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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 17:55 UK

Ashes first Test day two as it happened

First Ashes Test, Cardiff, day two:
England v Australia

By Ben Dirs


e-mail (with 'For Ben Dirs' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)


1830: Right, that's me for the night. Many thanks for your contributions, sorry we can't use all of them. Fingers crossed England can rip out a couple early doors tomorrow, but in the meantime let's congratulate those Aussies, they really showed us what they're all about today.

England's Graeme Swann: "We've had the wind taken out of our sails a bit to be honest. The ball didn't swing and there wasn't much spin, it's done absolutely nothing and it's pretty frustrating."

"Can we please stop all of this negativity. Seventy-one overs ago we were all buoyant that England were on course for a 1-0 lead after a stupendous wag from our longest tail for many years. After some decent batting from a quality Aussie pair it's all doom and gloom. Come on the nation, let's stay positive and support our boys. Freddie will be pumped in the morning, Jimmy with a bit of reverse swing, and then our spin twins will rip through the tail leaving England with a lead of 80. Now that's what were talking about!"
Merry Mike in the TMS inbox

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"Just because Anderson can't bowl out one of the best batsman of all time on a flat pitch with zero swing, he is suddenly a terrible bowler? I've got some news for you: on slow surfaces with no movement, all bowlers struggle. Yesterday the ball swung for Australia all day yet England still managed to reach 430-odd. If the ball fails to swing for the rest of this match I can see English batsmen making hay as well as Australians. Surfaces with no pace and bounce are killing Test cricket."
alex on 606

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"David (1806) reckons we might be in for a 'Long Hot Summer'? Well, two quick wickets and it might be a case of 'Ever Changing Moods'."
Sinners in the TMS inbox

1816: Come on chaps, chin up, it can't all be like 2005 - Ponting and Katich ground it out today, but let's not give up hope yet... anybody? Anybody? I feel like I've been punched in the stomach by Brian Clough.

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"The only times England have ever really challenged Australia is when they have something special, usually in the bowling: body line, reverse swing etc, or the Botham factor. We are just not as good as them at cricket and probably never will be."
hiswr on 606

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"Time for Plan B - how's about a field set for some Leg Theory Bowling? At least it would liven things up a bit."
Ciro, via text on 81111

"In 2005 we had impact players - Freddie, Pietersen, Harmison, S Jones, Tresco etc - who could make a difference in a few overs. Two wickets, a vicious bouncer or three, several boundaries, to change the momentum of a game. Freddie and Pietersen cannot win this series on their own with this generally characterless group of players. (Swann being an honourable exception)."
Anthony Day, in the TMS inbox

He's reached 100
1808: It may not have been riveting, but that partnership of 189 has to be admired. Ponting and Katich did what the England batsmen couldn't do, namely get their heads down, not play any dopey shots, and stick around. Some pretty ordinary bowling from England on a lifeless pitch, only Flintoff really looked at all threatening, and him only for a short while.

He's reached 100
1806 - 249-1 Ponting looking very nervy out there. A few prods outside off, and he very nearly runs out Katich, but there it is, Ponting's 38th Test match hundred courtesy of a push into the covers and a Bopara mis-field. His team-mates crowd the balcony, and Punter, who hasn't had a ton in a good while, is in raptures. One more ball and that's stumps...

"England's total looks about 150 runs under par. Could be a long hot summer, as Paul Weller might have said during his Style Council years."
David in the TMS inbox

1801 - 245-1 Ponting plays a Pietersen-esque sweep from outside off - signs of edginess two short of his ton? - but moves to 99 with an easy push into the covers. Katich blocks out the rest of the over, Punter on strike with one needed for his ton.

He's reached 100
1759 - 243-1 Short from Flintoff and Katich pulls him away for one. Flintoff serves up a full-bunger - an attempted slower ball? - and Ponting creams it through the covers for four to move to 97. Too straight and over-pitched from Flintoff and Ponting turns him into the leg-side for one more. Ton up for Katich - short from Flintoff and Katich swings him away to third-man for a single. That's his eighth Test century, and you have to tip your hat to him - he's brought tears to the eyes of England fans, which means he's done his job perfectly.

1754 - 236-1 Ponting nicks a cheap single with a push into the covers, three for Katich with a sturdy clip to deep mid-wicket. Good shot that. Too straight from Anderson, who seems to be labouring under the rather outdated notion that Punter has trouble with deliveries on middle and leg, and the Aussie captain steers him to wide mid-on for three. One more for Ponting, before Katich plays a rather sketchy drive over mid-off. Katich on 98...

1749 - 228-1 Freddie serves up a short one and Katich yanks it round the corner for one to move to 92. Ponting on 90... make that 91, Punter nurdling to mid-on. Peter Siddle padded up as night-watchman, but something tells me he won't be needed...

1745 - 225-1 Katich works off his pads for a couple before picking up one more with a punch off the back foot. Ponting with that trademark pull shot of his, one more to the total.

"Is Strauss asleep? The field placements don't change, we aren't trying anything. At least Vaughan and Pietersen tried things."
rhiannan05 on 606

1742 - 221-1 Seven overs to go, and it's time for another burst of Flintoff. I fancy that as a name for a band, A Burst Of Flintoff... chance of a run out, Ponting being sent back by Katich and accidentally blocking Bopara's throw at the stumps. Freddie grins that naughty little boy grin of his, as a little chap dressed as DI Gower crowdsurfs over a gaggle of Fanatics... that's a line I never thought I'd write... Flintoff bang on the money, but Ponting right in behind it.

"Horrible start to the series. We look weak at the batting crease, devoid of ideas with the ball, and pitiful in the field. Whitewashed by the worst Australian team in 20 years, anybody?"
torontored on 606

1735 - 221-1 Anderson too straight and Ponting turns him away for one. Katich clips Anderson through square-leg for single, and Ponting adds one more to the tally... time for some Colly dibbly-dobblies?

"A couple of years ago my wife and I were lucky enough to visit Australia. We ended up in Sydney - I have no idea what my wife did there but I went along to two days of New South Wales v Queensland at SCG and saw Katich hit 306 against a Queensland attack that included Noffke and Johnson. He hit the best part of 200 in one session and I was told it was the highest score on that ground since Bradman. He can certainly bat..."
Matthew Butler in the TMS inbox

BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce on Twitter: "England fans taking one of two approaches to this ominous stand: depressed silence, or well-refreshed wailing."

1732 - 218-1 Ponting looking calmer than Neil Armstrong out there. Anyone seen the footage of Armstrong landing Eagle on the moon? He sounds like he's reversing his Clio into a parking space at Tescos. RUN OUT? Risky one from Ponting, Pietersen throwing on the turn in the covers and hitting, but the replays show he was actually well in. A couple of cries of "catch it" from Prior as Katich twice turns Panesar to leg, but there wasn't a sniff for Cook at short leg.

1728 - 215-1 There's the 150 partnership courtesy of a steer through point for two, and Ponting helps a wild leg-side delivery from Anderson to the long-leg boundary. Strauss collars Anderson for a chat, and it works, Anderson bamboozling Katich with one that jags away.

"Proper Test match batting, this. If Pietersen had done a bit more of that, this would have 'draw' written all over it. As it is, the Aussies are heading for a lead and a sniff of victory if they can work up some menace with the ball."
Jan Dekker in the TMS inbox

1724 - 208-1 Monty ploughing furrow outside Katich's off-stump, Katich either smothering or shouldering arms...

1720 - 208-1 Jimmy Anderson back on to bowl - can I request that everyone holds hands across the country and repeats the words: "Reverse swing"? It could be the only hope we have. Bit of nip back into the right-handed Ponting, but no great dramas...

BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce on Twitter: "Can't move for Ashes-winning captains. Michael Vaughan in one stand, Allan Border in another. Respect."

"It's a little known fact that an 18th Century ship's biscuit packs carried the warning: "Not packed in a weevil-free environment." This was to forestall any complaints from those jolly jack tars who were unfortunate enough to suffer from a weevil allergy."
Richard in the TMS inbox

1715 - 208-1 Air from Swann, and that's the first false shot we've seen from Ponting, who has a bit of a mow. But Ponting quickly reverts to type, gliding the Notts tweaker down to third-man for one. Good line from Swann, and Katich, lunging forward, is beaten.

1712 - 203-1 Maiden over from Swann, who's been tighter than Ronaldo's shorts today, but far less threatening. Effortless cover-drive from Ponting off Panesar - three runs, that's Australia's 200, the partnership 141. Katich sweeps for two more, before Katich very nearly chops on again, but the ball ricochets over his stumps. Former gladiators in the Ashes arena were being welcomed into the ICC's Cricket Hall of Fame during the tea break of the first Test. Our man in Cardiff watches the likes of Tom Graveney and Ian Chappell doff their commemorative caps

1705 - 198-1 Four singles from Monty's over... Katich cramped - that ball came out of the footmarks, and the left-hander very nearly drags on. If anyone needs cheering up, have a look at the story on the internet about Mitchell Johnson's mum accusing his girlfriend of stealing her son . "Up until he met Jessica we were very close, but he hasn't spent a night under my roof since he met Jessica," says Mrs Johnson.

"Relax guys, Ponting and Katich are great batsmen and would trouble most sides on this track. The bowlers will come good."
eirebilly on 606

"Re 1101, isn't this why Pietersen was castigated by the press yesterday? The object is not to high score, it's to score as many as you can, and defend your wicket."
Steve, NYC, in the TMS inbox

1700 - 195-1 The crowd are so bored they've started singing the National Anthem, which is about as uplifting as petrol fumes. Katich nicks the strike with a clip off his pads... time for some drinks...

1658 - 194-1 Two for Katich off Panesar with a clip off his pads, before the left-handed Western Australian nurdles past short leg. Ponting reaches and drives for one more - there is turn there, but it's all rather slow-mo.

1655 - 191-1 Swann drifts down leg-side and Katich tucks him away for one. It's like someone's sucked all the oxygen out of my office, the atmosphere is akin to an 18th Century whaling boat drifting aimlessly after a savage storm. Is that a weevil in my Jaffa Cake? Crackerjack stroke from Punter, using his feet and driving wristily to the long-on fence.

1652 - 186-1 Monty back on for his sixth over. He's been tight enough so far, but hardly threatening, and it's more of the same in that over. His first maiden, a hint of turn, keeping Punter honest.

1649 - 186-1 Swann getting a bit of turn here, but this pair are looking immovable at the moment, as if they've taken root in the wicket. Ponting, staring down the pitch at Swann with that steely gaze of his - steelier than Phil Taylor, steelier than George Foreman in his pomp, and almost as steely as a newsagent owner in a shop full of schoolkids - flashes Swann through point for four.

1647 - 181-1 It's all a bit flat out there at the moment, England-wise. Strauss's side are playing with all the intensity of an Iain Duncan Smith speech. Decent line outside off from Flintoff to Ponting, although Punter does pick up three with a back-foot steer. Glorious from Katich, who laces Flintoff through wide mid-off for four.

"Australia may be going well but the England innings had greater mathematical allure, as measured by the relationship between the mean average of runs scored off the bat per batsman (36.09) and the median average (35). This is the closest the median and mean have come since a Test in Lahore in 1962 when there was only a 0.81 difference; had Monty Panesar obliged and been out for minus eight, we would have had the thrill in Cardiff of an absolutely identical mean and median and the Ashes would really have started with a bang."
Paul in Lancs in the TMS inbox

1640 - 174-1 Full-bunger from Swanny and Katich fills his boots, flipping him through mid-wicket for four to move to 71. Piers Morgan up in the stands talking to Michael Vaughan. As if watching his old team-mates being ground into dust by the Aussies wasn't painful enough.

1638 - 170-1 Strains of Delilah drift across the ground as Katich pushes into the covers for a couple, I think they're beginning to lose faith. Katich mis-times a pull shot for one, and Broad is back on at the end of the over. Test Match Special's latest gadget is now live. Their "widget" offers a link to commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra, the latest TMS tweet, a link to TMS photos on Flickr and a link to the TMS website.

1634 - 167-1 Easy boundary for Ponting as Swann over-pitches outside off. News reaches me that Broad has been off for six overs now, and was last seen limping up the steps of the pavilion. Twelfth man Onions is out there instead, and that's not great news for England...

1631 - 163-1 Short from Punter and the Aussie skipper swivels on it and pulls it away for a couple. Good diving stop from Monty down there, and the crowd suddenly come to life. They roar Freddie into bowl, but there's no getting through Katich's defences, it must be like coming into bowl to the Great Wall of China.

1627 - 160-1 Swann drifts down Katich's leg-side and the ball runs away to the boundary for four leg-byes. There's the hundred partnership courtesy of a dab into the off-side for a couple, and this pair could only be more comfortable if they were playing in otter skin flannels.

1623 - 154-1 Ponting crisply flicks Flintoff into the leg-side for one, before Katich works off his pads for a single. No great dramas there from that Flintoff over...

Geoffrey Boycott
"Australia's batting has been far more precise than England's, they don't look at all like they're going to give their wickets away. Some of England's batting delighted me yesterday don't get me wrong, but if I was an Aussie I'd be very pleased with this, they look especially solid. Good, good batting."
Sir Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

"Adam Smith deserves his place on the back of the new £20 note, Freddie should have been put on the front!"
Danny Carter in the TMS inbox

1618 - 152-1 Freddie's off after one over - surely they'll bring him back at the other end? - and it's Swann on again. Dirty great lbw appeal against Katich, but Umpire Doctrove reckons, presumably, that was going over. Looked pretty plumb to me, and everyone else in the office... "sack him," says Sir Geoffrey on TMS...

That's 50
1615 - 152-1 Ponting's right hand comes off the handle as he steers Broad through point for a couple. That's a little streaky from Ponting, squirting a drive through the gully region for four, and that's his fifty, his 47th in Tests. You barely noticed this one, and that's a sign of a class player. Our man in Cardiff paid the price for popping out of the press box during the tea interval: "The loudest version of Nessum Dorma ever heard has just sounded around the ground. Windows rattle, champagne flutes explode," says Tom Fordyce.

1610 - 146-1 A big, drunken roar goes up as Freddie sheds his sweater. Katich picks up a few with an uppish drive, before Flintoff gets Punter hopping with a bumper. The Aussie skipper nicks the strike with a nurdle to leg. Back to an earlier conversation, I think it's an absolute outrage that Flintoff wasn't put on the new £20 note. I mean, Adam Smith may be widely cited as the father of modern economics, may have been one of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment and the author of the massively influential Wealth of Nations, but there's no historical record of him bowling an over like Freddie's at Edgbaston in 2005.

1606 - 142-1 Right, England need a wicket here, and they need one fast. The way Katich and Ponting were looking before tea, I got the horrible feeling a thousand Barry Scotts with a thousand bottles of Cillit Bang couldn't have shifted them from the crease. Broad has the first over after tea, and there's a hint of inswing on his first delivery into the right-handed Punter. Ponting goes for the pull, and the ball stays low and just misses his middle stump. Tight over from Broad, it's a maiden. REFRESH AGAIN, IT'S BEN DIRS HERE, NOT STEVO!

"I admire your three-hour lunch breaks Benders. Did you previously work in the civil service (MOD?) by any chance?"
Ryan in the TMS inbox

1557: Good news, we've put back the scorecard on the top right of the page, so if you manually refresh, it should appear, along with my silly name at the top of the page. The observant among you will notice that Stevo has presided over any technical difficulties we've had today... the umpires are strolling out, we'll have play in a minute...

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"Panesar shouldn't be anywhere near the England team. He only gets picked because of the silly 'cult' that developed around him a couple of years ago."
Observer on 606

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"Is anyone else worried by the fact that we have so far only taken one wicket, am I working myself up over nothing or is time to panic?"
Tina, troubled in Shrewsbury, in the TMS inbox

1550: Many thanks to Stevo, this is Ben Dirs back in the hot seat. Some video of Daniel Radcliffe on the site, he's predicting an England victory in the Ashes. Tomorrow, we'll bring you Ricky Schroder's thoughts on the Tour de France. That last session didn't make for pretty viewing if you are an England fan, but Stevo's only presided over one wicket to my 10 so far, so there's hope yet...

By Jonathan Stevenson

That's 50
1541 - Aus 142-1 Swanny appeals for lbw against Katich but Billy Doctrove isn't having anything to do with it. Katich brings up a very studious half-century by driving a half-volley through mid-on for four, lovely stroke. He's looked in no danger whatsoever since Flintoff went off.

1538 - Aus 137-1 Broady goes round the wicket but plops one short and wide and Katich smears it away behind square on the offside for four easy runs. The fifth ball is played carefully by Katich even finer on the offside and it beats KP's despairing dive at gully to race away for four more to move on to 49. Horribly simple.

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"How the selectors can pick Panesar over either Rashid or Onions bemuses me. They seemed to have ignored form, ability in the field and with the bat and the variety that all bowlers need against top batters. Panesar has been shocking."
blueboyrob on 606
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1533 - Aus 128-1 Katich lunges at Monty and England appeal for a catch, but it's not hit anywhere near bat or glove. Two more singles, and Punter's moved on to 42, Katich 41. Aus 128-1 from 37 overs, probably room for two more before tea.

1530 - Aus 126-1 Hell of a start from Broady, nipping one back off the seam straight away as the ball goes through the gap between Ponting's bat and pad. What England would give for a wicket in the 10 minutes before tea... Punter then pulls to the square leg boundary and Monty cuts it off very well indeed, but that brings up Ponting's 11,000th Test run. Hats off, what an achievement that is - and only Tendulkar, Lara and Border, who is in the crowd in Cardiff, are above him in the list.

"I would just like to thank my former employer for making me redundant on Tuesday. Their timing was impeccable, literally hours before the start of the Ashes series. Thank you bankers, thank you Gordon Brown, thank you recession for this fantastic opportunity to watch this awesome sporting battle. PS. Anyone with any jobs going please get in touch... in September."
Alex in the TMS inbox

1525 - Aus 124-1 Katich sweeps Monty for a single and they are placing the ball wherever they so wish at the moment these two, England are in dire need of a little bit of inspiration. Katich drives the ball in to Ravi Bopara - Panesar four overs, 0-15. Hmm. Broady's back.

1522 - Aus 121-1 Swanny keeps rocking up and at least Katich is paying him due respect, something I'm not sure the Aussies have too much of for Monty. A pair of singles in the over is all.

1519 - Aus 119-1 Not only is Monty looking terrifyingly unthreatening, but he's leaking runs to boot. Even Katich is nudging and nurdling him away for ones and twos, and he probably doesn't even want to score. Monty ups the speed to bowl at Ponting, and I sigh in dismay.

1515 - Aus 115-1 After an ecomony Gordon Brown could only dream of, Swanny's run ends as he is fed into the leg side off successive balls by Punter, the first brilliantly cut off on the boundary by James Anderson. Where's your next wicket coming from, Straussy?

1514: Robbo Robson has had his say on the Ashes. Take a look at his thoughts on "the biennial fight for the most ridiculous trophy in world sport - and since the passing on of Morecambe and Wise, everyone's favourite Little Urn".

1513 - Aus 110-1 Monty is swept for four by Ricky Ponting, who is probably looking to upset Panesar's fragile confidence early doors. Won't take much on this evidence. These boys bring up their 50 partnership off 96 balls. Aussies trail by 325 runs, they're 110-1 from 31 overs, with both batters on 33.

1510 - Aus 105-1 The spin twins are in combo and Swanny appeals in vain for lbw against Katich, fat chance of that. It's another maiden and SK is very, very happy digging in here. Fifth maiden in a row for the Notts tweaker.

1507 - Aus 105-1 Punter cushions Monty away for a single from his first ball as Flintoff enjoys some banter with the increasingly tanked-up south Wales crowd. First sign of Monty excitement comes as Katich is struck harmlessly on the pad. "Monty doesn't know the lbw rule, he never has," says Geoff Boycott on TMS.

1503 - Aus 101-1 Swanny floats one up, but Simon Katich is not for tempting, watching serenely as it passes by his off stump. There's some turn there, but it's not ripping by any means yet. Another maiden, and it's turning into a session of two remarkably contrasting halves, Brian. Oooh, it's Monty time...

"I'd definitely rate Freddie alongside Mr Churchill, but comparing him to Brunel is a bit much. The man built the single greatest bridge in the history of the universe. A bridge which would have been even better had it stuck to the original designs of having two sphinxes on it. Oh, and Brunel's cigars were much bigger than Freddie's. Bet he could drink more too. Possibly."
Chris Andrews in the TMS inbox

1501 - Aus 101-1 Flintoff and Monty are deep in discussions, so maybe... anyway Jimmy A continues to run in unthreateningly and Punter works a couple off his pads before swishing a couple more down to the extra-cover boundary, Alastair Cook saving two with a diving stop. The Aussies bring their ton up. Meanwhile Michael Vaughan is deep in conversation with Piers Morgan in the Cardiff stands, how he must wish he were still on the field right now.

1457 - Aus 96-1 Maiden over, Swanny to Katich. Nothing further, your honour.

Bananaman, Mr Incredible and a Rio Carnival girl are all at the match. Our man in Cardiff has proof.

"A bus designer I know practices his batting by shoving a ball up the exhaust pipe and having a colleague rev the engine. A technique for Hughes to consider if Fred keeps this pace up throughout the series?"
Dan Brown in the TMS inbox

1453 - Aus 96-1 Jimmy A isn't causing too many problems either, funny how the game suddenly calms down when Flintoff takes a breather isn't it? I wonder if you could come up with a percentage of how much more interesting he makes a Test match...? Katich clips a couple away and I'd definitely chuck Monty the red stuff right now.

1450 - Aus 93-1 Swanny tries to tempt Katich, but he doesn't look in much of a mood to give his wicket away. That's a good stop from KP as Katich does drive at a wide one, maiden for Swanny. I wonder when we'll get a bit of Monty action.

1447 - Aus 93-1 Ravi Bopara dives away to his left to stop a back-foot Ponting drive before Jimmy A squares the Aussie skipper up completely as he misses one outside off stump. Ponting makes amends with a smashing clop through the offside for four to finish to over. Hell of a rate so far, 93 from 23.

1442 - Aus 87-1 Graeme Swann returns and he beats Katich with a little ripper first up outside off stump. You little devil you, Swanny. He appeals for lbw from the last ball of the over, not out. Drinks - and a welcome breather for everyone after a 100mph session so far.

BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce on Twitter: "Just spotted former Aussie PM John Howard in the stands. He's wearing a floppy sunhat with a suit - questionable look."

"Can someone please explain to me where Ponting bought his hair from?"
Stuart Smith in the TMS inbox

1438 - Aus 87-1 The swing king is back as Jimmy A takes the ball for the first time after lunch, Katich nudging him into the offside for a single, before Ponting gets a little inside edge to prevent a big lbw appeal next up. There's some width as Punter frees his arms and drives for three through the covers, nothing doing at all for the Burnley Express at the minute.

"Freddie really is up there with Winston Churchill and Isambard Kingdom Brunel as one of the greatest Britons ever."
Michael, Pretending to work in Cambridgeshire, in the TMS inbox

1433 - Aus 82-1 Broad drags one short and Punter rocks on to the back foot, pulling it viciously through square leg for four. It's all a bit too leg-side from the Notts boy and Punter clips a couple more as 'Waltzing Matilda' becomes the latest tune to be bashed out in the 'Diff. Katich 26, Ponting 12, Australia 82-1 from 20 overs.

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"After hearing Flintoff's wicket I jumped up out of my seat at work and spilt coffee all over my lap and keyboard. With a job interview for a promotion happening in an hour things don't look great." Cheers Freddie.
Rudz in London via text on 81111

1429 - Aus 76-1 Katich pushes Flintoff into the offside and bags a brace, as a lone trumpeter blares out the theme tune to 'The Flintstones' in the crowd. Katich plays and misses, that was a beaut from round the wicket, but he caresses the last ball of the over past mid-on for four glorious runs.

1425 - Aus 70-1 Broady plugs away and Punter tickles a couple off his pads to get off the mark, as Straussy cries out in anguish from slip. Ponting then drives effortlessly through the covers and Monty gives chase but they run four anyway. Good work Monty, that'll tire 'em out. It's 70-1 from 18 overs and Freddie's gonna have another, bless his little cotton socks.

BBC Sport's Jonathan Agnew on Twitter: "Great contest - Flintoff 1, Hughes 0. Don't think he likes it up him."

1421 - Aus 64-1 Flintoff continues to charge in, this is his fifth over of the spell now which might just be enough for the talismanic Lancastrian (1-9). All that blood, sweat and tears to get fit for the Ashes - worth it, wasn't it Freddie? He goes back over the wicket, and Katich leaves well alone outside off stump. Challenging stuff.

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"Flintoff can still do things no other Englishman can do - what a player."
Silk on 606

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1416 - Aus 63-1 It's all happening - don't even think about going anywhere. Broady nips one back at Katich from around the wicket and there's a massive appeal as it slams into his front pad - not out says Aleem Dar. Second ball, Katich plays and misses. Whoosh we've got a session on here, as Katich clips Broad through mid-on and collects three. The crowd are up, England are up, and the Aussie captain is in, struck on the pad outside off stump first ball having been booed by the Cardiff crowd upon walking to the wicket. The temerity. Welcome back, Ricky, we've missed you.

Wicket falls
1412 - WICKET - Hughes c Prior b Flintoff 36, Aus 60-1 Flintoff is testing the speed gun here, he's up around 93/94mph. Hughes tries an uppish cut but misses completely - and Freddie calls the the dressing-room for a drink already. Steady on. Fourth time lucky for Hughes as he cuts a no-ball for four, but he's gone now, the kid, as he slashes/flails/call it what the hell you like one time too many and Matty Prior snaffles a decent chance behind. Get, in.

1405 - Aus 55-0 Katich cuts but the ball's a bit closer to him than he first realises, though he still manages to steer it down to third man for four. This Hughes, boy he's an interesting batter to watch, his feet move all over the shop before, during and after each delivery. Katich clips Broady off his pads for three, the lanky blond straying on to leg stump, much to his own dismay.

1401 - Aus 46-0 Freddie continues around the wicket to Katich and the opener is Mr Watchful - they'll just want to see Freddie off, these boys. Hang on, a return drive by SK goes aerial - only just - and Freddie, about three inches above the ground, just cannot quite hang on with the fingertips on his right hand. Agonising for the big unit, v.difficult chance that.

BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce on Twitter: "That first Flintoff over has got them singing in the new stands. Menace, pace, bounce and follow-through. We've missed you, Fred."

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"A lot of Hauritz's family must be watching this. That's surely the only way he has got 10% of the "best bowler" vote."
Andy Macclesfield, via text on 81111

1357 - Aus 46-0 Hughes seems to want to slap everything, I wonder if he's heard of the 'leave alone'. He looks edgy and wafts his bat out there speculatively a couple of times. Mind you, you have to speculate to accumulate, I suppose, along with other largely useless sayings. Broady tries to york Katich, but nothing doing there.

1353 - Aus 45-0 "You feel already that Hughes is a bit intimidated by Flintoff," says Henry Blofeld on TMS. A couple of quick singles get the kid off strike so Katich takes most of the over. The Aussies are 390 behind, with Hughes on 30 and Katich nine.

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"A lot better by Broad, he is a very talented lad, I just don't think he is an opening bowler. It should always have been Flintoff and Anderson opening, mainly because of the intensity he brings and he is so accurate."
rhiannan05 on 606
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1349 - Aus 41-0 Katich plays and misses cutting at Broady, the Aussies are suddenly under some real pressure. Broady going round the wicket and getting some serious swing in to the left-hander, who shows impeccable judgement outside off stump.

1345 - Aus 39-0 Mixer, mixer, mixer. Freddie Flintoff takes the ball after lunch and immediately bounces Phil Hughes three times in a row, the first time giving the young upstart some chat too. Hughes won't have been in a battle like this before. Wow, Freddie's up at 91.5mph already, roaring in, and Hughes nibbles at one outside off stump - the big man's on fire already, don't no-one put him out! It's like Groundhog Ashes, am I dreaming?

BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce on Twitter: "Hold on - what's happened to Cardiff? The queue at the coffee stall is bigger than the one for the beer tent."

1340: The umpires are back out, the England fielders follow them on to the hallowed Cardiff turf and Phil Hughes and Simon Katich are last in the mixer. We're just about good to go again.

"See 1327: Nice one Stevo - Dirs has no snags all morning, then you take over the hot seat, press all your fancy buttons that the system doesn't understand and it breaks. I'm distraught."
Paddy, Down Under, in the TMS inbox

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1333: "I can't believe some people are still talking about Harmison's non-inclusion. Its only been eight overs. Get behind your team. Anything can happen now."
raodrunner on 606
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PS - His spelling bad, not mine

1327: Sorry for ruining your lives, but we've had to take the scorecard out from the top right of this page - we've got technical issues, apparently. I'll endeavour to make it up to you by giving as much info as I can possibly squeeze in every over, and there's a full scorecard in all its glory too. Big apologies, nevertheless.

1324: Phillip Hughes - there's the name on everyone's lips. The Australian run machine has made a typically belligerent start to his Ashes career, so I wonder what Tommy Fordyce in Cardiff makes of that opening?

"Nick at 1308 clearly never read Foxbusters as a kid. A granite-coated hard-boiled egg laid in 100mph flight by a chicken will divert 99% of known foxes from any farm."
Iain, Southampton, in the TMS inbox

1315: Take a bow, Dirsy - better session from you that, save for a pretty weak final half hour. Punters - be a love and refresh your page, otherwise you'll think Dirsy's writing this tripe. Actually, maybe don't. Cricket-wise, is it just me or does the man from Macksville, New South Wales look a bit shaky right now? No, wait, hang on...

By Ben Dirs

1308: Before I pop off, I should just point out that I didn't really mean what I said about BOD... thought that would get a rise from a few of you... here's Stevo!

"Ben, can I just point out that the man from Macksville, New South Wales is looking rock-solid at the moment?"
David, Bologna, in the TMS inbox

"Surely your friend understands that throwing eggs at foxes is like giving them a free dinner, and will just keep them coming back. Sounds like the benefit to his limited technique is outweighed by the problems on his farm. Unless his plan is to keep them coming back as he needs that much practice?"
Nick in the TMS inbox

1302 - 39-0 Swann finally gets Hughes in his crosshairs just before lunch, but Hughes gets off strike with a clip into the leg-side. An extremely optimistic lbw appeal from Swann and his close fielders, but Umpire Dar's having none of it, and that's lunch. Stevo taking over for a couple of hours.

1258 - 38-0 Too much width from Jimmy - although not that much - and Hughes carves him through point again for four to move to 27. Anderson struggling with his line at the moment, not making Katich play. The Barmy Army in full flow now, singing that lovely old hymn 'Barmy Army, Barmy Army', over... and over... again...

"WobyTides is upset that the coverage is biased. On an English website. Written by English journalists. Writing about a match involving England. Who'd have thought it?"
Ryan in the TMS inbox

"I used to use an ironing board for bowling practice. Until my Mam found out, she quickly put a stop to it by threatening to make me wear a dress and do all the ironing in the house."
Colin, Dublin, in the TMS inbox

1252 - 33-0 SWANNY TIME! A slip, a short leg and a short cover in for Katich. Swann flights one up but Katich smothers, before Katich tucks him away for two into the leg-side. Screeching lbw appeal by the England close fielders, but Umpire Dar decides, rightly, that that was missing leg. Scratchy thick outside edge past slip from Katich, two more runs.

1249 - 29-0 Rare ball for Katich, who nudges Anderson into the covers for one. Hughes moves to 22 with a flick off his pads, the man from Macksville, New South Wales, looking rock-solid at the moment. I repeat, the man from Macksville, New South Wales, looking rock-solid at the moment. And again, the man from Macksville, New South Wales, looking rock-solid at the moment. There's Monty prowling about in the outfield, he'll have a part to play at some point today. Apparently Fred Perry once swept into the dressing rooms at Wimbledon and declared: "My God, I wouldn't like to be playing myself today." Alas, Monty Panesar has too often been imbued with the spirit of Alex Bogdanovic of late. Let's hope he rediscovers some of his inner Fred Perry today.

1245 - 26-0 Two slips and two gullies in for Hughes... Broad's not learning, short and wide and Hughes laces him past Pietersen in the gully for four more. KP stays down for a few seconds, as if he has an injury, but there's nothing wrong with him, the drama queen. There's only one more dramatic feigner of injuries in world sport, and that's Brian O'Driscoll - fact.

"That is a great start to the Test Match for England. You'll have to play really badly from here on to lose a Test Match after racking up 435 in your first dig. What a find Swann has been! Big pressure on Punter, Pup and Mr Cricket now."
Satpal in the TMS inbox

1241 - 22-0 Katich off the mark with a very risky single in the circumstances. Better ball from Anderson, the ball swinging back into the left-handed Hughes, but Hughes backs away again and steers into the cover for a couple. Bumper from Anderson, which Hughes ducks underneath with the minimum of fuss. Hughes drops one into the off-side and scampers a quick one. Positive start from this pair, England will be desperate for a wicket before lunch.

Ian Chappell
"I don't think you'll find two uglier openers than this pair, but they're very effective..."
Ian Chappell on TMS

1237 - 17-0 If you would like to manually auto-refresh, you'll get to see the latest scorecard on the top right of the page. Stuart Broad shares the new ball with Anderson, and Hughes is into him straight away, savagely thrashing a wide one through backward point for four. More width from Broad, and Hughes backs away again and steers him to the cover point fence. Broad adopts the teapot, he'll have to learn quickly - any width, and Hughes, like Craig David, will be all over your face. Better from Broad, who gets Hughes swaying backwards like a palm tree in a breeze with a well-directed short ball.

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"I know of a poultry farmer who is a keen (albeit rather limited) cricketer who practices his fielding skills on the farm by aiming the oversized reject eggs at the foxes who regularly attempt to maraud the flock. I'm interested to know what other bizarre and unorthodox poultry related cricket practice drills people would suggest?!"
Benjamin, in the TMS inbox

1231 - 7-0 Anderson to bowl the first ball of the Australia innings, and it nips back sharply and scythes the left-handed Hughes in two. Big roars from England players and fans, but I'm not sure if anyone really knows what they're shouting about. The Aussies off the mark with four leg-byes, Anderson straying onto Hughes' hip. Hughes off the mark with a flashed drive through the covers for three. That was typical Hughes - if anyone hasn't seen him play, he's got a technique that looks like it's been honed hacking off bananas with a machete on his father's farm, which might be because he spent his youth hacking off bananas with a machete on his father's farm. Hughes was in Year 10 when England pipped the Aussies four years ago. Just thought I'd mention that to make everyone feel old.

1227: Bit of Jerusalem from Trumpet Boy, and here come Katich and Hughes. They say Katich is twice the player he was in 2005, when the combined might of Flintoff and Jones made him look like Mr Magoo, and Hughes was on fire in South Africa recently - only 20, but he's already got two tons and a fifty in just three Tests.

1224: A few bowling stats for you: Mitchell Johnson 3-87 from 22, Ben Hilfenhaus 2-77 from 27, Peter Siddle 2-121 from 27, Nathan Hauritz 3-95 from 23.5, Michael Clarke 0-20 from 5, Simon Katich 0-11 from 2. Swanny's knock of 47 came from just 40 balls and included six fours... bit of good news for the Aussies, the heavy cloud cover has shifted and we've got a bit of blue overhead...

Text in your views on 81111
"I've just had to call the RSPCA and report a Swann on fire in Cardiff."
Tom, via text on 81111

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"This coverage is so biased I'm re-naming it 'Live text pommentary."
WobyTides on 606
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1220: Well, what an uplifting display that was from the England tailenders this morning, and they've piled the pressure on the Aussie batsmen. And how about that spin for Hauritz? I'm loving this, I really am loving this...

Wicket falls
1217 - WICKET - Panesar c Ponting b Hauritz 4, Eng 435
SWANN GONE! Swann advances and chips the ball to the man at mid-wicket... BUT IT'S A NO-BALL FROM HAURITZ! Deary me, it's not getting any better for the Aussies out there... Panesar chopped in half, and the Aussies reckon it's a caught behind, but Monty is gone next ball, edging to Ponting at second slip.

1212 - 433-9 Yorker from Johnson, and it may well have ripped out leg, but Umpire Doctrove is unmoved. Swann pulls for one, before Johnson brings out that slower ball again - it's going to be an effective weapon over the next two months - and Panesar is through the shot too quickly and the ball very nearly carries back to the bowler. But Monty's doing a job out there, seeing out the rest of the over with little fuss.

"I am not in school uniform, however, I am watching this while teaching in a school. Cannot keep my eyes of it. Great stand by Swann. Don't tell anyone."
Mr Jones in the north west in the TMS inbox

1209 - 431-9 Two slips and a silly mid-off in for Monty. Panesar attempts a Pietersen-esque sweep from outside off, and the ball top-edges over Ponting at first slip and runs away for one. Hauritz gets one to spin sharply into the right-handed Swann, this England pair will be licking their lips on seeing that. Tom, our man in Cardiff, wants to know whether there is anything that hurts a toiling team quite as much as being spanked around by a pair of tail-enders?

1204 - 429-9 Swann prods forward tentatively and is beaten by a ball from Hauritz than spins through the gate. Swann will have mixed feelings about that. Monty gets himself in all sorts of trouble trying to keep out Hauritz's first ball, before flipping an elegant stroke off his hip for a few. The crowd reacts as if it's just been announced that Monty has discovered a cure for balding. Swann charges Hilfenhaus and misses with a dirty great mow, but does pick up a single next ball. More than 90 runs scored in the first hour this morning, "there's no way Australia can win this now," says the man to my left...

Wicket falls
1159 - WICKET - Anderson c Hussey b Hauritz 26, Eng 423-9
Anderson taking too many liberties, coming down the track and slicing down to third-man, for one, but he's out a few balls later, heaving an ugly shot to Hussey at mid-wicket. We're going to have a drinks break, and then it's Monty Time...

1155 - 421-8 Swann comes over all Ted Dexter and, all high elbow, lofts Hilfenhaus straight over the top for four. Sir Geoffrey sounds like he's just turned his jacuzzi's bubble setting up to 11, he's loving this.

1151 - 414-8 Short and wide from Hauritz and Swann cuts to deep extra cover for a couple. A prod to cover from Anderson, and that's the fifty partnership from just 38 balls. Four for Anderson! Fine sweep, and Hauritz is getting his backside handed to him by this pair. Swann waits on one and steers into the covers for a couple, and Ponting looks clueless out there at the moment. Aaah, watching cricket in your old school uniform... anyone else do that?

"Strange, because I like watching cricket in a complete Hogwarts school uniform while screaming 'expelliamus' at Ricky Ponting."
Matt, Cambridge, in the TMS inbox

1147 - 404-8 Anderson gets up on tippy-toes and forces Hilfenhaus through the covers for a single. 500? Bet Swanny fancies it... strangled lbw appeal from Hilfenhaus, but that was going down leg, before Swann clips him off his pads for one.

1143 - 402-8 A big mental blow struck by these England tailenders, as Punter is forced to turn to the spin of Nathan Hauritz. Big turner from Hauritz, and Haddin doesn't get a glove on it and the ball races away for four. TAKE THAT YOU SWINE! Swanny sashays down the track and thrashes Hauritz over Cow Corner for four. This is all getting a little bit humiliating for Punter and his chaps - Swann crashes Hauritz straight, the man at long-on is wrong-footed by the spin, and the ball dribbles over the rope for four. SWITCH HIT! Swanny's taking the rise now, flipping the hands and sweeping Hauritz down to the third-man fence. That's the 400 up...

1139 - 384-8 Huge lbw shout from Hilfenhaus, and it looks a decent one. Umpire Doctrove probably thinks that pitched outside leg, and hawkeye says it probably did. Anderson beaten outside off-stump, and Hilfenhaus looks like he's going to have a little blub. Two singles from the over...

1135 - 384-8 Swann with an authentic cover-drive for three more. Siddle locates Anderson's edge, but the ball lands just short of Hughes at third slip. Anderson falls backwards and slashes Siddle through the covers for three, before Swann rocks back and pulls to mid-wicket for a couple. This Australian pace attack looking about as convincing as Boy George in the A-Team at the moment.

1130 - 376-8 Swanny filling his boots here - a controlled outside edge for four, all along the carpet, and the Notts man follows up with a lavish flash through cover-point for four more. Swann flicks a straightish delivery from Johnson through mid-wicket for a few, before the Aussies go up for a fairly convincing lbw against Anderson, but the umpire's not impressed. England rattling along quite nicely now, Punter's got three men on the boundary...

"I often follow sports in very little. I'm currently only wearing boxer shorts and eating biscuits."
Chris Cooper in the TMS inbox

1125 - 363-8 Swanny's next up the ramp, and he's got a Test fifty to his name and a pretty handy average of 35. These England tailenders really sticking in Australia's craw now - Anderson with an outside edge past the slip cordon for four, and he follows up with a very compact clip to mid-wicket for three. Swann on strike, and he gets a good ball that boomerangs into his pads. Swann goes for a flash outside off, gets a thick inside edge, and Anderson calls him through for a nifty single.

"Lest we forget, Graeme Swann is actually an all-rounder at county level. He has a first-class batting average of 27 with a top score of 183 and 32 half-centuries to his name."
Huw Davies, Cardiff, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
1118 - WICKET - Broad b Johnson 19, Eng 355-8
Johnson's bowled him! Strange dismissal really, Broad shuffling across his stumps and the ball just brushing his trousers and clipping leg stump. I read with interest this morning that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe likes to watch the cricket in his pants while eating pasta. Any other fans of watching sport semi-nude?

"What is wrong with our media? We hound the person who scored the most runs (yet again) for getting out. How about Strauss's shocking pull and Bopara's chipped 'gimme'?"
Chris in the TMS inbox

1111 - 354-7 This is great stuff from Broad - first he gets four for a controlled outside edge, and then the Notts man eases Siddle through mid-off for four more. That's the ton up for Siddle, although he's bowled better than that.

1111 - 346-7 Width from Johnson and Anderson upper-cuts him over point. He doesn't quite get it, but picks up three. Johnson gets one to nip back and scythe Broad in half, before Broad manages to steer into the covers for one. Broad very nearly chops on, before an extravagant attempted drive off the back foot from Anderson draws comparisons with Sobers from Aggers on TMS. I think he got a bit carried away there, that's a little bit like comparing Stavros Flatley with Fred Astaire.

1105 - 340-7 In comes Siddle, arms pumping like pistons, but Broad, perhaps pestered by a fly, backs away. Second time lucky, and Broad plays a solid defensive shot on the back foot. A splendid, Gower-esque cover-drive for four from Broad. That shot was so delicious you wanted to stick it in a bap and eat it.

1101: A furious co-worker has just burst into the office absolutely apoplectic about Pietersen's treatment in the press this morning. Extraordinary, but I make him right - didn't KP top score again yesterday? Players are out, we'll have play in a minute...

1057: News from the BBC techies: "Apologies if you've had any problems with our auto-refresh functionality yesterday or this morning. Anyone using certain browsers, including Safari and Google Chrome, may not have been getting updates automatically. We expect to have resolved this issue shortly so please refresh manually for the moment." Who knew? I thought Safari and Chrome featured in Lynx's anti-perspirant range.

BBC Sport
"Cloudy overhead at the ground as both sets of players go through some last-minute warm-ups. You'd fancy there'll be some swingage out there today. Opinions in town mixed this morning - some bellicose England fans predicting a rapid rattle to 400, others a quick clatter of wickets followed by a day of attrition from Hughes and Katich."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce in Cardiff

1053: I'm thinking today could be a big day for Graeme Swann - Nathan Hauritz, Michael Clarke and Simon Katich were getting a bit of tweak yesterday, and Swanny's better than all of that lot put together. It said so on a mate's status update, so it must be true.

"One of the positives is that everyone got in and looked in good form, although it would have been nice if somebody had gone on to get a hundred. But hopefully we can squeeze out a few more runs this morning, and Monty can get a few. He's my batting buddy... yesterday the wicket turned, which is a great sign for us."
England's Paul Collingwood on TMS

"Twitter is enraging! The arrogance and audacity people display believing that what they say is of such relevance or importance that they can broadcast it into the public domain and people will want to read it... must go and pour myself a cool glass of irony and paradox..."
James Laurence, London, in the TMS inbox

"RE: 1031: Pete - my brother told me he was engaged and I was to become an uncle on the same text message."
MC, London, in the TMS inbox

"Without wishing to go all Boycott… Facebook has a lot to answer for! Probably responsible for a great deal of relationship disharmony, job losses and evolutionary regression. It's a sad day when you can't get naked at the office Christmas party and not worry about photos being plastered all over the net."
Matt in Cambridge, keeping everything crossed for England getting 400 this morning, in the TMS inbox

1040: Can I ask you to press F5 if you want to see the live video scorecard at the top of the page - all sorts of stats and graphics and wagon wheels on that. Richard, I think what you're looking for is something called an e-lec-tric-al shop. Most high-streets have them nowadays. Ask one of the urchins where one is in your home town.

"Can anyone tell me where I can get a discreet long wave radio - I had to carry my giant 1980's ghetto blaster in to work today, followed by pointing, laughing and jeering children all the way. One urchin asked me if it ran on 'dino-power'." Richard in the TMS inbox

1031: Pete (see below), if my brother did that to me, it's questionable whether I'd ever speak to them again. Although, give it time, people will be informing family members of alterations to their will via status update soon.

"Re. Twitter - I recently found out my very own dear brother had got engaged, via his Facebook status update. Oh well, I guess it's quicker than a telegram or a pigeon.
Pete in John O'Groats in the TMS inbox

"May as well pack the bags and trot on to the next Test. All England have to do is get a lead of 100+ going into the final dig and it's all over, pitch is going to turn absolutely square on the last day or so!"
Geoff Cox in the TMS inbox

"Looking cloudy in South Wales today - I think we'll get a bit of rain later, but hopefully the overcast conditions will make batting harder for the Aussies"
David Eade in the TMS inbox

"Who wants to back Broad to get his first Test century today? Mediocre bowling, Anderson can happily support for most of the morning session before we get Swan in to thump a few stylish shots through the afternoon session and far enough in the evening for England to have reached 500."
Alastair, Preston, in the TMS inbox

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"Cardiff's debut as a Test venue is a consummate triumph. The rousing atmosphere created by the mainly Welsh capacity crowd was magnificent, starting with an ardent opening ceremony. The crowd was appreciative and knowledgeable, and lively without being crass, and in many ways uniquely Welsh, with all the singing and refined banter."
Borges on 606

1018: Jimmy Anderson is, apparently, tweeting, as I believe it is called, throughout this Ashes series. I'm with Sir Geoffrey on this, what is Twitter all about? It wasn't so long ago that this country was renowned for its dignified reserve, now every man Jack and his wife wants you to know how lovely the crumpet was he had for breakfast.

1015: Hello! Real nip and tuck first day of the Ashes yesterday - absorbing, intriguing, everything Test cricket should be. Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad at the crease for England, and their target will be to squeeze out at least 40 more runs.

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see also
England v Australia photos day two
09 Jul 09 |  England
England make solid start to Ashes
08 Jul 09 |  England
Pietersen defends Ashes dismissal
08 Jul 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
08 Jul 09 |  England
England v Australia photos day one
08 Jul 09 |  England
Boycott slams Ashes 'bidding war'
08 Jul 09 |  Cricket
The Ashes: head-to-head
04 Jul 09 |  Cricket
England gear up for the Ashes
04 Nov 10 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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