Fletcher full of praise for England's victorious youngsters

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The Independent Online

The England coach, Duncan Fletcher, who received a fair amount of criticism during the disappointing Ashes campaign, was full of praise for the youngsters in the team after their victory over Australia in the one-day series here yesterday.

"It's a young side," he said. "The growth in this side can go anywhere. I was really pleased to see the young players come through, withstand the pressure. Beating Australia three times in a row is quite an achievement.

"We're learning all the way. At some stage, you just felt they were going to click and produce a performance like that and there's no better place to produce it."

Fletcher believes Ed Joyce's century in the first of the side's four straight wins in the tournament was the key to England's change of fortune. "It was from there where people suddenly realised what was required," Fletcher said. "You didn't have to panic, just get in and build a decent total."

The coach, who hopes to name the injured captain Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen in his 15-man squad on Wednesday, warned his players not to get carried away ahead of the World Cup, which starts in mid-Marchin the Caribbean.

"It's still going to be difficult to get that 15 right," Fletcher said, "but we're a lot clearer than we were at the beginning of the series."

Australia sprinted into the finals with seven victories out of eight but could not sustain their hold over the tourists in the matches that mattered.

"That's a very poor way to finish what's been a very good summer for the team," said the captain, Ricky Ponting, one of Liam Plunkett's three victims. "I don't really have an explanation. I was really angry with the way the game slipped in Melbourne the other day and the same thing happened here with us losing wickets in groups. England played their best two games of the summer in the two finals."

Graciously, Ponting refused to lay any blame on the rain which disrupted the original chase of 247 on three occasions. "We had our backs to the wall anyway," he said. "Losing Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke in the same over wasn't ideal for us. We had to play some pretty remarkable cricket from there to win the game."