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Defeat would have ended hopes: Vaughan

By Tony Lawrence
August 07, 2005 21:53 IST
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England captain Michael Vaughan conceded on Sunday that his side's Ashes challenge would have been ended at Edgbaston if they had lost the second Test.

England looked certain of victory on the fourth morning at Edgbaston, with the world champions still needing 107 to win with only two wickets left, but only sneaked home by two runs to level at 1-1.

"If we had gone down 2-0 today, I don't think we would have come back," Vaughan told a news conference. "Not against a team like Australia. It sets up a great series.

"I think the helter-skelter cricket will continue. It was ebb and flow, up and down."

Australia were bowled out for 279 chasing 282 for victory. It was the closest winning margin in Ashes history. It was also England's first win in a 'live' Test against Australia since the first Test of the 1997 series, also at Edgbaston.

All their other recent wins have been in dead rubber games. Australia have won the last eight Ashes series.

"We are going to relive the moment today and continue to talk about the game, then we will switch off on Monday and Tuesday," Vaughan added.

"If you think cricket all the time your brain will get dazed by it. It's been quite a mentally draining game.

"We now have four days off, which is what we ask for between Tests. Then we will try and reproduce this performance at Old Trafford."

Australia captain Ricky Ponting, whose side had resumed on 175 for eight chasing 282 to win, said: "We were just trying to hang in the game.

"We thought if we hung on and a few things went our way we could get close. We probably got closer than we expected.

"I'm not sure we were ever favourites, even right at the end. It was still our number 10 and 11 batsmen against Flintoff and Harmison."

The Australia captain conceded he might have been wrong to put England in on the first morning following a prolonged spell of rain. The home side, however, hammered 407 on Thursday.

He said: "I thought there would be some movement. The wicket surprised me on the first day, I must admit. I guess I was wrong."

But he added: "Even though we lost, I think we can take as much from this game as England, The way we fought with our backs to the wall. It just makes you hungrier still.

"You want to be just a little bit better and sharper because you know you can make a difference."

The third match of the five-Test series starts at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Only one side in Ashes history, Don Bradman's Australia in 1936-37, has come back from 2-0 down to win a series.


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Tony Lawrence
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