Aussie press heartened by squeamish England
by CricketArchive staff reporter

Scorecard:Australia v England
Player:A Flintoff, KP Pietersen
Event:England in Australia 2006/07

DateLine: 24th October 2006


The ease with which Australia neutered England's potent batsmen Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff at the ICC Champions Trophy will give them heart for the Ashes campaign, the Australian media said in Sydney Monday.


Skipper Flintoff was dismissed for four and Pietersen for one as England were bowled out for 169 in going down by six wickets in Jaipur on Saturday.


While Flintoff has brushed aside suggestions his side will be under more pressure going into next month's Ashes series, the Australian media were encouraged by the lopsided skirmish.


"The methodical ease with which the Australians neutered England's most potent batting threats, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, emerged as the key finding from what was more a preliminary reading than a dress rehearsal," The Australian newspaper said Monday. "And the torment England's strike bowler Steve Harmison doubtless suffered as he was pasted to all parts of the expansive Sawai Mansingh Stadium in two forgettable spells will surely take time to heal. "As (Australian captain) Ricky Ponting pointedly observed, if the perennially homesick quick serves up similar tripe when the Ashes begins next month he can expect the same treatment, which should see him placing an emergency call to the team travel agent before Christmas."


The Sydney Morning Herald said Australia struck the first blow in the Ashes skirmish, but "it was hardly a knockout punch, more of a prod in the belly, but it was a hit, a palpable hit."


"Both captains pointed out that the first Test was four weeks away. A lot can happen in a month. Steve Harmison might find his form. At present, his wrist is crooked at delivery," the Herald's Peter Roebuck wrote.


The Australian newspaper pointed out that England launched their successful Ashes campaign last year on the back of wins over Australia in the 50 and 20-over game.


"There were aspects of the win, set up by some clever bowling, that restricted England to a paltry 169 on a sluggish pitch, that will provide significant talking points in pre-Ashes team meetings," the newspaper added. "There was the judicious use of the short ball by seamers Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson that yielded instant results against Pietersen and Flintoff."


Ponting said on the back of the efforts of Johnson and Watson, who bagged three wickets apiece, there might be some "chin music" employed when England bat on the bouncier Australian pitches this summer.


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