"When we were bad, we were awful and when we were good, we were just good enough". Aptly put words by Andrew Strauss the England captain, they just about summarise England's regaining of the Ashes. Australia lost even though their best bowlers - Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson - took 18 more wickets between them than England's top three, even though England's highest run-getters - Andrew Strauss (474) and Matt Prior (261) - were separated by six Australians, and though they had six centurions making eight hundreds to England's two. So, this win was definitely against the run of play. Some of the factors that contributed to the Australians' woes were the startling lack of form of Mitchell Johnson and the decision not to play a spinner on a bone dry pitch at the Oval. England's Graeme Swann, the sole spinner at the Oval made a major contribution with eight wickets in the match. Before the Ashes series, this column had predicted a 2-1 result in England's favour with Swann making a major contribution. So we might be excused if we take a bow. Strauss leads by example The captaincy stakes were won by England, with Strauss leading from the front, by personal example, a team that was lacking two of its superstars, Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff through much of the series. But their absence was made up by the inspirational batting of the debutant Trott, who stepped into the breach with two innings full of character and unwavering focus. It was Trott and skipper Strauss, who, on the third morning at the Oval, rebuilt England's second innings to a position of such strength. Ricky Ponting, on the other hand was combative but a bit flinty. It seems that the captaincy responsibilities are wearing thin for him. It might be a good idea for Ponting to relinquish the reins and concentrate on his batting. He still has a couple of years before his skills start eroding and there are plenty of records within reaching distance. It is said that Ponting has been Australia's best batsman since Bradman. He would struggle to be in the top five as a captain. Younus after India Pakistan captain Younus Khan has expressed a desire to defeat India in next month's Champions Trophy in South Africa. He is probably aware that Pakistan, although they lead India head to head by a comfortable margin, have almost always come up short in major events like the World Cup and Champions Trophy. This time around, Younus leads a strong team featuring Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul leading the bowling attack, ably supported by Rana Naveed and Mohammad Amer. Given that Mohammad Asif is in shape, this would be the strongest pace attack on display in South Africa. And they are backed by the spin of Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik. What is missing is Abdul Razzaq, whose opportunistic wicket-taking and six hitting could have served the team better than Rao Iftekhar. The batting also looks strong, with Younus and Yousuf anchoring the innings. A welcome addition is Imran Nazir who can win matches from the opening position. Umar Akmal would make a good foil for him in the openers' slot. Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik bring up the lower middle order with Kamran Akmal as the keeper. That would leave room for four specialist bowlers, ideally three pacers and Saeed Ajmal - the spinner who is so difficult to get away. The pacers would be Asif, Gul and either Amer or Naveed. That makes for one of the strongest elevens that Pakistan has sent out in quite a while. Good luck Pakistan and don't just focus on India. There is a trophy to be won. Federer, raising the bar higher still Just when we thought that he was as good as it gets get, Roger Federer has raised the bar higher still. His latest triumph in Cincinnati has shown that he has erased the one blemish in his tactical game. All these years, Federer had essentially bunted back his first and second service returns, relying on his strokes and court coverage to defeat his opponents. As the players improved, Federer found himself losing to people he should not have had problems with. In Cincinnati, Federer was attacking the first and second serve, putting his opponents on the defensive on their own serve. The psychological effect of this was devastating as he tore through the first sets against both Murray and Djokovic, two players whose second serves can be vulnerable under pressure. Crucially, it was a Murray double fault that ended his match against Federer, a fault line Federer would be keenly aware of by now. Should Federer continue to play at this level, he would be odds-on favourite to win his sixth straight US Open. The draw for the US Open has been kind to Roger. While Murray and Nadal are seeded to battle it out in one half, Federer plays Djokovic in the other half. Other seeds with a chance for the title would be Del Potro, the giant Argentine with the silky footwork, and the Frenchmen, Tsonga and Simone. Andy Roddick, the much improved American is another with a chance, should Federer stumble en route. He is capable of beating all the rest. The women's event will mark the return of the Belgian Kim Clijsters, who has made a strong come back with some powerful performances in the lead-ins to the Open. Clijsters, who retired last year to devote more time to motherhood, would be a major threat to Dinara Safina, Jelena Jankovic and the Williams sisters. There are also rumours of a return some time later, of the supremely gifted Belgian, Justin Henin. The two Belgians would be a welcome addition to what is a rather lacklustre women's circuit.