WC 2003 - Australia aiming for record-breaking win against England
Published: Saturday, March 1, 2003, 10:35 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Port Elizabeth: Reigning champions Australia will set a new world record of 12 consecutive One-day International wins if it beats England in Sunday's World Cup group A match at St George's Park.Australia, already through to the Super Sixes, will be firm favourite to break the mark set by West Indies in 1985 as it has beaten England in its last 13 One-day encounters. However, England came agonisingly close to ending that losing streak, when the sides last met in January, in the second VB series final at Melbourne. But it was overwhelmed by a sensational spell of fast bowling from Brett Lee and lost by five runs.The desolation across all the England players' faces that night was clear to see and Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes his opponents have not yet had time to recover from that loss."What happened in the second final will make some scars," Ponting said. "They (England) were certainly disappointed with the way they lost that last game and they were saying afterwards they were getting closer and closer to beating us."But we know, if we perform near our best, we will be hard to beat, not just by England, but by any side. All we have to do is focus on the things that make us play well," Ponting explained.Australia goes into this game on the back of a record 256-run thrashing of Namibia, a game where fast bowler Glenn McGrath posted a new World Cup-best haul of seven for 15.By contrast, England went down to an 82-run defeat against India under the Kingsmead lights in Durban on Wednesday. Another reverse here would not end its World Cup campaign but would leave it dangerously dependent on other results."It's going to be a very tough game," said England coach Duncan Fletcher who insisted that his team was edging nearer to the standard of the World Cup holders."We've played some good cricket. We made Australia fight for it in Melbourne. We're getting closer and closer and this is the time to turn it around." England opening batsman Nick Knight has been suffering with a lump on his right knee and needed a painkilling injection to get through Wednesday's match.Nevertheless the opener, one of four current England players who were members of the side that won at Sydney in 1999 - England's last One-day victory against Australia - is confident of being fit for what will be his 100th International Limited Overs appearance."It's like a cramp feeling which tends to get inflamed and worse the more I play," the left-hander said of his knee injury. "But the Australia game is going to be the biggest one in my career because it stands for so much."England could recall Knight's Warwickshire county colleague and left-arm spinner Ashley Giles in a bid to add variety to its bowling, having opted for an all-seam attack against India.