From Melbourne to Nagpur: An England encore?

Hip thrust out, Graeme Swann folded his right arm at the elbow and palmed the back of his woozy crown. An army, placed in sequence on either side of him like in a Bollywood dance number, followed. Then, with his left arm leading the step in synchronised 20 degree movements and the pointed elbow flapping in with every push, the very amusing and never appropriate Sprinkler Dance commenced at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Right there, with a few silly pelvic moves at the MCG, decades of embarrassment were sprinkled over. The Ashes had been retained, with England ensuring that they wouldn't lose a Test series on the great shores Down Under for the first time in 24 years. But despite going up 2-1, the Ashes was yet to be won in Australia since 1987. Everything still hung on the proverbial line at Sydney.

The similarities between that series and this, minus a Sprinker at Kolkata of course, are uncanny. England, going into the final Test, are 2-1 up; Alastair Cook owns the batting sheets and Kevin Pietersen has chipped in with that solitary, series changing, century. But back in the summer of 2010-11, England went on to win the Ashes at the SCG. Here, the Vincent D'Mello Trophy is yet to be won at the VCA. The celebrations, at least the premature ones, hence has stayed with the champagne on ice.

"Ask me how I'm feeling in a week and I'll reflect about it then," said an uncharacteristically business-like Swann on Tuesday, two days before the finale. But ask him how badly England want to go home victorious and he sings. "All the hard work that we've put on this trip will mean little if we allow them to tie this series 2-2. That's what Straussy (Andrew Strauss) had told us in the week between Melbourne and Sydney and it worked for us there. It is a good attitude to take in," the off spinner said.

... contd.

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