Tue, Nov 28, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Australia complete rout to lead series

POMS PUMMELEDWith the second Test starting on Friday, Andrew Flintoff's side has precious little time to re-group following their 277-run mauling in Brisbane

AP , BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

Australia bowler Brett Lee celebrates dismissing England batsman Kevin Pietersen, right, for 92 runs during the second innings on the final day of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane yesterday.

PHOTO: EPA

THe ASHES 2006/2007Even after a comprehensive win in the series-opening Test against England, Ricky Ponting was reflecting on what went wrong when Australia surrendered the Ashes last year.

Ponting pounded 196 in Australia's first innings of 602 for nine declared and an unbeaten 60 in the second innings, before he declared it at 202-1 with a lead of 647.

The Australians won the Gabba Test by 277 runs yesterday, mopping up England's tailenders in 91 minutes on the last day.

The second Test starts on Friday in Adelaide, giving Ponting and his squad a night to celebrate the Brisbane victory before heading south and getting back to work.

"We've started this series very well -- from the first day we've been in total control," Ponting said yesterday, after collecting the man-of-the-match award. "It's very satisfying to have waited so long for this to come around. For it all to fall into place has been great."

Australia won last year's series opening test at Lord's by 237 runs, then lost two of the next four matches.

Ponting became the first Australian captain to surrender the Ashes in almost two decades, the defeat sparking a complete review of the national team and administration.

Stung by the criticism that followed, Ponting concentrated on resurrecting his own and Australia's status as No. 1 in world cricket.

His hundred in the first innings was his ninth in 13 Tests since the fifth Ashes match at The Oval in September last year.

In that time, he's been voted the international player of the year, led Australia to wins in 12 of its 13 Test matches and to victory in the limited-overs ICC Champions Trophy in India.

After one win in a five-match series, he's not about to rest on his laurels.

"We'll just have a good look at what we've done well in this game and make sure we continue it on in the series," he said. "You can't afford to take the foot off the accelerator whatsoever."

"It's a good opportunity for us to have a think about the last series and think about the way we might have been thinking going into the second game and make sure we're better off this time around," he said.

England's bowling attack performed well below expectations, failing to bowl Australia out once. And apart from Paul Collingwood (96) and Kevin Pietersen (92) in the second innings and Ian Bell's 50 in the first, the batsmen fared little better.

The four-day turnaround between Tests would favor Australia, Ponting said.

"It will be terrific for us, having played as well as we have," he said. "There's not much time for England to go away and do too much to get their games in order."

"It's up to us really to keep them under pressure. They'll be able to bounce back if we allow them to, which is probably what happened [last year]," Ponting said.

Ponting strained his back while batting on Sunday morning and missed the rest of the day in the field while he received treatment. Paceman Glenn McGrath took 6-50 in the first innings, but struggled with a badly bruised heel in the second innings and took only 1-53.

Ponting said he had recovered from the back problem and he expected McGrath to overcome his sore heel before the next match.

Australia won the last Ashes series on home soil by 4-1, and has not lost a Test series at home since a defeat to the West Indies in 1992-93.

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