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  Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 13:38 GMT
Cricket: Awesome Aussies
Australia's fielders appeal against Nasser Hussain
England had a woeful start to their Ashes campaign

While England trod water, Australia continued their domination of international cricket in 2002, and when the two sides met there could be only one outcome.

In April, Nasser Hussain's side lost their final Test in New Zealand to tie the series 1-1.

And they followed victory over Sri Lanka by blowing a 1-0 lead in their home series against India, dropping to fifth in the Test rankings.

The men in baggy green, meanwhile, began the year in emphatic style by downing South Africa, officially the second-best side in the world, 5-1 in a home-and-away Test series.

Off the field Steve Waugh was sacked as one-day skipper, and his twin brother Mark was dropped from the Test side.

But on it they remained dominant in whitewashing Pakistan 3-0 in the warm-up to the Ashes.

And England's fears were realised on the very first day of the first Test when Hussain's decision to bowl saw the hosts reach 364 for two, on their way to a 384-run victory.

The die was cast, but innings defeats in Adelaide and Perth were more than even the most pessimistic England followers could have expected.

Australia had taken on Pakistan in the neutral venues of Colombo and Sharjah as security fears continued on the sub-continent.

Earlier in the year New Zealand were forced to pull out of their tour on the morning of the second Test after a bomb exploded outside their hotel in Karachi, killing 14 civilians.

Playing in New Zealand, England's cricketers were shocked by the news that one-day all-rounder Ben Hollioake had been killed in a car crash near his off-season home in Perth.

Hollioake's county Surrey dedicated their season to the 24-year-old, and his brother Adam captained the side to an emotional third County Championship crown in four years.

Title holders Yorkshire, meanwhile, suffered the ignominy of relegation and a fraud squad investigation, with the C&G Trophy scant compensation.

Hollioake's was not the only loss suffered by the cricket world, as former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje died in a plane crash near his home in the Western Cape.

Preparations continued in South Africa, though, for the eighth Cricket World Cup, beginning in February 2003.

A major milestone for the leading teams was the ICC Champions Trophy, held in Sri Lanka in September, but the tournament was shrouded by off-field controversy.

The world's leading players only agreed at the last minute to turn out after a row over sponsorship rights.

And a chaotic rain rule saw the title shared after the final was washed out twice.

England ended the year wishing for similar luck.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC News' Clarence Mitchell
"Cronje was trying to make up for his mistake"
Australia captain Steve Waugh in SA
"I don't think you ever expect to win so easily"
In-depth look back at a wonderful year of sport

Major events

Reviews

Sport in mourning

Funny Old Year

Sports Personality

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See also:

01 Jun 02 | Cricket
08 May 02 | Cricket
23 Mar 02 | Cricket
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