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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 November 2006, 07:36 GMT
First Test, day four as it happened
FIRST TEST, DAY FOUR (CLOSE):
Australia 602-9 dec & 202-1 dec v England 157 & 293-5

Spinner Shane Warne took four wickets to put Australia on course for victory in the Brisbane Test despite Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen restroing pride for England.

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

By Ben Dirs

Close of play

1730: Warne has the last six balls of the day. Jones tucks him round the corner for one. Oh, this could have been great - we could have been two down going into the fifth day if it wasn't for some bonkers shots. KP sweeps for two before getting a top edging a sweep for one. Risky, but that's him done for today. That's stumps folks and I can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm genuinely choked - we could have saved this, we really could have saved this. Fried egg, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, sausage - that's my breakfast down the Big Plate Cafe. And if there's any bean juice on my plate I'm going to be very angry. See you lot tomorrow. Cheerio. 293-5

1726: KP yanks Clark round the corner for a single. Just dig in until stumps KP. England still pulling despite all that's happened, Jones dragging one round the corner for two. The Barmy Army are going berserk out there and they've kicked off a conga. 289-5

1722: One from Warne's over and there's only eight minutes to the close. 287-5

"For the first time in the match I can recommend the highlights if you're an England supporter. About two hours after the close you can see them on the BBC website." Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1718: Clark has Pietersen trying to pull - not very intelligent given the nature of the field, which is packed on the leg-side. Jones paddles one round the corner for a single. KP misses another attempted pull - he's not learning...Pietersen paddles one along the ground for one to retain the strike. 286-5

1714: Still Warne, the bane of our lives. There he was getting some fearful tap and he comes back and bites England's behinds. He finds Jones' edge, but it runs along the ground. Jones makes room and cuts Warne away for three to move to nine. Warne passes the gallon mark in terms of runs conceded. KP turns the final ball of the over to square-leg for one. 283-5

1709: Clark appeals for lbw after Jones ducks into a bouncer - it hit him on the back. One leg-bye. Clark invites Pietersen to pull and KP lowers his hands. 278-5

1706: Pietersen happy to pad up to Warne, a maiden. 278-5

1702: Well, that's knocked the wind out of my sails. KP - what on earth are you doing? He top-edges Lee but the ball drops into open space. Jones gets a bumper and ducks underneath it. Lee serves up a wide half-volley and Jones opens his account with a guide through extra-cover for four. He clips another couple to mid-wicket. Ho-hum... 278-5

Wicket
1654: WICKET England 271-5 (Flintoff 16)
What an absolute shocker from Freddie, attempting to pull Warne and skewing a dolly to Langer at mid-on. Mindless Freddie, mindless. The sad part is, Strauss, Collingwood and Flintoff have gifted this match to the Aussies. They could quite easily have been 271-2 at stumps tonight. New batsman Jones is beaten by a turning delivery.

Geoffrey Boycott
"The primary thing is not Kevin's hundred, but saving the game and playing for close of play..."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1651: Pietersen unfurls an expansive drive and Hayden fields well at short cover. Silly shot by KP, attempting to pull Lee and finding only thin air. Play for stumps man, play for stumps. He gets two with a flick into the on-side. 271-4

1647: This thunderstorm they're talking about, it might save you Aussies from one hell of a beating tomorrow. KP misses a full-bunger and Gilchrist misses a stumping chance, an extremely difficult one mind. KP slaps Warney into the off-side for a single. One from the over, Warney now has 3-99. 269-4

1643: Pietersen gets a single into the on-side. Lee tries Freddie out with some chin music and the big man pulls it straight into the ground for four. 268-4

1638: Here's one in the eye for the Aussies - England's Justin Rose has just won the Australian Masters, your flagship golf tourney! Not sure Warne will give a monkey's about that, he probably doesn't even know what golf is. One from his over. 263-4

1634: Lee to replace McGrath from the Stanley Street End. Pigeon hasn't looked much cop this innings. Fetch that Lee Boy, Flintoff creams him through the covers for four. Lee serves up a jaffer that has Freddie taking evasive action. Freddie then plays a rickety old drive, the ball streaking off the outside edge and over the slips for four. Not clever big guy... 262-4

1629: Warne to come round the wicket to Pietersen now. KP content to kick everything away and he's got to be careful he doesn't get bowled behind his legs. Maiden over and the madness is over for the moment. 254-4

Jonathan Agnew
"Not sure I'd have ever seen Geoffrey Boycott stumped on 96..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1624: Cracking shot from Pietersen, arching his back and angling McGrath away for four. KP gives Pigeon the charge again and flicks one away down the leg-side. McGrath hates that and has a little chunter as the batsman jogs past. 254-4

1619: Flintoff next in and Warne serves him up a wide first ball and Freddie gets off a pair with a beautifully-timed cover-drive for four. 249-4

Batsman is out
1616: WICKET England 244-4 (Collingwood 96)
A rush of blood to the head folks and Collingwood is out, charging Warne and getting himself stumped. Silly sausage.

1615: KP brings up the 150 partnership with a clip into the leg-side. McGrath hits a crack and Pietersen almost fends it into the hands of one of two forward short-legs, but it drops just short. KP then plays a savage off-drive on the up, but it's saved well in the covers. 242-3

1609: KP plays that dragging sweep shot from outside off-stump and gets one for it. Colly then plays a heart-stopping chip shot just short of the fielder at deep mid-wicket. KP is making Warne his puppy at the moment, slamming a big size 12 down the pitch and slog-sweeping for another four. 239-3

From the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology web site:
Forecast for Brisbane, Monday 27 November: A possible afternoon or evening thunderstorm. Light to moderate E to NE winds.

1602: Apparently, McGrath is suffering a bit with a heel injury, but he's still on. Pietersen gives McGrath the charge and clips it into the on-side, where Langer fields. This KP is a liberty taker. Michael Buchanan is on, son of the Aussie coach - who said nepotism was dead? He's sporting a full handlebar moustache, looks like they've dragged him out of the Blue Oyster at kicking out time. Drinks. 230-3

1557: Colly clips Warne to mid-on for one. Warne drops short and KP, on one knee, tugs him away for a couple before pushing him to long-on for one. Collingwood 91, Pietersen 65. 230-3

1554: Pigeon back on, replacing Clark. KP gets a yorker first up and manages to dig it out. Pietersen drives McGrath straight and the bowler fields well. McGrath over-pitches and KP laces him through the covers for four and follows up with a dreamy, brutal, arrogant (take your pick) drive through mid-off for another boundary. Tremendous stuff KP, keep on chugging son. 225-3

1549: KP sweeps Warney away for a single. England still 400-odd away from the winning target - all about survival though ladies and gents. Warne, really out of sorts here, sends down another full-bunger and Colly wallops him over mid-wicket for four to move to 90. 217-3

1545: Clark still spearing balls into Colly's neck and Colly still playing them well. And when Clark pitches one up, Colly slams him straight down the pitch for four. Top-class cricket this. 212-3

"Collingwood seems to have emerged against all the odds as a genuine Test cricketer."
Tim Lane on TMS

Batsman scores 50
1542: KP brings up his seventh Test fifty with a cut for four off Warne. Warney isn't joining in the applause. Pietersen sweeps for a single. More words between Warne and KP - umpire Bucknor might have to confiscate their handbags in a minute. Warne plonks one in short and Collingwood brings up the England 200 with a dismissive slap through the covers. Warne then gets one to spin prodigiously and the ball beats Gilchrist and runs away for four byes. It's quite possible that Warne is the angriest man in Queensland at the moment. 207-3

1536: Warne adopts the teapot pose from his post at first slip - he isn't a happy camper. KP drags Clark away for a couple. Calm down son, you've got my heart all a flutter. I should probably see a quack about that. Collingwood plays a doozy of a shot to bring up the 100 partnership, a text-book cover-drive which you could take a snap of, paste on your ceiling and gaze at all night. 194-3

1532: Risky shot from KP, looking to hit Warne over long-on and the ball skewing away for four to the extra-cover boundary. KP follows up with a sweep from outside off-stump for four before the Aussies are convinced they've got him feathering a cut behind. Umpire Bucknor decides there was nothing on it, and rightly so looking at the replays. He did well to stand up to some fairly rowdy appeals from the Aussie fielders. This is a battle royale between Warne and KP, such great pals off the pitch of course. 186-3

1528: Clark almost has Collingwood nibbling at a lifter, but the Durham man gets nothing on it. Colly fends off another rising delivery and gets a couple for it. Clark has clearly decided Colly's susceptible to short stuff but the England man is playing it well at the moment. 178-3

1524: Warne's got the old face on, he's not happy. He'll be even less happy after that, Collingwood sauntering down the pitch and larruping him over mid-wicket for a maximum. Collingwood turns Warney away for a single and it's seven from the over. 176-3

1519: The Barmy Army are in full cry all of a sudden, perhaps for the first time in the match. KP nibbles at a widish one from Clark - rein it in big man, rein it in. Maiden over and Warney will grab the ball once again. 169-3

1516: Warne, looking lairy now, beats Pietersen again. This is a spicy little contest. KP paddles Warney round the corner and has a bit of a word as he runs through for a single. Don't think he was asking him out for din-dins tonight. This is more like it chaps, bit of a slugging match. 169-3

1514: Collingwood leans back and carves Clark away for four. 168-3

1508: Pietersen using his feet to Warne, flicking him away for a couple before dispatching a full-bunger to the deep mid-wicket boundary. Pietersen, feet like Wayne Sleep, dances down again and whips a half-bunger away for another four. Warne then beats Pietersen outside off-stump before Warne gets the raging hump, collecting a return shot and almost hitting KP on the back. KP's not having that and gives Warne a volley. Warne should have been collared there - that was, as the kids say, bang out of line...Good viewing though... 164-3

1505: Play has restarted after tea and Clark's first ball really spits off the top, but it's wide of Collingwood's off-stump. Crackerjack stroke from Collingwood who gets four through mid-off. 154-3

1443: Some chat doing the rounds that a thunderstorm is due in Brisbane some time tomorrow. If that happened, I'd laugh and laugh and laugh...

1440: Warne takes the last over before tea. Pietersen plays the shot of the day, tip-toeing down the pitch and clipping the ball to the deep mid-wicket fence. England's 150 comes up. That's tea folks - is that the first session England can claim to have shared at least? 150-3

1436: Hussey, a part-time medium pacer, is into the attack, and Pietersen plays a dreamy cover-drive for four off his first delivery. Pietersen takes a risky single to Clarke at point, but Collingwood just scampers home. 146-3

1433: England's fifty partnership comes up courtesy of a McGrath no-ball. Tim Lane on TMS was just saying that when Australia won the World Cup in 1987, ABC didn't even bother sending a commentary team because their team were expected to do so badly. That story alone tells you how the Aussies transformed themselves in such a short space of time. One from the over. 141-3

1429: Lee is looking a lot more threatening from round the wicket and almost has Collingwood playing on, the ball just dribbling past his off-stump. Lee shoots one across Pietersen's bows but KP is reining himself in...every time I say that he gives it some serious rat-a-tat-tat, swatting Lee away to the deep mid-wicket boundary. 140-3

Batsman scores 50
1420: McGrath drops short and Collingwood swings him away for four to bring up his fifty. Very nearly a six that, and that's some going on this ground, it's like Wimbledon Common out there. Colly's fifty came from 86 balls. Good knock that after a hairy old start, really showed some dog, as the Aussies might say. 132-3

1418: Lee goes round the wicket to Pietersen and is yanked away for one. KP moves to 12. Colly gets a rip-snorter from Lee and plays it well, straight into the ground. Collingwood is nearly out next ball, Lee angling one across him and the batsman almost getting a nibble with a tired-looking waft. Colly moves to 49 with a nudge of his hips. KP misses out on a short one - he hasn't really timed anything thus far. 127-3

1412: That got the old jacksie squeaking a little, McGrath trapping Collingwood in his crease but umpire Bucknor deciding it would have gone over the top. KP ambles down the wicket to McGrath to play a forward defensive. McGrath, precious as always, takes umbrage to that. That's why I like KP, he gets right up people's noses. Two from the over. 123-3

1408: Pietersen gutsing this out, although he's happy to pounce on anything lose, slapping a slower delivery from Lee to the extra-cover fence. KP 11, Colly 47. 121-3

Geoffrey Boycott
"When you play against McGrath you've got to 'out-patience' him. Wait until he gets a bit tired, a bit frustrated and starts giving you some balls to hit."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1403: Oh my giddy aunt, what happened to that one? McGrath hits a crack, or should I say canyon, and the ball takes off and runs away for four down the leg-side. Pietersen, unperturbed, tucks McGrath away for one. 117-3

1400: Another false shot from Collingwood, getting a thick inside edge off Lee. His knock, though gritty, has been tortuous to watch. Lee bumps him and Collingwood does well to sway out of the line. Very much a curate's egg of an innings so far, Collingwood forcing Lee through the covers for four. I'll say one thing for Colly, he's a slugger. 112-3

1355: McGrath raps Collingwood on the thigh before Colly very nearly plays on with a Chinese cut. The Durham man does get a single for a tuck into the leg-side. 105-3

1351: The fun fascists out in force today, patrolling the boundary rope with their sharp instruments of beach ball torture. A handful have already been slaughtered today, the swines. One from the over, Pietersen becalmed. Look who's back - Pigeon on for Warney... 104-3

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

"Working nights as a doctor in intensive care, everything's just gone quiet so able to sit by the computer and follow the 'progress'. Just at this moment I'm finding England's demise more depressing even than the rapid dismantling of the NHS and the impending unemployment of thousands of junior doctors next year. And that's saying something."
Rod from London in the TMS inbox

1343: News reaches me that Justin Rose, on whose shoulders the hopes of England rest this weekend after the two-headed cricket/rugby debacle, drops a shot at the Australian Masters. Come on son, win that and Australian sporting pride might never recover. Pietersen is almost caught at short leg and he misses out on a short one from Warne - trying to hit that too hard. Drinks. 103-3

1339: Pietersen was another who almost perished pulling in the first innings. Under his helmet, it looks a little like he has a moustache. Surely not KP? Please tell me that's heavy stubble you daft a'porth? Pietersen plays a wafty drive and the ball flies to the third man boundary. Still feeling his way, but England pass 100. 103-3

1335: Pietersen so often looks like Mr Magoo in the early part of his innings. He lunges at Warne and loses his footing before playing a funny little attempted scoop. He does open his account with a nurdle into the on-side. 98-3

1327: Will England make it to stumps? It would be nice to see KP and Flintoff teeing off for a session or so. Collingwood rocks back and upper-cuts Lee for six. Nice catch by one of the groundstaff! Someone get onto the British embassy and sort that man an English passport. 97-3

Batsman is out
1323: WICKET England 91-3 (Cook 43)
Cook gone, Warne going round the wicket and Hussey snaffling the catch at short leg. Nuggety innings from Cook, and it was always going to be tough for the left-hander with the ball spinning out of the foot marks. Pietersen in next - how will the big man play? Defending's not really his thing.

1322: Lee back on and Cook has a nibble. Cooks works Lee to square-leg to move to 42. Lee is definitely not in top gear at the moment, and another ball of 85mph is worked round the corner for one by Cook. 91-2

1318: Warne drops one in short and Colly carves him away for four, all run. That's the 50 partnership - the first for England in this series. Collingwood looks to have settled in and pushes Warne into the off-side for one. Cook nearly cleaned up again, leaving a ripper alone and the ball missing his off-stump by a whisker. Can't keep doing that Cooky... 87-2

1313: Collingwood gets an edge and the ball runs away for four. I dread to think what sort of grief the Durham man will be getting from the close fielders out there, he's having a pretty charmed life. Rib-tickler from Clark which Collingwood fends off. Will have to be careful, they've got a short leg in. Colly forces one through the covers for three. England knuckling down at least. Just give us a session chaps, just one session... 82-2

1309: Cheeky shot from Cook, opening the face and angling the ball away for a couple. Cook handling Warney OK at the moment. 75-2

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

"I'm finishing a painting I've been working on, intermittently, for three and a half years. It's a portrait of two friends in my kitchen, which has changed twice since I started. I've painted dozens of pieces since I've started this one, but sitting up listening to the cricket seems conducive to finishing it."
Tony Margerrison in the TMS inbox

1305: Two to Collingwood, a force through the covers off Clark. Bit of chin music from Clark, but not particularly deafening, Collingwood just swaying out of the line. False shot from Cook, top-edging a pull and the ball just looping over Gilchrist. 73-2

"I'm staying up overnight in Oxford writing a chapter of my thesis on 'Radiation transfer in cool stars' and failing, because I can't stop biting my nails..."
Rachel Koncewicz in the TMS inbox

1300: Cook unfurls an expansive drive and Clarke makes a sharp stop in the covers. Thick outside edge from Cook and he gets two down to third man. A dribbler, no danger. A crowd catch last up, the ball ballooning off his pad to first slip. 69-2

1257: Cook makes himself big and drags Clark away for one. Good technique once more on the hook. Collingwood's hell continues as Clark locates his edge, but the ball falls just a smidge in front of Warne at first slip. Collingwood plays perhaps his first convincing stroke off Clark, a force into the covers for two and follows up with a clip through mid-on for four. Keep on plugging Colly son - he's a BBC man you know... 67-2

1253: Cook rocks back and cuts Warne away for four. Warne serves up a rare full-bunger and Collingwood flips him over mid-wicket for four. Nine from that over. 60-2

1249: Collingwood wafts at a wide one - only he knows why he is playing at that. I'd say the Aussie close fielders will be serving up some fruity sledges to the Durham man. Collingwood beaten again outside off - this is buttock-clenching to watch. Alleluhah! He clips Clark off his pads for four, all run, to bring up England's 50. 51-2

1245: Cook dabs the first ball from Warne after lunch for two and repeats the shot for another couple. Cook is then soooo close to being cleaned up, the ball gripping, fizzing back and flicking the batsman's pad - umpire Bucknor says it was high. Don't go leaving those Cooky... 47-2

"Sorry the tea is rubbish. Unbelievably, here in Arlington, Texas I can find Tetley and PG Tips in some of the local stores, so I'm happy. No kettle though, so a saucepan must suffice."
Peter Williams in the TMS inbox

"Don't disregard McGrath and Warne being back in England in 2009..."
Former Somerset skipper and cricket writer Peter Roebuck on TMS

"I'm having a delicious mug of tea and a Fry's Turkish Delight. Yummy. Can't work out which is worse: English cricket or English rugby. Now there's a conundrum!"
David in the TMS inbox

1232: Mike Atherton on the box having a close look at the cracks. Hope he's got his climbing gear with him, he could fall down one of those. Not sure England can blame any of their wickets on them though - Strauss' was a shocker and Bell just missed a slider.

"I am at the Gabba with a smuggled glass of Penfolds Grange: you need fine wine if you're forced to watch batting like this."
David Wolfson on TMS

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

"Working nights on a North Sea oil platform our weather is like the England batting, dark and dismal and the food's as bad. We'd settle for your Pringles right now..."
Joe in theTMS inbox

1201: Cook gets a single and it's Collingwood to face Clark again and he is giving me kittens. He gets squared-up a couple of times and then plays a dreadful airy drive at the last ball before lunch. A cup of very, very bad tea in a polystyrene cup for me and maybe a mini tube of Pringles - what you lot having? 43-2

Geoffrey Boycott
"I had doubts about Collingwood's ability to play Test cricket. On the sub-continent he played well and proved me wrong, but on quicker wickets against high quality seam bowling, I'm still not convinced."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1157: Collingwood tucks Warne away for a single. Cook is then almost cleaned up by Warne, the Essex man shaping to cut and the ball keeping low out of the footmarks. One from the over. I couldn't really give a monkey's any more - I hate cricket, I've never liked it and I never will... 43-2

1153: Clark has Collingwood fencing at one, but the Durham man just yanks his bat out of the way. Collingwood is then squared up by a snorter - not much footwork there. Not being mean, but Colly is looking like a number eight at the moment. He prods at one and is almost caught by Martyn at short cover before being struck on the pad. He gets off strike with a single. That wasn't pleasant viewing. 42-2

1149: Collingwood nurdles Warne away for one. Warne goes straight through Cook like a dose of salts. 41-2

"Bring them home now! Bunch of prima donnas who believed their own hype. They are probably missing loads of photoshoots while they are out there."
Rich texts from Wellingborough

1145: Cook shows Strauss how to play the pull shot, right over the top of it and sending the ball to the deep mid-wicket boundary. 40-2

Out for a duck
1138: WICKET England 36-2 (Bell 0)
Bell out for a duck, Warne trapping him in front with a slider, or whatever he calls it these days. Bell got a decent stride in, but umpire Bucknor was well within his rights to give it out. Collingwood next man in and England are now like a boxer in the final few rounds of a championship fight, knees sagging under a hail of blows.

1137: Cook attempts to pull one from Clark that keeps low. Did it hit a crack? Cook's looking for the pull all the time against Clark - not sure that's particularly intelligent...maiden over. 36-1

1132: McGrath back on the field. Apparently he's been having treatment on a heel injury. Cook leans back and cuts Warne away for two before flicking a full-bunger through mid-wicket for four. Cook then calls Bell through for a single and Bell has to slide in. Not clever, not clever at all. 36-1

Wicket
1126: WICKET England 29-1 (Strauss 11)
Strauss gone - pulling Clark down the sub's throat at fine-leg. What an absolute wally brain, he's gifted his wicket once again.

Jonathan Agnew
"Warne, a mass of fair hair. Not sure how much of it is his, but I think some of it still is..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1122: Warne into the attack now and he'll get a good few overs in before lunch. Don't think Cook batted against Warne in England's first dig. He copes OK and it's a maiden. 29-0

"Mark Ramprakash didn't just dance a Waltz - it was a Viennese Waltz, and it was absolutely gorgeous, both the dance and Mark 'The Hips' Ramprakash!"
SJ in the TMS inbox

1118: Lee bounces Cook and the Essex opener turns it away for four. Cook then tickles one down to fine-leg for one. Strauss almost has a nibble at one, but pulls his bat out of the way at the last moment. McGrath's off at the moment, along with Punter Ponting. 29-0

1113: Clark is on for McGrath and there's just a single from the over, Strauss supplying it. 24-0

"Against all the odds, I feel that England can possibly make the Aussies sweat. A bit more application and determination could see to that, who knows..."
An optimistic AD via text

1107: Cook is beaten by Lee. Lee comes over all macho and threatens to throw down Cook's stumps. Cook, with his economical technique, on-drives for one and Strauss fends one away for a single. Ground filling up now - there were plenty of empty seats this morning. Cook wafts at one and misses. Good nudging and nurdling by the England openers, keeping the scroreboard ticking over. 23-0

"I think England will keep a few wickets in hand until teatime tomorrow and then think about going for the win..."
Vic Marks on TMS

1102: The Aussie think McGrath has got Cook, but umpire Bucknor decides the ball flicked the pad rather than the bat. Good decision - both umps have had a decent match so far. Cook cuts for two and then nurdles into the on-side for one. Strauss is beaten outside the off-stump. God, McGrath is annoying. 18-0

1057: Lee strays on to Cook's pads and the Essex man dabs him away for one. Strauss plays an identical shot for four, the first boundary of the day. 14-0

1053: McGrath gets one past Cook's bat. McGrath then strays on to Cook's pads and England get a leg-bye. 7-0

Jonathan Agnew
"The great Richard Hadlee, the greatest line and length bowler I ever saw, I saw him bowl in the nets a few years ago and he could still swing it and nip it back at will..." Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1047: England only need 3.7 runs per over to win this. This is going to be an absolute ruddy doddle. Any of you feeling a bit down out there, I think it's about time we put this in context. Yes, it may be miserable, but let me tell you a sad story. My brother was Level 42's biggest fan - he had all the albums, from the eponymous Level 42 right through to Running in the Family - and once made the trek up to BBC TV Centre to see lead singer and 'best slap bassist in the world' Mark King, who had just appeared on Wogan. King duly obliged for a snapshot and my brother went away chuffed. But the look on his face when he pulled his photos from the HappySnaps wallet is making me well up now: the shot hadn't come out properly. His face - it was crushing. That's tragedy my friends. Cook gets off the mark with a push for three into the covers. 6-0

"Oh, and a sort of goose flies past the ground! Or maybe it's a cormorant? A rather dirty grey one..."
Henry Blofeld on TMS

1043: McGrath next into the attack - he's looking for his fourth 10-wicket haul in Tests. Gilchrist scampers down the pitch to have a chat with Pigeon. Not sure what he can possibly be saying: "Bowl it in exactly the same place you've bowled every ball you've ever bowled...". "OK, thanks Gilly...". Maiden. 3-0

1039: Lee's first ball is wide outside Strauss' off-stump but the England opener is then beaten by one that keeps low. The one consolation is that England aren't going to lose by the biggest margin ever. Let's all have a disco, let's all have a disco...Strauss opens England's account with a cover-drive for three. 3-0

1033: Umpires are out, no sign of the players yet. Here they come, the Aussies led out by Gilchrist rather than Ponting. Ponting will be on his front in the dressing room getting a bit of a rub up.

Geoffrey Boycott
"I was told by a good friend, an Englishman, that Vaughany is ready to go, he's pretty all right..."
Former Australia fast bowler Jeff Thomson on TMS

Batsman scores 100
1023: Langer dabs Harmison down into the off-side, brings up his hundred and Australia declare on 202-1. England need a very gettable 648 to win. Come on England, we can still do this!!! Sorry...

1020: Langer carves Hoggard away for a single to move within one of his ton. Ponting has a wild swish at a wide one - maybe hit one of those cracks - and misses. Hoggard then beats Ponting twice in two balls, one jagging back, the next cutting away. Ponting pokes Hoggard over Collingwood at backward point for four to bring up Australia's 200 before being beaten again. Four times past the bat in the over. This Ponting's a load of old rubbish... 201-1

1018: The physio is on for Ponting, who's feeling the base of his back. Don't get this - why not just go off and let someone else give it some tap? Harmison finds the edge of Langer's bat and the ball balloons out to point. Punter gets up on tip-toes and pulls Harmison away for a single. Three from the over. 196-1

1013: Ponting sinks to his knees after slapping Hoggard away for a single, he looks uncomfortable. What a choker...Langer latches on to a short one from Hoggard and despite a valiant stop from Flintoff, runs four. Ponting's injury can't be that bad. Langer gets a top-edge down to third man. The suspicion is that Langer will bring up his ton and the Aussies will get out of there - he needs five more. 193-1

"What I'd like to see here is Harmison really tearing in, saying 'I'm going to really show you what I'm made of'."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1007: Harmison on. Please, Harmy, get us a couple. His first is shortish but Langer mis-times a pull. His second is on leg and Langer tickles it away for a single. Harmison has a decent lbw shout against Ponting turned down by umpire Bucknor - touch high. Punter then drives down the ground for three, and the Aussie skipper has done himself a mischief - looks like he might have snagged something. 186-1

1003: Hoggard has a packed off-side and his first six deliveries are wide and swinging away - Ponting not having a nibble and it's a maiden. 181-1

0958: Players are out - Harmison was out earlier than the rest having a practice bowl in the middle. Hoggard is having first go with the ball though.

0953: There is a conspiracy theory doing the rounds at the Gabba that Ponting may bat on until tea in an attempt to get the biggest Test win ever. Bit of risk in that, but probably not that much...

"From our point of view, Ponting not making us follow-on means we've got less time to bat and it's not completely impossible to bat for two days on this wicket, it's still good. The ball hasn't misbehaved massively off the cracks. The first 20 overs are the key, it should get easier and easier after that."
England opener Andrew Strauss

0935: Evening/morning everyone. I've just spent a sad old evening in front of Strictly Come Dancing pondering the frailties of English cricket.

Mark Ramprakash, lest we forget, was perhaps the most gifted English bat of his generation and scored more than 2,000 runs in the County Championship last season at over 100.

And there he was mincing about in sequins for the edification of Brucie and a load of old girls when he should have been in Brisbane. Of course, his international career was over years ago, but the list of talented Englishmen with fragile minds is almost endless: Hick, Thorpe, Caddick, Chris Lewis, Malcolm, and now we have Tresco and Harmison. What's going on here? Answers in an email or text please...

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

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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