The Reuters global sports blog
The cornerstone of Australia’s past and many successes was often their stubbornness and competitiveness but with the nation at an all time low the new way forward is honesty and the equation is a basic one.
Elementary, Shane Watson.
The man can bat, bowl and field, as he showed during the 3-1 Ashes defeat to England and the two Twenty20 internationals, but what was most notable about the all-rounder was his honesty in front of cameras.
Asked in Melbourne if he thought his team could prevent another drubbing, he paused and let out a little laugh.
Contrast this with the captain in Sydney, Michael Clarke, who after day three with his side already 208 runs behind said he thought Australia could still win the match.
Look away now Australian cricket fans, this one’s going to hurt like a cricket bat to the groin. Their team has carried their abject 2010 form into 2011 by slumping to another defeat to a rampant England side but this time in Twenty20 rather than tests.
While England notched up their eighth straight victory in the shortest version of cricket – a new world record – the last ball defeat in Adelaide means Australia have now lost 17 of their last 24 completed matches in all forms of the game.
England’s cricketers wrapped up a 3-1 series victory against Australia in Sydney on Friday and held aloft the little Ashes urn for the first time in 24 years on Australian soil.
They should enjoy the moment. It has been hard earned and a long time in coming. The taste of success will be sweet and should be savoured after so much hurt and torment at the hands of the great Australian sides of the last 20 years.
The retirement of Paul Collingwood from England’s test team was beautifully timed, leaving the selectors with the dilemma of who to replace the versatile batsman but with a long time to contemplate the decision and from a pretty lofty perch.
The 34-year-old brought options with the ball and was arguably the team’s best fielder, so although he has struggled with the bat of late whoever steps into the team has some big boots to fill.
England moved closer to bringing the Ashes back from Australia for the first time in 24 years on Tuesday as they reduced the battered hosts to 169-6 at stumps on day three of the fourth test, needing just four more wickets to wrap up victory and still with a lead of 246.
In all likelihood England will require just three more wickets with Ryan Harris off the field with a stress fracture to his foot and unlikely to be forced to bat in such dire circumstances for the home side.
With the fourth test steaming up on us like Santa’s sleigh with an inebriated Rudolf at the helm, time is running out for England to decide on what to do about a problem like Paul Collingwood.
Is it me or does “Brigadier Block” always seem more out of form than in form?
“Bowling, Shane” are not words English batsmen would want to hear ever again, but how would the Australians react to Shane Warne making an astonishing return to answer his nation’s plea for help in the wake of the second test defeat to the ‘Poms’?
To say Warne was England’s primary Ashes tormentor for years and years is an understatement. Every time the leg spinner had the ball in his hand he had the opposition quaking, and even off the pitch he was a handful.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
We'll be following all the presentations and the vote itself as FIFA's executive committee decides on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Spain/Portugal, Russia, England and Netherlands/Belgium are the four rival bids for 2018, while Australia, South Korea, Qatar, United States and Japan battle it out for 2022, with the vote to come on Thursday.
England have been in far worse positions at the end of a first Ashes test in Brisbane. Although being bowled out for 260 is far from ideal Andrew Strauss’s team should believe they are still in this contest.
Having been 197 for four half an hour into the final session of the day and with the Australian bowlers barely able to hit the cut strip, England will rue the batting collapse which saw the last 6 wickets fall for just 63 runs and included a stunning hat trick from Peter Siddle.
With Australia’s current cricket team seemingly keen on proving they can be just as hopeless as any cricket team England produced circa 1990-2000, what better time to go Down Under and watch England defend the Ashes?
I was meant to go four years ago after the epic 2005 series, only to pull out at the last minute and buy a house instead.