Summer swing

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

Last Updated: 04/05/13 at 15:35 Post Comment

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.

Great Scott

Adam Scott won the Masters in a play-off with Angel Cabrera, ending decades of hurt for Australian golfers at Augusta National.

Scott himself had been denied two years previously when Charl Schwartzel birdied the last four holes, while Greg Norman's experiences at the opening major of the year are the stuff of nightmares.

Scott laid to rest any doubts about his mental fortitude - he had bogeyed the last four holes to hand the Open to Ernie Els at Lytham last summer - by holing a pair of clutch putts.

He rolled in for birdie at the 18th and, after Cabrera matched his nine-under-par total with a three of his own at the last, repeated the trick at the second play-off hole after being given the line by caddie Steve Williams.

Lee Westwood, a distant six shots behind Scott in the final reckoning, was the only British golfer in the top 10.

Climbing high

It was another good month for British cyclist Chris Froome, who continued his Tour de France preparations with victory at the Tour de Romandie.

Froome held the yellow jersey throughout the six-day race, winning the prologue before holding off a series of attacks to complete a 54-second victory.

There was also a notable success for Ireland's Dan Martin at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, a tough one-day race that is one of cycling's 'Monuments'.

Australia's Richie Porte again impressed. The Tasmanian had to play a supporting role to Froome at the Tour de Romandie, where he finished eighth, but had claimed second place at Vuelta al Pais Vasco at the start of April.

Back to the future

Australia named their Ashes squad but not before Shane Watson had pre-empted the selectors by standing down as vice-captain.

Watson, part of the quartet banned for a Test during the tour of India for failing to complete a homework assignment, was replaced by Brad Haddin.

Haddin's return was part of a "back to the future" movement from Australia's selectors, who also recalled 35-year-old opener Chris Rogers five years after his solitary Test appearance.

Some of England's players returned to domestic action, among them Stuart Broad with eight wickets in Nottinghamshire's victory over Derbyshire.

Eastern promise

Lewis Hamilton's third place at the Chinese Grand Prix was the only podium for British and Australian Formula One drivers during April.

Jenson Button finished fourth in China and Paul di Resta fourth in Bahrain as the British drivers held the edge in the two most recent grands prix.

Seventh was the best Australia could manage in either race. Daniel Ricciardo in China and Mark Webber in Bahrain finishing in that position.

Decision time

Warren Gatland named his British and Irish Lions squad on April 30.

Munster skipper Paul O'Connell, Leinster No 8 Jamie Heaslip and Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson all made late runs with impressive displays in the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups - although Wilkinson turned down a place in the squad.

On the other side of the world, the Brumbies went unbeaten in April with two wins and two draws to maintain their place as the Super Rugby pacesetters.

Clay struggles

Andy Murray's claycourt campaign got off to an underwhelming start when Stanislas Wawrinka sent the British number one packing 6-1 6-2 in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

That defeat dropped Murray back down to third behind Roger Federer in the world rankings.

Marinko Matosevic - the world number 50 and Australian number two - pulled off a fine win against Fernando Verdasco in the first round in Monte Carlo before being crushed by Rafael Nadal.

Australia's top player, world number 47 Bernard Tomic, lost his opener in Monte Carlo to Alexandr Dolgopolov, although he did help Australia reach the Davis Cup World Group play-offs by winning both his singles in a 3-1 success against Uzbekistan.

Britain also made it through to the World Group play-offs as, without Murray, James Ward and Dan Evans both won in the reverse singles to earn a 3-2 victory over Russia.

Australia's women made it into the main draw for the Fed Cup World Group thanks to a 3-1 win over Switzerland. World number nine Sam Stosur won both her matches.

Judy Murray's Britain went down 3-1 in Argentina in their World Group II play-off.

Crucible drama

Australian hopes at snooker's World Championship did not last long; their lone representative, 2010 champion Neil Robertson, went out in the first round.

Robertson was beaten 10-8 by Gloucester's Robert Milkins as British players dominated at the Crucible Theatre.

China's Ding Junhui was the only non-Brit to make the quarter-finals.

Verdict

Scott's Masters victory was the standout performance of an otherwise average month for Britain and Australia's sportsmen and women. On that basis, we'll give Australia the edge in April, the first time this year they have taken the honours.

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