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   Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 14:05 GMT
An amazing Ashes


The Ashes series is at an end.

And for every England supporter and player the climax could not be sweeter.

For us Australians the last five days have been a disappointing way to end what has been another successful Ashes campaign against the old enemy.

From the outset of England's tour I said they would be looking to gain momentum.

Now with a Test win under their belts, the momentum will continue and with it confidence and more success on the field.

Batting first on a typically dry SCG pitch, England basically controlled this game for most of the time.

Besides Steve Waugh's inspiring century, which I believe was one of the greatest displays of skill and courage in the history of Test cricket, our determined rivals showed enormous character for five days.

Justin Langer
Langer with the Ashes vase
There is no doubt in my mind the self-belief and confidence gained on the final day in Melbourne acted as the catalyst to England's comprehensive triumph.

Mark Butcher's first innings century was uncompromising, while Nasser Hussain's batting throughout was laced with a hint of determined ruthlessness.

Again Michael Vaughan was outstanding.

The way he strikes the ball is fantastic to watch, although it is frustrating and disheartening if you are on the receiving end of the punishment.

He was a worthy recipient of the man of the series award.

Ensuring victory, Andy Caddick finally delivered what he so often promises with a dangerous display of fast bowling on a deteriorating pitch.

There is no doubt he is a world class performer on his day.

Much of what I have read since the series began is how bad England have been rather than how well we have played.

Although it may not have seemed like it, the series has been tougher than it has looked.

England have enough skill, determination and character to be a successful team.

The Barmy Army
The Barmy Army fell out with Langer
Steve Harmison is ugly to face with his pace and bounce and Matthew Hoggard has the ability to swing the cricket ball.

Add to this the potential of Alex Tudor, Simon Jones and James Anderson and England have something to look forward to in the future.

Hussain is a respected leader and batsmen Vaughan, Trescothick, Butcher and Key are strong enough to build a solid foundation around.

Talking about England supporters it will be nice to have a day in the cricket field without having the Barmy Army singing in our ears!

They are great for the atmosphere of a cricket ground but you can take it from me and my team-mates I would much rather have them on my side than against my side.

My tongue-in-cheek comments on Boxing Day about the England fans stirred up a lot of ill-feeling.

But I am hopeful we are all friends now the series is over.

The end of an Ashes series is sad in a way because of the hype and build up throughout.

But in this day an age of professional cricket the end of one series means the start of another.

I hope you have enjoyed it as much as we all have.

Tired and drained in Sydney,
JL

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 | The Ashes
25 Dec 02 | The Ashes
25 Nov 02 | The Ashes
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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