Martin predicts long path for LDs

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Ian Martin

England were outplayed by Australia who, according to Ian Martin, are clear leaders in learning disability cricket

National disability manager Ian Martin says England have some way to go before they can break Australia's stranglehold on learning disability cricket.

England crashed to an eight-wicket Duckworth/Lewis defeat in the Lord’s Taverners Tri-series final which was played at Junction Oval in St Kilda.

The result meant Australia have won all three tournaments since its inception in 2005.

After losing the toss and being asked to bat, England were promptly bowled out for just 123. In reply Australia were well ahead when rain brought a premature end to proceedings, the hosts pronounced winners via the Duckworth/Lewis method.

"We let ourselves down," Martin told ecb.co.uk. "We should have scored a lot more and were disappointed with that total. It was always going to difficult against a strong Australian side."

England had high hopes before they flew to Melbourne a fortnight ago after a busy two years preparing for the series.

After a heavy loss to Australia in their first game, England recouped and beat South Africa to register their first Tri-series win.

A subsequent loss to South Africa meant England needed a point from their last game against Australia to reach the final.

Their prayers were answered when heavy rain forced umpires to abandon the game, handing each side a point each.

England could not produce their best form in the final, but Martin claims the players will be better for the experience.

"The players came out wanting to win it but I was always a bit more realistic," added Martin.

"The Australians are a very strong team - their players have all played mainstream cricket at some level.

"Without trying to do our guys a disservice, the Australian team are all cricketers who happen to have a disability. Our lads are kids with a disability who we have got into cricket.

"Chris Edwards, James Dickens and Gavin Randall are very good cricketers but the majority of our squad are still learning the game. We need to get more experience.

"The two Australian players, Rex Breed and Gavan Hicks, are excellent cricketers who would hold their own in a good standard of English cricket."