Shaun Tait, slinging the ball consistently at 95 miles per hour, and once over 100mph, took the gloss of England's 3-2 one-day series win over Australia with a four-wicket haul that gave the visitors a 42-run victory at Lord's yesterday. To England's relief, though, the Australia speedster is not thinking about reconsidering his decision to retire from Test cricket due to injury problems and make an appearance at the Ashes later this year.
"Not at this stage, mate, I don't think," he said at the post-match TV interview when asked if he could be tempted to change his decision for the Ashes. "Just getting through 10 overs is bad enough. "I have just been playing Twenty20, so I am probably pretty fresh. I haven't played a one-day game for over a year now, so it's been quite good to get through." Aggressive half-centuries from Shaun Marsh (59 from 50 balls) and Michael Hussey (79 from 60), and their 107-run partnership for the fifth wicket, allowed Australia to recover from a slow start and post 277 for seven on the board. Courtesy of the duo, 130 came from the final 11 overs.
In reply, England lost half their side for 73. The total contribution from those five was a mere 26 and the home team eventually finished on 235 from 46.3 overs. As is his wont, Paul Collingwood put up a dogged resistance before getting castled by Tait five short of three-figures. Tait, who bowled one of the quickest spells seen at Lord's, had four victims from the game, three of them from England's top four, who were all bowled. The defeat had no bearing on the fate of the series as England had secured victory after taking a 3-0 lead.
Andrew Strauss admitted defeats in the last two games had taken some "gloss" off their triumph, but said the overall result was significant. "We have always said we are not the finished article yet and we are always going to make the odd mistakes," he said, "but ultimately we have beaten the No 1-ranked team in the world 3-2 in a one-day series and we've got to be very proud about that." *
Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi, with agencies