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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Friday, 31 December 2010

Friday's Ashes gossip column

Ricky Ponting and Usman Khawaja
All eyes will be on Khawaja (right) when he replaces Ponting (left) in Sydney

Simon Katich says Test debutant Usman Khawaja is the perfect man to replace injured captain Ricky Ponting in Sydney - and not just because of his skilled batting. "He's probably the most popular bloke in our squad," he said. "He doesn't drink, but the boys don't hold that against him. He will still go out with them, socialise, and then drive them home. He's their taxi."
Full story: Fox Sports Australia

Ricky Ponting has been backed to continue as Australia captain when he returns from injury by coach Tim Nielsen. "There's plenty of kick in the old dog yet," he said. "I expect once his finger's right and he's back playing cricket he'll assume the leadership role once again."
Full story: Daily Telegraph

Aside from claiming a series win in Sydney, a key priority for England is to ensure its bowling coach - Australian David Saker - is retained. Another Australian bowling coach, Troy Cooley, helped England reclaim the Ashes in 2005 - but was then poached back by his home country.
Full story: The Australian

A truce agreed in the corridor between the two dressings rooms after the fourth Test in Melbourne has cooled tempers ahead of the final Test in Sydney. England wicketkeeper Matt Prior's chance meeting with Australia bowler Peter Siddle allowed the pair the opportunity to patch up their differences from Perth, when Prior had seemingly offered to fight Siddle outside the ground.
Full story: Daily Mail

Baggy Green wicketkeeper Brad Haddin says the SCG wicket should live up to its traditional spin-friendly nature, despite having proven to be somewhat of a quick bowler's paradise at times during this Australian summer.
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

England's buoyant cricket heroes admitted to nursing sore heads after celebrating their Ashes triumph. Spin bowler Graeme Swann owned up to a "headache and ropey guts" while Melbourne man-of-the-match Tim Bresnan said: "Celebrating done. Sore head this morning. On to Sydney to wrap up the series."
Full story: The Sun

This story is updated throughout the day.

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see also
Papers enjoy Ashes success
30 Dec 10 |  UK
Wednesday's Ashes gossip column
29 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Tuesday's Ashes gossip column
28 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Monday's Ashes gossip column
27 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Sunday's Ashes gossip column
26 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Friday's Ashes gossip column
24 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket

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