Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hungry Watson's Desperate to End Australia's Ashes Agony

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hungry Watson's Desperate to End Australia's Ashes Agony

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Cricket Correspondent in Adelaide

AUSTRALIA are using the pain of recent Ashes defeats as a driving force in this series as they attempt to get the better of England for the first time in seven years.

England have won the last three contests and four of the last five, but find themselves 1-0 down after their 381-run mauling in Brisbane, with the Second Test starting at the Adelaide Oval tomorrow night.

Of the Australian side, only captain Michael Clarke knows the joy of Ashes victory, whereas England have two four-times winners -- Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen -- in their likely side, and five other players who have claimed the urn on three occasions.

Shane Watson is a regular target for England sledging but he believes that home advantage, and the thirst for success, is a far more powerful weapon than any verbal taunt Jimmy Anderson and company might aim in his direction.

"We're certainly very hungry," Watson said today. "We haven't enjoyed losing to the English over the last three series. A number of us have been involved in those games, and we're extremely driven to do whatever we possibly can to win this Ashes series.

"There's no doubt it means a hell of a lot to us as a team, to Australian cricket, and to everyone. You can really feel what it means to the Australian public as well. In Brisbane, it was the most support I've ever felt from a crowd. It was absolutely extraordinary.

"It was an incredible feeling. We just need to stay on that roll. There are a lot of people who want us to perform well, and it certainly gives us that extra drive to be able to do whatever we can.

"In terms of the verbal contest in the middle, that's what I love about playing. That battle is what international cricket is all about and, whether I'm batting or bowling, it gets me going. There are certain players it can work for and others it can work against and it's about finding the perfect balance."

Watson believes he has recovered sufficiently from a hamstring problem to be able to take on a heavy bowling workload here, after he sent down only two overs at the Gabba, both in England's second innings. …

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