The Premier League’s top sides went on money-spinning tours of Asia this month that saw them take in a total of six countries or territories.
But there was one glaring omission: mainland China.
Many businesses see the fast-developing country – now the world’s second-biggest economy – as “the holy grail”, says Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, adding that he didn’t “quite see it in the same way”.
Nor, seemingly, do Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, Sunderland and Manchester rivals United and City, all of whom have been in Asia on lucrative pre-season trips, without including mainland China on their exhaustive itineraries.
Football and marketing experts said there were a number of commercial, logistical and sporting reasons for staying away.
“We are in a very fortunate position in that we operate in 212 countries and China is in the top 10 of our strategic markets,” Scudamore told AFP in Hong Kong last week, where City, Spurs and Sunderland each played two games in four days in the Premier League’s Barclays Asia Trophy.
Each team picked up STG1.2 million ($A2.03 million) pounds for appearing in the exhibition tournament, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“For a lot of businesses, in terms of business and marketing, China seems to be the holy grail. We don’t quite see it in the same way because as I said, we are in a fortunate position where we are in so many other countries,” Scudamore said.
“But clearly, just looking at the numbers, it’s a huge country and hugely emerging, emerging in terms of its sporting culture.
“And therefore we are involved in China, we have good partners in China – it took us a while to find them but we have some very good partners in China.
“It’s not just a broadcasting entity, it’s a marketing entity and we are working out in the regions in China because you cannot really describe China as a single entity, given the size, the scope and the expansion of it.”
Premier League teams in recent weeks played in front of fanatical sell-out crowds in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The clubs charge appearance fees and they benefit from sales of official merchandise, as well as trading on their huge popularity by signing myriad sponsorship deals.
Tiger Tian, a sports marketing expert in Beijing, said a combination of factors had kept English teams out of China this summer.
Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City were all in the country last year, he noted, but said football fans in major cities were becoming increasingly “picky”.
“They’re fed-up with big names but poor performances, which unfortunately had been the case on several occasions when Premier League teams visited before,” said Tian, explaining that was less the fault of the teams and more the travelling, difficult pitches and limited quality of the opposition.
“Rapidly rising costs and limited sources of revenue are also threatening promoters’ bottom lines.
“Premier League teams, like everyone else in the world, see China as a goldmine and ask for higher and higher appearance fees.
“Obtaining all kinds of government permits is also extremely demanding in terms of both time and funds, and there’s always a danger of a last-minute shutdown.”
Several games involving European teams in China have been shelved at the eleventh hour.
In May, a friendly between Italian giants AC Milan and Dutch champions Ajax in Beijing was cancelled three weeks before kick-off because of “organisational reasons”.
The organisers had failed to pay an appearance fee on time, Chinese media said.
Barcelona also ditched their August game in Shanghai “after coming to the conclusion that it could not be played in perfect conditions”, the club said.
Julian Jackson, of the sports marketing agency Total Sports Asia, said there was “a fairly easy reason” why China had not got in on the Premier League jamboree.
The league’s failure to strike a deal to have games shown on China’s all-powerful state broadcaster CCTV means it simply does not have the same following as elsewhere in the football-mad region, he said.
By Tony Wood, Grattan Institute
If there’s logic behind the way Australian energy markets work, at first glance it’s hard to fathom.
Increases in power bills have previously been justified by our increasing demand. But as energy demand in Australia drops prices continue to rise. This raises numerous questions. Is the type of demand changing? Is there the right type of investment in the network? Are the right energy market mechanisms in place?
In 2012-13, residential electricity prices increased by 14%, continuing a trend of double-digit increases going back to around 2007. This is a clearly a problem for homes and businesses and, therefore, for our political leaders.
The largest component of the price increase has come from costs imposed by the network distribution businesses, and yet these are regulated monopolies. The power to change rests with the regulators and, therefore, with governments. Yet, these monopolies, facing very little price or volume risk, make outsized profits. Why hasn’t the government done more to prevent this?
Grattan Institute issued a report in December, 2012: Putting the customer back in front: how to make electricity prices cheaper. This report drew four conclusions:
The allowed profits exceed reasonable levels, given the low level of risk these network distribution businesses face. Costs are being incurred to achieve unjustified levels of reliability – our electricity system doesn’t need to be as reliable as these business are telling us. The process of five-yearly reviews does not reflect the changing dynamics of the industry. Government-owned businesses are on average significantly less cost-efficient than their privately-owned counterparts.
The report made four recommendations that have the potential to deliver savings to consumers of around $2.2 billion per year, a saving to the average domestic customer of $100 per year. These are:
Align allowed equity and debt returns with the risks faced by the businesses. Give regulators, rather than state governments, the power to set reliability standards. Where governments own the businesses, they should address poor governance or privatise. Capital forecasts should be revised in line with changing demand forecasts.
In December, the Council of Australian Governments and the Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER) developed and moved to implement an electricity market reform package. This package is intended to strengthen regulation, empower consumers, enhance competition and innovation and balance the network investment interests of owners and consumers.
The Implementation Plan extends over 2013 and 2014 and puts considerable emphasis on strengthening the power and resources of the regulator (the Australian Energy Regulator, or AER).
It seems that expectations now rest heavily on the way the regulator responds to the various changes in its direction, powers and resources.
In March, 2013, the Australian Energy Market Commission – the rule maker – published a report on future electricity price trends. It estimated that nationally, the aggregated distribution network price will increase by 6% annually, from 2013 to 2015. This compares with an 11% increase between 2012 and 2013. These increases are estimated to represent 81% of the increase in residential retail prices.
The key questions now are will these reforms and price reductions be delivered and are they enough?
There has been criticism that the regulator has been too timid in its prior regulatory decisions and has tended to err on the side of investors. For example, in assessing the appropriate risk premium that businesses could earn, the regulator leaned towards encouraging investment rather than containing costs. The end result has been excessive returns for investors.
It will be important to assess the results of changes by looking at delivered outcomes, and not the actions and processes that are set up. The critical outcome will be the reported profits of the businesses – they should align with the risks faced. Savings of around $400 million per per year could be expected in coming years.
The communiqué from the last meeting of the Standing Council on Energy and Resources contains very little language to suggest it plans to be accountable to consumers for delivering them a better system. The current level of business ownership by state and territory governments and the challenges of delivering outcomes through federal processes would seem to work against what is and should be achievable.
Given the delivered outcomes over the last few years in terms of price increases for consumers and profits for shareholders, we should probably be seeking a much better result than the 6% price rise the Australian Energy Market Commission is estimating.
Although regulation is needed to ensure that companies have incentives to invest, recent decisions have disadvantaged the public. Governments need to take a more pro-active role in ensuring that changes are made and the benefits are delivered. It is time to restore the balance, and we should not be patient.
These issues will be discussed at a public seminar in Sydney on April 22 at the University of New South Wales. The discussion will be led by Andrew Reeves, Chair of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), who will outline what regulatory agencies are doing to address the problem. He will be joined by a panel of experts chaired by Professor Mary O’Kane – Chief Scientist and Engineer, New South Wales.
Tony Wood owns shares directly and indirectly in a portfolio of comapnies, including those operating in the energy sector.
Warplanes pounded Gaza for a second day as three Israelis and three Palestinians were killed in fierce fighting which began with Israel’s targeted killing of a top Hamas chief.
Israel’s harshest assault on the Palestinian territory in four years, which comes as the Jewish state heads towards general elections, prompted an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council amid growing international concern.
Police said that since Israel’s targeted killing of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jaabari on Wednesday afternoon, militants have fired around 180 rockets over the border, one of which hit a house on Thursday morning, killing three Israelis and injuring another four.
And the Israeli air force has pounded Gaza with more than 100 air strikes, killing 11 and injuring at least 115, medics and Hamas officials said.
“We have three killed,” Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, saying four other people were also injured in a “direct hit on a house” in Kiryat Malachi, a town which lies 30 kilometres northeast of the Gaza Strip.
The attack on Kiryat Malachi was claimed by Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades in a statement on its website.
Israeli police said they had raised the level of alert across the entire country in order to deal with “the possibility of terror attacks” in response to Israel’s killing of the Hamas chief.
“All the major cities in southern Israel were hit, and the majority of the more serious damage was in Beersheva,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.
Schools within a 40 kilometre of Gaza were closed, and those living within seven kilometres of the strip had been told not to go to work, he said. “It’s a pretty serious situation.”
An AFP correspondent close to the Gaza border saw several Israeli jets flying south as well as convoys of military jeeps and at least two flatbed trucks carrying armoured bulldozers.
In Gaza, Palestinian medics said three Hamas militants were killed in an early strike near the southern city of Khan Yunis, raising to 11 the number of Palestinians killed since the hit on Jaabari at around 1400 GMT on Wednesday.
“Eleven people have been killed and 115 people injured,” he told AFP.
Throughout the morning, further air strikes hit northern Gaza, Gaza City and east of Khan Yunis, injuring another three, medics and security sources told AFP.
Among the dead were five Hamas militants, two children, a woman and an elderly man, he said. The identities of the other two were not immediately clear.
The violence sparked a furious response from Egypt’s Islamist administration, which has close ties with Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement, with Cairo recalling its ambassador in protest at the Israeli operation.
Israel has said the strikes were only “the beginning” of an offensive targeting Gaza militants and warned it may expand its activity, with the army saying if necessary it was “ready to initiate a ground operation.”
“If it becomes necessary, we are prepared to expand the operation,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday evening, several hours after the start of Operation Pillar of Defence.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the operation was to strengthen Israel’s deterrence, damage militant groups’ rocket-firing capabilities and stamp out attacks on Israel.
Jaabari’s death sparked fury in Gaza, with Hamas’s armed wing warning saying that by killing its leader Israel had “opened the gates of hell on itself.”
And Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said the strike was tantamount to a “declaration of war.”
In New York, the UN Security Council held an emergency 90-minute session to discuss the crisis, with Arab states pushing for a strong condemnation, but the US envoy strongly defending Israel’s right to self-defence in the face of Palestinian rocket fire.
Amid fears of a regional flareup over the confrontation, US President Barack Obama and UN chief Ban Ki-moon both phoned Netanyahu and Morsi in a bid to de-escalate the conflict.
Britain urged restraint and Russia said it was “very concerned.”
The air strikes capped five days of rising tension in and around Gaza, which saw Israel kill seven Palestinians and militants fire more than 120 rockets over the border, injuring eight.
By Christine Nicholls, Flinders University
Arts minister Simon Crean’s newly released cultural policy, Creative Australia, represents a refreshing change.
It is underpinned by an understanding that not only are the arts closely linked to each other, but also to all Australians’ physical and emotional well-being, and to our sense of community.
Such recognition is unusual. Crean’s policy lifts “The Arts” out of what is often perceived to be its own self-referential, elitist silo, showing artistic activity to be something we can all engage with at some level. Quite simply, participation in the arts is a prerequisite for a healthy culture.
This idea is particularly relevant when it comes to Indigenous visual art and language.
There will be those who find it odd that there is such a strong focus on Australia’s rapidly disappearing Indigenous languages in Crean’s policy. Normally, both language and culture are passed on easily between generations, but for Australia’s Indigenous societies, such processes have been severely disrupted by colonialism.
That this continues to the present day is apparent in the case of the Northern Territory’s remote area bilingual education programs, which were closed down by successive governments against the clearly expressed wishes of the vast majority of Aboriginal parents.
So the fact that about $14 million in new funding has been put aside to develop community-driven Indigenous language programs is to be applauded.
Why does this matter for the arts? In many instances, Indigenous language speakers living in remote areas are those who create the extraordinary visual artworks that have thrust Australia onto the centre stage of the international art world. Indigenous art is, after all, the world’s oldest continuing artistic movement, and it is also currently responsible for the majority of Australia’s visual art export market.
Recently, for example, both Croatia and Serbia recently held major art exhibitions of works by tradition-oriented Warlpiri artists from the Central Desert of the Northern Territory, and Pitjantjatjara-Yankunytjatjara artists from South Australia. These exhibitions, sponsored by the Australian government and which coincided with Australia Day 2013, attracted a record-breaking crowd of visitors to that country’s most prominent art gallery.
That very old Aboriginal artists living in the most remote, inaccessible parts of the desert are able to achieve such international success is truly astonishing. But this cannot be achieved without infrastructural support. It is therefore only fitting that the 2012 Indigenous Art Centre funding is to be strengthened and that $11 million will be spent over the next four years to continue the successful Indigenous Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support Progam.
Equally, the $2.8 million funding of new and upgraded art centre infrastructure to take place at Iwantja, Mimili, Kaltjiti, Ernabella, Amata and Kalka is not only much needed, but a significant investment and will lead to job creation.
The creation of small, successful cottage industries on remote Aboriginal settlements, which closely accord with the aspirations of the local Indigenous residents who wish to maintain their culture is rightly emphasised throughout this document.
There are many other initiatives set out in Creative Australia that show, for once, government has done some very close listening to the ideas of Aboriginal people. Some of these initiatives, such as getting Indigenous opera singer Deborah Cheetham to nurture up-and-coming Indigenous opera singers and continuing generous funding support to Bangarra Dance Company are equally deserving of comment.
One can only hope this policy will have real teeth, and that in the likely event of a change of government before it is fully or even partially implemented, such a shadow will not eclipse the hope for the future of Indigenous arts and languages.
Christine Nicholls curated the exhibitions in Croatia and Serbia mentioned in this article.
The Army Black Hawk crashed into the sea off Fiji as it attempted to land aboard HMAS Kanimbla.
Seven soldiers injured in the accident are now on their way home.
The search continues for the one still missing.
Major General Jeffery has sent his sympathy to everyone aboard HMAS Kanimbla who’ll be feeling a sense of loss and grief for their comrades.
He says service in the Defence Force always involves some degree of risk and that it is the nature of the job.
PM shares sentiment
Earlier, Mr Howard told media that he wanted to express his deepest sympathies to the families of those affected by the crash.
“I would like to say how very saddened I am about the helicopter crash,” Mr Howard speaking during a whirlwind visit to Malaysia.
“I extend my deepest sympathy to the family of the man who has lost his life.”
He said that like all Australians he was praying that the missing soldier was found and that the injuries of those who were rescued were not serious and they would be able to make a full recovery.
“This is just another reminder that we are dealing with a special group of people who take risks on our behalf,” Mr Howard said.
The north Queensland city of Townsville is in mourning following the death of a local army pilot in the Black Hawk helicopter crash.
The pilot was one of four Townsville-based soldiers on board the chopper when it crashed while trying to land on HMAS Kanimbla.
His name hasn’t been released although it’s believed his wife was notified last night.
Local Townsville politicians say the tragedy evokes memories of the 1996 Black Hawk disaster in which 18 men died when two Black Hawks collided near Townsville.
The session resumed after a two-week break with witness Taimor Abdallah Rokhzai telling the court how Kurdish villagers were taken out into the desert and shot by soldiers.
“There was a trench there and we were lined up and a soldier was shooting at us,” said the smartly dressed young Kurd who now lives in Washington.
“I saw bullets hitting a woman’s head and her brain coming out. I saw the pregnant woman shot and killed,” added Mr Rokhzai, who was 12 at the time. “It was horrible.”
Mr Rokhzai watched his mother and sister and dozens of others shot dead as he was hit in the shoulder and fell into a metre-deep trench filled with bodies.
“Then suddenly it stopped and it was quiet. I was waiting to die and my whole body was covered with blood, and the soldiers went away,” he continued, describing how he then scrambled out of the pit and fled across a landscape of trenches filled with corpses.
He was eventually helped by a desert tribesman who hid him for several years before he returned to the north of the country, where word spread that a child had survived a massacre.
“When the Iraqi intelligence forces came to know that I was the only witness to have seen that massacre they sent people to kill me,” he said.
Witness Yunis Haji Haji, a former guerilla fighter, than took the stand and described his own capture and a three day torture ordeal by Saddam’s forces.
“We were made to walk on broken glass with bare feet,” said Mr Haji, who also now lives in the United States. “We were tied on a table and they used to drop cold water drop by drop on our forehead.
“Every drop used to be like a mountain crashing on our head.”
Saddam and six co-defendants are accused of responsibility for the deaths of 182,000 Kurds during the so-called Anfal campaign, when government troops swept through Iraqi Kurdistan in 1988, burning and bombing thousands of villages.
Saddam and his former aides argue that it was a legitimate counter-insurgency operation against Kurdish separatists at a time when the country was at war with neighbouring Iran.
The accused — including Saddam’s cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as “Chemical Ali” — all face the death penalty if convicted.
Saddam and Majid are the only defendants facing a charge of genocide, however.
Most of the defendants’ lawyers have boycotted the trial, but today’s session saw Badie Aref, who is defending former military intelligence chief Farhan al-Juburi, make an appearance in court.
Mr Aref said that during the recess, US officials came to his office and told him that he had the power to convict or acquit his defendant, and specified which defence witnesses he should use in the trial.
“This is forcing us to do something that the occupation wants,” he told the court.
Witnesses described the detention of civilians, the rape of women prisoners and villages being bombed with chemical weapons.
On November 30, the New York-based Human Rights Watch, which is tracking Saddam’s trials, described as fundamentally flawed the deposed dictator’s previous trial in which he was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death.
But Iraqi officials dismissed the rights watchdog’s report as a “Western way of thinking”.
In that trial, the former president and seven others were accused of killing 148 Shi’ites from the village of Dujail in the 1980s after Saddam escaped an assassination bid there.
The Dujail verdicts are now with an appellate chamber. If it upholds the trial court’s ruling, Iraqi law stipulates that Saddam must be executed within 30 days of that decision.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has already said Saddam may be hanged before the end of this year.
Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah al-Khatib said the paior met over a working dinner at the Raghadan palace in Amman to discuss the regional conflicts and the situation in Iraq.
“The king explained the Jordanian position very clearly, namely the need to make real progress on the Palestinian issue because regional complications and challenges are due to the Palestinian problem,” he said.
“The main issue and the key issue in the region, as far as the people and their governments are concerned, is that there be real progress that will restore hope for the Palestinian people to achieve their ambitions,” he added.
Mr Bush and the Jordanian monarch also discussed the upsurge of sectarian violence in Iraq, Mr Khatib said.
“The Iraqi matter was also a central issue during the discussions and the talks focused on the importance of working to rebuild stability in Iraq,” he said.
“This stability is necessary for the stability of the entire region. The sectarian violence that hits Iraq like cyclones is causing damage to the region,” he added.
The king also underscored the importance of backing the elected government of embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “and the need to empower the Iraqi people and help them preserve their unity,” he added.
Iraq talks loom
Mr Bush has arrived in Jordan for crucial talks with the Iraqi leader to tackle ways of quelling Iraq’s sectarian violence. They will meet over breakfast and later hold a joint news conference.
Expected three-way talks between the three men were earlier cancelled by Jordan because of a lack of time.
But the White House said the cancellation had nothing to do with a leaked Bush administration memo which cast doubt on Mr Maliki’s authority.
Earlier the Jordanian king met separately with Mr Maliki and told him that national reconciliation between rival Sunni and Shiite factions was necessary to secure Iraqi stability.
The 164,747 spectators who streamed through the turnstiles for the opening clash of the most hyped series in Ashes history eclipsed the previous Brisbane Test record of 93,143, set during the controversial “Bodyline” series in 1933.
The record was beaten after only three days of the Test, Cricket Australia (CA) said, with 117,322 spectators piling into the Gabba stadium by the end of Saturday.
The old record was set in the era when Tests stretched over six days, rather than the current five-day format.
“Ashes fever truly gripped Brisbane this week and we’ve seen history created,” Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said.
Sutherland also praised the crowd’s behaviour after Cricket Australia imposed a security clampdown that some critics said went too far and destroyed the game’s atmosphere, effectively silencing England’s “Barmy Army” support group.
“The good-humoured majority showed you can have a few beers, sing along, cheer for your team, get involved in banter and have a great day without crossing the boundary into unacceptable behaviour,” he said
“The last five days saw a new benchmark set by cricket fans in the way they enjoy their cricket, and we hope to see more of the same as we head to Adelaide.”
Cricket Australia said this week that it expected crowd records to tumble at grounds across Australia during the five-Test series.
Barmy Army ‘silenced’
However, Barmy Army organisers have said they hope the atmosphere at Brisbane proves a one-off.
The English fans only found their voice for a short period on day five, when the match was effectively over and sparse attendance meant they could ignore Cricket Australia’s ticket allocations and gather in one area for the first time.
The Barmy Army’s football-style chants are expected to be more prominent at the next two Tests in Adelaide and Perth, where the grounds have grassy banks allowing them to congregate in a single area.
The car bomber crashed through the gates of the police station in an apparent effort to hit the main building.
But the vehicle was stopped by a volley of gunfire, prompting the bomber to detonate the vehicle just shy of his goal.
Near Samarra, north of Baghdad, two officers were killed when a gang of some 40 gunmen attacked a police checkpoint.
An indefinite curfew was imposed on the city of Samarra, in the wake of the apparently coordinated assaults.
Samarra was once a major centre of the anti-US insurgency in Iraq.
Over the past year, US forces surrounded much of the city with a massive wall to control access, resulting in a marked decline in violence.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, a bomb blast shattered the early morning calm, exploding next to a major metropolitan bus station and killing two civilians, said a security official.
The official suggested that the bomb, which was planted next to al-Nahda bus station, was targeting a passing group of police, two of whom were wounded, along with five other passersby.
Health ministry attacked
Gunmen opened fire on Iraq’s Shi’te-run Health Ministry building in central Baghdad, for the second time in a week, officials in the building told Reuters
as gunfire sounded in the background.
Deputy Health Minister Hakim al-Zamily said two mortar rounds exploded nearby and gunmen were continuing to fire on the building as security forces attempted to repel them.
He said the raid was much more limited that last Thursday’s attack, when five people were wounded in hours of clashes at the ministry.
“They are attacking with light weapons and medium weapons,” ministry spokesman Qasim Abdul Hadi said, adding that staff were pinned down by rifle and machinegun fire and feared snipers.
Health Minister Ali al-Shemari, from the movement of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said he was not at the ministry but confirmed reports from his officials of the attack.
A source at Baghdad police headquarters said there had been a clash and that the assailants had been driven off.
Shortly after last week’s attack a multiple car bomb and mortar attack on Sadr City, stronghold of Sadr’s Mehdi Army militia, killed over 200 people in the bloodiest attack since the US invasion.
Health Ministry officials blamed militants from a nearby Sunni enclave in mainly Shi’ite east Baghdad for the previous attack on their headquarters.
Pietersen yelled an obscenity at Warne after the Australian leg-spinner hurled the ball at his head during a tense period of play on Sunday. Pietersen was forced to swat the ball away with his bat.
The confrontation followed criticism that the two players, who are team-mates with English county Hampshire, were too friendly for members of opposing Ashes sides.
The 26-year-old right-hander told ABC radio after England lost the Test by 277 runs that the argument with Warne was “just playing nice, hard cricket” and would not affect their off-field relationship.
“What happens on the field stays on the field, it’s got nothing to do with what happens off the field,” South African-born Pietersen said.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who was receiving treatment for a strained back at the time of the confrontation, said both fans and players would be relish the prospect of more Warne and Pietersen showdowns during the Ashes.
“Going on yesterday it looks like it will be an on-going battle,” he said.
“I wasn’t out there amongst it yesterday, it would have been nice to listen in to what was being said, I also saw it on television.
“They are two very feisty and competitive players, so there’s no doubt that Shane will be bowling a lot to Kevin as the series go on.
“He (Pietersen) seems like he enjoys the battle as well, so the fans and the players can look to it all summer.”
The clash came during Pietersen’s 153-run fourth-wicket stand with Paul Collingwood, virtually the only period England was on top during the match.
Pietersen said the period of dominance allowed England to salvage some pride after a desperate performance early in the match.
“We needed to go out there in the second innings and show some dedication,” he said.
“We started off really badly in the first three days so we had to go at it and show some determination, some sort of grit and commitment.”
He said England would be looking to display similar fighting qualities from the start of the Adelaide Test, which begins on Friday.
“The last 24-36 hours have been very encouraging for England and hopefully we can build on that and take it into the next Test.”
He was optimistic about England’s Ashes defence, comparing the Gabba loss to the one his side suffered in the first Test of the 2005 series at Lord’s but still went on to win international cricket’s oldest prize.
“We (have) started very slowly but we started very slowly at Lord’s last year so hopefully the boys can swing it around and come back from there and we can go forward.”