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Ashes: 'Goal is to become one of the greatest...'

Source: ANI
June 15, 2023 16:16 IST
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IMAGE: With the prestigious Ashes set to get underway, world champions Australia are determined to cement their place as one of the greatest teams ever. Photographs: Paul Childs/Reuters

Ahead of the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston from Friday onwards, Australian cricketers reflected on their last Ashes series win on English soil in 2001, how odds are in favour or against them this time, and veteran spinner Nathan Lyon named a player who he thinks will have a "big series".

The hosts will be aiming to avenge their 4-0 loss in the 2021-22 season. Australia too will be aiming to win their first Ashes series in England in over 20 years.

The hosts are also charged up by the 'Bazball' revolution brought by skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, which has seen England win 11 of their last 13 Tests and dominate their opponents with an attacking, aggressive and positive cricket that aims for victory.

The series in 2001 was the last time Australia won The Ashes in England. Mark Waugh (430 runs in five matches), Damien Martyn (382 runs in five matches) and Adam Gilchrist (340 in five matches) and Glenn McGrath (32 wickets), Shane Warne (31 wickets) and Jason Gillespie (19 wickets) topped the batting and bowling charts for Australia, helping them crush England by 4-1 at their own territory.

Due to Australia's lack of success in England, this victory would become even sweeter to the fans as the time progressed.

Australian skipper Pat Cummins said that his boys have an opportunity to make history this time.

 

"It is amazing how an away series win defines an era, defines a team. You still talk about this series win, 20, 30, and 40 years later. This is the opportunity, this group has right now," said Cummins in a video posted by cricket.com.au.

"Coming to England or India, you feel you have to reinvent the wheel. We have been able to adapt well to different conditions and tweaked our style," he added.

Veteran spinner Nathan Lyon said that winning this series will define Australian cricket for years to come and this group aims to be one of the country's best cricket teams ever.

"Ben Stokes said that winning or losing is not going to define English cricket. But this Ashes series, we feel that winning this one could define Australian cricket. Our goal is to become one of the greatest Australian teams ever," said Lyon.

"I am expecting Cam Green to have a big series. His confidence has grown over a last couple of years, especially after playing IPL and scoring a hundred there," he added.

The lanky 24-year-old all-rounder from Australia overcame a slow start in the tournament to become MI's third-highest run-getter this season. In 16 matches, he scored 452 runs at an average of 50.22 and at a strike rate of over 160. He scored a century and two fifties this season, with best score of 100n.o.

His game awareness was also really great, often rotating the strike well and giving the strike to batters who were firing runs from the other end. He also took six wickets with best figures of 2/41.

Steve Smith, the team's star batter said that both sides are playing great and series will be exciting.

"It is going to be exciting. The way England is playing with their aggressive 'Bazball' approach, the way we are playing, it has been good," said Smith.

The number one Test batter Marnus Labuschagne recalled that the last time, the Australian team was better back in the 2019 Ashes in England and played better cricket, but just "let it slip".

"We were the better team last time and we let it slip at The Oval. We played better cricket even though we lost at Headingly due to ridiculous innings from Stokes. To learn from that series is to make sure we finish the job," said Labuschagne.

"We are a better team than in 2019, we are more settled, everyone's roles are known, and we are more confident in each other's abilities and methods," he added.

Opener Usman Khawaja said that English bowlers are extremely classy and with their batting unit clicking since a while, they look dangerous and have clarity.

"England got class bowlers. Jimmy Anderson, Broady (Stuart Broad) is still class. Their batting has been clicking lately. A year ago, we would be more confident. Stokes-McCullum brought a lot of clarity to the batting unit. It is always dangerous when you have a team with a lot of momentum. Five Tests is a long time, we are going to do our best to break them down," said Khawaja.

Pacer Josh Hazlewood also said, "We were a little up and down last time, England fought hard and it made for a great series. I think this time is going to be similar."

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Source: ANI

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