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Sunday's Ashes gossip column - Australia v England

Paul Collingwood is dismissed in Perth
Despite his poor form, Paul Collingwood may keep his place at Melbourne

Former fast bowler Bob Willis says England will not play five bowlers for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne as some commentators are suggesting. But the ex-England skipper believes Ian Bell should be promoted above the under-pressure Paul Collingwood to five in the batting order.
Full story: Independent

Steven Finn, the series' top wicket-taker, should be dropped for the Melbourne Test because there is "little in it for 'bounce' bowlers" at the MCG. The surface would offer more assistance to Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad. (Sunday Times)

England spinner Graeme Swann, who took two wickets in Perth, can take encouragement that Perth was not a productive venue for leg-spin great Shane Warne, who took fewer wickets at the Waca (37) than any other Australian Test ground. (Sunday Times)

Swann's sudden burst of the "sprinkler", the dance move made famous from his video diaries for the ECB website, after catching centurion Mike Hussey was for the benefit of a group of Australian fans on the hill. The off-spinner offered a curt apology via Twitter to those offended by his actions, followed swiftly by a suggestion about discovering a sense of humour.
Full story: Graeme Swann's Twitter feed

The MCG pitch originally intended for the fourth Test starting on Boxing Day has been ditched in favour of a surface similar to the Perth track which provided plenty of success for Australia's four-pronged bowling line-up. The wicket is said to be grassier and faster than the surface which England drew with Victoria last week.
Full story: Daily Telegraph

While former Australia captain Ian Chappell has called for Ponting to be axed, brother Greg, one of Australia's four Test selectors, has the polar opposite view. He believes the Tasmanian should continue as skipper because there is no obvious successor.
Full story: Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

The Sydney Morning Herald suggests Australia face a tough task appointing a long-term successor for Ponting because there are no stand-out candidates.
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

TMS summariser Vic Marks has endorsed Shane Watson's name as a possible successor as he is fast becoming Australia's Mr Dependable, in contrast to vice-captain Michael Clarke.
Full story: the Guardian

Christian Ryan on Cricinfo suggests the Australian players have shown characteristics of their other halves during their series-levelling victory in Perth. He writes: "Mitchell Johnson, fiance of karate gold medallist Jessica, has belatedly made the ball kick. Up the other end is Ben Hilfenhaus, his ego-free foil, whose partner Meredith is a nurse. Supportive and unshockable, Ben craves no reward or glory himself."
Full story: Cricinfo

Ticket sales are going "gangbusters" for the Boxing Day Test, according to Cricket Australia's general manager of public affairs Peter Young.
Full story: Peter Young's Twitter feed

Usman Khawaja's hopes of an Australia call-up for the Sydney Test suffered a setback when he was dismissed for 21 in New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against Queensland. And to top it all off, the left-hander was celebrating his 24th birthday.
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

Meanwhile, NSW team-mate and Australian discard Nathan Hauritz hit his second successive first class century on day two at the Blacktown Olympic Park Oval in Sydney. The off-spinner was overlooked for the Ashes squad ahead of the first Ashes Test in favour of Xavier Doherty.
Full story: Cricinfo

Meanwhile, Marcus North, who was dropped for the third Test, made just 14 in Western Australia's Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania. Michael Beer, who was in Australia's 12-man Test squad for Perth, has yet to take a wicket in the match.
Full story: Cricinfo

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see also
Saturday's Ashes gossip column
18 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Friday's Ashes gossip column
17 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Thursday's Ashes gossip column
16 Dec 10 |  Cricket
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
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket

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