Final Test win helps England regain respect

Published: Friday, March 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Ricky Ponting's men derived sadistic pleasure when England, their Ashes victor last year, bit dust in Pakistan but Australia's respect for their traditional rivals soared as Andrew Flintoff led his side to a series-equalling 212-run win against India in the Mumbai Test.

Impressed by the way Flintoff's men, a makeshift squad in the wake of a spate of injuries among the frontline players, skittled out India for 100 on day five of the Mumbai Test, Australian batsman Justin Langer said it was an ''outstanding' achievement.

''To defeat India in a Test match at home, particularly in Mumbai, is a colossal effort,'' the Aussie opener wrote in his column for BBC Sport.

''Flintoff led his team against many odds to a historic win,'' was how he summed up the achievement.

''Since the Ashes, we have kept a closer than usual eye on England's progress and had been quietly smug about their efforts in Pakistan and India. But after yesterday's triumph, the respect factor is as high as ever,'' he said.

According to Langer, England's impressive form would mean that the Ashes, slated in Australia for later this year, would be a very interesting affair.

''Every high-profile performance for either England or Australia can only enhance the prospects of the Ashes later in the year,'' Langer said.

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