First Ashes Test, Cardiff, day five:
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)
ENGLAND 435 & 252-9 DREW WITH AUSTRALIA 674-6 DEC
Right ladies and gents and everyone else, it's time for me to go. I feel like I've just like endured a four-day, hallucinogenic fever, before waking suddenly, rolling over and coming face to face with a beautiful woman. Like many, I doubted England, they proved me wrong, but they'll have to be a whole lot better from now on. Oh, by the way, arise, Sir Dennis Lillee...
"I never thought in a million years we would save that game. We aren't supposed to hang in like that, we always crumble to defeat. I don't understand it. I was all for dropping Panesar for Onions in the next Test, but have to say, after that display of passion and effort for the team he deserves to keep his place. A few posters today, including me, are eating a bit of humble pie."budget on 606
Join the debate on 606
"England haters, you can shove it where the moon don't shine. It doesn't matter a whit that Austrailia 'dominated'. Australia choked. Ponting choked. And they will be barbecued in the Aussie sports pages. So, the hell with them, this is our day."Sven on 606
Join the debate on 606
"Old Trafford 2005, Australia celebrated a draw. England got an even more impressive draw, they didn't lose, they SAVED the game. If Pietersen and Strauss had stayed in and got the draw, we'd be celebrating. All's well that ends well."bilsim on 606
Join the debate on 606
"Our bowlers can't bowl but can bat, our batters can't bat or bowl, our captain can't bat or set fields and King Colly can do everything. I love this sport. Only in TEST cricket can you be this happy after getting a battering like that."jervis on 606
Join the debate on 606
"David in Belfast (see below): 'There is a strength in the union even of very sorry men.' (Homer, The Iliad). Ben - no , not that kind of union, you bigamist." Paul in Lancs in the TMS inbox
"If you can't get Monty out twice then, frankly, you don't deserve to win! What a bizarre tactical final hour by Ponting; very mysterious indeed."red on 606
Join the debate on 606
"FAO David from Belfast, I think English cricket has every reason to celebrate the result - a draw is a superb result considering the mess we were in. The performance on the other hand... well, there are a wealth of four-letter words I could use to describe it. Such as: poor, dire, lame, drab, fish... where's my thesaurus?"Matt, Barcelona, gradually forgetting how to speak English, in the TMS inbox
"You might well disagree with the numbers I've dished out, but that's the point. Get stuck in and knock yourself out. I still can't believe what I've just seen..." Tom Fordyce, BBC Sport in Cardiff
First Test player ratings
"I'd give [the man of the match Champagne] back straightaway for one more wicket and 20 less runs. We showed a lot of heart and haven't really done anything wrong. I'm disappointed we didn't win because I thought we played well enough to. It was always going to be hard to win after we lost the toss on that surface but I'm proud of the players. There are four Test matches to go in the series and we have to keep playing at this level if we want to win." Australia captain Ricky Ponting
(see below), wouldn't have liked to be in the trenches with you, sounds like you would have been tripping people up as they went over the top. Yes, England were pretty woeful, but they live to fight another day, and that should trump any sense of negativity anyone might be having. Surely?
"I don't think any fan of English cricket should even think of celebrating the result. England narrowly avoided an innings defeat here. The scoreboard will tell you that it's still 0-0 but Australia have wiped the floor with England here, plain and simple." David, Belfast, in the TMS inbox
"Australia couldn't have done anything more, they were very, very unlucky, but it's days like this that make Test match cricket so special."glitter on 606
Join the debate on 606
"Bang! There goes Glenn McGrath's prediction!"Aaron in the TMS inbox
Sorry, spelling mistake, I'm not marring Monty and Jimmy, I'm marrying them, I'm marrying them... but let's not get too carried away - England were second best in every department in this match, the top order batted like drains, the seamers were ineffective, the spinners were turning it slower than milk. But they hung on, and when Ponting says "he's a little bit disappointed," as he just did, you know he's lying.
1847 - 252-9
That last pair survived 11 overs and three balls, an astonishing rearguard action. But I tell you one thing, Punter is going to be flayed and crucified by the Australian media tomorrow - persevering with Johnson when Hilfenhaus and Siddle were willing, bowling Marcus North... Ponting's mind is as difficult to decipher as wormholes.
1843 - 252-9
... Anderson lunges forward and is beaten, but he blocks the next ball... it's been a magnificent escape folks, look at Punter's little face... Anderson dabs to third-man, and Monty hares down the track for a single... AND THEY'VE DONE IT! THEY'VE GONE AND DONE IT! Players shake hands! Join the queue, I'm marrying Monty! And Anderson! I don't care if it's bigamy!
1840 - 251-9
Anderson plays to square-leg as the clock passes 1840, I'm pretty sure Australia won't be able to bat again, even if they do take a wicket now...
1838 - 251-9
Bit of confusion here as to whether it's six balls or 60 seconds left... Ponting wasting time chatting to the umpires...
1838 - 251-9
Ponting, mindful that he needs to get the overs in, continues with North at the other end. Monty pushes into the covers... leaves the next... and the next, too wide outside off... Monty blocks the final delivery, we've got one more over, we think...
1836 - 251-9
Anderson getting forward and smothering everything that Hauritz has to offer... four minutes remaining...
I can't believe they're doing this. If these guys hold out I'm marrying Monty."Josh Cooper in the TMS inbox
1834 - 251-9
Ponting turning to the part-time spin of Marcus North. Big call, but it could make him a hero. A minimum of four overs to go in the game now, match finishes at 1850... short from North, but Anderson can only slice it down to third-man for one. FOUR FROM PANESAR! Short again from North, and Monty rocks back, flays him through point and the ball goes straight through Hauritz. Panesar prods forward and smothers, before going back and showing a straight bat. Monty forward to the final ball... three overs left... forget about number of overs now, the game will finish at 1850, so if England are still batting at 1841, it's a draw because of the 10-minute changover... six minutes to go...
1829 - 246-9
Is it unseemly for a grown man to cry at cricket? Win or lose, it's going to happen. Anderson pushes forward, leaves his bat out to dry, and the ball falls just short of slip. Anderson picks up a thick outside edge to backward point, and Monty skips through for one. Monty smothers well, before leaving the final delivery. Four overs left, the lead just seven...
1826 - 245-9
Big lbw appeal from Siddle against Monty, but he was coming from around the wicket and that was going down. Siddle on replay looked like he was trying to charm a snake with that appeal, but Doctrove held firm. Siddle going over now, and Monty jerks out of the way of a short, lifting ball. Good leave from Panesar, the ball pitching on off-stump and hooping away. Another extravagant leave from Monty, and he gets right in behind the final ball of the over. Five overs left, the lead just six...
1821 - 245-9
Monty gets off strike with a single. Anderson with a jerky little outside edge, but the ball drops short of the slips. Anderson goes back and almost loses his off-peg, but he gets forward to the next ball and smothers the spin. And again... six overs to go, England lead by six...
1819 - 244-9
Grenade from Siddle, that ball went through the top and went snorting through to wicket-keeper Haddin. Anderson, looking to pass the Aussie total, had a wild flash at that. A huge, drunken roar as Anderson plays a solid forward defensive, and it's as if he's discovered a cure for for the hangover as he squirts an outside edge away for four - Australia will now have to bat again - and it's as if he's brokered a peace deal for the Middle East as he flays Siddle through point for four more...
1815 - 236-9
Lavish turn from Hauritz, beating the lunge of Panesar, before Panesar gets well forward to snuff out the spin, and survives another over... eight overs remaining, England three runs behind.
1812 - 236-9
Huge applause as Monty gets in behind a Siddle delivery on middle stump. Monty in behind again.... and again... a slow, tennis ball bouncer from Siddle, and Monty pulls his gloves out of the way. Monty wants a run from the final delivery, but is sent back by Anderson. Strauss, looking like he's having treatment on his ingrowing toenails, hides his head up on the balcony. Monty nicks the strike with a cheeky little nibble round the corner...
1809 - 235-9
Anderson rocks back on his heels and flashes, but is beaten. He has a nibble again, and is beaten once more by Hauritz. Anderson beaten once again, and this time the Aussies go up for a catch, but Umpire Dar stands firm. Pretty outrageous lbw appeal from Hauritz as Anderson pads up, but that wouldn't have hit another set. Anderson gets well forward to the final delivery and snuffs out the spin. Ten overs remain, England still four runs behind.
1805 - 235-9
A meek end to a glorious innings from Collingwood, but he still gets a standing ovation from the capacity Cardiff crowd. Hussey needed two goes at that by the way, which only made it worse. Monty's up next by the way, and in case anyone wasn't aware, he's not very good at batting. His first ball flies over middle and off, but he picks up a single from his second ball faced. Siddle angles one across Anderson, and is twirled round the corner for one. Jimmy retains the strike at least. Eleven overs left, England four runs behind.
1800 - WICKET - Collingwood c Hussey b Siddle 74, Eng 233-9
Siddle on, probably about 10 overs too late, and he comes around the wicket to Anderson... Anderson turns him away for one, and England scurry a single to bring Colly on strike. Collingwood gone, following one outside off and steering it straight to gully... and no, that's not a sick joke...
1800 - 232-8
Leg before from Hauritz, but that was nowhere near as Collingwood got a big stride in. I've got whiskey fingers now, can barely type... Colly prods and pokes his way through that over, 12 overs remains...
1757 - 232-8
Still Johnson. That's a rank long-hop, and Anderson flashes him through the covers for four. Blowers says it's like a kettle in Cardiff, the lid rattling as the temperature rises, and I like that. Anderson fences at one and is beaten, but gets his head down next ball, shouldering arms. Another tempter from Johnson, and again Anderson has a nibble. Any more of that, and they'll start calling him DangerMouse. EDGE! But it's all along the ground and goes a couple of bounces to Ponting at first slip. Thirteen overs left... Ponting looks like he's about to spontaneously combust. If Australia do win this, we'll find Ponting splattered all over South Wales.
"Believing England can survive this Test feels as naive as those poor idiots thinking the war would be over in time for Christmas. Although, if the war was against Australia and the battle one involving bats and balls, then it probably would've been over in time to have a quick holiday before school started back up again." Nadia between sulking and weeping in the TMS inbox
1753 - 228-8
Anderson rocks back and slaps Hauritz to deep extra-cover for three. The Aussies willing the ball to the boundary, but Colly gets back on strike. Leg before appeal against Collingwood, but that wasn't doing enough. Colly smothers and kills the spin and survives the over.
1750 - 225-8
Good grief, this is getting too much. Short from Johnson, Anderson gets himself into a tangle, Colly is sent back, and a direct hit would have dismissed him. Anderson, feet staked to the crease, prods outside off and is beaten on the inside. Anderson tucks Johnson round the corner for one - not sure that was the right thing to do. Collingwood is unable to get back on strike, it's Hauritz against Anderson next over. Fifteen overs left, 14 runs to make Australia bat again...
1744 - 224-8
Anderson backs away and flays Hauritz through backward-point for one, and that's 50 Test innings without a duck. They could have taken two there, but Colly does the sensible thing and takes the strike. Collingwood, surrounded by four Aussie fielders and Haddin lunges forward and gets a thick inside edge. BIG APPEAL FOR A BAT PAD! THE AUSSIES THINK THEY'VE GOT HIM! Umpire Dar having none of it, and he's got that right, it was nowhere near his bat. Ponting, who took a sharp catch diving forward, runs towards Dar, clutching the ball with his arm outstretched, as if he's just unearthed the Koh i noor, but that's not out. Say night night to your match fee, Ricky...
1739 - 223-8
Johnson offers width and Collingwood steers him through backward-point for a couple. Johnson, bowling with all the intensity of Harry Redknapp on the family Wii, strays down leg-side, but Collingwood misses out.
"I'm trying to keep up to date with the score, stuck on a ship in the Gulf of Aden trying to catch pirates. Catching pirates is easier than being an England supporter." Ben in the TMS inbox
1735 - 221-8
No complaints there, the Australia win once again the favourite. The replays show that was actually meant to be a short one from Hilfenhaus, but it kept low. Anderson is next up the ramp, and he has a little fish first up and is beaten. Hilfenhaus goes for the yorker and Anderson jams down on it. Hilfenhaus with a low full-toss, and Anderson, with crooked bat, yanks it to mid-wicket. No run taken. Fulsome applause for Hilfenhaus, sporting bunch in Cardiff.
1729 - WICKET - Swann lbw b Hilfenhaus 31, Eng 221-8
Ponting posts a leg gully, which means Hilfenhaus is going to send down some short stuff... it's a bluff - just short of a length, Swann goes for the pull, misses, and that was hitting middle.
1729 - 221-7
One thing's for certain, if Australia do blow this, Ponting is going to be thrown on the media barbie Down Under - no idea what Mitchell Johnson's still doing on, especially when Siddle looked so threatening earlier on. Slingy delivery down the leg side, and Collingwood nibbles him to the long-leg boundary. Johnson down the leg-side once again, and Collingwood nurdles him through square-leg for two more. Not sure we'll be seeing Johnson again. Nineteen overs remaining...
1725 - 215-7
Deary me, don't do that to me Swann. Pitched up from Hilfenhaus, and the England spinner flays him lavishly through the covers for four. Hilfenhaus has a rummage around in his box of tricks and pulls out a slower ball, which Swann plays well. Swann onto the front foot, and he checks the drive... 20 overs to go, England 20 runs behind. Apologies, two overs are scrubbed if England do pass Australia's total...
"I'm afraid the ladies are as pessimistic as you are! I am currently sat alone in a darkened room, following the Ashes updates online and listening to the 100 greatest power ballads... I'm dying inside."Grace, in the TMS inbox
1721 - 211-7
Johnson, his left arm seemingly getting lower and lower, is getting a little bit yippy here, and I don't mean yippy ki-yay - another wide miles outside off. Nervy looking stroke from Collingwood, neither back or forward, and the ball very nearly kicks open his gates. But he survives, and we've got 21 overs left. By the way, if England do pass Australia's total, three overs are scratched from that total - England 28 runs behind at the end of that over.
"Have been at the village fete all afternoon, just got back to find England are making a decent go of being heroes. How bizarre! On my birthday too!" Jacqui, in Wilberfoss, near York, in the TMS inbox
1717 - 208-7
Bumper from Hilfenhaus, and Colly ducks under it with the minimum of fuss. Leg before appeal from Hilfenhaus against Colly, but not only was that high, that was straying down leg. Swann lunges forward in rather wooden fashion, and the ball finds the edge and flies past Hughes in the gully and away for four. Swann pushes into the covers for a couple to move to 27. The bookies have got the draw as the favourite now... an England win 1000-1, in case anyone's interested...
1712 - 202-7
Mitchell Johnson with the new nut now. Wide outside off-stump, but I'm so pessimistic, I just view that as one more potential wicket-taking ball for Australia. Two more dreadful deliveries well outside off-stump from Johnson, he's not making Collingwood play, and that was pretty ordinary. Any ladies out there? I wouldn't mind some chat from a lady, a surrogate arm round the shoulder and a pat on the head... I'm getting a little bit nervous now...
1708 - 201-7
Short from Hilfenhaus, and Colly plays it comfortably into the off-side. No second slip, which does seem strange with Hilfenhaus swinging the ball away so far in this match. Bit of in-swing from Hilfenhaus, and Collingwood gets a thick inside edge into the leg-side. New ball taken halfway through the over, Ponting goes to second slip, and Collingwood is beaten by a ball that holds its line. Hilfenhaus strays onto Colly's pads and is nurdled to leg for one. Twenty-four overs remaining...
1702 - 200-7
Plenty of air from Katich, and it goes straight on, beats the lunge from Swann, and dribbles away for four byes. Haddin's been pretty smart behind the timbers to be honest, there were a few question marks over his head coming into this series. Scuttling delivery from Katich, and that's a neat tuck round the corner for two from Swann. Hope bubbling up in the crowd now, strains of 'Barmy Army', still a long, long way to go...
1658 - 194-7
Gossamer from Swann, waiting on one from Hauritz and dabbing him to third-man for a couple. Bit of width from Hauritz and Swann twirls him elegantly through cover-point for three - Katich with the flick-back, Siddle with the throw.
1655 - 189-7
Well-flighted delivery from Katich, and Swann stretches needlessly and squirts down to third-man for a couple. Bit loose that. Long hop from Katich and Swann swivels and drags him away for a single to mid-wicket. Colly blocks the final ball. By golly Colly's not pretty, but he's a keeper...
"Will you traitors stop this rubbish? If Australia were batting it would be dogged resistance - cricket is a game of mental strength and this pair have bucket loads."Anon, via text on 81111
"I never understand the thinking in these situations from the fielding side. They want to bowl at Swann because he is easier to get out - but why not attack Collingwood too? Get him out and the game is almost certainly yours."hawick on 606
1652 - 186-7
Hauritz drags one down and Swann rocks back and carves him through point for one. New ball due in four overs by the way. Air from Hauritz, and Colly drives him easily into the covers for a couple. One more over gone, shades of Old Trafford 2005...
1650 - 183-7
Katich has 18 Test wickets at just under 30, so he's no muggins with the ball. Bit of a delay now as a new lid is brought out for new short leg Hughes - Katich's helmet must be funkier than a teenager's duvet - before Collingwood tucks him round the corner for an easy single. Swann plays backs and squeezes the ball back to the bowler, before Katich drops short and is yanked away for a single.
"Regarding your prison comparison, I'm watching your updates whilst working in a prison. I will ask one of the prisoners to do this and see how it compares for them." Lawrence, Wormwood Scrubs, in the TMS inbox
1646 - 180-7
Short from Hauritz and Collingwood makes room and flashes him through point for a single. Swann survives the rest of the over, it's time for some Chinamen from Simon Katich.
1643 - 180-7
Attempted yorker from Siddle, plenty of in-swing, but Swann keeps his eye on it and clips it through the covers for four. Another attempted yorker from Siddle, Swann cracks him straight back down the ground, and Colly would have been out if the bowler had got a touch on it - but he didn't. Swann, yanking his head out of the way again, wears another bumper, but it's another notch on the wall.
1638 - 173-7
Short from Hauritz and Collingwood pokes into the covers for one. Hauritz with a bit of drift, and Swann clips him off his pads for a single, before Colly gets a straight one which he deflects behind square for one more.
1635 - 170-7
Yorker first up from Siddle, and Collingwood gets everything behind it. Colly (he's the only one allowed a nickname now) pushes into the covers for one. Swann gets right in behind the rest of Siddle's over, well played. Anyone wanting to replicate prison life, I recommend you take a tranny radio into your toilet, turn off the light and scratch a notch on the wall for every passing over. Thirty-three overs minimum to go... BRING IT ON!
A few minutes now until the restart, and what a fabulous day it is in Cardiff, and, remarkably, we've still got a full house. The Aussies spew out of the pavilion, closely followed by Collingwood and Swann.
"I challenge Dirs to write an update without using the word 'like'."Bob, Cambridge, in the TMS inbox
Opera Boy is banging out O Sole Mio now. "What a beautiful thing is a sunny day, the air is serene after a storm, the air's so fresh that it already feels like a celebration. What a beautiful thing is a sunny day..." Have a day off Caruso...
Nasser's out in the middle, and he reckons there's nothing wrong with this wicket at all, which is code for England have simply been a load of old rubbish.
Thanks Stevo. It is me, Ben Dirs
, whose task it is to relay to you England's agonising death like some high priest of batting collapses. I watched every ball in Adelaide, and I've watched pretty much every ball today, and it's difficult to know which was worse... manually refresh to make everything update.
See you later, then. If there's one man who can save this match, it's almost certainly not Dirsy.
But here he is anyway - in proper chipper mood, I'd have thought.
"If I had £10 for every time Geoff Boycott mentioned 'uncovered pitches' I'd still be entirely miserable about this England performance."Will Collins, usually in Yorkshire, in the TMS inbox
1610 - 169-7
Last over before tea after a mammoth session and Hauritz is forced away through the offside by Colly for a couple. Swann looks a good bit more comfy this over and that's your lot for 20 minutes.
"Whatever happens today, Collingwood has been the only top order batsman for England who's actually been up to the job. Our best player in this match by far."Ian, Bedford, via text on 81111
1607 - 166-7
Siddle continues to charge in and a short one crashes into Graeme Swann's left glove as he turns away at the last moment. Swanny calls for the physio and gets a few minutes of treatment, eating up some more time. Another short one crashes into Swann's arm, he's not looking at the ball at all, and he calls for the physio yet again. I thought you were supposed to try and keep your eye on the ball? The magic spray does the trick, and after another short one that Swann fends just short of short-leg, a pretty long over mercifully comes to an end. After a good bit of chat from Siddle, too.
1556 - 165-7
Hauritz continues to Colly, who is not budging an inch. Just a single from the over, which included another Ponting-Hauro get together. In the telly ad break, there's yet more footage from 2005. It's starting to really hurt.
1553 - 164-7
Colly slots Siddle into the leg side and brings up a 50 he should be proud of, as he waves his bat in the general direction of the England balcony with the look of a man who's just been told he has a week to live. Siddle bowls some short stuff to Swanny, good plan after his first-innings heroics, before a yorker is glanced off his boot by Swann for four.
1548 - 159-7
It is of course seven down now for England, not six - wishful thinking on my part. Graeme Swann is the next sitting duck, while Colly watches on wistfully from the other end, 49 not out from 166 balls.
1547 - WICKET Broad lbw b Hauritz 14, Eng 159-7
Hauritz to Broad, and finally the Aussies get their breakthrough - I'm blaming Boycs for this one, no doubts at all. Broady tries to play a straight one towards mid-wicket (heard that one before, for crying out loud) and it hits him three-quarters of the way up, in front of middle and leg. Plumb.
"I suspect the crowd are just starting to think that there is a chance England could save this game, and the players are probably starting to think that too. The Australians just seem to be a little bit irritated at the moment."Geoff Boycott on TMS
1543 - 159-6
Peter Siddle is all over this lbw appeal - he hits Colly what appears to be a bit high and a bit down leg side, but Hawkeye shows it's clipping the top of leg stump. He's getting into a decent spell here, Sidds. He then puts his heart and soul into a bouncer, before losing his balance and falling flat on his face in the middle of the wicket, much to the enjoyment of the non-Aussies in the crowd.
1539 - 158-6
Conference time for Ricky Ponting and Nathan Hauritz, what can they conjure up? Precisely nothing whatsoever, as Colly doggedly deals with whatever he's given, glancing another one off his hips to move on to 49. Broad follows suit, half an hour until tea still, remember.
"Just a thought, but after this performance, shouldn't we be firing up the BBQ and popping another bail on?"Pete, in Marylebone, in the TMS inbox
1535 - 157-6
Leg-bye off Siddle gets Broad off strike, another leg-bye gets him back on. On TMS, they were just asked the question 'who is the best Welsh cricketer of all time?' Easy answer - Wilf Wooller. In fact, he was the best Welshman at every sport going, a genuine all-rounder if ever there was one. Legend. Siddle finally snares an edge from Broad's bat but it drops agonisingly short of Ricky Ponting at second slip. Another edge and the ball flies away for four. Things starting to happen, ominously.
"In JM Barrie's book it states: "Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze." The cricket's hardly setting the country in a blaze, maybe now's the time?"Andy, bored in work, in the TMS inbox
1529 - 151-6
Hauritz is paddled down leg side by Broad for a single but it's all gone a bit flat, even from the Aussies. I just yawned even though I'm not remotely tired, which probably isn't the best sign. Hauritz is no-balled twice, unforgiveable for a slow bowler in anyone's book.
"Is it any consolation that my mum reckons England deserve to win this Test because our fast bowlers are better looking than theirs? She put Broad against Hilfy, Jimmy A against Siddle, and Freddie against MJ, we won 2-1, no prizes for guessing who lost their mini battle."Paddy, Down Under in the TMS inbox
"In the absence of anything resembling a sporting contest taking place, can anyone help me with the following? In Peter Pan, what was Captain Hook known as before he lost his hand in a disagreement with a crocodile?" Ricky in the TMS inbox
1523 - 148-6
Finally North is hauled off and Peter Siddle bounds in for his first bowl of the afternoon. He goes around the wicket to Broad, who pushes into the offside for a single that gets a cheer it doesn't really warrant. Cue the second drinks interval of the session.
1518 - 147-6
Hauritz bowls outside off stump and Colly leaves well alone, finally having a dash at one that crashes into Ponting at silly mid-off, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Tea will be taken at 1610 BST, so you'll have to put up with me for a bit longer. Colly pulls the last ball away viciously for four to move to 48, a bit short that from Hauro.
"Shout out to my friend Ed Lagdon who slipped on a bail and did his shoulder in playing cricket yesterday. Wearing the pumps he went out in Friday night though, so half his fault. His mum rushed on to make it better/much worse..."Stuart, Ludlow, in the TMS inbox
1514 - 143-6
They are flying through their overs the Aussies, but it's danger-free cricket at the moment - pretty much like it was for the 17 days they seemed to bat for in this Test. North twirls away to Broad's off stump, but still nothing doing. Can't help but feel Punter's missing a trick here.
1512 - 143-6
Hauritz to Colly from around the wicket, but even Satan himself would have trouble tempting the dogged England batter into playing a risky shot out there. Another over, another maiden, another example of how to play in this situation.
1509 - 143-6
North continues at Broad, he's bowling so wide of the crease he's barely even on the cut, but it's a maiden as Broad takes his cue from Colly and pats everything to safety. Just don't get your hopes up, whatever you do.
1506 - 143-6
Broad dashes for another quick single off Hauritz, leaving Colly to guts out the rest of the over, prodding the ball absolutely nowhere but not looking in any real danger.
"Surely 'Howitzer' Hauritz is the more linguistically apt sobriquet for the man, particularly in terms of the destruction he's wreaking on England's batting line-up? If there were any grenades knocking about I imagine the England players would have unpinned them and held them to their chests by now."Neil, Hemel Hempstead, in the TMS inbox
1503 - 142-6
Broad clips North off his pads for a single into the leg side, seems strange that Punter's continuing with one of his centurions. North drops short and that's the one Colly's been waiting for, rocking back and pummelling him over the mid-wicket area for four. England are 98 behind. Double figures - let's celebrate.
1459 - 137-6
Colly is playing a proper innings so far, steadfastly refusing to do anything stupid unlike most of his team-mates. He happily hands Hauritz yet another maiden and touches gloves with Broad as another over is negotiated.
1457 - 137-6
Marcus North comes on to try and produce a false shot from Broad outside off stump, but the much-maligned England kid plays with a straight bat back down the pitch. Maiden over.
"I'm going to get hypnosis tomorrow. Give up smoking? Give up drinking? No, give up caring about the England cricket team. So damn miserable. Total shambles."MC, via text on 81111
1454 - 137-6
Broady glances Hauritz off his pads for a couple before trying a ridiculous sweep shot that flies into the air and to safety behind square on the leg side. Test match batting isn't really dead in England, is it? Answers on a postcard to a Mr G Boycott @ TMS.
1451 - 134-6
Johnson continues and Colly nicks him off his hips for a single to move serenely on to 40. Broady steers MJ through the covers for three well-timed runs, he really can play beautifully through the offside on occasion. He still won't play at Lord's, though.
From BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce in Cardiff:
"Some sympathy in the crowd for the two blokes who've just sprinted across the outfield to the wicket, pursued by five frantic stewards. Consensus is that they wanted to grab a stump each to commit hari-kiri."
"Looking on the bright side, the Australian tailenders will be desperately short of batting practice going into the next Test."Jonathan, Brighton, in the TMS inbox
1440 - 127-6
Really good catch low down from Punter that - Freddie seemed to ask him if he'd caught it as he trudged off, no doubts about the answer. MJ then produces a beauty, full and swinging it back into the pads of Stuart Broad first ball, not out says Umpire Doctrove. It's hitting leg stump on Hawkeye.
1437 - WICKET Flintoff c Ponting b Johnson 26, Eng 127-6
I was just thinking I hadn't had a wicket for a while in this Test match, though I obviously wasn't going to write it. Honest. Johnson goes around the wicket to Colly and looks ineffective, before going back over and getting a nick from Freddie which Ponting snaffles at second slip. Four more wickets needed for the Aussies.
"Colly made one run in 44 minutes and it's fantastic stuff. Boycott eat your heart out. Is this Test match swinging our way suddenly and finally? It's been torture."jmb on 606
Join the debate on 606
1430 - 126-5
Geoff can calm down for now, as Nathan 'grenade' Hauritz comes on for his first afternoon bowl. Freddie plays with a very straight bat and it's a maiden over. Drinks come on after 50 minutes, strangely.
"Ricky will go down as a fine captain because his team wins lots of games, but he's not a fine captain because if he was he'd have had Nathan Hauritz on straight after lunch - you start the session with your best bowlers."Geoff Boycott on TMS
"I'm worried that the second I start to get optimistic about this, we will collapse like a house of cards again. To do my bit for the England team I'm going to spend the next few hours wallowing in pessimism and negativity until close of play."Jake Brown, in the TMS inbox
1427 - 126-5
MJ goes around the wicket to Colly again and forces a tentative play-and-miss, horrible-looking stroke. Colly turns one off his pads for a single, his first run since lunch - exactly what the doctor ordered. Still raises a laugh in the office, though, coming as it did after 44 minutes. "Someone tell Ricky Ponting to get Hauritz on," bemoans Geoff on TMS. No, for the love of England, please don't.
1422 - 124-5
The dreaded Mexican Wave has started in Cardiff, which pretty much means sport is dead for today. If you're there, please don't get involved, I'm urging you. Andrew Strauss is smiling on the England balcony, must be something funny. Hilf to Freddie, dead straight, maiden over.
"A bit of advice for young Broad - bowl line and length ye young scallywag, save the liquorish allsorts for Twenty20. Oh yes and try the occasional yorker, you are 11ft tall after all."Burner, in the TMS inbox
1419 - 124-5
Johnson's living on borrowed time as he bowls outside Freddie's off stump, before Fred pushes him through the offside off the back foot for three. Maybe Ricky feels sorry for England. Unlikely.
"I'm feeling quite positive, almost excited. If we can lose no wickets this session and hopefully scrape a draw it will feel like a victory. And we'll have the momentum for the next Test! A lot of 'if's' there admittedly. Come on Fred and Colly."Al, Bristol, via text on 81111
1409 - 118-5
Johnson goes around the wicket to Colly to try and make him play a touch more and it works initially, but Colly stoutly gets behind it, before MJ goes well wide again, he's badly struggling with his line at the moment. Bizarre maiden over, England still 121 runs behind.
1405 - 118-5
It's going to be difficult to save the game, but Andrew Flintoff can at least play himself into some form this afternoon - he drives beautifully through the covers for four. Next up and Hilf beats Freddie outside off stump, he's got away with that one. Wow, Hilf induces another nick and it flashes through second slip for four - Ricky, Ricky, Ricky, only one slip? Come off it.
"One thing I have found hard to comprehend so far in this match is why the England pace bowlers continued to persist with the short stuff, when like Hilfenhaus and Johnson have pitched it right up there and have had great success. Are we unable to change our tactics?"kooliomix3 on 606
1401 - 109-5
Johnson pushes one across Colly and beats the outside edge, lovely left-armer's delivery that. Dirsy reckons Colly's got just about the shortest backlift he's ever seen - it's the cricket equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo, though arguably not quite as effective. Four leg byes end the over.
1357 - 105-5
Hilf continues to plug away at the corridor of uncertainty before getting a surprise one to swing late into the pads of Andrew Flintoff, it's missing leg stump though. Pressure is building already, I wonder when Nathan Hauritz will be brought back.
"Overs of precisely nothing happening are exactly what we are looking for, another four hours of nothing please."Chris, Preston, in the TMS inbox
1351 - 103-5
Ricky Ponting is furious with umpire Billy Doctrove after he wides Mitchell Johnson for a shocker miles outside off stump. Ricky, remember Ravi's dismissal and pipe down. Next ball MJ nips one back off the seam and traps Colly in front, but it's a bit high and, unlike with the crazy decision to give Bopara, Doctrove says 'not out'.
1347 - 102-5
Hilf is more on the money than his cack-handed colleague, forcing Andy Flintoff to play every ball with his metronomic line on or around off stump. Makes bowling look pretty easy doesn't it, Broady, Jimmy A?
1344 - 102-5
Johnson starts well wide of Colly's off stump, barely even hitting the strip. There's bat on ball twice is all, and an over of precisely nothing happening comes to its conclusion. Hilfenhaus takes the red one from t'other end.
The Aussies are out early, in cracking sunshine in Cardiff - thank heavens the rain hasn't saved England here, Test cricket can little do with weather-forced draws these days. Freddie and Colly are out, and we're moments away from getting back under way with Mitchell Johnson.
"Let's embrace the traditional English summer once again; the smack of leather on willow on village lawns, swooping swallows diving to the chime of ice cubes at summer fetes, the aroma of freshly poured tea, the slow death of optimism as the English cricket team fall slowly from the false pedestal we put them on. Anyone fancy getting wet at my barbeque tonight?"David, in the TMS inbox
Someone's singing (again) in Cardiff. Jeez, they like to bash out the occasional tune don't they? The fat lady's been warming up for a while too, I'll bet. Reckon we'll get a full session here punters?
"They do lack the winning mentality for sure, but this can be changed - just look at what a decent manager can do to a bunch of underachievers (the England football team)."mysticroakey on 606
"You know I'm actually quite glad the Australian girl I met in London a couple of weeks ago didn't give me her number now."Dan in the TMS inbox
"I am trying to remain positive by reminding myself that the last time we hosted the Ashes we lost the first Test but went on to win the series. Mind you, that first test was at Lord's where we always lose to the Aussies. Where is the next Test of this series going to be played at again? Oh."Rob, in the TMS Inbox
"Rob, from Stockport: if England were playing in your back garden, I doubt you'd be offered a ticket. Grow some backbone, lad. No need to cry and moan because of one bad Test. England will come back fighting, like they always do!"Griffo, London, via text on 81111
Inevitable: unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary.
The only question is when. If you manually refresh, you'll see my name appear at the top instead of that of Dirs, a man who looks like he's in the midst of his very own Ashes Groundhog Day right now. Fancy trying to cheer a whole office up?
"I think it's jolly nice that Michael and Paul still believe that any of our political parties represent a cause worth squabbling over. Bless them."Malcolm in the TMS inbox
"Typical British reaction this from the readers. No need to overreact here. If we somehow get through this and win the series it will be the same fools writing in praising our cricketers and calling for New Year's Honours. Pipe down and get behind the team unless you think you can do better." Tom, on the District Line, in the TMS inbox
"According to the timings on your text updates, Prior lasted only nine minutes from the time you said, and I quote 'I'm giving Prior 10 minutes' (1214). These chinless wonders can't even match our worst case scenario predictions. I'm sad." Joel, trying to mark exams in Notts, in the TMS inbox
"Well, I have had enough, this is pathetic. I am off to clean out the cat's litter tray and come back to watch the TV when there is a decent horror movie on. The chasm in class is unbelievable, I was a proud English woman before this Test started, now I will need to hide (again) from the Aussies at work." Rebecca, Dubai, in the TMS inbox
1256 - 94-5
Hauritz drops short and Collingwood backs away and slaps him through the covers for three. Width again from Hauritz, and Flintoff clubs the last ball before lunch through the covers for four. That's the England ton up... Jonathan Stevenson
to take over now, I probably won't see you after tea...
1256 - 94-5
North strays down leg and Collingwood paddles him round the corner for four. "More fascinating than chess," says Blowers on TMS. I assume he's referring to the musical, and not the board game.
1254 - 90-5
Flintoff blocks out another over from Hauritz. The ball not doing much, but then it hasn't all match. I should just point out that I, as a BBC journalist, have no political allegiances whatsoever. I think Labour are great, the Tories are great, and even those yellow chaps are pretty good as well. Marcus North is going to turn his arm over...
"If I can add a little political balance to Michael's analogy, this performance is like that of the political right (including but not limited to the Conservatives), utterly out of its depth when it comes to serious analysis of the causes of the current shifts in global power and context, and therefore unable to think beyond the narrow confines of its traditional dogma and arrive at the radical interventions needed to engineer long term sustainability of performance based on equality of reward for effort and success."Paul in Lancs in the TMS inbox
1251 - 90-5
Full-bunger from Clarke, and Collingwood gives it the treatment, slapping him to the deep mid-wicket fence. Another over negotiated... but how many more?
1248 - 86-5
Flintoff lunges forward, the ball ricochets off his pad and balloons just beyond Katich's reach at short leg. Bit of bat on that, lucky escape for Flintoff. Flintoff prowling around his crease between deliveries, a wild animal finding himself leashed by his Australian masters.
1245 - 83-5
Collingwood and Flintoff exchange easy singles. A quicker ball from Clarke, and Colly works him to mid-wicket for a single.
1243 - 80-5
Collingwood backs away again, and only just manages to keep Hauritz out with a rather wooden poke. Indeed, there are times when Collingwood is so wooden, he makes Professor Yaffle look like Sean Penn. Collingwood nudges behind square for a single to retain the strike.
1240 - 79-5
Short from Clarke and Flintoff forces for one off the back foot. Clarke gets one to spin sharply away from Collingwood, but the Durham man is having none of it. However, he does have a go at the next one, flashing wildly at a ball tossed up outside off-stump - and missing.
1236 - 77-5
Raj (see below), I'd rather watch Escape to the Country than the German Grand Prix. Just a single from Hauritz's over, from the bat of Flintoff... Michael Clarke on to bowl before lunch, left-arm orthodox, he can be pretty handy...
"Hey Ben, looks like you might just be able to catch the German GP live..." Raj, Northwood, in the TMS inbox
"Hopeless! If England were batting in my back garden, I would close the curtains. Geoff Boycott sums it up correctly, too many hangers-on... 16 backroom staff?! Well done, Australia, playing the game as it should be played... with passion and commitment."Rob Evenden, Stockport, in the TMS inbox
1233 - 76-5
Siddle gets a bit of lift, and Flintoff has a nibble outside off-stump. Short of a length from Siddle and Flintoff is off the mark with a tuck round the corner. Colly fences outside off-stump and outside edges past the slip cordon for four. That's about as good as it gets for England at the moment.
1229 - 71-5
Flintoff next up to the scaffold, there's four potential executioners huddled round the bat, no doubt reminding Flintoff that he's not really very good against spin. As if to prove their point, Flintoff plays an airy drive and gets an inside edge for one. "This is pathetic," says Boycott...
1223 - WICKET - Prior c Clarke b Hauritz 14, Eng 70-5
Prior gone, cutting against the spin again and gloving the ball to Clarke at slip.
"This performance is rather like the current Labour government - hopelessly out of their depth and relying on the stupidity of the populace to believe the rubbish that all will be well if only we don't bother our silly little heads by questioning it."Michael in the TMS inbox
1223 - 70-4
Too straight from Siddle and Collingwood clips him through mid-wicket for a couple. Nice shot from Prior, straight drive, but it's like Australia have got 25 players on the field - a man at short mid-on, and he saves a run. Prior flicks to deep mid-wicket for a few. "This has been almost depressing," says Sir Geoffrey on TMS.
1219 - 64-4
Colly goes back, showing his stumps, and keeps a spinning ball from Hauritz out. Collingwood turns one off his pads for a single. Prior backs away and plays a dreadful stroke, arching his back and looking to cut against the spin. Prior beaten, and that wasn't far away from his off-stump.
"I cannot believe I have penned in a whole day to watch this cowardly performance. It's like being back in '93 - my inaugural depressing Ashes experience. Time for one more comeback from Graeme Hick?" Pete, Berks, in the TMS inbox
1214 - 63-4
Siddle serves one up down the leg side, Prior follows it, and the ball is a whisker away from his gloves. I'm giving Prior 10 minutes. Siddle sliding one in to the right-handed Prior again, and this time the ball misses everything and races away for four.
"England have disregarded the very first rule in building an innings - play straight, and get yourself in before playing across the line. Do they not teach that in England anymore? Flower used to bore teams to death with this philosophy. Strange that message has not filtered through." Sandeep Sajeev in the TMS inbox
1210 - 59-4
Hauritz drags the ball down and Prior glides him down to third-man for a few. Colly lunges forward and gloves onto his pad, and the ball falls just short of Katich at short leg. Every ball like a hand grenade now - Hauritz gets one to turn sharply, and Collingwood, attempting to kick it away, very nearly kicks it onto his stumps.
"There is so much 20-over and 50-over cricket these days that so many of these guys have either forgotten how to bat all day or have never had to do it. The batsmen are making Nathan Hauritz look like Jim Laker, they're batting like twerps."Geoffrey Boycott on TMS
"Abject, pitiful, arrogant, devoid of drive and determination, just a few words to describe this performance. When will England front up when they play badly? I don't want to hear 'we'll take the positives', there are no positives. I, as an England fan want honesty from Strauss at the end - I want to hear 'that was not good enough and we let down the country.' Anything else just will not do."Bob in Birmingham in the TMS inbox
1207 - 56-4
Prior with a back-foot drive of Cavalier flamboyance, when a Roundhead's leave would have sufficed. The Sussex gloveman nibbles to leg for a single.
1202 - 55-4
Decent lbw shout from Haurtiz against Colly - that wasn't doing enough, but he can't be padding up all day. Colly then pokes tentatively just to the right of short leg, before padding up again. Raucous appeals once more, but again it wasn't doing enough. Nice drift there from Hauritz, England disintegrating like a badly-packed kebab... drinks...
1158 - 55-4
Prior follows a wide on from Siddle and guides the ball through point for four. Deary me, Prior with an outrageous stroke, flashing wildly outside off, and missing. A little bit inappropriate in the circumstances that, like high-fiving the priest after receiving Communion at church.
1154 - 51-4
Hauritz drops short and Prior cuts elegantly against the spin to take England passed fifty, three for the shot.
1150 - 47-4
The gloom in my office has now given way to laughter. They're laughing now, England, your own fans are laughing at you, and that's far more tragic than being booed and hissed at. A single for Colly brings Prior on strike. Prior might be a flashy batsman to watch, but I'd no more put money on him to save this match than put money on Jimmy Saville to win the London Marathon. Prior misses with a square cut - nope, I've got no idea why he's playing at that either - before leaving a ball from Siddle that jags back sharply.
1144 - WICKET - Strauss c Haddin b Hauritz 17
Hauritz fizzes one past Strauss's outside edge - all of a sudden the Queensland off-break bowler is being made to look like Tiger O'Reilly. Short, and Strauss square cuts him for four, but the England skipper is out next ball, trying to repeat the shot and feathering a catch to Haddin behind the stumps.
1142 - 42-3
I've got to be honest, Tom, (see below), I can't imagine Cardiff will be buzzing with KP-mania today. Johnson tighter than a cow's backside in fly season, although Strauss does pick up a single with a tickle round the corner.
1137 - 41-3
Time for Nathan Hauritz already, and, sad to say, he's been undoubtedly the best spinner of the match so far. Collingwood lunges forward, as if he's batting with a length of scaffolding, and the ball very nearly squeezes through. Not sure why Ponting hasn't got more men round the bat... that said, we've got a silly point and a short leg in now... and Ponting adds a leg-slip a ball later... Colly prods forward and is beaten...
1133 - 41-3
A wise man once said: "Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again." Just trying to put a positive spin on things. Not a great over from Johnson, not making Strauss play enough.
"Every innings is getting shorter, never seem to find the runs
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The wickets gone, the match is over, thought I'd something more to sayChris, Herts, in the TMS inbox
1128 - 41-3
Collingwood and Strauss exchange singles, and Collingwood picks up a brace with a tuck to long-leg. The Durham man squirts a tentative drive down to third-man for two more, as the sun beats down in Cardiff.
1125 - 35-3
Collingwood with one more courtesy of a glance to long-leg before Strauss shoulders arms and nearly loses his off-peg to Johnson. Pietersen sat up on the balcony, looking like the man who lost everything.
1122 - 34-3
Collingwood next up to the scaffold, and he's off the mark with a punch through the covers. Replays of that Pietersen delivery suggest he was looking for it to swing away, and tried to get his bat behind it at the last second, but far too late. Hilfenhaus enjoyed that, and there's a bit of background to that - there's some TV footage of Pietersen and Johnson involved in a spot of handbags before start of play, the Aussie paceman took exception to a ball hit in his direction. I say handbags, but being hit by Johnson would probably be like being hit with a Mulberry full of bricks.
1117 - WICKET - Pietersen b Hilfenhaus 8, Eng 31-3
Pietersen plays a very streaky drive through the covers - uppish, but between the two fielders and away for a couple. But he's gone next ball, shouldering arms to a straight one getting his off-stump ripped out.
1113 - 28-2
Siddle off already, time for the left-arm pace of Mitchell Johnson. His first ball spits off the top and Strauss fends him down to third-man for one. Howls of "catch it" as Pietersen flips Johnson uppishly off his pads for a single, before Strauss settles things down with a clip off his pads. Johnson locates Pietersen's outside edge, but the ball doesn't carry to Ponting at second slip.
1109 - 25-2
Hilfenhaus bowls the second over of the day. He strays onto Strauss's leg-stump and is tucked away for a single. Two slips, a gully and a straight, short mid-on for KP. Pietersen playing with fire there, shouldering arms, and the ball just flicking his pad - Umpire Dar decides that wasn't doing quite enough.
1104 - 24-2
Peter Siddle with the first over of the day, and he kicks off with a slow yorker that Strauss jams down on. Strauss nibbles into the off-side and scampers a single - positive, and England need to be. Streaky from Pietersen, inside-edging a half-hearted drive to square-leg for a couple.
"Is no-one prepared to be optimistic today?! I must admit I myself am not, but we can live in hope of KP showing us what he's really made of or the return of the Flintoff who played in the 2005 Ashes - commentators keep saying 'Freddie's back', but I somehow get the feeling he's past his prime now. Am I being unduly harsh?"Ruth, battling with the kids for the TV again, Shropshire in the TMS inbox
"A little less conversation, a little more action please
All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me
A lot more bite and a little less bark
A lot more fight and a lot more spark
Close your mouth and bat all day if wanna satisfy me.MJF, Liverpool, in the TMS inbox
1055:Andy in Aberystwyth
(see below), I think you'll find only seven of this lot participated in the last Ashes series, although I get the point. We'll have some play in five minutes or so...
For any of you hopeless optimists out there, I should remind you that I was on shift during the Adelaide Test in 2006-2007. Former England skipper Mike Brearley
is quoting Shakespeare in The Observer today: "When to the sessions of sweet silent thought, I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste." Has he used that just because it's got the word "sessions" in it?
Personally, I'm plumping for all out shortly after tea. And the only possible way England can escape this game without any mental scars is if they're only five or six wickets down at stumps, with a couple of tons in the scorebook. Replay of Mark Butcher's 173 not out at Headingley in 2001 on the telly, my God we could do with another one of those - but who's going to hold their hand up today?
"Waiting for this morning's action is a little like those days of watching Dr Who as a kid - you know it's going to be scary, and you know those nasty creatures are about to try to destroy the good guys to continue their quest and for world domination, but you just have to watch anyway." Ian, hiding behind the sofa in Muscat, in the TMS inbox
"Why are we surprised at how England played? Nine of this 11 participated in the last whitewash series Down Under..." Andy in Aberystwyth in the TMS inbox
"England are up the Taff without a paddle in this one, all over by tea me thinks." Peter in the TMS inbox
Yep, Freddie, you've just got to bat out the day... simple as that mate...
"We've got good players, we've just got to bat out today. We're an attacking side and we've got to play our natural game, we can't just play for a draw. It's going to take someone to get a hundred, or maybe a couple of us, to save the day."England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff
"What depresses me so much about this gutless England Display is what appears to be the total lack of desire to win from the England team. This is a very average Australian team but as usual they bring it to the opposition hard despite their limited talents."From CourageDirectors
Tom Fordyce's Ashes blog
I've just heard the shocking news of Arturo Gatti's tragic death. Now, if England are going to attempt to emulate anyone today, they could do a lot worse than Gatti. In fact, Gatti probably would have won the match from here.
Bright sunshine in Cardiff, and my immediate reaction is "good". England don't deserve to be saved by the weather. Throw them a shovel and tell them to dig their way out of this mess. Prove us wrong England, show us you've got some stones...