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We have totally dominated Australia: Fletcher

Tony Lawrence | August 29, 2005 20:54 IST

England have outplayed and out-thought Australia in emphatic fashion for most of the Ashes series, according to their coach Duncan Fletcher.

He added, however, that it is still too early to say whether England have displaced their opponents as the world's best side.

"We aren't looking at a changing of the guard at the moment," the England coach told a news conference on Monday, a day after his side beat the world champions by three wickets in the fourth Test to go 2-1 in the series with one game remaining.

"You have to put that aside. After [the final Test at] The Oval we'll look back and reflect where we stand in the world ratings."

Australia have dominated world cricket since the mid 1990s, winning the last eight Ashes series since 1989. England went into this series ranked number two in the world, having won 14 of their previous 18 Tests.

"A lot of people thought before [the Ashes] that we hadn't played against strong opposition," Fletcher added. "We have had to prove it."

He said England had proved their critics wrong after playing poorly to lose the first Test by 239 runs at Lord's.

"We have shown we can compete with the best in the world, Australia, and outplay them," Fletcher said. "The most pleasing thing is that we have put together lots of sessions of good cricket.

"Ever since Lord's we have dominated lots of sessions, if not nearly all of them."

England's two wins have been narrow, they triumphed by two runs at Edgbaston, and they were one wicket away from victory at Old Trafford before the third Test was drawn. In all those matches, Australia battled back from near-hopeless positions.

Fletcher said he could not assess his own contribution to England's improvement.

"You will have to ask the players that," he said, adding that the home team had shown the way forward with their use of specialist coaches.

"There are a few areas where we do believe we have started our own initiatives," he said, when asked to comment on Australia's lack of a bowling coach on tour.

"We have made sure we have a good bowling coach [Australian Troy Cooley] and batting coach. The key is that you have to get the right guys in and I think we have got the right guys in."

Fletcher also dismissed Australian complaints that they had had the worst of the umpiring decisions at Trent Bridge. Australia captain Ricky Ponting and batsman Simon Katich were fined for showing dissent following their second-innings dismissals at Trent Bridge.

"We are not looking at that," Fletcher said. "There are always series when you feel fortune goes against you. It's swings and roundabouts. We are not really interested in that. They have to look at themselves."


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Sub: Fletcher Flintoff and England luckiest

I cannot help imagine Fletcher's reaction if England were to be at receving end of not less than 5 poor umpiring decisions. Flintoff played played ...

Posted by S Michael Ponnudurai


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