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(From Guardian Unlimited)
For whichever side wins the Ashes at The Oval over the next five days, there will be none of the extravagant celebrations that marked England's success four years ago. The one-day series will immediately intervene. Instead of an open-top bus ride and a reception at Downing Street, England fly the following morning to Belfast and Australia get the train north to Edinburgh. "Is it an open-top train?" asked Ricky Ponting, with heavy irony.
Quite how this quirk in the fixture list was allowed to happen is unlikely to bear much examination (when does cricket's fixture list ever bear much examination?), but perhaps it fits comfortably with the national mood at a time of deep recession and mounting public debt. This is not a time for celebratory cucumber sandwiches.
In any case, Australia's team never celebrate anything so openly. They …