England not only trounced world champions Australia in the ICC one-day semi-finals, they also put down a few markers for next summer’s Ashes Tour.
What an unusual, but highly pleasing sight to see the Aussies on the back foot for a change as we beat them for the first time in five years in the limited-overs game.
If England play as well against West Indies in this weekend’s final there will be only one outcome. What a turnaround England have made this summer because we couldn’t even reach the final of the triangular series against The Windies and New Zealand, but finished world beaters in Edgbaston.
We were outstanding again in the field and Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting admitted that he felt they were between 20-30 short. Darren Gough bowled well at the end and skipper Michael Vaughan took two wickets and completed 10 overs - a possible sign of things to come.
It was a typically fiery encounter with plenty of verbals as Australia tried to get inside English heads, but there is a fresh confidence among Vaughan’s men. They made Ponting’s wind-up merchants eat their own words.
Vaughan added a career-best 86 and a run out to his pair of wickets and was ably supported by Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Straus as England succeeded with more than three overs left.
We looked the young team with a bounce in our step while the Aussies looked an older outfit relying on experience against youth and vitality. Our qualities prevailed.
Now for The Oval where the rejuvenated Windies will be looking to continue where they left off against Pakistan. Who knows, the ball from Shaoib that felled Brian Lara in the semi-final may have a bearing in the final. It will definitely be in Lara’s mind that Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff will be trying to hit the same spot and who knows what psychological damage has been done.
Whatever happens, England are a force in all aspects of cricket again. Long may it continue.