Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Apparent beheading of Steven Sotloff sees more calls for #IsisMediaBlackout

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Lesotho Coup: Exiled Prime Minister vows to return home after fleeing

Read more

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors? (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Abbas Araghchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

FOCUS

When water becomes a weapon of war

Read more

ENCORE!

Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ed Husain, Author of 'The Islamist'

Read more

  • IS video purports to show beheading of second US journalist

    Read more

  • Could France sell the Mona Lisa to pay off its debts?

    Read more

  • Video: Bodies ‘left behind’ as Ukraine forces flee rebel assault

    Read more

  • Trust and 'bio-disaster units' needed to fight Ebola

    Read more

  • France vows crackdown on unemployment benefit ‘abusers’

    Read more

  • Julie Gayet wins privacy case against French glossy Closer

    Read more

  • Germany blocks popular car pick-up service Uber

    Read more

  • Several UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion

    Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Britain drops arrest warrant for ill boy’s parents

    Read more

  • When water becomes a weapon of war

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

Sport

England triumph in Australia for first time since 1987

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-07

England crushed Australia by 83 runs and an innings to claim the final Test in Sydney and win their first Ashes series Down Under in more than two decades.

AFP - England's Ashes series win on Friday was a triumph not just for a ruthlessly professional team but for the thousands of "Barmy Army" foot-soldiers who kept the faith through years of hurt.

For the fifth day of the final Test, free entry was on offer to the Sydney Cricket Ground. But after four days of capacity crowds, locals had no interest in watching England clinch their first series victory in Australia in 24 years.

The batsmen at the crease were two of the very few Australians present as about 15,000 English fans colonised the historic SCG, raucous as ever with a song repertoire ranging from caustic wit to chest-thumping jingoism.

From the Barmy Army's headquarters in the SCG's Victor Trumper stand, travelling trumpeter Bill Cooper played the "Last Post" in mock-lament of the death of Australian cricket.

"Are you Bangladesh in disguise?" the English fans chanted at the vanquished team.

Interviewed on the ground after Australia went down to an unprecedented third innings drubbing, England opener Alastair Cook was at a loss to explain a recovery in form that saw him crowned player of the series with 766 runs.

The Barmy Army English support had no doubt about the biggest contributor to Cook's run-fest, bellowing out for one last time a tuneful but unprintable rebuke of Australia's misfiring strike bowler Mitchell Johnson.

Cook, captain Andrew Strauss and other members of the victorious touring side each made a point of thanking the thousands who travelled to Australia despite the Aussie dollar's strength, which has hit the tourism industry hard.

In truth, the diehard supporters had all the more reason to come with the prospect of a long-awaited series victory for England in sight, as Australia endure a rare period of weakness after two decades of world domination.

"We're set for two days of partying," said Paul Burnham, a former British Airways employee who co-founded the Barmy Army in 1994.

"This is what it's all about: the battle on the pitch and the battle in the stands. It's a good battle between the England and Aussie fans, and then we all go for a beer together," he told AFP.

Burnham now works full-time in organising tours for the Barmy Army, which got its name from the Australian media, impressed by the fans' crazy fortitude during England's never-ending losing streak in the 1990s.

The army manages a creditable deployment to Test cricketing outposts such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. But tours Down Under are by far the biggest draw, and the ranks are swelled in Australia by the large population of expatriate Poms.

Julian Poulter, a 48-year-old company director who played for England youth teams as a teenager, is one of the expats who endured years of abuse from friends as Australia grew accustomed to crushing the old enemy in the Ashes.

"It's been unpleasant for so long. There was a time when I thought I'd never see another England Ashes win in my lifetime," said Poulter, who has lived in Australia for 15 years.

England finally regained the Ashes in 2005. But that was on home turf, so the performance of Strauss's men in Australia this time around is all the sweeter for long-suffering fans.

Nevertheless, Poulter is cautious not to get carried away.

"It's very dangerous in sport to give out too much stick because these things come around. The same applies to English supporters now. We should keep our memories long, not short."

The Australian media now are being just as damning about their team as Fleet Street was about England in the bad old days of loss after humiliating loss. But the Barmy Army still want Australia to bounce back.

"When we beat an Aussie side over here, we want to beat a proper Aussie side," Burnham said.
 

Date created : 2011-01-07

  • CRICKET

    England blow away Australia to retain Ashes

    Read more

  • CRICKET

    India's Tendulkar makes history with 50th Test century

    Read more

  • CRICKET

    Australia rout sorry England to level Ashes series

    Read more

COMMENT(S)