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Enthralling Ashes in the offing: Waugh

Published: Saturday, December 23, 2000, 19:50 [IST]
 
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Sydney: Steve Waugh believes the current England team should produce an enthralling Ashes cricket series in England next year. Nasser Hussain's England impressed the Australian captain when they claimed their third series in six months with a six-wicket win over Pakistan in Karachi on Monday.Following series wins over Zimbabwe and the West Indies earlier this year, the English jumped two places to fourth on the unofficial world rankings and have offered some authority to their calls to bring on the top-ranked Australians."It's definitely a different England outfit to 12 months ago," Waugh said here on Tuesday."They seem to have a bit more steely resolve in the side and are getting through tough sessions. In the past they might have given way under pressure. They seem a lot tougher and more of a unit. A lot of credit has to go to the captain and the coach. They seem to have got the unit together. "They're a good side and they'll be tough to beat. They've got their confidence up. This will be a significant win for them, winning in Pakistan."With a tour to Sri Lanka early next year before hosting Australia, England has a solid build-up to take on the world champions. "They'll have some tough cricket under their belt so I expect it to be a very tough Ashes series," Waugh said.Waugh qualified his praise, however, confident the Australians would present England with a different proposition than the lowly Zimbabwe and West Indies."While they've done well, I think they'll have some doubts about how they're going to go against Australia," he said.Waugh singled out spinner Ashley Giles and left handed batsman Graham Thorpe as English match winners but said former skipper Michael Atherton, who scored a first innings century in Karachi, would find the going a lot tougher next year. "Atherton had a great series but I think you've got to remember Glenn McGrath has had his number. He'll be certainly looking to bowl at him next year."Copyright AFP 2000

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