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Summer swing

We check out how Britain and Australia's sportsmen and women have been performing during the month of January

Last Updated: 04/03/13 9:23pm

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Ahead of back-to-back Ashes series and a Lions tour later in the year, we'll be keeping an eye on each country's sporting fortunes.

Every month the performances of Britain and Australia's sportsmen and women will move our 'swingometer' as we try and work out whose stock is highest.

Feel free to add your own thoughts by using the feedback form at the bottom of the page.

Net gains

The year got under way with an Ashes battle on the netball court and England fans will be hoping the result has set the tone for later in 2013.

England had only beaten Australia twice previously in more than 60 attempts but turned the formbook on its head with a 3-0 whitewash of the reigning world champions.

Victories by margins of 58-53, 51-49 and 58-51 provided England with the finest moment in their netball history.

"These guys have worked relentlessly, not just in the last couple of weeks but over the last 18 months," said England coach Anna Mayes.

"They have been on the cusp of being able to put out a performance against the number one and two sides in the world (New Zealand and Australia), and I think that belief is now instilled in them. We won't rest on our laurels, we'll keep pushing forwards."

No choke

Andy Murray narrowly failed to add a second straight grand slam title to his collection but was still the clear standout among the British and Australian contingent at Melbourne Park.

Murray - who had already picked up his first title of the year at the Brisbane International - went down in four sets to world number one Novak Djokovic in the men's singles final.

In contrast, Australian interest ended in the third round when Roger Federer schooled Bernard Tomic in straight sets.

And Britain also had the edge in the women's singles, where Laura Robson took out former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Heather Watson also made it as far as the third round.

Australia's best player, world number nine Sam Stosur, wasted a 5-2 lead in the deciding set of her second-round match against Jie Zheng - double faulting to hand Zie victory.

"Whatever word you want to put on it, at 5-2 up in the third, double break, probably is a bit of a choke, yeah," said Stosur.

Sealed with a kiss

The final of the Masters at Wembley was an Ashes contest between Mark Selby and Neil Robertson.

Selby - who is known by the curious nickname of the 'Jester from Leicester' - prevailed 10-6 over Melbourne left-hander Robertson.

It was a good month for England's snooker players as Martin Gould claimed victory in the other big tournament, the Snooker Shootout.

Limited impact

The cricket field was one place where Australia held their own.Michael Clarke's men completed a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka at the SCG, taking their record to 12 wins and three defeats in 20 Tests since the conclusion of the last Ashes series.

It was, however, a bitter-sweet success as Michael Hussey headed off into retirement, leaving another middle-order hole to fill so soon after Ricky Ponting's departure.

Australia came good under pressure in the final game to salvage a 2-2 draw against the same opponents in the ODIs that followed, although Sri Lanka won both Twenty20 internationals.

Meanwhile in India, England went down 3-2 in Ashley Giles' first foray as limited-overs coach - a result that meant they surrendered top spot in the ODI world rankings.

Those two wins - in the first and last matches of the series - still represented improvement for England, who had previously been without an away ODI victory against India in 13 attempts dating back to 2006.

Men at work - Down Under

The opening race of the UCI World Tour season, the Tour Down Under, saw several impressive performances among the British and Australian riders.

The standout was Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, who won stage two and finished third in the general classification.

The highest placed Australian in the GC was Adam Hansen in 16th, although Simon Gerrans did uphold home pride with victory on stage five on Australia Day.

Wood burning bright

There were two British winners on the European Tour in January, while Australian golfers were left empty handed.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson and England's Chris Wood triumphed in consecutive weeks during the Middle East swing at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and Qatar Masters.

No Australian managed a top 10 on the European Tour, although they had slightly more success on the PGA Tour.

Americans have won every week so far on the PGA Tour, but Aaron Baddeley - who holds dual American and Australian citizenship - managed a sixth-place finish in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Full Power

England's Phil Taylor turned back the clock at the Alexandra Palace to claim his 16th world title.

Taylor's main opposition came from the Netherlands, with Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen falling to 'The Power' in the semi-final and final.

Taylor was one of five Englishmen to make it into the quarter-finals, while Simon Whitlock was Australia's lone representative.


January belonged to Britain with Murray's performances in Australia and the England netballers providing the main highlights. In contrast it was such a barren time for Australia that Toadfish almost merited a mention for his third-place finish on Celebrity Big Brother. Almost.

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Summer swing

Summer swing

Ahead of the Ashes series and Lions tour, we're keeping an eye on each country's sporting fortunes.

Summer swing - March

Ahead of the Ashes series and Lions tour, we're keeping an eye on each country's sporting fortunes.

Summer swing - February

Ahead of the Ashes series and Lions tour, we're keeping an eye on each country's sporting fortunes.

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