No one annihilated Oz in the manner England did: Fletcher

Last Updated: Jan 16, 2011, 00:20 AM IST

Melbourne: Ashes-winning ex-England coach Duncan Fletcher has said that he has not seen any team annihilate Australia in the manner England did during the just concluded Ashes series.

England thrashed Australia by an innings and 83 runs in the fifth and final Test in Sydney to claim a 3-1 victory. The victory gave the visitors their first Test series win in Australia since the 1986-87 tour.

It was also the first time Australia had lost three Tests at home since 1988-89, when Viv Richards’ West Indies side had won by a 3-1 margin.

Fletcher, now a batting consultant with South Africa, said: “Other teams have won in Australia, but I have never seen anyone annihilate them quite like England. Every single player picked to play contributed. England have a squad of individuals who all have the strength of character you need to perform at the top level.”

“Andy Flower and Andy Strauss have selected players on their dispositions and personalities rather than talent alone. Pick 11 cricketers with flair and you will not necessarily win a thing. But pick 11 with strength of character and you always have a chance,” reporters quoted him, as saying.

Fletcher said that the England is pressing on towards becoming the world’s No.1 Test team, and added at the moment there is little between them and the two sides ranked above them, South Africa and India.

“It is going to be fascinating to watch these three teams battle each other over the next few years. This summer’s series between England and India is going to be one hell of a contest,” he said.

“India have the best batting line-up in Test cricket but they are ageing. England’s top six is solid but still the weakest of those three. They remain curiously prone to batting collapses.”

“And they do not have anyone who is as consistently dominant as Jacques Kallis or Sachin Tendulkar. At the same time, both those players are nearing the end of their careers. Their teams need to prove they can be just as effective without them,” Fletcher said.