Aussies seek revenge as Ashes countdown begins

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australian coach John Buchanan said his team cannot wait to seek revenge for last year's Ashes defeat when the latest series against England begins in 100 days.

Buchanan said he still smarted at memories of England's wild celebrations after winning the famous urn for the first time in 18 years.

"Those pictures and memories are indelibly etched into history, as well as into the feelings of all the Australian team that gathered solemnly to congratulate the opposition," Buchanan said on the Cricket Australia website on Tuesday.

"Since that moment, I think all of us, in our own ways, began preparing for the next Ashes series clash."

Some members of the team attended a countdown ceremony on Tuesday overlooking the iconic Sydney Opera House, at which fast-bowler Brett Lee cut a cake replica of the urn bearing the words "100 days to go."

Buchanan said despite injury fears over England stars such as Andrew Flintoff and Michael Vaughan, he expected the tourists "will present a side in Australia very similar to that which we faced in England, in name and approach."

He predicted the Australians would prove more resilient to the swinging ball that perplexed them during the last series in England and had eliminated the "wayward" catching and bowling that also cost them dearly.

"We will be more mentally prepared for the tussle this time as there has been a good break away from the grind of 10 months a year of cricket," he said. "So physical, technical and tactical foundations should be good."

The series has generated huge interest in Australia, where tickets sold out in record time.

Buchanan said Australian supporters, as well as players, faced a huge challenge when thousands of "Barmy Army" supporters arrived Down Under to cheer on England.

"They will arrive in numbers, in strong voice and hearty song, and draped in the red and white crossed flag of St George," he said.

"I hope our crowds are ready to do battle in song, in green and gold colour and in support of their national team."

After last year's defeat, about 60 Barmy Army members rubbed salt into Australia's wounds by hiring an open-top bus and parading through Sydney in noisy celebration.

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