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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 November 2006, 06:48 GMT
First Test, day three as it happened
FIRST TEST, DAY THREE (STUMPS):
Australia 602-9 dec & 181-1 v England 157 all out

Australia turned the screw in the first Ashes Test by building a lead of 626 after Glenn McGrath took 6-50 to dismiss England for 157 in Brisbane.

THE DAY'S ACTION (all times local to Brisbane - GMT+10)

By Ben Dirs

AUSTRALIA SECOND INNINGS

CLOSE

Batsman scores 50
1729: Another fifty from Punter. No smiles, just a business-like raise of the bat. Pietersen bowling the final over of the day and that's that. That was horrible. When I finally get out of this place I'll stagger into the sunlight like someone who's just witnessed a particularly grisly horror film. If anyone's still up for this drivel tomorrow, I'll see you then. 181-1

1726: One from Harmison's over, but not a sniff of a wicket. 178-1

1721: Ponting plays an improvised paddle off Pietersen for a couple. I should probably thank Ponting to be honest, as I might now have to work a fifth night and that's a bit more overtime. Six from the over, nine minutes of this nonsense left. 177-1

1717: Langer dispatches another shocker from Harmison for four. Like taking candy from a baby for Langer off his pads. Ponting pulls Harmison for four to bring up the 100 partnership. I've got a little lump in my throat and I feel like crying now. Steve Harmison - you've almost made me cry. I hope you feel bad...171-1

1712: Pietersen into the attack. He got a bit of spin first innings. Ponting tickles a couple round the corner. 160-1

"I believe that regardless of the number of warm-up games a touring team plays in Australia, they will never win. It was Len Hutton who said 50 years ago that to beat Australia in Australia, the opponent has to be at least 25% better than the Australians.

Email the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on TMS@bbc.co.uk

"The Australians are not cricketers but human robots, manufactured by the sports academy, under the watchful eyes of the engineer (coach Buchanan) and supported by the latest technology."
Saumil in the TMS inbox

1708: Flintoff having a chat with umpire Bowden, about what I don't know. Harmison on from the Stanley Street End. Four overthrows from Collingwood, the ball hitting the stumps and racing away to the fence. Langer was well in as well. England are in tatters, absolute tatters. A Langer leg-bye takes the lead past 600. 151-1

1704: Ponting takes a quick single and Langer just beats a shie by Anderson. Langer gets one for a slashing drive into the covers. 146-1

"People are pouring out of the exits and the Gabba is almost half full now. This is a sad day for Test cricket."
Henry Blofeld on TMS

1659: Hoggard is plugging away still, but not causing either batsman one iota of trouble. One from the over. 138-1

1655: Ponting plays and misses at Anderson, who, to be honest, hasn't looked Test class in this match. Then again, only a couple of England players have. Flintoff looks a bit shell-shocked out there. Anderson on to Ponting's legs again, and the Aussie skip swings him away for a couple. Just seen Martyn padded up in the stand. Needless to say, he doesn't look nervous. 137-1

"It's extraordinary really that so many of England's bowlers don't understand the obvious..." Henry Blofeld on TMS

1651: Oh my giddy aunt, I'm bored. Never in the field of sport have so many been bored by so few. Apart from maybe this year's World Snooker final between Graeme Dott and Peter Ebdon. I did the live commentary on that as well. I'd rather have slammed my hand in a car door. The Hogmeister General into the attack. Langer square-drives him for four. 132-1

"If modern-day teams want to be lambs to the slaughter in Australia and not prepare properly, let them. The patrons are the ones who miss out. They haven't been seeing competition: year in, year out, touring teams are getting steam-rollered..." Tim Lane on TMS

1646: Never have I seen two batsman look so untroubled in the middle. Although Anderson gets one to lift and beat Langer. 127-1

1642: I've just heard Nasser Hussain claiming that Ponting is planning to declare at lunch tomorrow and go for the highest ever Test victory. High risk stuff, but can you imagine if it came off? I'd never be able to show my face in Shepherds Bush again. Gilo swept for four by Langer. 123-1

1638: Anderson slips on to Ponting's pads and is tucked away for two. Is anyone going to be that bloke who, when you're playing football at school, is still running around shouting "we can still win this!" when you're 10-0 down? Anderson drops short and Punter yanks him away for two. Not clever, Jimmy, not clever...114-1

1632: Giles misfields and gifts Punter a single. 108-1

"This is meaningless cricket and there are thousands of empty seats. That's a shame, because people have paid good money to see it. After all the expectation, this is rather a pity."
Tim Lane on TMS

1630: Anderson serves up a long-hop and Ponting pulls him away for a single. Just one from the over. 107-1

Geoffrey Boycott
"Giles is bowling more loopy than I've ever seen him, possibly trying to get more out of the pitch. I'm not sure that's the way to do it, finger spinners don't win matches in Australia..." Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

0625: Langer brings up the Australia 100 with a sweep for four off Giles. Langer reaches his second fifty in the match and his 31st in all Tests with a carve off Giles for three. 106-1

0621: Harmison's radar is still all over the shop and Langer and Ponting are knocking him about as if they're playing French cricket on the beach. 98-1

0617: This is toothless from England. Gilo, funnily enough, isn't imparting much spin. Ponting looks like he's playing with a barn door. 95-1

Jonathan Agnew
"This was the highest margin in Test cricket after which a follow-on was not enforced. Odd passage of play this and the fact that people are leaving in their droves rather backs that up."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

0614: Ponting brings up 9,000 Test runs. He's played 106 matches and has an average of more than 59. The worst part about this is that I'll have to listen to my dad droning on about Compton and May and Laker and how they will be turning in their graves ad nauseam. Seven from Harmison's over. Let's be honest here, he's not looking much better. 92-1

1609: Harmison is off, replaced by Ed Joyce. Gilo, King of all Spain, is into the attack. Just seen Mahmood and Plunkett sharing a joke in the crowd. Glad some Englishmen find this funny. 85-1

1600: Punter Ponting has passed 1,000 runs in the calendar year and is averaging more than 100. Phenomenal stuff. He is also now the highest ever Test scorer at the Gabba and needs just two runs for 9,000 Test runs. Maiden from Harmison and players take drinks. Rival website Cricinfo are going with 'England capitulate at the Gabbatoir'. How very vulgar...but I like it...83-1

1557: Ponting dispatches Hoggard through mid-on for four before cracking a half-bunger straight down the ground. Nick Berry and 'Every Loser Wins' - now that's a sad song. I can just see him now, walking through the Albert Square park, singing through the mist in his West Ham scarf.83-1

1553: Half-bunger from Harmison and Langer fairly piles into it - four. Anyone got any sad stories? For those non-Brits among you, we used to have a bloke on the radio called Simon Bates who had a section where he'd tell a tragic story to the strains of some melancholic music. That's going round in my head now. I saw an old woman selling papers at London Bridge station with teabags over her eyes yesterday morning. Is that sad? Maybe it's funny. Nice shot from Punter, pulling Harmison away for a couple.75-1

1549: Flintoff sends down a maiden, but Ponting wasn't threatened in any way. 69-1

Wicket
1541: WICKET Australia 67-1 (Hayden)
A run out does for Hayden, Anderson fizzing in a pin-point throw and Jones whipping off the bails. Bully boy Hayden was out by a whisker. Meanwhile, Harmison gets a bit of magic spray on that wrist. Ponting is next in and gets off the mark with a quick single.

1536: Maiden over from Flintoff and it's all a bit odd this, the game just meandering along for the moment. The Mexican Wave is rippling through the Gabba crowd. Apparently the fun Nazis have banned it - not sure how you can ban the Mexican wave though. Meanwhile, Harmison has hurt his wrist attempting to field a typically robust Hayden swipe. Seems OK though and carries on.

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1534: Two down leg from Harmison before Langer is sliced in half by a jaffer - not sure how that didn't castle him. Unfortunately, three of the balls were dross down the leg-side. 67-0

1530: Just one from Flintoff's over, a tickle into the on-side by Langer. 66-0

1526: Two straight ones from Harmison and Hayden flicks him to the on-side. Decent enough over from Harmison, still six from it. 65-0

1520: I have fallen into a deep funk. Not since Joanna Driscoll rebuffed my advances at a St Helens junior disco in 1989 have I felt this low. Langer shows Strauss how to play the pull shot, getting right on top of a Flintoff delivery and getting two for it. Whatever. Harmison's into the attack - put some Leonard Cohen on the stereo someone... 59-0

Jonathan Agnew
"I have heard a little story that Harmison didn't think he bowled particularly badly in the first innings."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1515: Langer throws the bat at a Hoggard delivery and the ball flies over the slips. Hayden gets two quick runs to square-leg. 54-0

1510: Flintoff into the attack now and Langer swings him away for four. Well left by Hayden, who almost sees his off-bail removed by one that nips back. 45-0

"Patience wearing thin at my Australian colleague as the sarcasm builds. I think I may have to remind him he was actually born in England soon. It is like watching a car crash. You ought to turn away and look elsewhere; but you just can't. I continue to watch the horror through trellis-fingers."
Terry Stone in the TMS inbox

1502: Play has resumed after tea and Anderson has first go with the ball. Hayden tucks him away for a couple but is then dropped by Flintoff at slip. Went straight threw his hands above his head - not sure he got anything on it. Not getting any better this. 40-0

Tea interval

1442: Hayden gives Hoggard some treatment, larruping a wide one down to the third man fence. Players go off for tea, I'm off for some Temazepam. 33-0

"I'm sitting here in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, suffering -20C temperatures. The only worse place I can think of being is at the Gabba. I think the Aussies have done exactly the right thing - they will pummel the England bowlers and have them for breakfast the rest of the series."
Peter Cain in the TMS inbox

1439: Hayden tonks Anderson through extra-cover for four. When writing about Hayden, I'm always tempted to use comic book phrases. Hayden slaps Anderson to the mid-wicket boundary for another four - kapow! - and climbs into a savage drive - thwack! - and the ball races to the cover fence. Thirteen from the over. 27-0

1434: Hayden swings a Hoggard long-hop round the corner but Gilo makes a fine stop running round from square-leg. Umpire Bowden then turns down a lively lbw appeal, and rightly so, as Langer got a bit of wood on it. 14-0

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"According to the Aussie commentators on ABC, the team get paid a percentage of the gate receipts so by prolonging the game for a day or two they get more money in their pockets. This seems to be the cynical reason, with the added advantage of giving the bowlers a bit of a rest.

"They weren't too surprised by the decision (it was a subject of great debate in the run up to the end of our innings), and mostly don't seem to think Ponting will declare again until tomorrow."
Caroline Foster from Holland in the TMS inbox

1430: Hayden off the mark with a typically brutish square drive for four before pushing Anderson down the ground for two. The enormous Hayden then scampers a single, like a barge doing 0-60mph in six seconds. Langer opens the face and gets four down to third man. 13-0

1426: Langer attempts a violent cut off Hoggard and misses. Otherwise watchful from Langer and the early onslaught I expected hasn't transpired. Another maiden over and all a bit surreal. 2-0

"The England camp will say 'we wanted to give the swing bowlers a go', but I'm not having that. I just don't think they trusted Harmison with a slippery new ball."
Vic Marks on TMS

1418: No Harmison with the new ball. England are lumbering on like a clown's car, with square wheels and bits falling off at every juncture. It's Anderson instead and he almost clips Hayden's off-bail with one that nips back. 2-0

1417: Hoggard raps Langer on the pads with one that curves in but it's given not out. Two from the first over. 2-0

1412: Well I never, the Aussies are having another bat. Never in a million years will I understand the thinking behind this. The only possible explanation is that they are going to go absolutely berserk and try to inflict as much psychological damage on the England bowlers, in particular Harmison, as possible.

ENGLAND FIRST INNINGS

1409: Some confusion here as to whether England are following-on or not - I'm getting mixed messages. I'll let you know when I find out.

"As McGrath walked off the field, he stopped and then started to hobble, impersonating an 80-year-old with a limp and a bad back. The crowd lapped it up..."
Oliver Brett, BBC Sport in Brisbane

"I can't find a reason for not enforcing the follow-on, unless some of your bowlers are struggling with injury. If you want to bury England, you enforce the follow-on. Or maybe they're terrified of facing Giles in the fourth innings?"
Vic Marks on TMS

Wicket
1403: WICKET England 157 all out (Giles 24)
Giles is out and McGrath finishes with figures of 6-50. Gilo makes room, has a punt and Hayden takes a steepler in the covers. Desperate by England, and more than a little embarrassing.

"Anderson reminds me a little bit of a young David Gower...Tall, thin, elegant, left-handed..."
Vic Marks on TMS

1400: Giles makes room and drives Clark into the covers for a single.

Out for a duck
1353: WICKET England 154-9 (Harmison 0)
Harmison isn't covering himself in glory in this match and is out for a duck, opening the face of the bat and tickling the ball straight to Gilchrist. That's McGrath's five-fer, his 29th in Tests. Not sure I'd fancy Harmy in the trenches with me on the basis of his performance in this match. Anderson turns McGrath round the corner for a couple.

Out for a duck
1347: WICKET England 153-8 (Hoggard 0)
Hoggard out, caught brilliantly one-handed by Gilchrist off Clark. That's three for Clark now. There are rumours doing the rounds that the Aussies might not enforce the follow-on. Don't quite understand that one. Harmison next in. Wicket maiden.

1343: Giles flays McGrath to backward point for four. He's got free rein to throw the bat now as 150 comes up for England. Players take drinks. 153-7

Wicket
1334: WICKET England 149-7 (Bell 50)
Clark does for Bell, the England batsman chasing one and getting himself caught by Ponting at second slip. Good knock by Bell, at least he showed some spine. Hoggard in next. Even 150 looks light years away at the moment.

1332: Giles swipes at a McGrath bumper and gets a sketchy four down to fine-leg. McGrath is spewing after that and sends some fruity language Gilo's way. Gilo is not having that though, and sends a bit of banter back Pigeon's way. Handbags. 149-6

1327: Giles has a dart at a wide one from Lee and the ball flies to the third man boundary. Giles then throws his arms at one and gets four rather more authentic runs to backward point. The England spinner is puffing his chest out now and gets three more with a well-timed cover-drive. All hail the King of Spain! Eleven from the over. 145-6

1323: Gilo's had enough of this ducking under everything and swings at one from McGrath - one leg-bye. Biggest cheer of the day as Lee beats a security man, wielding a sharp instrument no doubt, to a giant beach ball and tosses it back into the crowd. Take that you fun fascists!134-6

1319: Lee is peppering Giles with short stuff, but it's all too high and not making the Englishman play. Giles gets off the mark with a push into the covers. Bell swats wildly at one wide outside off and misses. Give yourself a talking to Ian...132-6

Geoffrey Boycott
"I'd give Giles some real hokey-pokey under the heart and into the ribs. He looked really poor against the short stuff in the last Ashes series. Colin Croft had the best bouncer in my experience - he didn't like anyone when he was bowling, even his mum... "
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

Batsman scores 50
1315: Bell brings up a nuggety fifty with a tuck round the corner. A composed knock under extreme pressure. Needs another 150 of those...McGrath tests Gilo with some more chin music and Giles sways, rather jerkily, out of the line. 128-6

1310: Bell is beaten by Lee, who gets one to move away off the pitch. Bell moves to within one of his fifty with a tickle round the corner. More short stuff for Gilo. 127-6

"Who else is glad Giles is batting? I would rather Monty bat, at least we would only be chasing 400..."
Jasper Neame in the TMS inbox

Batsman is out
0101: WICKET England 126-6 (Jones 19)
Jones' resistance is ended by McGrath, who has the Kent man stuck in his crease. Umpire Bowden takes an age to make his decision before raising a crooked finger. Gilo in next and he gets a bumper from McGrath first ball which he ducks under. England nearly lose Giles for a goose egg next ball, Ponting shelling a diving catch at second slip. Wicket maiden.

1300: Bell plays a glorious drive and Lee stoops like the fine athlete he is and threatens the batsman's stumps. Good cricket. Lee sends through a heat-seeker that almost takes Gilchrist's bonce off. No runs from the over. 126-5

1255: Yet another maiden over from McGrath, the England batsmen are leaving his teasers well alone. 126-5

"Sitting in Thailand, I thought playing poker online held the most pain but switching to your commentary between hands has surpassed it..."
Michael H from Phuket in the TMS inbox

1251: Lee into the attack and his first ball is a wide, to roars from the England fans, who are clutching on to every small morsel of encouragement. Bell gets four from a rather rickety old drive and moves to 48. 126-5

Jonathan Agnew
"The Gabba is a rather a boring ground to commentate from. There's a crane or two but otherwise it's complete symmetry all round the ground."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1243: Bell rather reaches for a wide one from McGrath first ball after lunch but gets a couple for it. Can't help thinking it's rather a risky shot though. Bell squeezes a single to extra-cover - not quite to the pitch. 121-5

1241: Play is about to restart at the Gabba. Strains of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot on the PA system. Very charitable from our Aussie hosts, but somehow I'd rather they were being nasty to us.

"I'm an Englishman working at a Power station in the Bush in Western Australia. I'm surrounded by hairy Aussies who are laughing at me. I'm a Pom...get me out of here!"
Daniel Giles in the TMS inbox

"Next time we ship some convicts to a penal colony, can we make it the Arctic where it doesn't take spin?"
Anon in the TMS inbox

"Interesting to hear Tony Greig lament the loss of (former England bowling coach) Troy Cooley. Do England miss him more than Michael Vaughan's captaincy?"
Allan texts from Milton Keynes

Email the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on TMS@bbc.co.uk

"Sitting in Vietnam, watching the drama of England's shambolic performance unfold on-line, it's strangely comforting to know that our expat rag-bag of cricketing part-timers, has-beens and wannabes here in Saigon can no longer be branded the worst performers with bat and ball ever to represent their country."
Tim Knight in the TMS inbox

Lunch interval

1201: Jones wins a little skirmish last ball before lunch. Warne spends more than a minute resetting his field and the sight screen, sends one down from round the wicket and Jones pulls him away for four. Bell and Jones have played well in very stressful circumstances. Bit more work to do though chaps. 118-5

1159: McGrath sends down another maiden and England have six more balls from Warne to survive before lunch. 114-5

1155: Bell and Jones happy just to milk Warne right now in this sticky little period before lunch. Three from the over. 114-5

Geoffrey Boycott
"I'm not sure Bell is totally reading Warne, but he looks comfortable and a lot better than last time against Australia."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1153: Just one from McGrath's over, a tickle round the corner by Bell. 111-5

1148: Another safely-negotiated Warne over and the legendary leggie isn't getting as much turn - at the moment - as we might have expected. Ten minutes to lunch and it's head-down time for the England batsmen. McGrath is back on. Like some horror film monster you think you've killed off, he just keeps coming back. Anyone got a knitting needle?110-5

1146: Belly scampers a single to move to 37. Another tight over from Clark, but the pitch appears to be flattening out now after those early dramas. 109-5

1139: Umpire Bowden is decked by a Jones sweep! How marvellous...I mean what a choker...A sweetly-timed shot by the England batsman, which strikes Bowden on the hip, sending sunnies and walkie-talkie flying. Shame for Jones, that was going for four. Bowden will have secretly loved that, the old drama tart. 108-5

1136: Four runs from Clark's over and Bell and Jones are looking OK at the moment. Now I've thrown that bomb, I'm off to take cover. 106-5

"Send an SOS to Ramprakash: 'Abandon your sequins, your country needs you!'".
Nicholas texts from Guildford

1133: Jones skips down the pitch and plays a good-looking cover-drive for one. Warne raps Bell, attempting a sweep, on the pad and goes up for a big lbw, but umpire Bucknor decides it wouldn't have gone on to hit the stumps. 103-5

"My mom, Marion, who is registered partially sighted and a pensioner is at the Brisbane's Gabba. I'm sure if you ask she'll be able to help England out, she even brought a white England cricket shirt to wear to the match."
Pam Bayliss of Leeds in the TMS inbox

1127: Jones brings up England's 100 with a flick off his pads for two. Only 303 runs needed to make the follow-on. 102-5

1122: Bell uses his feet to Warne and whips him down the ground for four. England nearly a hundred up now...little victories...99-5

1120: Clark gets one to nip back and the ball almost squeezes through Jones' rickety defences. Clark over-pitches and Jones times him straight down the ground for four. 95-5

Email the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on TMS@bbc.co.uk

"I have been having some root canal work done and the temporary cap has broken off. I am lying in bed with a throbbing tooth listening to our ever- decreasing likelihood of a respectable score, wondering which is more painful..."
Andy of Blagdon in the TMS inbox

1115: Warne almost does for Bell, the Warwickshire man edging a sharp-turning ball and the ball running past slip. Warne is then convinced he's got Bell caught behind, but umpire Bucknor disagrees. Bell plays a lovely stroke, using his feet and caressing the ball to the deep mid-wicket boundary. McGrath it was taking an unnecessary risk on the boundary rope, tumbling over like a man half his age. Trying to prove a point? I think so. 91-5

1112: Clark replaces McGrath, pretty much like for like. A typically metronomic first over from Clark, a maiden. 85-5

"Ashley Giles said it was quiet in the England dressing room before play started on the first day. I reckon it will be even quieter now. Not only are England getting beaten, they're getting humiliated..."
Vic Marks on TMS

1105: Jones and Bell have some respite at last - some fat bloke called Warne is into the attack. Apologies, I've been reduced to name-calling. Bell plays an ugly stroke first up and the ball nearly finds a way through. Bell is beaten by a fizzer next up but paddles one round the corner to get off the strike. Jones gets a single down to fine leg. 85-5

1100: Just one from McGrath's over and the England bats get some respite as the giant drinks vehicle comes crashing over the boundary rope. 83-5

1055: Jones squeezes a couple into the on-side to get off the mark and survives the over. 82-5

Out for a duck
1050: WICKET England 79-5 (Flintoff 0)
Flintoff out for a big fat duck, caught behind by Gilchrist off Lee. Poor shot by the England skipper, who gets neither back nor forward. England could struggle to see day four now.

Batsman is out
1046: WICKET England 78-4 (Pietersen 16)
Disaster for England as McGrath traps Pietersen in front playing no shot. Fine bowling by Pigeon, who got the ball to jag back a foot or so. Flintoff almost nibbles one behind first up. Two hundred looks a good score for England now.

1045: Pietersen squirts a square drive away for a couple and is then beaten by one that keeps low. Three from the over, lots of oohs and aahs from the crowd though. 78-3

"Australia may be the better team, but if you give Pietersen a life he goes on to punish you. Remember Warne last year!" Bill from Ashford in the TMS inbox

Email the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on TMS@bbc.co.uk

1039: A maiden over from McGrath. Bell solidly in behind everything. 75-3

Geoffrey Boycott
"If you stay at the crease and don't give your wicket away you're bound to get runs. I've never known anyone score runs in the pavilion..." Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1034: Lee strays on to Pietersen's pads and the ball is turned away for a couple. Pietersen then plays one of the most ridiculous shots I have ever seen, attempting a hook which balloons to mid-on where Clark, running towards the fence, makes an absolute hash of it. Not sure he even got a finger to it. Very un-Australian. Calm down KP. Bell digs out a yorker for a single and Pietersen gets one run into the off-side. Seven from the over and England hobble on. 75-3

1030: Pietersen plays his first expansive stroke of the day, a doozy of a drive through the covers for three. Into double figures. England hanging in there. 68-3

"What we need to have a hope of even drawing this Test is for Bell and KP to get to tea and just battle to save it."
Matt texts from Bridgwater

1025: Bell very nearly plays on, attempting to pull his bat out of the way and the ball ricocheting onto his pads. Bell gets the first four of the morning, gliding Lee to the third man boundary. Bell then plays a silly shot, trying to drive on the up. The Aussies will feel they should have rooted one out in these first few overs. 65-3

Jeff Thomson
"They used to say Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust, if Lillee don't get ya, Thomson must. That won't happen now, unless you find us in the bar..."
Former Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson on TMS

1020: Pietersen plays an ugly shot, driving and getting a thick inside edge to mid-wicket. McGrath beats Pietersen - nervy times for England. 60-3

1017: Lee digs in the first bouncer of the day and Bell plays it well, almost limboing underneath it. A bit of eyeballing from the blonde fast bowler, and Bell is happy to return in kind. 60-3

1013: Pietersen is beaten outside the off-stump - it hit one of those huge canyons running through the pitch. Umpire Bowden signals two leg-byes after McGrath gets one to duck back a mile off another crack. That must have jagged back three feet. Good luck batters...59-3

1008: Lee finds Bell's edge, but the ball falls well short of second slip. Didn't really need to play at that one. Maiden over. 57-3

1003: Players are out, McGrath has first go to Pietersen, and the batsman leaves it outside off-stump. Pietersen turns one away for a single. Bell tucks McGrath away to mid-wicket and gets three easy runs. I've just seen a picture of Mike Atherton sticking his fingers in a crack on the pitch - you could hide a jumbo jet in it. Four from the over. 57-3

"To stand a chance we need two partnerships of at least 180 on a pitch with cracks as wide as your hand. 1-0 Aussies."
Graeme texts from Southampton

"We're hoping the pitch will deteriorate. Pietersen and Bell are class players but we've got plans for them and hopefully we'll bowl well and get then cheaply. There's still pace and bounce in this pitch, it quickened up yesterday, so there'll definitely be some short stuff. Warney says he loves bowling here because he gets spin and extra bounce. He'll bowl a fair few overs."
Australia's Mike Hussey in confident mood

0955: Nerves pretty much gone now as I fully expect the Aussies to be halfway through our second innings by stumps. My God, I'm turning into my nan, who was so pessimistic she was genuinely shocked to find herself still alive every morning.

Email the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on TMS@bbc.co.uk

0941: Morning/evening ladies and gentlemen. If there are any leaders of rogue states reading this who are currently holding English nationals, I suggest you stick them in a very small room and make them watch day three of the first Ashes Test for the next seven hours. It's sure to be painful.

ENGLAND PLAYER PROFILES

 

AUSTRALIA PLAYER PROFILES

 


SEE ALSO
First Test, day two as it happened
24 Nov 06 |  The Ashes
First Test, day one as it happened
23 Nov 06 |  The Ashes


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