Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brilliant, England - but Now Sustain the Success

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brilliant, England - but Now Sustain the Success

Article excerpt

Byline: Mihir Bose

ENGLAND'S wonderful Ashes victory sends a message that extends far beyond the delirious scenes at the Oval.

We can now dare to hope that for the first time in a generation England may have got the monkey off its back when it comes to sporting success. That it came against the old enemy Australia is all the more special.

We are all too familiar with our sporting heroes promising great joy but delivering only despair and anguish.

How refreshing it is to see Australia for a change going through that agony as they try to figure out why their batsmen and bowlers dominated the series, yet they return home as losers.

The reason is simple. Australian batsmen may have scored more centuries than England's, their bowlers taken more wickets, but when it came to the really big moments that decided the series Andrew Strauss and his men won them all. That is always the mark of all truly successful sporting nations. They perform at their best when it really matters.

What is even more encouraging is that this English team appears to have turned the historical tide of an Ashes series. All too often the Australian capacity to bounce back and surprise England has proved decisive.

Yet in this Ashes series England have consistently caught the Australians unawares, starting with that draw in the first Test in Cardiff. Australia were so surprised at not securing victory that they complained of a lack of sportsmanship by England. In contrast, England bounced back spectacularly to win at Lord's for the first time since the previous great depression of the 1930s.

However, the decisive English surprise was reserved for the Oval.

Australia's massive victory at Headingley in the Fourth Test suggested the old order was back, all they had to do to retain the Ashes was draw the final Test and not too many teams come back from the sort of shattering loss England suffered. …

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