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  Monday, 25 November, 2002, 13:49 GMT
Rising to the occasion


Having said it over and over, I am very conscious of appearing cocky, or even arrogant, but again I must confess to being privileged to be a part of this Australian team.

When we lost the toss on Thursday morning there were a few concerns in our changing room.

Experience warned us that historically it is very difficult to win games of cricket batting last at the beautiful Adelaide Oval.

Batting becomes increasingly difficult as the turf dries out and the cracks start to open up.

Australia are looking to make it 3-0 in Perth
The Aussie team celebrates victory

This initial concern rallied further at stumps on day one when England were four for 295.

At that stage of the game England must have fancied their chances of equalling the series on a pitch that was likely to deteriorate.

From their point of view they only needed to add an extra 150 runs on day two to put the game out of our reach.

From our point of view we knew this and decided that we would have to move up a gear or two if we were to get back into the game.

Vaughan's let-off

This is where my amazement at this team kicks in again. For the next eight sessions of Test match cricket, my teammates played superbly.

McGrath, Gilliespie, Warne and Bichel put on a stunning performance with the ball, suffocating England with disciplined lines and lengths and measured aggression.

After rattling their lower order on day two, it was Ponting, Martyn, Hayden, Gilchrist and Steve Waugh who took to the England bowlers with their normal ruthless aggression.

Vaughan reaches his century
Vaughan was fortunate to survive

While we are delighted with the final result the Test match didn't pass without incident.

Michael Vaughan's century in the first innings was world-class but his decision not to walk when I told him I was sure that I had caught him was disappointing.

Sure his actions were within the rules, but I believe we as players have an obligation to strive towards playing within the spirit of the game.

It was interesting that this incident provoked so much debate over the next few days.

Replay debate

Some journalists suggested that I shouldn't have been so disappointed because of an incident that I was involved in against the West Indies a couple of seasons ago.

On that occasion I edged a ball to first slip where Brian Lara took a catch which looked to me like it had fallen short of his hands.

When this happened I asked Brian whether he had taken the ball cleanly. Had he told me that he had, I'd like to think I would have walked from the ground having accepted his word.

Glenn McGrath catches Michael Vaughan on the final day
McGrath's catch was a moment to remember

Rather than telling me he had caught the ball he said "JL, I am not 100% sure, mate, we better check on the replay."

This we did and I was adjudged not out. I went on to score another measly 10 or 15 runs, which was a little different to the extra 150 odd that Vaughan helped himself to.

Regardless of the incident Vaughan's century should be the benchmark for how the rest of his teammates should aspire to play for the remainder of the series.

And, what about 'That Catch'.

The only way to describe Glenn McGrath's brilliant outfield catch is that it was an absolute miracle but a beautiful miracle in this Test series - for us anyway.

All the news ahead of the 2002/03 Ashes tour

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See also:

20 Nov 02 | The Ashes
12 Nov 02 | The Ashes
Links to more The Ashes stories are at the foot of the page.


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