|Player:||RT Ponting, SK Warne, GD McGrath, JL Langer, A Flintoff, AN Cook, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, MS Panesar|
DateLine: 8th January 2007
Australia, fresh from crushing England 5-0 in their first Ashes whitewash in 86 years, have confirmed themselves as one of cricket's great "dynasties", reports have said, but are still hoping to break new records. Ricky Ponting's Australians chalked up their 12th straight Test victory in overpowering the English tourists by 10 wickets before lunch on the fourth day of the Sydney Test Friday. The Australian team, now facing life without their retired trio of greats Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Justin Langer, need five more successive wins, at home to Sri Lanka and India later this year to break the record. The record stands at 16 straight that highlighted Steve Waugh's captaincy, and began the tenure of coach John Buchanan, who also participated in his last Test Friday. Since the 2005 Ashes defeat in England, Ponting's side has played 17 Tests, winning 16 and drawing one. "Australia has hit back with unstoppable force after its shame in coughing up the urn it had come to regard as its own," The Sydney Morning Herald said Saturday. Ponting said in the Herald report the Ashes whitewash would be made even more special if it ends up being part of a record-winning sequence. "It's been a really good run for us. The Test cricket we've played has been first-class. It's not only this series, it is the 12 months that we've played outstanding Test match cricket," he said. "Everyone should be proud about that. Let's hope we give that record a shake." The Daily Telegraph said Australia have built one of the top two dynasties in world cricket history. Englishman Matthew Engel, editor of the "cricketing bible" Wisden, told the newspaper he is not sure whether the current Australian team is the best the world has seen. But he believes after 11 years as the game's No.1 side Australia can rate their own era of domination alongside that of the great West Indian sides of the 1980s and 90s who went undefeated for 15 years. "They are the two dynasties - there is no-one else in history who has lasted as long as they have and beaten everybody they have ever> been matched against," Engel said. "There have been a lot of great teams - the '48 Australians, the mid-70s Australians, the West Indian sides of the 1980s, England of the 50s and the South African team of the 70s we didn't even know about. What you have here is a dynasty that has matched the West Indies.You haven't had one team. You have had a team that has seamlessly morphed into a different one." The Australian newspaper said if there was a positive element to the most one-sided Ashes series since England whipped an Australian team weakened by the World Series Cricket split 29 years ago, it was the relative youth of England's team. "Whereas Australia has already lost four key players to old age, England knows Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar will play key roles, barring a major catastrophe," it said. "Whether that helps or hinders its chances of regaining the small urn and its much larger crystal replica remains open to speculation."
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