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Thursday's Ashes gossip column - Australia v England

Australia captain Ricky Ponting
Ponting's captaincy has come under fire in the Australian media

Captain Ricky Ponting's job will be on the line if Australia lose the third Test in Perth, which would see England retain the Ashes. However, he has hinted that he would not stand down mid-series voluntarily.
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

Meanwhile, Steve Waugh, Ponting's predecessor as skipper, admits "questions will be asked" about his successor's captaincy if they fail to win the Ashes - and also questions the decision to drop spinner Xavier Doherty after only two Tests.
Full story: The Australian

Former Australian Test greats Shane Warne and Mark Taylor are baffled by the decision to omit spinner Michael Beer from the side for the third Test in Perth. ''The Aussies have missed a trick here by not picking Beer and giving themselves some options to take wickets on day three and four," said Taylor on Channel 9, while Warne announced on his Twitter page: ''Beer is a specialist spinner. You need one in Perth.''
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

Ex-Australian batsman Greg Blewett believes Australia will have to produce the performance of their lives to save the third Test in Perth after being bowled out for 268 on Thursday. "They've got to play out of their skins for the rest of the match," said Blewett.
Full story: Fox Sports

Discarded Aussie pace bowler Doug Bollinger has hit back at criticism of his fitness after he was dropped following the second Test in Adelaide. The left-armer insists he has fully recovered from the side strain which troubled him earlier this year - and was fit for Perth.
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

Former England coach Duncan Fletcher believes spinner Graeme Swann will bowl England to Ashes glory in Perth. ''I think Swann has a mental hold over the Australian team," said Fletcher.
Full story: Canberra Times

Western Australia coach Mickey Arthur, formerly in charge of South Africa, has questioned England's ability to bat against pace bowling on green wickets. Recalling the Test at the Wanderers last winter, Arthur said: "We got stuck into them, and it's almost as though they didn't want to know."
Full story: The Australian

However, batsman Jonathan Trott knows full well that England "will probably get a few short balls to deal with" - but says "I look around the team and see players who are very good at facing bouncers."
Full story: Daily Telegraph

Former Australia paceman Rodney Hogg has called on the current side to "sledge England at every opportunity."
Full story: Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Former Australian spin legend Shane Warne admits he had considered making a dramatic comeback to help his national side in the Ashes, but realised on a recent trip to London that he did not have the fitness to do so. "I must admit it did cross my mind, but then I woke up in London, where it was snowing, and realised I was only dreaming," he said.
Full story: Daily Express

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan says vice-captain Alastair Cook is not certain to succeed Andrew Strauss as captain - and cites Ian Bell and Stuart Broad as possible alternatives.
Full story: the Sun

AND FINALLY...

The latest song composed by England's Barmy Army supporters accuses Ricky Ponting of being "hopeless and only five feet tall" - and the Army have made up song sheets to hand to fans at the Waca.
Full story: Herald Sun

Former Australian cricket great Rod Marsh has condemned the current crop of Australian cricketers who sport tattoos. Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke and bowler Mitchell Johnson both have visible tattoos. "How can we have a bloke captain Australia with tattoos?" said Marsh. "It's just not on."
Full story: Perth Now



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see also
Wednesday's Ashes gossip column
15 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Tuesday's Ashes gossip column
14 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Monday's Ashes gossip column
13 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Sunday's Ashes gossip column
12 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Saturday's Ashes gossip column
11 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Friday's Ashes gossip column
10 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Thursday's Ashes gossip column
09 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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