England seek silverware
England are determined to concentrate on cricket not confrontation as they attempt to claim a significant victory over Australia and lift the NatWest Series Trophy at Lord's.
After several days of media hype about the meeting between the Ashes rivals at Edgbaston, when Simon Jones' accidental throw into the chest of Matthew Hayden prompted the first flashpoint of the summer, both sides prepare for Saturday's tournament finale far more intent on silverware.
It is eight years since England last beat Australia to win a trophy - when they claimed a 3-0 Texaco Trophy success - and confidence is high within the home dressing room they may be about to end that drought.
But to achieve such an important and timely triumph, particularly with the opening npower Ashes Test starting at Lord's in less than three weeks time, England are aware that it is cricket skills which will settle the contest in front of a capacity Lord's crowd.
“We're just going to try and play the cricket we have done over the last couple of years,'' stressed captain Michael Vaughan.
“The fact is we've been aggressive, but we've been controlled as well.
“We haven't let our emotions on the pitch affect our performance and that's the crucial aspect - you can't get drawn into these confrontations if you want to beat them.
“It's important we keep doing our basics right and get up for a big challenge. Looking at the way the team has practised and the way they've responded to big challenges over the last year, I know they'll be excited.
“When you have two good teams you want to be hearing about the batting, the bowling and the fielding - you don't want to be reading or hearing about confrontations and issues other than the game of cricket.
“Tuesday's match was blown out of proportion. Little things like that have happened in many games over the last year or so and haven't received as much publicity, but just because we're playing Australia it gets a lot of publicity.
“If it gets fiery it's important you don't step over the line and keep playing in the right spirit. Both teams are very competitive and there's bound to be the odd confrontation, but as soon as the game finished the other day most of it was forgotten and we're all looking forward to this final.
“Australia are a good team that play it hard and it's important you play well against them and in your own manner. Not everyone is fiery and aggressive and I certainly wouldn't want anyone to go out there to be like that if they haven't done it before.”
Vaughan was at least pleased with the unity displayed by his side to support Jones during the incident with Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff both having words with Hayden in the aftermath - a clear indication England are no longer intimidated by Australia.
“I've always said you stick together as a team,'' explained Vaughan.
“I don't expect every player to cause a big confrontation out in the middle because that's not the game of cricket.
“You do the talking with the bat, the ball and when you're out there in the field. I'm sure it makes decent television, but I don't go out to promote the fact that you have to provoke confrontations in the middle.”
The best way for England to assert their authority at Lord's will be to perform with an intensity similar to that they displayed during their stunning 100-runs triumph over the Aussies in the inaugural Twenty20 match at the Rose Bowl.
Since that stunning triumph it has been one win each, with Kevin Pietersen's stunning unbeaten 91 winning England the match at Bristol, while the world champions ran out winners in Durham.
England are expected to name the same side that faced Australia in the wash-out at Edgbaston with Simon Jones claiming the final seamer's role, while Pietersen is expected to continue in his new spot at No 4 to determine whether he can dominate the game from higher up the order.