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   Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 13:09 GMT
Waugh seeks historic win
Australian captain Steve Waugh
Waugh will be on home turf in Sydney


Being snubbed by the Australian selectors for the World Cup has given Steve Waugh all the incentive he needs ahead of his 156th Test appearance.

He is already his country's most successful Test captain, with 33 wins from 45 matches, but is now on the brink of a feat achieved by only one man in Ashes history.

Waugh as captain
1999 WI 2-2 Aus
1999 SrL 1-0 Aus
1999 Zim 0-1 Aus
1999 Aus 3-0 Pak
1999-2000 Aus 3-0 Ind
2000 NZ 0-3 Aus
2000-01 Aus 5-0 WI
*Missed 3rd Test
2001 Ind 2-1 Aus
2001 Eng 1-4 Aus
*Missed 4th Test
2001 Aus 0-0 NZ
2001-02 Aus 3-0 SA
2002 SA 1-2 Aus
2002 Pak 0-3 Aus
2002 Aus 4-0 Eng
*One match to play

Warwick Armstrong is the sole skipper to lead his team to 5-0 clean sweep in an Ashes series - and Waugh plans to emulate him in what could be his Test swansong.

England were batted into submission in
1920-21 as Australia managed a combined total of 10 centuries, three of them scored by Armstrong himself.

They also had a potent weapon in leg-spinner Arthur Mailey, who claimed 36 wickets in his first Test series, including second innings figures of nine for 121 in the fourth Test at Melbourne.

Mailey took seven wickets in the final match at the Sydney Cricket Ground as Australia triumphed by nine wickets.

Among the crowd, according to Wisden, was 12-year-old Don Bradman, attending his first Test match.

Jack Hobbs
Jack Hobbs was in the beaten England team

Bradman went on to become the greatest batsman in cricket history and also led the national team, but not even he was able to match Armstrong's achievement.

Bradman was captain in four Ashes series, but a 4-0 win in England in 1948 was the closest he came to a whitewash.

For Waugh, questions remain about how much longer his Test career will last.

He has already had talks with the selectors, who have made it plain they believe the team must keep evolving.

The next generation of Australian batsmen are queuing up for their chance and Waugh is the obvious candidate to make way, with his 38th birthday just six months away.

His determination to prove a point was obvious in Melbourne where he walked out to a standing ovation and responded with an aggressive innings of 77.

Steve Waugh holds the trophy at The Oval
Waugh achieved a 4-1 win in England in 2001

Another milestone beckons at Sydney where he needs another 69 runs to become the third man to reach 10,000 in Tests after Allan Border (11,174) and Sunil Gavaskar (10,122).

There are plenty of similarities between Waugh and Armstrong, who also achieved great things through sheer willpower and self-belief.

Both men expected - and received - unwavering loyalty from the men at their command.

"He truly is one of the champions of the game who is mentally tougher than any player I have ever had the privilege of playing with" is batsman Justin Langer's verdict on Waugh.

Armstrong led Australia in 10 Tests, eight of which ended in victory.

And it is certain that had he been alive today, he would have viewed Waugh as a worthy successor.

All the reports from the Test match

Day five

Day four

Day three

Day two

Day one

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See also:

31 Dec 02 | Cricket
23 Dec 02 | The Ashes
01 Dec 02 | The Ashes
29 Oct 02 | The Ashes
Links to more The Ashes stories are at the foot of the page.


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