Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Aussie press laud Warne and ridicule England's timidity

AFP , ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA

The ASHES 2006/2007Australian media yesterday hailed Shane Warne's match-winning performance to give Australia an iron grip on the Ashes, while questioning England's approach to the Adelaide Test.

Captain Ricky Ponting hailed Australia's "miracle of Adelaide" win over England as one of the all-time great Test cricket wins.

England lost after scoring 551 for six, the largest-ever declared first innings total for a team who then went on to lose the match.

Warne, Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker, was at the heart of Australia's stunning turnaround, bowling an unchanged 27 overs for 4-49.

"Shane Warne's performance yesterday must be rated among the greatest of his career," Sydney's Daily Telegraph said.

"Just when it looked as if England might at last be coping with his genius he simply suffocated them with an effort that suddenly makes his hex over them as great as ever," it said.

"At age 37, when he should have still been feeling the effects of his 53-over first innings, he powered through the crease as if he was bowling his first overs of the summer. It just goes to prove that England can face their leg-spin bowling machine Merlin for as long as they like yet nothing fully prepares them for the challenge of Warne," it added.

The newspaper said the final day's play was "a savage clash of two contrasting mentalities."

"England managed a staggeringly-poor 70 runs off 54 overs in two sessions for the loss of nine wickets. They scratched out 30 runs in the first session. Australia, by contrast, managed 32 off their first six overs," it said. "One side raised the draw bridge, the other tried to storm the castle."

The Australian newspaper said England might have fallen victim to its own spin.

"As three days of unchallenged dominance dissolved into a furious rearguard action and, eventually, unthinkable defeat, the English justifications and prognostications that preceded the second Test took on a distinctly mocking air," it said.

"For that reason, England's brains trust cannot feasibly enter the third match in Perth without making significant changes to its line-up because the conservative team it took into the Adelaide Test was found to be deficient. Caution was behind the decision to play Ashley Giles ahead of fellow left-arm spinner, Monty Panesar," it added.

The Melbourne Age said Australia's Adelaide triumph has established "the natural order."

"In Brisbane [first Test], arguably, Australia caught England cold. But this was the win that re-established the natural order. It was the win that could only have been inspired from within a champion team. Only two teams have made more in the first innings and still lost," the Age said.

"England paid for timidity in not playing spinner Monty Panesar, and in not making more haste on day one. Australia leads the series 2-0 after two, as it has in three of the last four Ashes series here," it added.

"The difference now is that England holds the Ashes, needs only to draw and so cannot quite be counted out yet. But England's eyes are glazed, its pulse irregular, its legs the texture of jelly," it said.

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