White aims for perfection
Cameron White believes Australia can serve up the ideal Ashes revenge - a 7-0 NatWest series whitewashing of England.
White, whose hundred at the Rose Bowl yesterday was instrumental in the Australians going three matches up, has been one of the players of the series to date.
Despite 200 runs in three innings, however, he will lose his place in the order to captain Ricky Ponting for the fourth match. With Australia strengthened further by that move, added to an admission that they are playing far from their best, White expects them to peak in the final matches.
England appeared on course for a seven-match reverse against India last winter before the Mumbai terror attacks led to the suspension of the tour - they were 5-0 down - and now a similar possibility has opened up just a fortnight after England celebrated Test series success.
“At the moment if we keep playing good, consistent cricket, keep bowling and fielding well, there is no reason why not,” said White, who hit 105 in the six-wicket floodlit win at the Rose Bowl yesterday.
“In saying that, winning seven one-dayers against a really good side is a pretty strange thing to happen. But I am not saying that it can’t. We want to keep the momentum going and I don’t think we are playing at our total best at the moment.
“There are still probably some areas that we think we can improve in, so there are things we need to work on to get better for these four games. Then come four games’ time we are hopefully at our peak."
If that happens, Australia would be heading into the Champions Trophy in perfect fettle. This side also has something to live up to as Australia have won three of the last four global 50-over tournaments, stretching back to 2003.
But the addition of the limited-overs specialists to the tour has altered the mood.
“The big for us was to halt the momentum and then change it, I guess,” said White. “We have done that now. The new guys coming in have added a bit of energy around the group.
“Not that everyone had their heads down or anything when we got here but there is a good feeling around the group again.”
Former Somerset player White had never batted higher than five in a one-day international prior to this series but has responded to the promotion in stunning fashion. Nevertheless, he anticipates sliding back down the order now that Ponting is back from a recuperation in Australia.
“In terms of having Ricky back - he is the best player in the world - we really look forward to that and I am sure he will do very well,” said White.
“I understand Ricky is going to come back and bat three, so if the selectors feel they want to keep the middle order the same there is not much I can do about that.
“But I guess I have put a case forward to say that I can bat anywhere in the middle order for Australia.”