Ryan Sidebottom has challenged England to send Australia home trophyless by adding to their Ashes success with Twenty20 and one-day series wins over their oldest foes.
But his words came after Australia fast bowler Brett Lee served notice he could still be a thorn in England’s side.
Both left-arm paceman Sidebottom and Lee missed England’s 2-1 Ashes triumph because of injury and the ensuing good form of other bowlers.
They both returned to international duty in the washed out Twenty20 here at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Sidebottom’s haul of none for 31 in four overs was respectable enough as Australia made 145 for four.
Although rain meant England’s reply lasted less than two overs, there was still time for them to collapse to four for two with veteran quick Lee, in his one over, removing Twenty20 debutant Joe Denly for a duck.
Denly was beaten for pace and it was a heartening sight for Australia ahead of the second and final Twenty20 here on Tuesday and the subsequent seven-match one-day series.
Even so, a bullish Sidebottom said: ”It would be an ideal situation to beat Australia in all forms of the game and send them home not winning anything.
”We are very determined in the team that we want to do that.”
Three-times losing World Cup finalists England have never won a major one-day international tournament.
And there has long been a suspicion that the country that gave birth to limited overs professional cricket has regarded all short forms of the game as a necessary financial evil compared to the serious business of Test matches.
”There are a lot of traditionalists and everyone wants to watch Test cricket, especially now,” said the 31-year-old Sidebottom.
”But they are all important. England want to be number one in all areas of the game.”
So don’t tell Sidebottom that these upcoming matches don’t matter.
And best not to make the same point to Lee.
”We were standing in the slips, almost on the ring already and we felt like it was too close if that’s any indication to go by,” said Cameron White, who top-scored with 55. ”It was pretty quick.”
England captain Paul Collingwood added: ”I’m sure he [Lee] is frustrated. He’s obviously looking fit now and bowling at a good pace, but I think we have the batsmen to overcome that.”
Despite seeing Denly out for a golden duck trying to hook Lee when he hadn’t got the pace of the pitch, Collingwood said: ”In many ways I’m glad Joe has got the belief and confidence to go for a shot like that first up.
”That’s the attitude and approach you want from an opener, you want them to take the bowlers on in Twenty20.”
White, who came to the crease with Australia wobbling at 54 for three, showed good judgment in in a 36-ball innings that eventually featured three sixes.
Despite averaging 41 in his eight Twenty20 internationals, White was left out of Australia’s squad for the World Twenty20 in England in June where defeats by the West Indies and Sri Lanka saw them make a first-round exit.
”I was a little surprised and disappointed,” said White. ”But that was out of my hands and I’ve moved on now.” — AFP