First Ashes Test, Cardiff, day three:
England v Australia
LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times BST)
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (with 'For Ben Dirs' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)
AUSTRALIA FIRST INNINGS
Not officially stumps yet... don't think so anyway... yes, someone's just told me it's stumps... another tough old day for England, little bit grim to be honest, but many thanks for making it go a bit quicker. Mixed forecasts for the weekend, but do join us again...
"I think Australia would like to be at least 100 in front at the end of their innings. I think you basically need that if you are batting fourth under these conditions. The last that I heard was that the forecast was improving for Saturday."Ian Chappell on TMS
England skipper Strauss isn't happy about that, he's having a chunter to Umpires Doctrove and Dar, but North and Haddin will be in their smoking jackets by the time he reaches the pavilion steps.
1843 - 479-5
That's the ton up for Broad as North picks up an easy single, before Haddin hops and tucks Broad into the leg-side for one. Gun barrel straight from Broad, players are off for bad light, and I don't think they'll be coming back on again...
"It was very good bouncer from Stuart Broad. Brad Haddin is likely to see this situation as an opporunity to get a quick forty. Think the confidence of Matt Prior - in fact he is probably a bit more aggressive. He is definitely a goer."Ian Chappell on TMS
1838 - 477-5
Bumper from Flintoff and Haddin, hurried, plays an ugly mis-timed hook for two. Bit of rain about now, as Flintoff spears in a yorker, which Haddin does well to jam down on. Seven overs to go...
Clarke will feel pretty aggrieved about that, but then both sides agreed to playing under lights. Big wicket for Broad though, 1-98 from his 25 overs. Wicketkeeper Haddin is next up the ramp - New South Wales, 15 Tests, averages 37.54, one ton, two fifties. Bundles of confidence, he likes to give it a clump, and he's off the mark with a flick to leg.
1830 - WICKET - Clarke c Prior b Broad 83, Aus 474-5
Maximum of 12 overs from the restart by the way, so we're unlikely to go to 1930. Clarke pings Broad to mid-wicket for a single before North tucks him away for one more. BROAD BREAKS THROUGH! Short one, Clarke goes for a paddle round the corner and gloves it to Prior behind the stumps.
1827 - 472-4
Loose shot from Clarke, the ball keeping low and skidding under his bat. Clarke pushes into the covers for one, but North looks like he's hanging about for an offer of light... another chat between the umpires, but they're staying out there for now...
1824 - 471-4
Broad on now, and he could do with a couple of scalps here, or his head could be on the chopping block. Tight line outside North's off-stump, but the left-hander leaving well alone.
1819 - 471-4
Clarke flicks Flintoff to mid-wicket for one, and North picks up a single of his own. Width from Freddie, and Clarke, up on tip-toes, punches him through cover-point for four. Bumper from Flintoff and Clarke turns him round the corner for a couple - Monty haring across there, good pick-up and throw. Flintoff gets one to nip back at Clarke, but other than that there's not much encouragement from that first over.
"England should look upon this as an opportunity to get two or three, or even four, wickets. Bit of doubt in the batsmen's minds, bit of moisture about..." Ian Chappell on TMS
The England players are having a bit of a warm-up. Well, Flintoff isn't, he's standing about with his hands in his pocket. Here come the rest of them, Strauss stumbling down the steps - maybe he'd written it off for the evening? - followed down by North and Clarke. Flintoff to bowl the first over under lights.
"Finished work at the County Court in Cardiff at four and raced the ground like a school boy with the promise of a ticket. I was so excited, sat at my seat as tea was coming to an end. I am now back in work with a soggy bottom and eyes full of dripping wet hair gel and tears. Will I ever get such a chance to watch the Ashes again? Anyway I am now deep in thought as to how a ball head/bat arms would move? On stump legs or rolling on its sphere-shaped face?" Anonymous via text on 81111
Despite the rather dismal day's play (from an England fan's point of view), we at least have a Test first! For the first time ever, we've got floodlights on in England... and Wales... Your grandchildren may well say to you in years to come: "Where were you when they turned the lights on in Cardiff?" Or, they'll probably say, "cricket? Could you beat up cyber cops in that?"
"Well, as an Australian residing in your lovely country and married to one of your cracking English ladies, I just wanted to say despite the delay in play, I am loving the rain and the banter. I love the Ashes, it brings out the best in both countries' supporters. I wish all sport was played in the same spirit- hard but fair."Johnny Rocket in the TMS inbox
"Can someone shoot the wretched tenor who's wheeled on to murder best- loved classics? After that, can we have a public flogging of the suit who decided that after 125 years, what cricket was lacking was this sort of karaoke at lunch and tea? One of the joys of Test cricket is the chance to chat to your friends during the intervals. You can't do that with 100dB coming over the sound system."gordon on 606
Join the debate on 606
...right, scrub what I just said, play is restarting at 1815 and can go on until 1930... it was a crackly phone line...
Alec Stewart correction - I said he'd scored 14,771 first-class runs earlier on, but they are in fact his List A stats. He did in fact score 26,165 first-class runs... right, I'm not going to lie to you, it doesn't look like we're going to get any more play this evening: our man in Cardiff Tom Fordyce says it's stopped raining, but the covers are on, and if they're not out playing before 6, then we think it's a wrap... I'll keep you posted...
"RE: ball head/bat arms. Which way would the seam run? Because that could give quite a few options for a hairstyle/combover technique. Also, if the seam was running down your face then it'd be a bit awkward for your nose, and your mouth. This is more time consuming than one thought." Chris, Caerphilly, in the TMS inbox
"It's a bit pathetic praying for rain, hoping to hide behind clouds rather than go down fighting, when just a couple of days ago this Aussie team were a bunch of clowns and England was going to crush them... Good luck. I hope the fight is hard and long...and not rained off. And keep some damn perspective... the Aussie's are on top at the moment but things can change."roastedtoe on 606
Join the debate on 606
"After three days of watching the text commentary while working I must thank you for the poll section. The inclusion of a pie-chart makes the casual passer-by assume I am hard at work. A touch of genius."Anthony, Yorkshire, in the TMS inbox
Praise KP, we've taken a wicket at the Women's Ashes Test at New Road. The Aussies recovered from a disastrous 28-5 to a rather sturdy-looking 257-6, but Katherine Brunt has just taken her fifth wicket, that of skipper Jodie Fields for 139. That sixth-wicket partnership between Fields and Rachael Haynes was worth 229.
"I have a bout of gout every fours years, just as the Aussies arrive, and according to the doctor the only treatment is to sit with your feet up and drink plenty of fluids."Chris Nikitik in the TMS inbox
"Carl Rackemann borrowed my Dad's golf clubs on a rest day during the Edgbaston Test in 1986. Not interesting, but true. At least from now on, I can let all interested parties know that he's Queensland's second-highest wicket-taker, adding even more fascination to this wonderful anecdote."Maxee, on the train home to Birmingham from London, in the TMS inbox
"You've got to nod your head and say thank you when all these people are giving you advice, then learn to walk away and forget it, but Monty's too nice..." Ian Chappell on TMS
"Would you rather be stuck at a keyboard in the Beeb cellar with the off chance of spotting Charlie Dimmock in the canteen like Dirs, or mincing about in Cardiff with rubbish hair like Fordyce?"Dinz in the TMS inbox
1715:Mark (see below)
, I'm talking a normal-sized cricket ball, but you'd have all the various human gadgets attached to it, like ears and a nose and stuff. If you want, you can even pick the seam a bit and give yourself a cheeky little comb-over.
"Quick question re: ball head/bat arms. Would it be a cricket ball roughly the same size as a normal human head, or would it be a normal-sized cricket ball, thus leaving you looking like the small-headed guy from Beetlejuice? I need to know this before making my decision. Thanks."Mark, Reigate, in the TMS inbox
"Re: Dr Mark. Here in LA, my wife has three choices: Green (garden waste, chance of some tasty rotting fruit or a nice stick to chew on), Black (general household, but includes dog waste, so a non-starter) and Blue (recycled glass and plastics). She prefers the blue, because there's often a few sips of wine or gin in some of the empties." TrickieDickie, Hollywood, in the TMS inbox
"Re:1630 - What a ridiculous question, but to further to it, I would rather have snickometers in places of my ears. No sly comments would get past me." James, Glasgow, via text on 81111
"Yeah well, Alec Stewart wasn't captain for long was he? (albeit he is the most capped England player)."Carole, know it all, in Maidenhead, in the TMS inbox
"Enjoying the warm sun in Virginia while I write Sunday's sermon - need England to give me an inspiring example to use. Surprised at the negativity us English have towards the team. Get behind them, they CAN turn this around." Ben from Edinburgh, in the USA, in the TMS inbox
"RE Dr Mark (see below) - it's good to know that in the midst of a swine flu pandemic that at least one doctor has not allowed public hysteria to deflect him from his commitment to Test Cricket. I salute you." Steve (in bed with swine flu and a laptop computer) in the TMS inbox
The covers are back on, more rain... anyone know that Carl Rackemann is the second-highest wicket-taker in Queensland history? And the highest? Michael Kasprowicz, and he's on the wireless now. You know what's even more annoying than the fact the Australians are such good cricketers? It's the fact that their cricketers seem like such well-adjusted, ruddy good blokes.
We've got Nessun Dorma in Cardiff now... as if things weren't bad enough, I've got the image of Chrissie Waddle ballooning that penalty over the bar now... I've got a mate who's an opera singer, and whenever we go on a big night he sings Nessun Dorma and all his mates clap and apt him on the back and stuff, but that's only to mask the cancerous jealousy they feel deep inside.
"Ben, you say that about modern Hammers, but Lucas Neill dropped into the Temple Walkabout - up there with Chernobyl as one of the grimmest, most horrific places on earth that one can visit - and shouted the entire bar a drink on Australia Day a couple of years back."Nick, London, in the TMS inbox
Anyone see that Ed Joyce wicket against Warwickshire yesterday?
Extraordinary stuff... former England skipper Alec Stewart is on TMS, and for the record, he reckons Straussy has done a pretty good job today. And to be fair, he did play 447 first-class matches and score 14771 runs, so I'm not about to start arguing with him... you can though...
"I recently asked my wife, if she had to live in a wheelie bin would she rather live in the green recycle bin (stinking of cut grass but potentially more comfortable) or the grey waste bin (smells of sour milk but a chance of finding a tasty snack thrown out)? I still wrestle with this question every Monday when the bins go out."Dr Mark - bored with patients interrupting my cricket viewing - in the TMS inbox
"I'll see your Gunnbrunts and raise you a chip buttie. With loads of salt and sauce. But which would you rather have? Chips with no salt and vinegar, or an unheated meat pie with gristle?" Carole, deflated, in Maidenhead, in the TMS inbox
The covers are being hauled off and I'm told we'll have a restart at 1705...
, Alvin Martin can still be seen in The Ship to this day, although you'd have more chance of finding a copy of How To Bat by Geoffrey Boycott in KP's coffin than finding a modern-day Hammer down The Ship today.
"Ah, the teenage years spent in The Ship drinking Ben Truman and looking longingly at the nice young ladies in the more trendy wine bar opposite. Still, Frank McAvennie, sparkly trousers and all, plus most of the West Ham team preferred The Ship too." Garold at work in the TMS inbox
"I'd go for the bats for arms, because you could take great pleasure in hitting those who chose the ball to the boundary fence all day and all night. That said, picking stuff up would be difficult."James, Clockwatching in Barnet, in the TMS inbox
"Re. 1618 - Rickets and Gout, didn't they open for Lancashire in the 1930s?"Ian (on holiday from 5pm) in the TMS inbox
Would You Rather have a cricket ball for a head or two cricket bats as arms? I'm told there is clear sky around the ground, but Blowers on TMS says the rain isn't coming down as hard as it was...
"Not wanting to sound unpatriotic but I had a £10 bet with a colleague that the Antipodeans would make 550+, so what is the best thing I can spend my soon to be confirmed loot on? I wonder if it would stretch to a round of Gunnbrunts?" David, depressed but just popping out for some Wheat Crunchies, Leeds, in the TMS inbox
"'Brollies unfurling like mushrooms in a dewy field...' Dirs old boy, with delightful, flowing similes like that you're becoming the 21st century's answer to John Keats. I eagerly await your next work: Ode to a Grecian Kebab Shop. Good work, sir." Mikey Ado, Sunny Skem, in the TMS inbox
"Our Research Manager's just set a challenge to get someone to feature on this site. If this gets on, the drinks are on him all night (Slug and Lettuce in Leicester, say 5.30 onwards, ask for Ian). In response to Dan in the South's Would You Rather, I'd deffo go for the box." Peter, Forest fan trapped in Leicester, in the TMS inbox
This isn't just a passing shower, we're talking full covers on. If it's not bad enough watching the Aussie men grind our bowlers into dust, the Aussie women have somehow recovered from 28-5 in the Ashes Test at New Road to 197-5, with skipper Jodie Fields 101 not out and Rachel Haynes 68 not out. Sorry England fans, that's rather like getting up to leave the doctor's surgery, only for him or her to call you back and say, "oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, as well as rickets you've got gout as well..."
"Ah, the good old Ship in Romford, a fine selection of barmaids and ales on tap. Shame I'm still barred after last summer's hosiery shenanigans."Tom in the TMS inbox
1612 - 463-4
Short from Collingwood, and Clarke yanks him away to mid-wicket for one... brollies unfurling like mushrooms in a dewy field... Collingwood with a strangled leg before appeal - that was hitting North's off-peg - and the rain puts this mangy old dog of a day out of its misery, for now...
"Has Strauss got any tactical attacking ideas at all? He's standing there like a redundant lighthouse... Oh and don't be mean to the little Baby Broad Bean, pick on someone your own age!" Rachel Churchill in the TMS inbox
1607 - 462-4
Dark clouds gathering overhead now, and they're talking about rain at some point this evening. Freddie is tucked round the corner by Clarke for one, before North nibbles him into the leg-side for another. Quick single from Clarke to backward point and the over ends with a rather desperate lbw appeal... Umpire Doctrove has summoned the light meter...
"Re: Dan (see below). Against Flintoff my manhood is irrelevant, I'd take the helmet." Thomas, hiding the Ashes score behind a pile of spreadsheets, in the TMS inbox
1603 - 459-4
Collingwood continues with his dibblies, and I'm sure we'll see some dobblies too... a wildly optimistic lbw appeal against Clarke, that was going down leg... Clarke clips straight down the ground for a scampered single.
Players emerge from the pavilion, we'll have play in a couple of minutes...
"RE: Dan. I would face Flintoff with just a helmet, because I'm a girl and wouldn't need the box."Bhavnita, depressed, London, in the TMS inbox
Personally, I think 'Gunnbrunt shawmarshcolvin' sounds like something you might find my housemate muttering to the teenage barlady after a nine-hour session down The Ship. "Gunnbrunt shawmarshcolvin... Oh, and some Wheat Crunchies please treacle..."
"Is it just me, or does the women's bowling line-up sound like something Greedo would say just before getting shot under the table by Han Solo? 'Gunnbrunt shawmarshcolvin, Solo?'"Leo, Tatooine, in the TMS inbox
"We're playing 'Would You Rather?' at work
So in that spirit, would you rather face Flintoff with just a helmet or just a box?"Dan in the South in the TMS inbox
By the end of that session, Strauss was fixed with the expression of a man sitting across from his girlfriend at dinner, three days into a very expensive holiday, who has suddenly realised that's it's not going to work. I'm struggling for positives to be honest... Broad's got a nice face I suppose...
Many thanks Fletch, Ben Dirs
back in the seat, a little bit depressed...
That is tea - and Ben Dirs
is back after partaking in a sandwich and a cup of tea etc. I just hope that he is able to bring you some wickets in the final session. many thanks for reading.
"Right there is only one thing for it. Anyone know of someone who can tap Ricky Ponting's phone? We might find out the art of converting 50s to 100s. One would imagine it wouldn't involve paddle sweeping a wide."Rids from Reading, via text on 81111
1532 - 458-4:
Almost tea - and North will doubtless enjoy it after a single off Freddie brings up his maiden Ashes half century. The runs continue - with three to Clarke in fact ending a very good session for Australia and a disappointing and wicketless one for England.
1536 - 454-4:
Colly continues and the ball hits Clarke on the pad. Clarke did not play a stroke so Prior takes the opportunity to clear his lungs. Good job he doesn't smoke (I assume he doesn't) or it could have been very messy for the batsman. Never out. Just a single off the over.
"Re: Clarke being a shandy - I would say that Broad is more like shandy than Clarke - never to be considered for an important session."Simon in the TMS inbox
1532 - 453-4:
Freddie time again. Minus the magic at the moment. Anderson makes a good save after a very straight drive from Clarke but they run a single anyway. North takes a single, Clarke then plays a defensive stroke, Freddie fields and throws at the stumps but his heart isn't really in it and the ball misses.
1528 - 451-4:
Another boundary - byes. At first I thought it was an edge from North. No, just a ball that went off the pitch. Oh, same thing next ball. Prior looks a touch confused but if Colly can do that every delivery - fast, spitting off-breaks, then there is some hope for England. Prior puts a helmet on. The keeper is not in play now as North cuts for another boundary and he is on 47 now.
"Re: Matt's vote of confidence. Whilst Fletch has managed an admirable number of posts, Dirsy did manage to get us three wickets. Bring him back on - nothing else seems to have worked so surely irrational superstition is worth a shot?" Peter Hopkins in the TMS inbox
1523 - 439-4:
I wonder if some England batsman are musing regretfully at the rather cheap nature of their dismissals? Strauss calls on Freddie and the crowd instantly comes to life. Clarke pulls the first ball away for a single. Banter follows - Clarke and Freddie both grinning away like lottery winners discussing their fortunes as they exchange words. If only all life was such fun. North works the ball off his legs and the 100 partnership comes up. Wonderful on-drive from Clarke and another three to the total. A pulled boundary from Clarke and Australia are ahead - with six wickets in hand. Do the math(s). Not good.
1518 - 429-4:
Day three of this Test and we have a grand total of one wicket so far in the middle sessions of this Test match - Phil Hughes falling to Freddie yesterday. On comes Colly, not a slip in sight and a single from Clarke brings the Aussies to within eight of England's first-innings total. Colly comes around the wicket to North, who neatly runs the ball to third man for a couple. Very, very easy.
"Re: Clarke being like a drink - I'd like to think of him as more of a shandy - looks the part, but doesn't get you anywhere - and definitely makes you feel a bit sick after a while." Dan Ellitts in the TMS inbox
1512 - 426-4:
Short and wide from Jimmy. Clarke's powerful cut is well stopped but they run a single nevertheless. A delicate touch around the corner off his hips then brings North another boundary as the ball beats the despairing drive of the one and only Monty, who himself collides with the ropes after his desperate lunge.
1508 - 421-4:
North clubs Swann through the midwicket region for another boundary. I'm starting to wonder if the Aussies are rapidly losing any respect they might have had for Swann. An appeal for lbw at the end of the over is surprisingly declined by lbw happy umpire Billy Doctrove.
1505 - 416-4:
Anderson has been economical if lacking in threat in this spell. We hear lots of talk about not calling on Freddie too often but I'd like to see him have a burst now from the other end. Another maiden.
1501 - 416-4:
If Clarke was a drink I suspect he would be a pint of the black stuff - very smooth with plenty of substance but definitely something of which one can have too much. He looks in control out there and drills Swann to the ropes to raise his half century. He then uses his feet yet again and drives aerially through the cover region.
"Don't worry! It's normal to be a bit lacklustre after a Friday lunchtime pint, I usually perk up a bit by 4."Jimmy G in Bristol in the TMS inbox
1458 - 408-4:
Big improvement from Anderson today. He opts to slants the ball across North, trying to set him up before swinging one back in to the left hander. Very watchful from the Aussie.
"Impressive first hour's work Mr Fletcher, with 18 posts compared to Dirsy's 15 in the first hour of play, and 14 in the second hour representing a worrying trend."Matt in the TMS inbox
Yes, but I have not worked in a single wrestling reference relating to elder members of the Fletcher family - and bear in mind my old man used to work the door at Preston Guild Hall when grappling was the sport of kings in the town.
1454 - 408-4:
Big, big shout for lbw against North off Swann. Contact with the bat seems to have given Billy Doctrove the excuse he needs to keep his hands in his pocket. Contact with the next delivery is more conclusive, so much so the ball rushes to the ropes. A single rounds off the over.
"I'm an off-break bowler and got 2-33 in a recent match against some Aussie tourists on astro-turf. I'm also free for the next Test, so, y'know, just something for Straussy to mull over."Will, Kenilworth, in the TMS inbox
1450 - 403-4:
The Burnley Express is back and if cloud cover helps swing he should be OK. That said, it does not look all that warm, which might prevent it swinging. Anderson slants the ball across North, who plays at some and leaves others. There is a hint of swing and just a single off the over.
"For the love of Cricket do something Strauss, put Pietersen at one end and Colly at the other, just to mix it up. Don't just stand there man."Toby watching it slip away in London in the TMS inbox
Just had a quick browse through the TMS inbox. The are calls for Bopara, Colly and KP to be handed the ball. What is that saying? There is also an increasing amount of mail discussing the weather. A little early to be hoping for meteorological salvation don't you think?
1442 - 402-4:
Monty. Short. Clarke. Four. And up comes 400 for the Aussies. Monty is at least trying a change of angle, sending the ball across Clarke, who works the ball around the corner. North, not much of a footwork man, is on the sweep again, picking out the man in the deep. Time for drinks and I suddenly realise we have had a wicketless hour since play resumed.
"Re chin music. What about when the batsman gets hit further down... can that be called 'ballroom dancing'?"Arthur Moose, via text on 81111
1436 - 395-4:
Another full toss from Swann. You'll not get much turn that way. Just a single off the over courtesy of another advance down the track from a rather ominous looking Clarke.
"Do we need a bit more from the captain? He seems to be lacking a bit of something. We don't look to have the intensity or belief that we had in '05, despite the fact we are facing a weaker team. We can still win this, especially if they have to bat for a decent period on Sunday, but I don't get that feeling from Strauss. He's a bit flat for me."Necky78 on 606
Join the debate on 606
1436 - 395-4:
England are in an all-spin attack. Funny how - or perhaps not - how everyone was saying before the Test that England had the edge in this department and it would be the key to winning the Test. Monty drops short and Clarke cuts for a single. Not much chance for the ball to spin given the speed Monty is sending it down.
1433 - 394-4:
Swann to North. Steady from the out-of-sorts twirler. So steady, in fact, that no runs are scored. Most definitely overcast in Cardiff.
1430 - 394-4:
We are in one of those disturbing phases of play when, North top edges apart, England don't look like taking wickets while the Aussies close steadily in on their opponent's first-innings total. Monty fires in a couple of quicker deliveries, one of which hurries Clarke. Two off the over, Clarke clipping the ball through square.
1428 - 392-4:
Broad might be the future but he is definitely not the present. First ball after lunch for Swann - and another low full toss, though he gets away with this one. Clarke uses his feet again, this time working the ball for a single. Delicious footwork, I bet he looks good on the dance floor. North gets in on the act, creaming a short and wide one to the ropes.
"Guys, Broad is the future here. He is a good bowler, one bad Test does not make him a bad bowler. He is actually making the batsmen play and look a bit uncomfortable. I am sure that he will take wickets this Test/series. Just have faith in him."eirebilly on 606
Join the debate on 606
1424 - 387-4: "I once caddied for Mick McManus at a pro-am golf tournament in Truro. I was only 16 and he gave me a right mouthful when I lost sight of his ball. At least he gave me a fiver at the end. Brian Close wanted change from my friend for his fiver."
The Aussies now trail by just 52 runs. Prior goes up for an lbw appeal off Monty, who himself is far from convincing in his earnest request to the umpire. Replays show why, it struck the batsman way outside off. Another dodgy sweep from North, the ball looping up but landing safely. Frustration for England. The milking of singles continues.
Dave, Swindon, in the TMS inbox
1420 - 383-4:
Way down leg from Broad. A total waste of a deliver. A shorter one from Broad then hits North in the ribs. The Aussie has been far from convincing so far but, after another shocker of a leg-side delivery, he pulls another short one. Just the single off a less than memorable over.
"I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings... It's just started raining in Fishguard. I suggest you get a message to the England dressing-room to get a move on and bowl the Aussies out!"Ross in Fishguard (south-west Wales), TMS inbox
1417 - 382-4:
North top edges a sweep from Panesar. The shot is in no way controlled but it eludes the field and he scampers a couple. If nothing else it gees the crowd up. North then works a single through fine leg. Clarke then disco dances down the track with some great footwork and drills the ball over Monty's head for a maximum. Clarke has breezed along to 36.
1414 - 373-4:
Clarke has nothing to do with a short one from Broad. The bowler tries his luck going around the wicket and ends a rare maiden with a straight one that results in a meek leg before appeal.
"I'm as far from being an Aussie supporter as can be, but you have to admire these players. They are giving England a master-class in how to chase down a relatively formidable total."Spogliadoo on 606
Join the debate on 606
1410 - 373-4:
Some excitement at last. Monty turns one out of the rough. It hits North on the pad, Cook catches in short and the crowd makes a considerable noise. No actual contact with the bat of course. Monty turns another and North looks a touch confused, like a boy who wanted a bike for Christmas but got a red woolly jumper.
"Regardless of the expression we are currently favouring for a replacement to chin music - can we have some please. Seems that Broad needs a healthy dose of aggression inserted into his bowling."Matt Izzard in the TMS inbox
1407 - 372-4:
Brains trust time as Strauss and Broad have a long, long chat. Short and wide follows. Clarke misses out the first time but works the ball away with the next one. Broad looks to shape the ball across the left-handed North.
1402 - 371-4:
More Monty. Lots of cloud cover now. North has a look at a couple then, bang, the batsman creams a fullish one through midwicket with a shot of murderous intent. That said, he always seemed to have the ball under control. He has a go at another one but doesn't get hold of it at all and Swann fields.
1358 - 367-4:
An easy, languid post-lunch hum around the ground - nothing like the buzz that Freddie gave us this time yesterday. Broady probes outside Clarke's off stump, eventually straightening his line and encountering an excellent defensive set up. Lush cover drive to the rope greets a fuller one. Broad looks short of ideas to me.
1355 - 363-4:
Clarke lays bat on ball throughout the over but keeps finding the field. Huge hour or so this if England really are to force their way right back into the match. Clarke finishes the over with a single after coming down the track and driving to deep mid-off.
1351 - 362-4:
Several people suggesting Alan Bateman was the creator of Home and Away. Broad in to North. Solid couple of deliveries to start but then he drifts to leg and North works him for an easy single, as does Clarke. No real edge to Broady's bowling. Very low key when what we need is some up and at 'em.
"RE: Derek in Windsor/endorsement tattoos, when I was 18, I had the brand logo of a guitar manufacturer permanently inked on my right arm, cos, y'know, I was 18, and it seemed cool. Not very many years later, the European Currency lot decided on their new currency, soon to be know as the Euro, and decided that the international logo for such a currency would be a slightly stylized curvy E with a line through it. Now everyone who sees me in short sleeves thinks I'm insanely keen on the single European currency. Which is rubbish."Tony, Sheffield, in the TMS inbox
1348 - 360-4:
Too short from Monty and Clarke cuts him through the off-side for another boundary. An attacking field for Monty and the Aussie is watchful and solid when the ball is pitched on a good length.
1344 - 355-4:
North off the mark - and in some style with a cracking on-drive. North repeats the trick later in the over - though Colly cuts the ball off and the Aussies settle for three. If timing is any indicator of form then North looks bang on.
Lunch has come and gone. Hope you had something nice. Broady to continue. I'm hoping he has not been listening or reading some of the opinions about his performance so far in this match.
"There already is endorsement-tattoo deals in the world of boxing. BillyTheHumanBillboard is exactly what his name says. His first tattoo advertisement paid for him to travel to California from Alaska to donate a kidney to friend."Calum in the TMS inbox
"Re. Derek Windsor. Did you know Gary Oldman was named after his grandfather? Think about it... "Pete, Barcelona, in the TMS inbox
"Here's a musical over(ture) of hostile bowling for you:
1) Cheek cha-cha
2) Face foxtrot
3) Midriff mambo
4) Sideburn samba
5) Hip (erm...) hip-hop 6) Helmet honky tonk."Pete, Barcelona, in the TMS inbox
"I've said it before that Broad is way over rated. He is a good bowler but that is about it. He will not rip through a batting order but maybe chip in with a couple of wickets. Add that the fact he can go around the park and it makes him a very expensive option for Strauss. This game I would guess is heading for a draw if the forecast is right. Next game at Lord's I would bring in Onions for Broad and Harmison for Panesar."
wolves83 on 606
Join the debate on 606
Don't forget to hit F5 so that everything can magically refresh since I took over from Dirsy. I wouldn't want you to think that he had suddenly lost his magic when he was in fact snaking his way along the queue at the butty shop.
"Re who's session that was. Let's see. 99/3, including both set batsmen gone? That's got to be England's surely? Australia are still ahead in the match, but this session was England's. Even Monty looks threatening!"Allyd Roberts in the TMS inbox
"I fondly remember messrs Holding, Croft, Garner and Marshall indulging in a spot of cranium calypso." Chris Nikitik in the TMS inbox
Fondly? I can only assume you were never 22 yards away sans tin lid.
The form of Stuart Broad is being heavily debated on 606, while plenty of texts via 8111 and mails landing in the TMS inbox are busy discussing the same subject. For mine, he has gifted too many easy runs so far. He has put on a bit of pace over the last year or so and I think he is a fine prospect but he needs to work on his stock delivery and I sometimes wonder if he does enough either through the air or off the pitch.
Join the debate on 606
"Did you know Michael Clarke's father created the popular tea time Aussie show Home and Away. True." Derek, Windsor, via text on 81111
Is this true? I know you say it is, but really? I notice Clarke has beefed up on the tattoo count since I last saw him. Sports people just cannot get enough body ink. How long before we see endorsement-tattoo deals?
Well, Ben has gone off for his well-earned break - and you lot are stuck with me for the next few hours. An intriguing morning session, for sure, but who edged it?
I really am going now, here's Fletch
"I'd like to add the phrase 'face jazz' to the vernacular for a spell of savage bouncers."Wizard, Grays, in the TMS inbox
"In response to Somerset, with silent facial features, London - surely 'cheek concerto', 'skull sonata' or 'adam's apple adagio' would be more appropriately alliterative?"Morgan Goford in the TMS inbox
1300 - 348-4
Panesar looks confident now, while Clarke looks twitchy. Two easy runs, however, into the leg-side and Clarke sees out the last over before lunch. A far better session for England there, and what Australia would have seen as a potentially-winning situation may just have slipped away. That's me done for now, Paul Fletcher
will be with you for the next few hours...
1256 - 346-4
Apologies, it is four wickets down, but you'll have to manually refresh to see it - a quirk of the new system, I'm afraid. Clarke is cleaved in two by a ball that nips back from Broad and squares him up, before Clarke, undeterred, picks up three with a straight drive. North on strike, and he plays a rancid scythe outside off - had he got out to that, I fancy Punter would have ripped North's Baggy Green off his head and burnt it before his eyes.
1253 - 343-4
Panesar gets one to grip and spit back at North, shouldering arms. More turn for Monty, who has a slip, a silly point and a forward and backward short leg in for the man from Melbourne who plays for Western Australia. he survives, but these are nervy times before lunch.
1250 - 343-4
Broad back on, and his first ball is pulled away for four. The Aussies clearly fancy the Notts seamer. Wide from Broad and Clarke reaches and prods it into the covers for a couple, before Broad locates his edge and the ball races through imaginary third slip and away for four. Two more for a drive through cover, and Clarke is already 14.
1247 - 331-4
It's Monty Time. It's Monty Time. It's Monty Time. Marcus North, who was in a bad trot of form before the tune-up in Worcester, gets a fizzer from Panesar, and the ball isn't far off ripping out his off-stump. Lovely replay there, showing Monty and his beaming smile, skipping as if through a field of corn like a requited lover.
1239 - WICKET - Ponting b Panesar 150, Aus 331-4
Anderson off, it's Monty Time... I used to get a little bit excited when I wrote that, but I don't any more. I'VE CHANGED MY MIND AGAIN! Ponting brings up his 150 with a push into the covers, but a few balls later he's gone, leaning back and chopping Panesar onto his off-stump. Great innings, massive breakthrough.
"I attended the birth of each of my five kids - and got my hands dirty. I will be attending my local football club's pre-season friendly on the day of my wedding anniversary next week. But the love hasn't died."The Alien, London, in the TMS inbox
1239 - 329-3
Flintoff, in his seventh straight over now, digs one in and Clarke sways out of the way. Strauss, like every England captain before him, must make sure not to overbowl Flintoff, and it already looks like his sting's been drawn in this spell. Clarke jams down on a low full-toss, let's hope that's the last of Freddie for a while.
1233 - 328-3
Ponting nicks a single to get Clarke on strike. Forty-seven Tests now for the 28-year-old, 3204 runs at an average of 47.82, and he's off the mark with a nurdle to mid-off.
"I am so, so, SO bored with the phrase 'chin music' (although I like what it denotes). Might I suggest you try 'jaw melody', 'jowl tune' or 'cheek harmony' out for size next time Freddie obliges?" Somerset, with silent facial features, London, in the TMS inbox
1229 - 326-3
A real buffed peach of a day in Cardiff as Flintoff charges in to bowl to Ponting. Punter punches a single to point, before Clarke is beaten by a lifter from Flintoff which holds it line. Dicey opening moments for the man from Liverpool... New South Wales...
"It did not seem to do a lot. It was just a nice line and length and the key was that it drew Hussey forward. It is alright to have a good spell and lift the crowd but you have to get wickets when you are bowling well. It is like in football - when you are playing well you have to get the ball in the net. England have got two goals this morning."Sir Geoffrey Boycott on TMS
1222 - WICKET - Hussey c Prior b Anderson 3, Aus 325-3
AND ANOTHER! Hussey drawn forward, he nibbles, and Prior takes a straightforward catch behind the stumps. That ball didn't really do much to be honest, but Hussey couldn't resist castling his line outside off. Michael Clarke next up the ramp, and Strauss immediately posts two gullies. England buzzing - I repeat, buzzing - now, and Bopara keeps Clarke on the dreaded nought with some sharp work at point. Clarke shoulders arms, and had that nipped back a bit further he might have lost his off-stump. Well played Anderson, keeping the pressure cranked up.
"The comment from Matt, Cambridge (see below) about bras being burned. The players from both teams could burn their bras after the match and place them in an urn to use as a trophy for years to come."Neil, Ipswich, in the TMS inbox
1221 - 325-2
BOOF! Ponting looks to pull and is hit in the side. That has got to hurt. Ponting hooks without looking, a la Botham at Headingley in '81, and top-edges over Panesar's head at long-leg for the first maximum of the game.
1215 - 318-2
Anderson more slippery than goose fat on linoleum at the moment, and Hussey's not about to take any liberties - five overs, 1-15 so far, and that's another maiden. "You've got to get people out," says Boycott on TMS... is there anything this wise old cricketing owl doesn't know about cricket?
1211 - 318-2
I should stress that when I mentioned a "real wicket" below, I simply meant a wicket that I was witness to. Talking of the Women's Ashes, the Aussies are 28-5, another one down. Hussey gets some chin music from Flintoff, he turns his head and the ball ricochets over Prior's head and races away for four. Hussey averages 91 against England, but his once Bradman-esque average has been coming down at an alarming rate over the last year or so. No ton since October 2008, a highest score of 50 in six Tests against South Africa. Bit more short stuff from Freddie, Hussey doesn't look entirely comfortable out there.
"Re: 1153, are you suggesting Women's Ashes wickets aren't real wickets? I can almost smell the bras burning already
"Matt, In Cambridge, with a loving father who attended his birth, in the TMS inbox
1203 - 308-2
Anderson really getting it to hoop this way and that now. He gets one to jag back at Ponting before getting one to boomerang extravagantly into Ponting - doing too much, one leg-bye. A single for Ponting, before Hussey very nearly plays on, the left-hander driving away from his body and the ball swinging the other way. Hussey gets off the mark with a single to square leg, time for drinks...
1159 - 306-2
Perfect, inswinging yorker from Anderson - what did I tell you, I could feel something brewing. Marvellous knock from Katich, that, a really flinty knock: 261 balls, 12 fours. Hussey is out ahead of Michael Clarke, but Ponting's on strike. Easy four, Flintoff straying down leg, and he picks up another couple with a nurdle to mid-wicket. But that's better from Flintoff, keeping Punter honest with a ball that pitches and nips away. A single for Ponting, and Hussey gets right behind his one ball faced.
"Billy Doctrove took a long time to put the finger up - he wasn't keen about giving it out. That is one of the best innings that I have seen Simon Katich play for Australia. He got better and better and looked very, very solid."Ian Chappell on TMS
"I once shared a bedroom with Mick McManus. And he also took me into the Long Room at Lord's at a Test. Great Guy."Tim in Maidenhead in the TMS inbox
1153 - WICKET - Katich lbw b Anderson 122, Aus 299-2
A WICKET! IN FACT TWO WICKETS! Australia 23-4! In the first women's Ashes Test. At New Road. Anderson getting the ball to go both ways here - one swings away from the right-handed Ponting, another hoops back in late. A REAL WICKET! Anderson gets one to swing into the left-handed Katich, Umpire Doctrove spends an age thinking about it, but eventually up goes his finger - that would have splattered all three.
1148 - 298-1
Thick outside edge from Katich and the ball races away for four, all along the carpet. Sorry, I'm going to say it, I can feel something about to happen here... oooh! nasty from Flintoff, Katich turns his back on a short one and is struck between the shoulder blades. That must have been like having an axe plunged into his back, but he thinks on his feet and covers his timbers.
1144 - 294-1
Ponting has a force off the back foot, and the ball skews off the face and falls just in front of Pietersen at gully. The chances coming at least. Good length from Anderson, this time getting the ball to jag back at Ponting, before Punter reaches for one and angles the ball to the left of Pietersen and away for four. Anderson has a word, Punter looks back amusedly, like a patient teacher soaking up barbs from one of his uppity pupils.
1140 - 290-1
Freddie in to Katich... oh my word, it's a Harmison ball! That started wide and ended up being taken by a diving Prior in front of second slip. But whereas Harmison looked like he wanted to be beamed back to Ashington, Flintoff just has a little chuckle before drawing Katich into a wild and windy woosh next ball. The crowd rising to this, and Freddie gets one to nip back the other way next ball. Spicy enough first over from Flintoff.
1135 - 289-1
Strauss has had enough of spin, it's time for the new nut. Anderson to bowl the first ball with it, and it's short and clubbed round the corner for four by Ponting. Panesar was somewhere down there, but nowhere near it. Oh my days, Ponting looks in horribly good form - pitched up from Anderson and Australia's captain creams him through the covers for four more. Good point, Michael (see below) - was it octuplets? Get ready for Freddie...
"RE Ben from Durham - worst dad ever. 'My Dad missed my birth in 1977 because he was listening to Boycott scoring a century on Radio 4'. How Long was your mother in labour for?"Michael, Leicester, in the TMS inbox
1131 - 281-1
You might not be thinking that in a few hours time, Nick (see below), if this pair are still in someone will probably end up throwing a cup of hot Bovril in your face. Another full-bunger to start from Swann and Ponting clips him away for three. Poor from Swann - short and wide, and Katich backs away and slashes him to the point boundary. Disappointing from Swann so far, I was expecting more from him to be honest.
"Today is my last day of work experience. I've been assigned the task of keeping the office up to date with the cricket score! Best work experience ever!"Nick Burke in the TMS inbox
1127 - 274-1
Monty lures Katich forward and draws an edge, but the ball falls just short of a diving Collingwood. But that's not clever from Panesar, his next ball too full and Katich slaps it through the covers for four.
1124 - 270-1
Swanny's on! And his first ball's a full toss - Punter plonks a size 9 down the pitch and gives it the treatment. But that's a doozy from Swann next up, getting one to grip and rip back at Punter and just miss his off-peg. More turn, but this time it's too short and Ponting pulls him away for one. Apart from that first ball, that was a pretty promising over.
"Ahhh, the wrestling. Or Grappling, as Kent Walton would call it. The good old days. Where is Kendo Nagasaki when you need him? What wouldn't England give for a quick Kamikaze Crash on Katich or a straight fingers to Punters throat? Glory days." Colin Allcars, Misty eyed, just down the road in Newport, in the TMS inbox
1121 - 264-1
Monty drops short and Ponting, with all the time in the world, rocks back and pings him through the covers for four. That's the 200 partnership, as Ponting drops to one knee and sweeps for one.
1118 - 259-1
Ponting with an effortless on-drive, but that's nice teamwork between Anderson and Swann on the boundary - Jimmy flocking, Swanny throwing - and the Aussie skipper runs three. News from the Women's Ashes - the Aussies are in turmoil! We've got them 7-2 at New Road...
"This is the point where ex-captain Michael Vaughan would come up with something unconventional. Lets see what Strauss can do to get the breakthrough. If we can get the current centurions out in the first hour then we could limit them with their Ashes new boys further down the order. This first hour could be the most important of the whole match."
Gerrardswhiskers on 606
Join the debate on 606
1115 - 256-1
Strangled lbw appeal from Panesar against Ponting - ugly looking sweep shot, but that was nowhere near. Bit of room for Ponting, and the Aussie skipper makes room, but he's unable to force a run into the off-side. A tickle round the corner from Ponting takes him onto 102. Four men round the bat for Katich, but he blocks out the final ball. Just one from the over.
1111 - 255-1
Katich goes to 250 with a clip through square-leg for one. Two slips in and a gully in for Ponting... bit of width from Broad and Ponting backs away and carves him through point for a single. Broad getting plenty of lift with one, Prior taking the ball at shoulder height, before Katich plays a contemptuous flick straight down the ground for four. You have to say Katich has been magnificent so far, that cannot be denied. Flinty, utterly focussed, totally locked in. For the England bowlers, it must be like duelling with Yul Brynner in Westworld.
"Re Ben (see below) - I missed my own birth in 1953 because my Dad and I were listening to England win the Ashes at the Oval (Len Hutton 82, Trevor Bailey 64 in the first innings, Bill Edrich 55 not out in the second)"Graham also from Durham, with no male ballet dancers in the family, in the TMS inbox
1108 - 249-1
Monty to bowl the second over of the day. Decent ball there, getting a hint of turn away from the right-handed Punter, and it's another maiden. Blowers on TMS
reckons that was as good an over as he bowled all day yesterday, and he might be right.
1102 - 249-1
Broad still looks like a boy, and yesterday Ponting and Katich must have made him feel like a boy. At times, it was like watching a young pup being drunk under the table by a couple of grizzly gunslingers in a wild west saloon. But that was a decent first over from Broad, including one delivery that behaves like a leg-cutter, spitting off the surface and leaving Katich for dead. No signs of that calf injury, the Notts man looking pretty sprightly...
"I'm fascinated by the social phenomenon reflected in Ben in Durham's
knowing ambivalence in respect of his son's ballet abilities, adopting his 'hard man down the pub' narrative whilst also giving the reader a sense of his 'new man' pride." Paul in Lancs in the TMS inbox
England players out, here come the Aussies... looks like a spangling day up in Cardiff... Broady to bowl the first over of the day...
"Is there any reason why Plan C couldn't involve something crazy such as bowling a decent line and length, seam up, and tempting the batsmen into a nibble to the 'keeper or first slip? Or is this too unfashionable/radical/dumb?"Leon in Yorkshire in the TMS inbox
Dunno about worst dad in the world, but my nan once missed my nativity play because she was watching the wrestling on World of Sport. She was one of those people who thought it was real, and used to climb off the sofa and wave her fist at the telly and shout "gertcha!" whenever Haystacks came on. Mind you, she thought Benny from Crossroads was real as well, poor moo. "Among those dark satanic mills..." That can only mean one thing, we're almost off...
Australia captain Ricky Ponting:
"It is always a nice achievement to reach three figures and to get there late in the day was a relief. It was a really good end to the day for us. England snuck away a bit in the morning so it was important that we batted well. Simon Katich has done an amazing job over the last 12 months. We have to push on now, make sure we are there when the new ball comes and get through that. The pitch is particularly slow. It did not swing much yesterday but with a slightly harder new ball today it might do a little bit more."
"RE Ben from Durham - worst Dad ever. My Dad missed my birth in 1977 because he was listening to Boycott scoring a century on Radio 4
" Alasdair in the TMS inbox
Big day for Monty you'd have to think, he was wearing plenty of flak on the 606 messageboards last night. And it's a good point Andrew
(see below), not only were the England attack failing to make it swing, the spinners weren't really tweaking it either. Sadly, I imagine Plan C is tough out the nine overs before the new ball is due and hope the new one offers some hoop. In the meantime, hold tight and hum the theme from Simon Bates' Our Tune...
"England have played two spinners on a pitch that has offered some turn, and then complain about the lack of swing? If swing and spin were plans A and B, are we onto plan C now? And if so, what is it?!"Andrew in the TMS inbox
"Reckon Straussy could do worse than toss the ball to KP at some stage - you never know, Punter could be his bunny
"Alex in the TMS inbox
(see below), nah, I don't think so, your son's probably rubbish anyway and embarrassed to have you there. By the way, I've just stuck in the live video scorecard
at the top of the page, but you'll have to manually refresh
if you want to see it.
"Taken the afternoon off to go and watch the cricket in the pub with a mate. It means I'm missing my son's ballet recital though. Worst Dad ever?" Ben, Durham, in the TMS inbox
The sun is out in Cardiff, although there is plenty of cloud cover. The weather folk reckon we'll get a full day's play in, although they expect it to turn into the shape of a pear at the weekend. The cricketing gods have their branding iron in the fire, and it's twisted to spell out the word 'DRAW'...
"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves, why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? Come on England!"Paul, France, in the TMS inbox
Where has all the reverse swing gone?
Graeme Swann said the lack of swing on day two had left England "in a bit of a quandary": gun barrel straight all day, nobody seems to have a ruddy clue why. On a side note, and whether those stories in the paper are true or not, anyone got any clue why anyone would want to bug Lenny Henry? To find out if he still does Delbert Wilkins in the bath?
"Great stuff from Ponting and Katich, we have a superb platform now. One of them has to go big - like 200+ - and we must look for about 550-600, and hope that Johnson, Siddle and Hilfy are all 'on' when England bat again." James on 606
Join the debate on 606
Hello everyone. It was a case of meet the new Aussies, same as the old Aussies yesterday for England, with Ponting and Katich grinding the England attack into the ground. The England seamers say they are mystified about the lack of swing, and if they have the same problem today, there could be a couple pulling up lame...