopara, a replacement for Kevin Pietersen, made his ODI debut in the same game.

England required Australia to beat NewZealand to have any hopes of reaching the finals. The Kiwis made 290 in the first innings, propelled by opener Lou Vincent’s well crafted 90  and Peter Fulton’s 60. The Aussies needed 127 off 16 overs, and the Kiwis were favourites. However Brad Hodge had other ideas in mind, and his unbeaten 99 saw the Aussies home. Ricky Ponting had earlier led from the front with a 104.

We went to the Gabba, and the Kiwis knew that a tie would do for them. Paul Collingwood rescued England with a workmanlike 106. New Zealand needed 271 to win and started off well.  Things started to fall apart for the Kiwis when Taylow was run out with the score at 169, and despite Fleming’s century and a late effort from James Franklin, England sneaked through by 14 runs.

Having defied all odds to make it to the final, Duncan Fletcher’s boys knew that winning the series would help erase memories of the disaster that the tour had been till then.

Chasing 253, England were reduced to 15 for 3 before that man came to their rescue yet again…yes Paul Collingwood…the Durham all rounder smashed 120 to guide England home with 4 wickets to spare.

That victory was totally unexpected and the Aussies were keen to set the record straight at Sydney.

England made a mess in their last 10 overs and could only muster 246 in their allotted quota. Glenn McGrath took the wicket of Paul Nixon off his last ball  for his 50th wicket at the SCG.  It was Collingwood who again top scored with 70 off 90 deliveries.

The Aussies lost a few early wickets and the Duckworth Lewis method didn’t help their cause at all. The Target first went to 227 off 41 and then to 211 off 33, and without wickets in hand, the home side had their backs against the wall. Hodge and Watson’s knocks weren’t enough and England won by 34 runs on the D/L method.

The win is a good sign going into the World Cup and it has sent a message to the cricketing fraternity that Australia are not unbeatable. The World Cup will make for some interesting viewing , although the Aussies are still overwhelming favourites to win the trophy for the third successive time.

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