Friday’s upset win over Australia in the first tri-series final has a resurgent England firmly believing they are poised to salvage something from the wreck of their Australian tour.
Against all odds, the English continued their remarkable late tour form reversal when they secured a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three finals on the back of Paul Collingwood’s brilliant batting and fielding.
The second game is in Sydney on Sunday and an English victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground would be an upbeat end to a disastrous tour previously marked by poor form, injury woes and shattering defeats.
Having been pilloried for their performance for most of their time in Australia and told they might as well give up and go home a fortnight ago, England soared in confidence thanks to Friday’s win, their second over the home side in a row.
The English were 14-1 outsiders at the start of the tri-series and probably drifted even further after scoring 120 and 110 in successive losses in Adelaide, but more than three months after arriving on Australian soil, they finally have the home side under pressure and a trophy within reach.
Flintoff said it would be a sweet success after three months of torment. England have won three games in a row for the first time since 2005, but Flintoff said his players could not afford to get carried away with their improved form. Collingwood said the English could almost taste a memorable success.
The last time Australia didn’t win the tri-series was in 2001-02, when they missed the finals.
It has been the other way all summer, but Australian captain Ricky Ponting conceded his side was now in the unfamiliar position of having to turn the momentum their way.
While Australian spinner Brad Hogg didn’t claim a wicket on Friday, he troubled the England batsmen and is likely to be retained.
If Hogg holds his spot, that should ensure that pace bowling allrounder Shane Watson retains his berth in the side ahead of spinning allrounder Cameron White, despite the former generally struggling in his first game of the series on Friday. Pace bowler Mitchell Johnson will be considered for a recall.
England’s only decision will be whether to return Andrew Strauss to the top of the order at the expense of the struggling Mal Loye and promote all-rounder Ravi Bopara into their XI.
Likely teams: Australia: Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist, Mike Hussey, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Michael Clarke, Brad Hogg, Shane Watson, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, Nathan Bracken.
England: Andre Flintoff (capt), Andrew Strauss, Mal Loye, Ed Joyce, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Paul Nixon, Sajid Mahmood, Liam Plunkett, Monty Panesar, Jamie Dalrymple.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, February 11th, 2007 and is filed under General.
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