Photos of Australia’s World Cup parade in Sydney

If you can stomach it, Matt Sterne has taken some photos of the Australian winners in Sydney.

England’s Commonwealth Bank Series win completes my misery

I have a toothache from hell. It set in on Friday night, and my dentist can’t fit me in until Wednesday morning. So between that, and England totally outplaying Australia in the one day finals, I have not been a happy little camper. At the moment, I’m taking refuge in alcohol for pain relief. Meanwhile I wonder if Andrew Flintoff is taking pain relief from alcohol. The last time Flintoff was involved in winning a trophy off Australia, his alcohol intake was spectacular. I’m partial to a drop myself, but I have to admit I don’t think I could keep up with Freddy when he’s up for a drink.

Anyway, enough of vices. I asked in my previous post if Duncan Fletcher would have anything to do with the resurrection of English fortunes, and it turns out he did have a bit to say.

Whereas a matter of weeks ago England’s planning for the World Cup almost revolved around picking random names out of a hat, Fletcher now says there is a clear plan heading into the tournament.

“We’ve got a side that have won here and done very, very well and yet we are still missing people of the calibre of [Michael] Vaughan and [Kevin] Pietersen who are two very important players for us, so it’s still going to be very difficult for us [to narrow down the squad].”

“But we’re a lot clearer than we were at the start of this series. We really believe in the side now, four in a row is a great achievement and we’ve just got to continue with that momentum.”

Fletcher, himself, received a special mention as Andrew Flintoff relished his first success as captain. “The one person I really want to thank is Duncan Fletcher,” said Flintoff, “throughout the trip he has kept taking the knocks for us but he has kept backing us.”

While most of the plaudits will go to Paul Collingwood, and rightly so, I think that the emergence of Liam Plunkett also has a lot to do with the turnaround in England’s fortunes. And Monty Panesar has had a role to play too. He hasn’t taken a hatful of wickets, but he’s always kept things tight, and a good spinner is worth a fortune in any form of cricket.

Australia have got some thinking to do. They are in danger of losing their ranking as the best ODI side in the world to South Africa. To me the two issues are that Michael Hussey has lost his magic touch, as well as Symonds’ injury. Michael Clarke could do with some more runs as well. My own view was that White should have replaced Symonds as the batting allrounder. Instead, they’ve chosen Watson as a bowling allrounder, which is fine except that he’s barely had any cricket since the Champions trophy. Bringing him back for the finals smacked of hubris, and hubris gets punished.

My understanding is that Will will be returning from Kenya in the next few days, with plenty of photographs and hopefully some insider gossip about his adventures. For an Englishman’s perspective, be sure to read the Reverse Swing Manifesto (and speaking of which, why hasn’t Troy Cooley done us any good in the ODI’s?) In the meantime, I leave you with one final question before I drown my sorrows. What exactly is the Duckworth/Lewis algorithim? I once heard it described as being so complex as to make Einstein look like a bit of fun with an abacas, but even still!

England can smash and grab a trophy today

Barely three weeks ago, England had plunged to awful depths with consecutive humiliating losses in Adelaide; now they are on the cusp of winning the Commonwealth Bank Series. If they do it, it will be a massive form reversal. And even if they don’t win today, they still have a chance in Adelaide on Tuesday.

But England’s best chance is in Sydney. England’s record in ODI’s vs Australia is much better at Sydney then it is at any other ground in Australia.

England’s much maligned coach, Duncan Fletcher, has stayed in the background, and I wonder how much of the form uptick is his doing?

Ticket to nowhere

The Barmy Army can’t even give tickets away to Australia vs England at Sydney. Fortunately, England’s tour of duty is nearly over. And they are really treating it as a tour of duty.

Gary Hayes is one of South Australia’s most respected and sociable cricket coaches. He coaches Adelaide University’s first-grade side, a club where Liam Plunkett once passed a contented and productive season. His desire to wish Plunkett well at an England net session this week required a security officer to hover a yard from his shoulder, antennae twitching. Hayes is half-Malaysian – he recently coached the Malaysian team – and wonders if that explains it. “Goons,” he concluded, suitably unimpressed.

Had the security team investigated Hayes further they would have discovered that he had also contacted Plunkett during the second Test in Adelaide, the Test where England’s last-day capitulation sealed their Ashes defeat. Plunkett went out for dinner with his one-time coach and some former colleagues but had to eat at a restricted list of restaurants vetted by England. As he left the hotel his Durham colleague, Paul Collingwood, joked that he would not be having room service for the first time on tour. How can it be beneficial for an England cricketer to tour in such a reclusive manner?

This is kind of hilarious. Where do they think they are, Australia or Iraq? What on earth are they so frightened of? It’s hard to imagine anyone telling the likes of Steve Waugh or Matthew Hayden where they could or could not eat on tour. But as an Australian fan, I’m delighted to read this, because no England team is going to come here and win with this sort of mentality.

Australia v England, Twenty20, Sydney

It’s the hit-and-giggle of the winter season. I can’t imagine for a second England will win it, even with this new bloke Michael Vaughan in the side. In fact, especially with him in the side. Still, it’s always good for a giggle – even if Ricky Ponting refuses to enjoy it, or see the fun side. It’s a game, Ricky…

I think it starts at 8am tomorrow so, if you’re up and interested, post your thoughts here.

Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 3rd day

The third day from the SCG. We could be in for a spectacular display of fireworks, none of which I will see as I’ll be asleep. In fact, it could even be all over by the time I arise from my slumber.

Chat away!

Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 2nd day

A better day for England yesterday. What has day two in store? Andrew Flintoff is not out this morning, which is often a good sign. If anyone’s watching, leave a comment.

Rain, rain, go away.

Keep track of the rain in Sydney with the Sydney area radar.

Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 1st day

Happy New Year to all. Hope you’ve decided your new year resolutions. And let’s hope England have, too. I don’t think comments are working here at the moment…if they are, do leave one. If not, rock on like the rockers you are.

Those bally fine chaps from the antipodes

If an advert like this appeared on a bus in Britain, slagging off the Aussues, the transport company would be sued on the spot (by the Australian embassy, firstly, followed by the Equality For All Things With Four Wheels movement).

Shuper advert that, though.

Aussie humour makes me smile