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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 07:23 GMT 08:23 UK
Ashes log: Fifth Test - Thursday

UPDATES FROM REPORTERS, COMMENTATORS & FANS...

Click refresh for latest updates (all times BST):

1838: Daniel, via email, Cambridge
The longer England bat on Friday, the faster Australia will have to score their first innings runs, which in turn will force Australia to take many risks.

1835: Ben, via email, England
How can "Gatt" say that England's best result is a draw? Anything can happen and England aren't out of it yet.

1830: Chia Wenn Teck, via email, Singapore
With the current England score, Australia will need to score at least 500 runs in the first innings to have any chance of beating England.

1820: Richard, via email, England
I have been watching all day, and if the blunt Aussie attack can take wickets, then Flintoff and company will have a field day!

1814: Dave L, via email, England
Come on, England are now ahead of all Australia's first innings scores through the series so far, and still batting. This isn't so bad really!

1808: Mike Gatting, former England captain, Radio Five Live
There were so many bright spots for England with Trescothick and Strauss, and then Freddie and Strauss. But a few poor shots, and Mr Warne, have dragged the initiative back to the Australians. England have made life difficult for themselves and I think the best result they could get now is a draw.

1803: James Middleton, via email, England
With the way Warne has been bowling we have put ourselves in a good position and have to follow it up with the bowling tomorrow.

1801: Geoff Lawson, former Australia fast bowler, Radio Five Live
Australia's day, just, or maybe honours even. Shane Warne's wonderful bowling, a couple of great catches, just another great day.

STUMPS: ENGLAND 319-7, JONES 21, GILES 5

1758: Jenson Ollivierre, via email, Bequia st.Vincent
350 will be a good total for England. Strauss and Flintoff's partnership could be a match-winning one. Harmison and Flintoff should do lots of damage on a pitch like this.

1753: Dave, via email, UK
This match cannot be good for the UK economy. Like millions of others, I having been checking the internet all afternoon.

1750: Geoff Lawson, former Australia fast bowler, Radio Five Live
It is absolutely phenomenal for a spin bowler like Warne to be up there with Lillee, who was the greatest bowler I have ever seen. (see 1736). To get five wickets on the first day of a Test is a wonderful performance.

1747: Mark Warren, via email, England
How good is this bloke Warne? In the old days a leggie would be lucky to bowl before the third day.

1742: John, via email, Maine, USA
Rain, rain come again
Save us from the awful pain
Our urn is going down the drain
The agony has spread to Maine

1740: Matthew Fleet, via email, England
CM-J is completely wrong. At 297 for 7 England's decision to play an extra batsman is totally justified. It's just that it hasn't come off!

1736: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
There is no praise too high for Shane Warne. He has got 33 wickets in this series now, and is two wickets away from an illustrious landmark. Dennis Lillee took 167 wickets for Australia against England, and Warne needs two more to equal that.

1734: Rod, via email, Warwickshire
I've sat here at work all day transfixed by the BBC scoreboard. My nerves are just as bad as if I was at the Oval. Going to need new nails soon.

1729: Mike Gatting, former England captain, Radio Five Live
This partnership is quite important for England now. These two (Jones and Ashley Giles) have to stay in until the end and then try to bat for a couple more hours tomorrow.

1726: Neal Morrissey, via email, Ireland
Fair play. Cricket has really caught the imagination here. It's not hurling...but once you give it a chance it's quite gripping.

1724: Graeme Fowler, former England opener, TMS
They might take the new ball now that Strauss is out but it's reversing and Warne is taking the wickets, so why would you?

1722: Jim Maxwell, TMS
Strauss has given a little bat-pad offering and is brilliantly caught by Katich in close. Warne's perseverance has been rewarded with his fifth wicket. That is the end of a wonderful innings by Strauss - he was so dogged and determined that he stayed there for most of the day.

ENGLAND LOSE SEVENTH WICKET - STRAUSS CAUGHT BY KATICH OFF WARNE FOR 129

1718: John, via email, Maine, USA
Sing to the tune of Jerusalem...
"Did Andrew's feet in Summer time
Walk upon England's golden crease?
And did the willow bat of Strauss
See Aussie efforts cease?

And did the captain Vaughan divine
Shine forth in second innings bliss
Until the ashes Urn, Did return
To Freddie Flintoff's mighty fist
."

1715: Jim Maxwell, TMS
Tait pitches one up and Geraint Jones drives him for four to get off the mark.

1713: Mark, via email, England
If Collingwood was unlucky, then it only evens things up after the Strauss edge behind was not given.

1708: Graeme Fowler, former England opener, TMS
That was not a very good decision by Rudi Koertzen. If you look at the replay, the actual point of contact where it hit his toe was a good four or five inches outside of off-stump.

1707: Christopher Martin-Jenkins, TMS
Collingwood was late on a yorker that dipped into his toes. England's decision to play an extra batsman has not been justified.

1706: Andrew Nicholls, via email, Italy
I'm here in Sardinia ruining my week-long beach holiday from in a boiling hot internet cafe. I may be wearing out the F5 key. Come on boys!

1703: Vicky Wiseman, via email, UK
I've got the ante-natal classes booked already!! (see 1628).

1700: Adrian, via email, Colorado
Rare day off from liver transplants, kids at school, wife back home in the UK, sun shining, golf course beckoning and I'm stuck in front of the computer catching the ball by ball updates!

1656: Jonathan Agnew, BBC Cricket Correspondent, Radio Five Live
Everyone thought Shane Warne couldn't bowl his 'googly' any more, and he hasn't bowled any before in this series. But he has bowled three today, which shows his shoulder is in good working order.

1654: Steve, via email, England
I've put a sign up in my shop window. "Please don't disturb. The cricket's on. I've waited my whole life for this...sorry!"

1651: Jonathan Agnew, BBC Cricket Correspondent, Radio Five Live
In this situation we would all rather see Collingwood batting than Anderson. He is a good batter, a fighter. I am sure they are giving him heaps at the moment but it won't bother him one bit.

1648: Jonny Saunders, Radio Five Live
Collingwood is off the mark. They have come back for the third. They are his first runs in England in a Test.

1647: Oli, via email, UK
Here is Collingwood's chance to prove why we brought him in instead of Anderson.

1646: Keval Patel, via email, UK
Am driving my truck from Glasgow to London and have had to stop off at every service station to catch a few minutes of play. At this rate I'll probably arrive by the fifth day!

1643: Phil Tufnell, former England spinner, Radio Five Live
I think wickets are the key now. England wouldn't want to lose any more wickets today having won the toss and had first use of this strip.

1640: Alec Stewart, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
Freddie just got a bit loose, it was back of a length, he opened the face, got an outside edge and it went straight to Warne at slip.

ENGLAND LOSE FIFTH WICKET, FLINTOFF CAUGHT BY WARNE AT SLIP OFF MCGRATH FOR 72

1638: Pete, via email, England
I believe that England's record first, eighth, ninth and 10th wicket partnerships were set at the Oval. It would be nice to add the fifth to that too.

1635: Rob Lazenby, via email, Glasgow
Patients at my GP practice are getting in the way of watching the match on-line. How can anyone be ill whilst this is on?

1631: Alec Stewart, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
I said that England needed 450 to win, or at least draw the game, and and my opinion hasn't changed. Andrew Flintoff has really come of age in this series as a batsman. He has come on in leaps and bounds and would be a number six even if he couldn't bowl.

1628 Jon Atkinson, via email, UK
I hope Vicky Wiseman is looking forward to starting her family! (see 1451)

1626: Alex G, via text from The Oval Justin Langer is getting the treatment form the crowd, as one of the smaller Aussies. It doesn't take long for a chorus of "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go" to break out when he's on the boundary.

1623: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
Sven-Goran Eriksson was due to be coming to The Oval today but we are told his house is under siege from journalists after last night's performance and he will not be coming as he doesn't want his appearance to be a side-show.

1620 Nick Stafford, via email, UK
Working on a PC in my local library and going mad having to be silent. I keep getting looks from the librarians for my gesticulations with every boundary, wicket, and near miss. I'm going to have to go to my car to listen to the radio!

1618: Alison Mitchell, Radio Five Live
The crowd are on their feet in appreciation of that huge Flintoff six. They are chanting 'Super, Super Fred'.

1616: Andrew, via email, Michigan, USA
This is agonizing. The Aussies really need to break this partnership up. It'd be nice if we could find someone to help Warnie from the other end.

1614: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
Brett Lee is convinced he has got Andrew Strauss out. He is not too impressed by the decision of Rudi Koertzen and has gone for a little walk.

1609: Roger Carter, via email, British Virgin Islands
Here in the Caribbean we have no TV coverage, no radio coverage yet the excitement and tension is immense. I have West Indians coming up to me in the supermarket wishing us luck, willing us to beat the Aussies.

1604: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
That is a magnificent four drilled through the off-side by Flintoff. Australia must feel like they have let England off the hook. It reminds me of England teams of old, watching them bowl.

1603: Simon Hughes, via email, UK
Who needs football? These Test matches have been like five day penalty shoot-outs!

1600: Akhil, via email, United States
I'm at a client site in the deep south. People here have no clue about cricket so my occasional screams of joy or pain are being viewed as sure signs of impending insanity!

1553: Graham Gooch, former England captain, Radio Five Live
Shane Warne eh? What a giant, bowling all day from one end. It is Shane Warne versus England. The rest of the Australian bowlers haven't come up with any answers with the old ball. That is where England have had the upper hand all summer.

1550: Jonathan Grosvenor, via email, Singapore
Great job from Strauss - deserves the ton. Now keep a cool head and partner Freddie to his...

1547: Paul Pritchard, via email, UK
I'll take that 20 now please Lawrence Millar!

1545: Angus Fraser, former England bowler, TMS
That was a fitting way to go to 100 - a beautiful on-drive. It's been a magnificent innings, chanceless. He's worked out how to play Warne, getting forward well.

1544: Jonny Saunders, Radio Five Live
That is running away for four runs and that is Strauss's hundred! The England players are on the balcony and Andrew Strauss is absolutely thrilled. The Oval is on its feet to applaud a magnificent innings.

1542: Phil Tufnell, former England spinner, Radio Five Live
Fre-ddie, Fre-ddie! That's three in a row and the crowd are loving it. He's gone to 56 in no time!

1540: Jonny Saunders, Radio Five Live
Flintoff has gone for it again, and Brett Lee doesn't even bother moving for that at square leg.

1533: Jonny Saunders, Radio Five Live
Flintoff has gone for a big hit off Warne and that has gone, one bounce, to the boundary for four.

1528: Ian Meikle, via email, Germany
Just tried to explain to my sales team why I am screaming and jumping around my office here in Heidelberg. I think England have made more progress than I have in trying to explain this most wonderful game to my colleagues in the last two hours.

1524: James Caswell, via email, Scotland
Most unproductive day at work ever. This website is like an addictive drug. Come on Freddie and Strauss, I pray, please still be there at stumps. Where have my fingernails gone?

1512: Jonathan Agnew, BBC Cricket Correspondent, TMS
Interesting session, with 98 runs and England losing just the one wicket. There's often some disappointment when you score less than 100 runs these days, but England had some repair work to do and, led by Strauss, they've pretty much done that.

1510: Graham Thorpe, former England batsman, Radio Five Live
England will be happy with the recovery. These days, if they score between 350 and 400, they have an attack capable of bowling Australia out. If they don't lose a wicket, or just one, in the last session, they are still in a very good position.

TEA: ENGLAND 213-4, STRAUSS 92, FLINTOFF 39

1509: Graham Thorpe, former England batsman, Radio Five Live
That is a fantastic shot from Andrew Flintoff just before tea, a controlled shot through extra cover, just what the dressing-room wanted to see.

1508: Jamie, via email, Scotland
I'm from Scotland, and ashamed to say I've never been this nervous in my life. I'll be devastated if England don't pull this off.

1506: Helen, via email, UK
I'm going to get the sack if my boss catches me on the internet one more time, egg chaser that he is. Can't concentrate, can't eat, can't sleep for thinking about this match...pity my boyfriend doesn't have that effect on me.

1503: Alex G, via text from The Oval
We're having some brilliant banter with Brett Lee on the boundary. He's giving as good as he gets!

1500: Poppy Bruce, via email, UK
I suspect that this is similar to the feeling I will experience during my impending child birth! The tension is unbearable. Come on Freddie, give us a few sixes!

1457: John McGarvey, via email, UK
Have the updates on my classroom Interactive White Board. The kids are really involved and concentration is at a low level with everyone looking at the updates rather than their work.

1455: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
That is a powerful, bludgeoning shot from Flintoff, hitting Tait straight down the ground for four.

1453: James Smithfield, via email, UK
Here at the bank, whenever a wicket goes down, a proverbial groan moves across the whole open-plan office. Everyone is looking stressed.

1451: Vicky Wiseman, via email, UK
Daniel Jones can beget Freddie's offspring for him. I'll be offering myself to Andrew Strauss as a potential mother of his children if he can turn this good start into a ton!

1448: Lawrence Millar, via email, UK
20 says Warne gets Flintoff before his 50.

1444: Allan, via email, UK
TMS is on in the restaurant kitchen (a rare indulgence by the head chef) and we're having a thin time trying to explain cricket to a Pole and an Albanian.

1441: Graham Thorpe, former England batsman, Radio Five Live
This partnership is worth 54 now, which is crucial at this stage of the game. Freddie Flintoff has matured so much in the last year as a batsman. He is up to 25 and there have been no fireworks yet. He knows what he has to do.

1438: Ian Deakin, via email, Canada
I am listening on the internet in the Montreal suburbs. Early this morning the cat and I were smiling at each other. I just put him out and told him to stay out.

1434: Graeme Fowler, former England opener, TMS
England had to reconsolidate after losing Pietersen to a poor shot. Strauss and Flintoff knew they had work to do and they're calmly going about it but they're not scoring the runs to build a lead. It's more like good old-fashioned Test cricket, where the amount of time you bat is as valuable as the runs you score.

1430: Alec Stewart, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
Before a ball was bowled this morning, 450 looked a minimum score. We were behind the eight-ball at lunch but these two have batted very responsibly. We are in a much better position now but we have to go to tea four wickets down.

1427: Daniel Ingram, via email, UK
My nerves are as steady as a drunk riverdancer on rollerskates.

1425: Chris Bradshaw, via email, UK
We all thought we would have to wait until tomorrow to get a half day to watch this Test in the pub. But the MD has told us to down tools and get in the pub now... Come on England!

1420: Daniel Jones, via email, UK
If Flintoff makes a century I will ask him if I can have his children.

1418: Mark Andreasen, via email, Melbourne
TV, cricket, computer, bratwurst, crusty bread, sauerkraut, Cascade premium lager... Lovin' it.

1415: Jonny Saunders, Radio Five Live
Flintoff gets forward to Warne and all the Australian fielders go up but Billy Bowden says no. Ricky Ponting looks aghast.

1412: Mike Gatting, former England captain, Radio Five Live
They are having a drinks break now and they are always a little bit dangerous. When they come back the batsmen have got to make sure they are concentrating hard.

1411: Jonny Saunders, Radio Five Live
That is a lovely shot from Andrew Strauss. It is running away to the boundary for four. He is looking very secure there.

1410: Tim Hawkins, via email, Russia
I'm in a sports bar here in St Petersburg and there's even a few Russians begging me to tell them the rules so they can understand what we're all screaming about. Come on England!!!

1408: Liz Bradshaw, via email, UK
At the office, ball by ball on the computer, all I had for lunch was a walnut whip - and half of that is in the bin. I got Eng at 12-1 after the Lord's Test and have earmarked the boots I'm going to buy. Come on!

1406: Nick Porter, via email, UK
I haven't been able to do any work since 1030 this morning, and it doesn't look like I'll be getting much done this afternoon.

1404: Graham Thorpe, former England batsman, Radio Five Live
Brett Lee is bowling a thunderous spell here and it is so important that Freddie sees him off. He is such an influential player for England and when he gets in he can score quickly.

1400: Rich, via email, UK
Australia mocked the England rugby team as a one-trick pony with Jonny Wilkinson. Now how is that different to their cricket team with Shane Warne?

1357: Colin Langer, father of Aussie batsman Justin, Radio Five Live
It's the first time we've had a smile on our faces at lunchtime in this series. When Justin bats I light a cigar and if he gets out quickly I put it out and it ruins my day. If he's lucky enought to get a few I go on and smoke cigars. I've got about eight of them on the table for this Test.

1353: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
Brett Lee's last ball was timed at 92.1mph. The Australians are obviously making a real effort to break the back of this England batting line-up.

1350: Anna Thompson, BBC Sport at The Oval
The crowd, which was in full voice this morning, has been rather subdued since lunch. A certain Mr Warne seems to have silenced them; either that or they are having a rest after their exertions first thing!

1345: Graham Thorpe, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
Andrew Flintoff is going to have to use all his skill and be very brave as well to get through this opening barrage from Brett Lee.

1341: Simon Parsons, via email, St Petersburg, Russia
I can't believe this... we were going so well until our nemisis Warne arrived on the scene! When's he going to retire? 'Watching' cricket by text update has never been so agonising.

1338: Rod Marsh, former Australia wicket-keeper, TMS
It was a good ball - he always bowls well. But it was a poor shot. It wasn't a Gatting ball, it wasn't a Strauss ball, it was just a good leg-break.

1336: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
Pietersen was trying to on-drive Warne but hit outside the ball. He missed it, basically.

ENGLAND LOSE FOURTH WICKET - PIETERSEN BOWLED BY WARNE FOR 14

1335: Graham Thorpe, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
Andrew Strauss has taken to Test cricket really well and he is leading from the front here.

1332: Mervyn King, Governor of Bank of England, Radio Five Live
Strauss has thrashed a short ball down to backward point off Lee and that is his 50. In fact it takes him to 52.

1330: Dan, via email, England
It might have been Audtralia's morning but this England side has built its recent success on the ability to recover from a bad session.

1328: Dal Lagrue, via email, Grenoble, France
I've got so much work to do, and my French colleagues don't understand why I keep shouting at my computer. I've hit the refresh button more times than I can count, and it's shaping up to be a corker! Come on England!

1324: Adie Bell, via email, Australia
No relation thank goodness. He (Ian) needs a few more seasons yet. It's late here and we're set for the night. C'mon England, don't make me go to work with my head down.

1320: Colin, via email, UK
Warne has carried his team-mates in a way no other cricketer in the world could. Once he retires I foresee a bleak future for this Australian team.

1314: Rob, via telephone, Radio Five Live
We were staying at the same hotel as the Australians last weekend and they were a superb bunch. Shane Warne was chatting to everybody and taking a fair bit of stick, but there was no arrogance about them at all. They are a credit to their country.

1310: Phil Tufnell, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
England have to get their heads down in this session and start building some momentum again. Kevin Pietersen is the man to do that. If he gets going, he will score quickly.

1255: Phil Rees, via email, UK
I'm in work getting updates via the web. It's horrible - the two-minute waits are a lifetime. Come on England! (and that's from a Welshman)

1250: NJ, via email, UK
Composure is key! Somebody please tell KP to settle down! He's giving me a heart attack!

1248: Alan, via email, Manchester
Picking Collingwood is now looking like a pretty sensible decision. Ian Bell needs to to be sent away and taught how to play spinners before he gets another chance for England.

1245: Sarah Booker, via email, UK
I'm at my desk and can't bear to watch. We were doing so well and to lose three wickets in swift succession is awful. Come on England - my heart can't stand it!

1242: John, via email, Calgary, Canada
I am watching this game when I should be getting some sleep. But hey, it's the match of the century, sleep can wait!

1240: Erol Fehim, via email, UK
Another clanger from Bell!! Why is he still in the team?

1238: Hamish, via email, Scotland
Give Warne a knighthood for services to spin bowling, never seen anyone like him in my 61 years.

1232: Graeme Fowler, former England opener, TMS
You can't not watch for a ball. It's been a wonderful morning's Test cricket - again. There's something about this Australian side. You can't presume a thing. It set off as very controlled Test cricket and, all of a sudden more boundaries come, then all of a sudden wickets. Of the two sides in the changing room now, the Australian side is the happier.

LUNCH - ENGLAND 115-3, STRAUSS 42, PIETERSEN 10

1230: Jonathan Agnew, BBC Cricket Correspondent, TMS
This is now very much Australia's morning and there will be some nerves jangling in the England dressing room now.

1228: Kim Millhouse, via email, Adelaide
I am working in my video store in Adelaide, South Australia, listening to the Poms getting over confident. Shane is obviously just getting warmed up. Come on Aussies.

1225: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
Warne strikes again! Umpire Billy Bowden had no hesitation. A double blow for England. They have lost three wickets for 21 runs in the last half-hour.

ENGLAND LOSE THIRD WICKET - BELL LBW TO WARNE FOR A DUCK

1222: Ignacio Fernandez (Chilean), via email, Sheffield
Someone from the British Council told me to watch the cricket if I really wanted the English experience...they weren't wrong. I'm studying in Sheffield and Michael Vaughan's local pub is already planning a party.

1218: Tobias Hanbury, via email, Brazil
Getting very homesick listening to the Test match. Not many cricket fans in Rio de Janeiro. Looking at Ipanema beach, the forecast is for rain today, so the beautiful girls in skimpy bikinis may stay home, and play for a draw...

1215: Imran Khan, via email, Pakistan
Everyone is gripped here in Pakistan, and most people are backing England.

ENGLAND LOSE SECOND WICKET - VAUGHAN CAUGHT AT MID-WICKET BY MICHAEL CLARKE OFF WARNE

1213: Mike Gatting, former England captain, Radio Five Live
As Geoffrey Boycott always used to say, you should always add two wickets to the total. England must not lose another wicket before lunch.

1211: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
That is a top-quality shot from Andrew Strauss off McGrath. That is the area you should not bowl to Strauss. It has flown away to the boundary.

1208: Paul Brownridge, via email, England
I just hope England don't get carried away on what is obviously a good track. 275 for 2 at stumps would be a lot better than 400 for 6.

1203: G Balls, via email, England
After the debacle last night from a poor England side, it's fantastic to see a team coming out as if they mean business!

1158: Jonny Saunders, Radio Five Live
That was a beautiful drive by Vaughan. That is the shot of the day so far.

1155: John White, via email, England
Warne has already shown that it is he, not McGrath, who is the key to this match.

1149: Angus Fraser, former England bowler, TMS
An excellent start for England. Yes, they've lost their first wicket but Michael Vaughan would have said this morning he would happily walk out to bat with 83 on the board.

1148: Jim Maxwell, Australian commentator, TMS
Hayden swooped like Mark Taylor and Bobby Simpson of old to take a magnificent catch.

ENGLAND LOSE FIRST WICKET - TRESCOTHICK CAUGHT AT SLIP BY HAYDEN OFF WARNE

1134: Rod Marsh, former Australia wicket-keeper, TMS
It's been an undisciplined display by the Australians, which really has been the story of their bowling throughout the series. In the first morning of a Test match, I don't care how you're bowling, you don't have fielders out on the boundary. I don't think Ricky Ponting's got any plans in place at the moment. If I was an Australian right now - which I am - I'd be about to slit my throat.

1131: Graham Thorpe, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
That is is a fantastic start by Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss against Shane Warne. You don't want him to settle into a groove. The good thing he has come on so early there is no rough for him to bowl into yet. It is a true deck.

1128: Simon Jones, via email, England
I've got tickets for the last day and am praying for the rain that's supposed to be coming. With my name being Simon Jones too I can't wait! Football? What football? C'mon England!!!

1125: David Pallas, via email, Kent
If England weren't doing well in the cricket the British press would have nothing else to do but embark on a Graham Taylor-style "turnip head" campaign against a certain Swede. I bet Sven more than anyone is praying for an England win!

1122: Mike Gatting, former England captain, Radio Five Live
Ricky Ponting must be thinking what he can do next. England have blunted his best bowler, there is no real swing and I think Shane Warne will be on before much longer.

1119: B Murphy, via email, Wales
Five days in front of the TV with a fridge full of lager. Can't beat it.

1115: Jonathan Agnew, Test Match Special
Apparently yesterday Al Jazeera were here filming in the nets - that's how much cricket has taken off.

1112: Jade Cross, via email, England
I'm at school watching the match on a smuggled TV. I just hope this Test's as good as the last one so it's worth it when I get caught!

1110: Graham Thorpe, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
It is a good bowling change by Ricky Ponting to bring on Shaun Tait. He got Marcus Trescothick out in the last Test with a big in-swinger.

1108: James Webb, via email, England
I'm Director of Music at Wimbledon High School for Girls. We just sang the hymn Jerusalem very loudly indeed at our hymn practice. With any luck the girls sang loud enough that someone heard it at the Oval!

1104: Graham Thorpe, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
That was a fantastic shot by Andrew Strauss. There are signs that the batsmen are getting used to the pace of the pitch.

1102: Graeme Fowler, former England opener, Test Match Special
Brett Lee has bowled some brilliant balls but you can tell from the way the England batsmen are playing they are not looking to get four or five an over. They're looking to get in and occupy the crease for a long time.

1100: Denise, via email, England Having dismissed cricket all my life as the most boring game on earth, I am now completely hooked and my sons are bored to death with me going on about the Ashes. You can do it England!

1055: Arlo White, Radio Five Live at The Oval
Brett Lee is straining every sinew every time he runs into bowl, and is already up to 90mph. I am standing on the boundary in line behind Adam Gilchrist and he is bowling at such express pace it is impossible to see the ball until it bangs into Gilchrist's gloves.

1051: Terry Alderman, former Australia cricketer, Radio Five Live, in the Oval bar
England should be one down already! What was Billy Bowden thinking of? Trescothick was absolutely plumb! There was no way that was going over the top or anywhere else!

1046: Lady_Ava, via TMS messageboards
Could someone please tell this whole country that Jerusalem is NOT the anthem for England. Land of Hope and Glory is our anthem so we should be singing that.

1043: Geoff Lawson, former Australia cricketer, Radio Five Live
It was a good lbw appeal by Brett Lee at Trescothick, but I think it was just slipping down the leg side.

1040: Alex G, via text from The Oval
I'm safely in my seat, there's blue sky and sunshine, I'm ready for my first beer and runs, runs, runs!

1037: Phil Tufnell, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
The ball is swinging a bit for Brett Lee but Marcus Trescothick will feel a lot better for that first four.

1030: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
Did you know Marcus Trescothick averages 85 in Tests at The Oval?

1025: Geoff Lawson, former Australia cricketer, Radio Five Live
I didn't know Jerusalem was in Great Britain.

1021: Lt Colonel Robin Matthews from the Light Dragoons in Iraq, via TMS
I'm afraid it's going pretty badly from our perspective in the Ashes series between British and Australian army sides. We're 4-0 down with one to play. If the first match goes the way of the last four we may have to burn some equipment.

1017: Grant, via email from New Zealand
The wife's in bed with morning sickness and wants the first part of "24" (season four) recorded. Will have to watch the score on the internet for the first hour. (I'm not under the thumb.... honest)

1012: Graham Thorpe, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
There will be some nerves in that England dressing room. You have to be able to calm yourself down, get into your shell and focus on the job at hand.

1007: Alex G, via text
There is an unbelievable buzz around the ground, once you finally make it out of the tube station! The atmosphere is more carnival than cricket!

1002: England captain Michael Vaughan
It is a good surface and we have played some excellent cricket in the last three Tests batting first. We will try to get a good total and put Australia under pressure.

ENGLAND WON THE TOSS AND WILL BAT FIRST

1000: St Michael, via email
My mate and I have a pair of tickets for all five days. Yesterday he enquired with a ticket agency based in London who said that they had a client who would pay 15,000 for the lot! We were tempted for half a second and then decided that the tickets were in fact priceless! I'm on my way to the ground now. C'mon England!!

0956: Anna Thompson, BBC Sport at The Oval
It is a warm sunny day and the players are going through a final warm-up and practice session. England have been concentrating on slip catching and catching high balls (especially Kevin Pietersen!). Australia have been jogging round the pitch and throwing a rugby ball about.

0948: Gary Smith, England, via email
Thank you to the England and Australia teams. This series has finally got my fiancee into cricket, and her mum too. I'm going to be taking regular trips to watch cricket next summer with them. Finally the nagging about "boring cricket" is over!!!

0936: Pat Murphy, Radio Five Live
The toss is not necessarily all-important. Two years ago South Africa scored 484 on the first day and England were booed off the pitch. They won that match by nine wickets on the Monday.

0932: Anna Thompson, BBC Sport at The Oval
There are already thousands of people milling around outside. Lots of touts greet you as you emerge from the Tube with figures in excess of 250 a ticket being mentioned. A brass band is warming up the fans with a rendition of Jerusalem.

0929: OutForADuck, TMS messageboards
Any thoughts on Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting already making their excuses? Ponting practically begging not to be fired was greatly amusing.

0922: Brian, England, via email
I'm not so sure about Collingwood - this makes it absolutely critical that we win the toss. The best pitch of the series and our weakest bowling attack? Prove me wrong lads, pleeeeease...

0917: Mark Needham, from Singapore, via email
Cost of return flights back from Singapore - 400
Costs of ticket for the game - 55
Costs of a beer can in the ground - 2
Cost of bragging rights against the Aussies for the next two years - priceless...

0911: Will Russell, England
So, Paul Collingwood it is in then. Seems like the sensible choice as now he and Vaughan can fill in the extra overs. Plus he may continue the brilliant run-out theme established in the last Test!

PAUL COLLINGWOOD PICKED TO REPLACE SIMON JONES

0905: Ted Campbell, Australia, via email
For years I have been hoping England would get better to make the competition more exciting to watch. Now I'm sitting at the computer shaking with nerves.

0901: Paddy, Surrey, via email
I'm here at home and have just finished a cooked breakfast. I'm getting the beers (4 x 500ml cans - that's the official allowance) from the fridge and checking my tickets for the last time. I've got a ten-minute walk to Woking station, I'll take a train to Waterloo and then a couple of stops back to Vauxhall. Welcome to heaven.

0857: Paul, Barmy Army at The Oval
I'm as confident about today as I was 10 days ago when we left Trent Bridge having outplayed the Australians for the third straight Test. We're currently handing out song sheets for everyone to sing Jerusalem at 1025.

0849: Gavin, UK, via email
Here I am at work, sat at my desk. The PC is on, the internet up and running and the BBC sports page loaded. This is going to be a tense morning and we need another flyer. Let's hope we win another toss. Come on Michael Vaughan, come on England.

0840: Rob Wind, Denmark, via email
It seems to me I am the only one here cheering the Aussies on. I am confident they can pull the last Test out of the hat. England have been splendid so far and Australia have not been up to their usual best and it will be interesting to see how England will handle Glenn McGrath, who hopefully will be on fire once again. No excuses about injuries - Australia have been there and lost. Now England are there... and who knows? Come on Australia.

0823: Andy Croft, England, via email
The England football team should look at the cricket side and take note of what playing for your country should mean. The pride and passion has been out of this world. Come on England!

0819: Jonathan Agnew, BBC Sport cricket correspondent
This match and this series will come down to the bowling - the bowling will be vital. But we still don't know who's going to play for England instead of Simon Jones. It's been England's only injury of the series - they've actually been very fortunate. I believe they'll go for Paul Collingwood. It's the sensible choice although some people say the boring choice.

0812: Gideon Glass, England, via email
I am 15 years old and we are trying to persuade our teachers to keep the TVs on during break so we can watch the cricket. We are also having a victory party if we win for all the Aussie teachers! Come On England.

0805: Graham Thorpe, former England cricketer, Radio Five Live
Australia's strengths are simple - McGrath is consistent, Brett Lee is fantastic and on fire, and Shane Warne is, well, Shane Warne. Their main weakness is that they haven't been able to put England's batsmen under pressure. England have got 400 on the board three times.

0759: Pieter Bruinsma, Hungar, via email
Myself and my six-year-old have been playing cricket in the garden every day in anticipation. He is probably the only Hungarian kid with a grasp of the lbw law! He can do a wonderful impersonation of my cheer when Steve Harmison took that last wicket. Go for it my boys.

0742: Rob Bonnet, BBC Sport
This is the biggest cricketing English match for a generation. The big question for the England followers is whether the selectors have gone for Paul Collingwood or James Anderson as the replacement for Simon Jones.

0735: Grant Thompson, Taiwan
Come on England. All of the Aussie expats here in Taiwan have had their heads down for the last few weeks. Let's keep it that way.

0730: Carol Kirwood, BBC Weather at the Oval
The greatest chance of rain at the Test this week is on the Friday but it should stay dry today as well as Saturday and Sunday.

0725: David Graveney, England chairman of selectors, Radio Five Live
In the last three Tests - twice through our own doing and once through Ricky Ponting's - England have batted first and put on more than 400. Michael Vaughan always says England have to win the first day, the first session, the first hour. Today will be no different. It's all about getting on top early and getting the momentum going.

0720: Steve Brendish, Melbourne, via email
As a proud Pom living here in Australia, I have finally been able to hold my head up high with England's recent displays in the Ashes. My local pub will be packed with Aussies tonight but a few of us will be roaring England on to a 3-1 win. Come on England - finish the bad losers off; they don't like it up 'em!

0718: Darren Lehmann, Radio Five Live
James Anderson has to come in for Simon Jones. Four quicks have worked well for England so picking Paul Collingwood looks negative. It would say to me they're not confident in their own batting ability.

0712: Richie Benaud, Radio Five Live
As for England's selection debate, I'd have to go for Paul Collingwood (to replace Simon Jones). That would be my preference from an unbiased perspective as he adds further batting expertise and is a wonderful fielder.

0701: James Pearce, BBC Sport news correspondent
The England players are preparing for the biggest match of their lives. Whatever happens this is probably the biggest audience their sport has ever had. As for the Australians, this is a team under pressure. There have been some memorable sporting contests between these two sides since the Ashes began in 1882. But few have been as eagerly awaited.

0651: Rajan, India, via email
When we reached office today the first thing we started discussing was today's Test. Almost all cricket fans in India are looking forward to this match and equally divided supporting England and Australia. Personally I feel it's time for the Aussies to taste their own medicine by losing the Ashes. Come on England - you can do it. It's only matter of five days hard work and lifetime glory.

0642: LuckyBloke, England, via email
I got a phonecall that usually only happens to other people - a friend with a spare ticket for tomorrow. Everybody in my office is now fed up with me going on about it - like I care!


The 2005 Ashes series has been an epic contest.

And over the course of the final match, we'll be doing our best to convey all the colour and banter from The Oval by running a daily log.

You can read updates from our reporters and Test Match Special commentators, but we want you to join in too.

  • Contribute to the general match debate with fellow fans by posting on our TMS message board and we'll include the best posts here.

  • Use the e-mail form on the right if you have specific information which would be of interest to other readers. Otherwise, please use our message board.

  • If you are lucky enough to be at the match, text any observations or things you have spotted at the ground to 81111, putting Ashes at the start of your message, and your name at the end.
    (Texts will be charged at operators standard tariff)




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