Just a few days after the England team’s arrival in Perth to begin their Ashes defence, Australian captain Ricky Ponting has already started the mind games which are the traditional precursor to every series between the old cricketing enemies.
In a clear attempt to unsettle the English players, Ponting has cunningly departed from the traditional claims that Australia will win the series 5-0, and is instead predicting a thrashing for the home team.
“There’s no doubt about it,” he claimed to journalists yesterday, “England are by far the better side, they’re in form and we’ll be lucky to escape a whitewash. It’s hardly worth us turning up.”
England captain Andrew Strauss was however in no mood to let the initiative be taken by Ponting’s Aussies. “This is the usual nonsense we’ve come to expect,” he insisted this morning.
“We just have to play our game and get on with it. But I’ll tell you one thing – there’s no way we’re going to stand by and let them lose, and if he thinks we will, he knows nothing about what this England team are capable of. I can’t wait to wipe that smug frown off his face…”