Leading article: Lessons from the whitewash

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The Independent Online

The 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia has been met with a trademark forward defensive shot from cricket's administrators in the shape of a "comprehensive and wide-ranging" review. Every question regarding the coach, the selectors, or the players can now be parried with the response: "We would not wish to prejudice the conclusions of the review." If only England's batsmen had defended with such alacrity and wisdom, there would not be any need for such a review.

But in our haste to condemn the flannelled fools for traducing their MBEs, squandering our all-night vigils, and tarnishing the memory of that golden summer (was it really so recent?), we should remember that they had to face one of the best cricket teams ever.

If there a lesson here, it lies in the single-minded intensity the Australians brought to the contest. Stung by losing the Ashes, they spared no effort to regain them, while England appeared complacent. They now know that sustaining excellence is much harder than attaining it.