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Sehwag bashes England hopes for the Ashes: media

England's defeat at the hands of India on Sunday was a "body blow" just three weeks ahead of the side's departure for their Ashes campaign, British media commented on Monday.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2002 21:45 IST

England's defeat at the hands of India in the ICC Champions Trophy pool match in Colomboon Sunday was a "body blow" just three weeks ahead of the side's departure for their Ashes campaign in Australia, British media commented on Monday.

With a stinging banner headline stating "Sehwag Bashes England Hopes for the Ashes," one of the reports said "England were always going to find it tough in sub-continent conditions but such a brutal defeat could have cut mental scars that may not heal in time for the World Cup early next year.

"And while it is doubtful whether any side could have stopped Ganguly and Sehwag once they were in full flow, the fact is England will go Down Under having been splattered all over Colombo by a team they genuinely believed they were on a par with," the report in Daily Mirror said.

With the headline 'Night raiders rob England', another tabloid noted that England had no answer to Sehwag and Ganguly.

"No sooner had Ian Blackwell introduced himself as a major new talent in the England ranks than India were brutally putting his efforts in context," it said.

Blackwell's was the main building block as the middle order did an outstanding reconstruction job of England's innings, overcoming a dreadful start to amass 269 for seven from their 50 overs.

"Then along came Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly under the night sky to annihilate Nasser Hussain's attack with a brilliant 126 and unbeaten 117 respectively. They utterly eclipsed anything that had gone before..."

As with July's final of the NatWest Series at Lord's when a total of 326 was overhauled, England were left with a despairing question: just how big a target is too big for this Indian batting line-up?

This time there were 10.3 overs and eight wickets to spare, Ganguly and company walking away from the two sides' 11th one-day encounter this year with a 6-4 advantage in addition to one no result.

With its banner headline 'Gang Bang', The Sun said: "Sehwag's murderous assault earned his side an eight-wicket win - with a ridiculous 10.3 overs to spare - and eliminated England from the ICC Champions Trophy.

"He tore into England's bowlers with such ferocity that, when he was dismissed in the 29th over, he had scored a scarcely-believable 126.

"Then Ganguly, no friend of England, could scarcely suppress his smirk as he finished with 117 not out from 109 deliveries.

Summing up that England was given a caning, the Daily Express said: "The Tamil Tigers may have declared a ceasefire in Sri Lanka, but Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly clearly have not.

The Indian openers, to the delirious appreciation of a heaving Premadas Stadium, sent England reeling with centuries of crushing power that lit up the Colombo night."

First Published: Sep 23, 2002 21:01 IST