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England v Australia 2nd Test day three as it happened

Second Test, Lord's, day three:

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

By Tom Fordyce

e-mail tms@bbc.co.uk (with 'For Tom Fordyce' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as first word) or use 606 (Not all comments can be used)

ENGLAND SECOND INNINGS

1829: PLAY ABANDONED FOR THE DAY That's your lot, I'm hearing. Spectators stream away from Lord's, the majority with big beaming smiles on their faces. Australia officially under the pump. Hooda thunk it a week ago?

1827: RAIN STOPS PLAY Eng 311-6 Scratch that - it's now raining quite heavily, and the umpires lead the jog to the pavilion. Great session from England - if that is it for the day, they lead by 521 with two full (albeit probably rain-affected) days to go.

1826: WICKET Collingwood c Haddin b Siddle 54, Eng 311-6 Clear nick behind, and that wicket is greeted by almost total silence. Not a single Aussie appealed or celebrated - it's come to that. They're carrying on, though...

1821: Eng 311-5 Frantic signalling between England balcony and the middle - trying to lip-read, it looks like Strauss is shouting, "PUT THEM TO THE SWORD. THE SWORD, FRED." Crashing twos taken to all quarters - 50 partnership, lead to 521.

1817: Eng 304-5 Fred, whose pads make him look like a cricketing Stormtrooper, survives a squeaky ell bee shout as he tries to mash Siddle into Kilburn. 514 the lead - declaration or no? It's pretty gloomy out there now, and if England did try to stick Australia in, they'd probably be offered the light sharpish.

1812: Eng 300-5 Roars from all corners as Fred pops a gentle cover drive over the fielders and away to skip over the rope - that's the 500 lead. The wheels in danger of coming off for Australia now too - fielders all round the fence, Fred slapping and thumping happily, the England tally racing away and the crowd getting stuck in to a NW8 knees-up.

That's 50
1806: Eng 289-5 Ponting spreads his field as Hilfers comes in from the Pavilion End. 155 runs in this session, coming at more than five and a half per over - add on two more as Colly clips to leg, and two more as he goes again - that's his 50, from 72 balls, and the Lord's crowd applaud giddily.

1803: Eng 282-5 Ah, that's more like it from Fred - leaning back to a Johnson lifter and just angling it over the slips for a cunning four. Singles follow - Colly on 45, Fred on 11, lead to 492.

From Debbz from Dudley, TMS inbox: "Looking at Siddle - doesn't he remind you of one of those clowns you see at the fair (especially with the sun protection over his lips ) - that you try to throw ping pong balls into their mouths? All he needs is a bright blue hats with white dots on."

1757: Eng 276-5 Colly to 44 with a pacey two off the pads - think he clipped that one between his own legs. Fred looks ready to mow here - trapped on his back foot, big shout for ell bee - sliding down leg. Good attempted yorker from Hilfers, and Fred then aims an eyes-shut muscled swipe at one which shaves a millimetre off his timber. 486 in front - if the light's okay, they could keep going till 7pm - still 16 overs left in the day.

Anon, Essex, TMS inbox: "In deepest Essex, in an all-day boozer, the discussion is still, and has been all day, the best way to catch a ball in the slips. The verdict is 'fingers down'. Sorry Ricky."

1752: Eng 271-5 Ponting signals for Mitchell J to come back into the fray. Collingwood, invisible for the past five overs, cuts late and classily for four behind point. There's a push for one, a mighty mow from Fred for one more to deep extra cover. Lead to 481.

1747: Eng 264-5 Huge roars for Fred. Now then. Short from Hilfers, pulled away by Flintoff - straight through Hauritz at midwicket, and that's going away for four. Poor old Nathan's hugging his battered fingers again, and that's gotta hurt. Lead up to 474 - if you'd care to manually refresh, there's a new vote in this page on when England should declare.

Wicket falls
1744: WICKET Prior run out 61, Eng 260-5 Would you believe it - how lucky is that? Direct hit from Marcus North at deep point, and Prior is a goner - super knock off just 42 balls. Here comes Fred for his last ever Test knock at Lord's...

Dean, London, TMS inbox: "According to my sources, Siddle's nickname is "Sid Vicious" which surely dispels the image of a Carry On character."

That's 50
1739: Eng 255-4 Down onto one knee from Prior - sweep follows sweep follows sweep, and that's his half-century, off just 37 balls. He's England's highest scorer in this innings too - super fast-forward knock. Oh, peachy shot - forced off the back foot past extra cover for four more. Single and sprinted two at the end - 16 off the over, and a chant of, "Easy! Easy!" rings out.

1735: Eng 239-4 Just had a look at the weather forecast for Sunday. Not looking the most promising, you'd have to say - regular showers at best. Grey behind the pavilion as Clarke is touched and dabbed for singles.

1731: Eng 235-4 Good scamper and dash from the England pair, working Hauritz around with relish before Prior reaches down the track and slap-pulls away over deep midwicket for a lusty four. 21 overs left in the day, lead to 445.

1729: Eng 228-4 That's the 50 partnership, off just 49 balls. Rattling along. Re lasts entry: This generation/ Rule the nation/ With version. I rest my case.

1724: Eng 223-4 A debate breaks out around me on whether its harder to do Musical Youth or Vanilla Ice on Singstar. Hauritz sticks to a negative outside-off line, and it's all tight and bright until a slapping slash goes straight through Hilfers at deep cover. Lead to 433; To the extreme, I rock the mic like a vandal, light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle.

1720: Eng 218-4 Breather for beverages before Clarke has another dip. Thoughts turning here to when England might call it quits - 499, with a five over light-permitting joust at the Aussie openers before stumps?

1715: Eng 215-4 Slam! Prior goes down on one knee and mows Hauritz way over midwicket for a farmer's four. Cheeky paddle for a sprinted two, and then a lovely - and risky - flipper over the shoulder for four more. Brakes coming off, excitement mounting, lead to 425.

From John in Tenerife, TMS inbox: "Have just looked up some photos of Jessica Bratich, and can see why Mitch's mother claims she has not been seeing much of him lately."

1712: Eng 203-4 Fordyce back in the slots here - manually refresh to get all things ship-shape and tickety-boo again. Runs starting to flow now as Clarke comes on for a tweak, and the lead moves along to 413.

By Pranav Soneji

1709: Eng 199-4 Collingwood finally nails a slog-sweep, clearing Hauritz over midwicket for four. Nice response from Hauritz, who bamboozles Prior with a lovely, floaty off-break. But the England stumper gleans two through midwicket, hitting with the spin, extending the lead to over 400. Right, I'm off, Tom's back - see you tomorrow.

1705: Eng 192-4 I was on text commentary duties when Peter Siddle made his Test debut against India last year and made the comment of how his name sounded like a Carry On character, expecting him to look something like Charles Hawtrey. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this testosterone-fuelled snarler from the Merv Hughes school of pleasantries. The Siddler sees Prior go all MCC coaching manual with a picture-perfect front-foot drive through cover, before adding an all-run four through the same region.

1700: Eng 184-4 The camera closes in on Glenn McGrath, decked in a customary pink tie in support of his wife's cancer charity. How Ricky Ponting could do with Pidge right now. Almost a dead ringer for Collingwood's dismissal from the first innings as the flame-haired number five dances down the pitch and plays an ugly mooey over the head of mid-on for two off Hauritz.

1657: Eng 181-4 Siddle coaxes the ball to cut back to Pietersen, nicking a thick inside edge to Haddin, who takes a fine catch low to his left. Pietersen walks, no need to wait for Rudi Koertzen's crane-raised left arm to point skywards. In comes new man Matt Prior, whose first delivery fortuitously squirts between Haddin and Michael Clarke at first slip for a streaky four. Prior adds three more with a more authoritative drive through cover.

Wicket falls
1652: Eng 174-4 WICKET Pietersen ct Haddin b Siddle 44 KP's gone! Inside edge to Haddin.

1651: Eng 174-3 Collingwood moves to 14 with a deft sweep off middle stump off Hauritz, although he turns blindly for an attempted third run, only for KP to send him swiftly send him back. Good job too as Mitchell Johnson's throw lands right over the stumps.

1647: Eng 171-3 Siddle, complete with a snarl which would have a rhino running for the hills, sees Collingwood add two through cover with an unconvincing push off the back foot.

1643: Eng 168-3 The boundaries are flowing like a ripe Barossa Valley Shiraz as Collingwood cuts Hauritz behind square for the third boundary in four deliveries. Colly's eyes light up as he attempts to slog-sweep a full delivery on off stump, only to completely miss the ball, which ends up in the gauntlets of Bradley Haddin.

Craig, South Wales, text 81111: "Should we be thinking of breaking Graeme Swann's fingers before England go out to bowl?"

1640: Eng 164-3 Ponting summons Peter Siddle, a man who would run through doors for his captain, probably because he couldn't find the handle. However, the Victorian, a prime candidate for gurner of the year, sees his fourth and sixth deliveries smeared to the deep point boundary by Pietersen, who finishes on his knee on both occasions, like a right-handed Clive Lloyd in his pomp.

1635: Eng 156-3 KP, like a man claiming he doesn't need an instruction manual to assemble a television cabinet, is attempting to impose his authority on Hauritz, only to expose all three stumps sweeping a ball around middle stump. Haddin whips the bails off and presses his lips together to indicate the ball was a little closer than Pietersen would have liked to his leg stump. A couple of nudges from both batsmen and the scorers are momentarily disturbed.

1631: Eng 154-3 Mitchell Johnson oversteps as KP thumps a rather dashing drive to mid-off. For those of you unfamiliar with MJ, his fiancé Jessica Bratich is an Australian karate champion, although Mitch's mother isn't too impressed with her soon-to-be daughter-in-law after claiming she had monopolised all of Mitch's time. Colly nicks a single off the last delivery of the over, taking the pace of the ball and planting the ball into a vacant gap in the covers.

1625: Eng 151-3 Hauritz gets an off-break to spit and turn from outside off stump as Bopara deflects the ball on to his thigh pad, looping a straightfoward catch to Simon Katich at short leg. All this with a crook right-hand spinning finger too. Out strolls Paul Collingwood, who dishes a filthy full-toss to the midwicket boundary for a confidence-boosting start to his innings. That's Hauritz's third wicket of the innings too.

Wicket falls
1621: Eng 147-3 WICKET Bopara ct Katich b Hauritz 27 Bopara's gone!

1620: Eng 147-2 Johnson drops short again, but the deck is about as responsive as a mattress in a Australian backpackers' hostel, allowing Bopara to milk an easy single. Pietersen plays an attractive on-drive through midwicket for two more, stretching the lead to 357. Oh yeah, got a new vote for you - refresh your page and if by magic...

1615: Eng 143-2 Bopara is beaten all ends up by a ripper, spinning and bouncing viciously between bat and body, evading the canary yellow wicketkeeping gloves of Brad Haddin and down to the Pavilion End boundary. Hauritz then floats a tempter outside off stump to the Essex dasher, but Bopara gets his foot right to the pitch of the ball and caress the ball through cover for a handsome boundary.

Text in your views on 81111
Roy, Wrexham, text 81111: "What's with all the doom-mongering?!? At least we're ahead in this one and the Aussies are on the ropes..there's TWO days left you know!!"

1610: Eng 135-2 Mitchell Johnson is handed the cherry, no doubt with the brief to do something out there. However, the muscular Queenslander, who has a tattoo across his back inspired by one of his favourite heavy metal bands, Soulfly, just bangs a couple of short balls on middle stump, allowing both Pietersen and Bopara to paddle easy singles down to deep square leg. Who has stolen Mitchell Johnson's swing? Is it the same person who stole Austin Powers' mojo?

1605: Eng 133-2 Pietersen tickles a cheeky single off his pads off Hauritz, allowing Bopara to cut two runs confidently behind point. A thoroughly anodyne start to the 42 overs of the final session.

1600: We've had a few emails from bemused readers who are perplexed by the numbers under the three lions on the shirts of the England players. Those three digits signify their place in the list of players to have played Test cricket for England. Nathan Hauritz to open up against Kevin Pietersen.

1558: The murmur around Lord's is momentarily muted as the pavilion bell rings to signify the start of the final session of the day. Oh, manually refresh your webpage as Tom has popped off to re-start his heart so I'll be your guide for the next 90 minutes of scintillating Test cricket. Please.

By Tom Fordyce

John & Ed, following the cricket offshore on an oil platform on our computer 100 miles North East of Aberdeen, TMS inbox: "The score was static for such a long time, we mobilized the IT dept assuming there was a problem with our server in Aberdeen."

Jon, Wirral, text 81111: "If Pietersen is aiming anything to do with Mandela, he should aim for his prison number as his target - 46664. More useful than 91."

From Carl Evans, TMS inbox: "In your defence: I was an usher at a Bonnington lecture on K2 in Stourbridge, c1976. I distinctly remember him stating that he 'clambered all over K2, but without much success.'"

TEA

1541: Eng 130-2 Aaghh - shocking shot from Bopara, trying to pull a ball round from way outside off and succeeding only in hoicking to Hauritz at mid-on. That's a wonderful attempt at a diving catch from a man with a ruined finger - it's referred to the third umpire, and they've turned it down. Big let-off, and Ponting comes up to Rudi to ask a few searching questions. Is that tea? It is - not quite the session England wanted, but let's not forget the only number that really matters: 340. Lead of.

1535: Eng 130-2 15 runs off the last 10 overs, and this is far from easy viewing. Hoorah! At last a boundary - wide from a tiring Hilfenhaus, and KP clunks it away off the bottom of the bat through gully.

From Jonathan Rich, Hove, TMS inbox: "Both men have a point to prove, having not come up with a long innings so far. What they're forgetting, however, is that England aren't playing for the draw."

1531: Eng 126-2 Johnson again, coming in at pace now. Ravi, as quiet as you've ever seen him, sways inside a snaking bouncer. 60 balls since the last boundary off the bat. Lead wedged at 336.

1527: Eng 125-2 Whooah - how has KP survived that? He chops a Hilfenhaus in-dipper down at his stumps, and the ball somehow bounces clean over the bails. Pietersen batting like Tim Curtis. Richard Curtis. Tony Curtis.

1523: Eng 122-2 KP batting with all the assurance of a man with his helmet the wrong way round, but that's the 50 partnership, off 118 balls. Lead to 334, and at some point they'll need to hit the accelerator. No great get-on yet, but they'll be looking for hustle and bustle post-tea.

1520: Eng 122-2 18 runs off the last 10 overs. Heads nod onto chests in the Tavern Stand. Punter's gone off the field for an over or two, so Pup Clarke's grabbed the reins.

1515: Eng 122-2 Slightly painful viewing, this. Johnson is completely out of sorts with his bowling; Pietersen and Bopara are bang out of form with the bat. Anyone got a biscuit?

From Mike Lawrence, TMS inbox: "I think the allusion to Bonnington being all over K2 suffers from Bonnington never having succeeded on K2, so perhaps a better line would be Australia all over England like Bonnington on Changabang."

1511: Eng 122-2 Clouds building over the Mound Stand, which is ominous in any number of ways. 13 overs from Hilfenhaus, 32 runs conceded. Attritional stuff out there.

From David in Brighton, TMS inbox: "Re. Pietersen's promise; hasn't he passed that score already? 'Threeeee - Nelson Mandela...'"

1507: Eng 120-2 Wide again from Sprayer Johnson, and that'll be four leg byes off The Bopper's thigh guard. Lead, did you say? 330. Inch by inch...

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Just caught about six people fast asleep in the sunshine on the Nursery Ground. You can sunbathe for free in Regent's Park."

1503: Eng 115-2 You can't fault Hilfers here - another maiden, and if Ponting had three more of him at his disposal, he'll be clambering all over England like Bonnington on K2. KP looking as out of sorts as I've ever seen him - just 18 runs from 48 balls so far.

1459: Eng 115-2 Crikey - that's almost worth three wides from Johnson, who's not quite the Random Ball Generator of Friday but still more this-way thatta-way than Wizbit.

1455: Eng 111-2 Steady-Eddie maiden from Hilfers, who's gone for a mere 30 runs off his 11 overs so far. Lovely sunny conditions at HQ - you could melt a 99 Flake in seconds out there.

1450: Eng 111-2 Looks like Punter has asked for Johnson to return - a touch surprised that Hauritz hasn't got the shout again after those two wickets, but maybe the ole digit's in trouble. Ravi leaves two sliders from over the wicket alone, and then tickles one off the pitch for four to the finest of fine legs. Lead now 321.

1446: Eng 107-2 Hilfenhaus to resume after the beverages. He's causing Kay Pee so many problems with that wicket-to-wicket line of his - just a little movement needed either way to get the big unit in trouble, and it's all horribly reminiscent of Terry Alderman in 1989.

From Robert, Cape Town, TMS inbox: "It's Nelson Mandela's birthday today (91). Apparently Pietersen said he'll score exactly that number in honour of his former President. Wonder if he'll be tempted to bat on a bit (Pietersen, not Mandela)."

1441: Eng 105-2 Maiden from Siddle, and they'll take some drinks here. Nervy old hour for England, that - could easily have been four down. KP hopping about on 16, Bopper on an anxious 11.

1436: Eng 105-2 Allan Border there in the boxes, a few along from Boris Johnson and a bored-looking youth with an identical haircut who must surely be a relative. Tipper off the pads from The Big Bopper - and is that Neil Harvey in the sunnies? Huge respect to the leftie lej. Lead at 315.

1432: Eng 100-2 What the... how KP's timbers are still upright I'll never know - Siddle skids one between bat and pad, and the ball must surely have changed shape and past clean between two stumps there. Sun out, only wispies overhead, but the ball is darting like a shoal of fish in the shallows.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Ever since the Queen arrived yesterday, Ponting's match has been cursed... That's what it seems like anyway."

1428: Eng 100-2 Hilfenhaus is starting to get the ball to swing like Buddie Rich's big band as Pietersen fortuitously sees a thick bottom edge from an attempted cut flirt with his off stump before rolling down the hill for four. More banana out-swingers from Hilfers, with every delivery looking like a wicket-taker. Ponting opts for two short midwickets to strangle Pietersen's favourite shot, although the ex-England skipper takes a risky single from the final delivery of the over, a run which has him gingerly reaching for that achesome Achilles.

1420: Eng 94-2 Roars of unbridled delight from the crowd every time that Ponting drop is replayed on the giant screens, but Australia are wide awake now and fancying this. Bopara takes enormous strides across to The Siddler and leaves alone outside off. The lead remains on 304. Another 200 needed, or am I being scaredypants again?

From Jeff Robbins in Melbourne, TMS inbox: "Re Cicely Brown, Nigeria - I don't believe the claim that your cashier colleague has not been online before. I have several emails from him telling me that I can make a fortune if I only send my bank details to him immediately."

1416: Eng 94-2 The ball is now hooping around like crazy now. Siddle has still got his head in his hands after Punter's spill, but Hilfenhaus is tugging the ball around on a string - two play-and-misses from Kay Pee, and it suddenly looks nightmarish to bat out there.

Former England spinner Phil Tufnell on TMS: "That was an absolute goober. Ricky Ponting will be absolutely livid with himself."

1411: Eng 88-2 And again! Lovely away-dipper from Siddle, gentle outside edge from Bopara - and Ponting puts down the simplest of chances at second slip. He had his fingers pointing up despite the ball dropping towards his knees, and that's cost him. England are all over the shop, but so are Australia and their skipper. The crowd's reaction? Huge delight.

1408: Eng 88-2 KP, you're a fortunate man - a skinny inside edge onto the pad saves him from a massive lbw shout, and as he follows down the pitch staring in horror at Umpo Doctrove, Ponting has a full set of stumps to aim at from second slip - and misses by a coat of varnish. Zut alors...

1405: Eng 88-2 Some pantomime wincing from KP as he trots a single. Ponting's playing with his gum at second slip, his shirt done up to the neck in Langer style and his tongue masticating furiously.

From Cicely Brown, Nigeria, TMS inbox: To Max in Angola - at least you've got one. Here in Kafanchan, centre of Nigeria, we haven't seen an Australian for months. However I have overawed my cashier colleague at work, who (like the majority of people) has never been online, by showing him how you can have live scores from a match (he'd never heard of cricket), online voting (clearly an extremely optimistic online audience) and comments from someone in the middle of the ocean via the power of the internet."

1400: Eng 84-2 Suddenly we've got two under-pressure batsmen at the crease. KP decides to release some pressure in trademark fashion by sashaying down the track and lofting over mid-on for four. That's nice too - clipping off the hips for more.

1356: Eng 74-2 What a start for the three-fingered tweaker - he gave that a rip, and that turned a mile out of the footholds. Strauss was looking to drive, and the ball got away from him. The match turns again...

Wicket falls
1355: WICKET Strauss c Clarke b Hauritz 32, Eng 74-2
Hauritz strikes again!

Craig Spittle, TMS inbox: "Cracking Archie Bell track previously unbeknownst to me; spooky coincidence is that as a hip-hop fan, I've recently been pumping a joint by Noyd featuring Mobb Deep, produced by The Alchemist (producer extraordinaire), and it uses the break as a sample. That's gangsta homie."

1352: Eng 74-1 Big innings now for Ravi B. Siddle gives him a tickler on the pads to get off the quacker after Strauss drives nicely 'twixt cover and extra for three, and that's a controlled run off the bat down to third man for a mood-settling four. England lead up to 284.

Former England spinner Phil Tufnell on TMS: "The crucial thing for Bopara is to play straight and get to 20 or 30 - there is still plenty of time to accumulate runs."

1347: Eng 65-1 Not sure anyone was expecting that, but it was plumb - funny sort of shot from Cook, as if his metabolism was still elephantine post-prandial.

Wicket falls
1346: WICKET Cook lbw Hauritz 32, Eng 61-1
Slider from Nathan - Cook shuffles in front, huge appeal - yup, the Doctrove finger goes up....

1342: Eng 61-0 All fed and watered? The Siddler to get us going post-trough, and that's a lovely dessert for the Skip - a spoonful of leg-stump half-volley to tuck into happily.

Max, offshore Angola, TMS inbox: "I'm on a survey vessel and there is only one Aussie on the ship but he doesn't follow cricket. I feel cheated."

1314: If you've the funk bad after some Archie Bell luvin', I would also recommend "I'm looking for a fox" by Clarence Carter. Over on Test Match Special, we have David Mitchell, of Mark from Peep Show fame, talking about his love of leather on willow. Listen in here.

LUNCH

1301 Eng 57-0 Hauritz again, and these are the easiest of pickings for England - gentle sweeps, dabbed singles. That's lunch - warm applause as Strauss and Cook trot off. A lead of 267 runs, and the England pair will munch comfortably now. For all Archie Bell fans - and for those who will be shortly - treat yourself to this talc-sprinkled bad boy.

1257: Eng 52-0 Maiden from The Siddler, and we'll have one more before lunch.

Former England spinner Phil Tufnell on TMS: "674 in Cardiff? That's nearly a thousand."

1254: Eng 52-0 Hello - is Nathan Hauritz getting a bowl here? He is - be interesting to see how the dislocation of his middle finger affects his tweak. Hmm - bit of drift into the lefties, and he's not ripping it at all for very obvious reasons.

From Graham Yapp, TMS inbox: "Jonny (see 1235) has a point, but as they say, 'Fred's fire is right, Captain's delight - Fred's dire in the morning, Umpire's warning'."

1250: Eng 50-0 Apologies to Ben Stanley on email and all other fans of soul dancefloor classics - it was of course Archie Bell and the Drells who tightened up. Anyone find a link to that tune that I can post? More easy runs for England - dreamy square cut from Strauss, tickles to leg aplenty. Any of the furious follow-onners starting to reconsider?

1246: Eng 43-0 Cook's going at this with a refreshing zing. He flays Hilfers uppishly through extra cover for four, and then swivels back to smack a shorter one through square leg for another. An inch to the left and Umpire Rudi K would have worn that in the chops like a guided missile.

1241: Eng 35-0 The Siddler it is, and there are easy runs for the England pair as he strays to leg and is tapped away square. Suncream being slapped on all around - it's one of those cheeky days when you don't think of it as a scorcher, and then glance in a mirror two hours later to see you've got a beak as red as a toucan's.

From Ramesh, TMS inbox: "When Chris Broad fumes that 'they' made him bowl short, exactly whom does he refer to as they? Does he refer to the gods who control bowling and everything to do with the game of cricket? Can we infer that Chris Broad has a polytheistic faith?"

1235: Eng 31-0 Johnson showing little sign of tightening up in Archie Drell fashion - that's miles outside off, and Cook smashes it on the up over cover for a crowd-pleasing four. Could be a change at the other end - Siddle for a wobble, I'd say.

From Jonny, Plymouth, TMS inbox: "Old country proverb: 'Freddie fit, follow-on; Freddie not, bat again'."

1231 Eng 23-0 Peals from the slips for an ell bee vs Cook - bit of a shuffle across, but that hit just outside off, coming from right arm over. That's a dreamy shot next up, though - full ball, popped back past the bowler's trailing fingers for a four to the pavilion fence. England lead by 233.

1226: Eng 17-0 'Oopla - Johnson strays onto leg stump, and Cook clips away with ease for four to deep square leg. Straight away Punter's on the defensive, sticking a man in that spot on the fence. Johnson justifies with another leg-side help-yourselfer that is tucked straight to that man.

1222: Eng 12-0 Decent from Hilfers, straight as a Roman road. Strauss stays watchful, and it's an honours-even maiden. Summary of the arguments re the follow-on: grind them into the dust vs scaredypants negativity.

Jonathan Agnew on Twitter: "Just seen Chris Broad - fuming that they made Stuart bowl so short."

1217: Eng 12-0 Johnson now, slinging away - that's loose down leg, clipped away for two to deep square leg, and that's even worse outside off - cuffed away off the back peg for four to the point fence. Debate rages all around about the follow-off.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Asked Dean Jones what he thought of Strauss' decision: 'When you're bleeding from every orifice it's time to put the sword in and he didn't'."

1212: Eng 5-0 Bright sunshine overhead at a captivated Lord's. Hilfenhaus to lead the Aussie attack, and that's too short - pulled away high over midwicket for four by a smiling Strauss. Looks like it'll be Mitchell Johnson from the Pavilion End.

1207: Yup - England have declined to enforce the follow-on. They lead by 210 runs. Thoughts?

AUSTRALIA INNINGS

1200: Aus 215 all out Fullish ball outside off, straightforward snag at first slip. What's Strauss saying there? Lip-reading from a distance, it looked to me like, "We'll have another bat..."

Wicket falls
1159: WICKET Siddle c Strauss b Onions 35, Aus 215 all out At last!

From Andy Day, TMS inbox: "Graham Onions looks suspiciously like Bret McKenzie from Flight Of The Conchords."

1154: Aus 214-9 Poor again from Broad - short, wide and cut away off the top edge for four more. There's a pull for one - that's Sid's highest Test score - and the target is down to 13. Make that 12 - single to Hilfen to midwicket. Just seen Broad's 'beehive' on TV - only one of his deliveries this morning would have hit the stumps. Concern for England, and the vim of Friday afternoon is noticeably absent.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "My last comment put the hex on Hauritz. England have caught well in this match on a ground where it's hard to hold everything."

1149: Aus 208-9 Four slips in for Hilfers, but those are three wasted balls from Onions - leave-alones, followed by two nice ones outside off that are greeted by nervy wafts. Oh, but that's a super shot, leaning back to drive off the back foot for four to the cover fence. 18 now...

From Sebastian Clare, TMS inbox: "So we're doing romantic poems now, are we? "Shall I compare thee to an Ashes Summer?/ Thou art less nervy and less desperate/ Rough swing may shake the batting Gods of Oz/ And Nelson's curse hath all too strong a fate."

1145: Aus 204-9 Broad sprints in to Siddle - the first flies through the vacant backward point area for four, the second is hooked uppishly for a top-edged four. 26 now for the gutsy no.10, and you've got to wonder if there isn't something up with Fred if he's not being given a rumble out there. 22 now to be knocked off - but Onions will have a joust against Hilfenbunny.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell on TMS: "A very good catch by Collingwood and a good ball from Onions - he hit just the right length."

1140: Aus 196-9 Onions strikes in his first over, and no wonder they're applauding him. It was a fast, fullish one outside off, Nate-Dogg had a one-handed fence and Colly took a fine diving pouch head-height away to his left. 30 runs needed to avoid the follow-on.

Wicket falls
1138: WICKET Hauritz c Collingwood b Onions 24, Aus 196-9 Change of attack? Call me Oracle Fordyce...

From Matt in Harrogate, TMS inbox: "Is it just me or does Graham Onions look like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? It's the beard that does it."

1136: Aus 192-8 Could be time for a change of attack here. Broad's going too short, and Siddle will duck under those until lunch if he has to. Jab away for two more easy runs. Strauss scratches his chin at slip.

From a very sorry Matt, Sheffield: "I apologise for my disgusting act of stealing, it will never happen again. We should not be drawn into fighting each other, we must be drawn into fighting the Australians."

1131: Aus 190-8 Dennis Lillee's 60th birthday today. Huge respect to the old tearer. No joy again for Jimmy, Hauritz slashing away for four through backward point, and they've nearly halved the follow-on target already - just 36 needed now...

From Theresa Thiam, TMS inbox: "To Matt in Sheffield: thanks for offering, the washing-up would be useful too."

1128: Aus 186-8 The slips have taken a pace or two forward after those near misses, but batting's looking an easy game this morning - the sun's out, there's zero swing and the pitch is behavving in lickspittle fashion. Two clipped nicely off the pads by Sid as Broad strays legwards.

From Judith in Manchester, TMS inbox: "This is a romantic poem for a woman to a man: Roses are red, Violets are blue, the Ashes are on, so isn't it a good thing that, as a woman, I can hoover and watch the cricket at the same time."

Fran, Worcester, text 81111: "I dreamt that I met Peter Siddle at a party and he was complaining that everyone thinks he's ugly. The dream Peter Siddle wasn't anywhere near as ugly as the real one. My subconscious isn't that cruel."

1125: Aus 184-8 Jimmy continues, and Siddle - whose mum Alison is watching on in the crowd, I'm told - pushes a single. Ooh - streaky slash from Hauritz, bouncing just in front of a diving Colly at third slip. Hands go to heads on his left - Fred at second slip, Skipper Strauss at first, Stumper Prior the last.

1120: Aus 182-8 Widespread disgust on the emails for Matt in Sheffield's poem, which he apparently nicked from Jonathan Ross last night. Missed it myself - spent the night meditating on the roof of TVC Centre in preparation for the weekend's travails.

1116: Aus 178-8 Murmurs of approval from the patrician punters as Sid leans into a full one and drives it beautifully down the ground for four. No swing at all so far - and there's another four, this time flayed of an outside edge plus a diving Kay Pee at point. 48 to avoid the follow-on.

1112: Aus 169-8 Broad canters in. There's more short and leave-alone stuff and then a fuller one that flies down to the third man boundary off the outside edge. Oof - another short one, this time fended off at pace into Cookie's shoulder at short leg. 57 needed to save the (potential) on-follow.

From Matt in Sheffield, TMS inbox: "This is a romantic poem for a man to a woman: Roses are red, Violets are blue, the Ashes are on, there's hoovering to do."

1109: Aus 162-8 Jimmy from the Nursery End, and Siddle jabs a short one just past Cook at short leg. Nate-Dogg pushes uncertainly at thin air, dead-bats away another and wafts airily at the in-dipper speared down leg. Protocol ruling: manually refresh now to kick the video scorecard into life.

1106: Aus 162-8 Jimmy from the Nursery End, and Siddle jabs a short one just past Cook at short leg. Nate-Dogg pushes uncertainly at thin air, dead-bats away another and wafts airily at the in-dipper speared down leg. Protocol ruling: manually refresh now to kick the video scorecard into life.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Some very serious nets for Ponting, North and Hussey just now. Murmurs from the crowd when they miss one."

1102: Aus 157-8 Three slips and a gully for Siddle, who under his lid no longer looks like the Beat poet/ Toadfish from Neighbours of earlier this week and more like an older Mark Cavendish after a time-trial up Ventoux. Four harmless bouncers, a full one and a tapper away for the first run of the day.

1055: Here come the players - Stuart Broad looks like he'll open out for England; Sid and Hauritz for the embattled Aussies.

From Carole in Maidenhead, TMS inbox: "Huge respect for Mr Henry Allingham. He saw 3 centuries, and surpassed the Nelson. Incredible. We shall not see the like again, I quite agree. I actually feel quite emotional about his passing."

1045: A little chat about the pitch - it looks hard and flat after its ritual squashing from the Mighty Roller. To enforce the follow-on or no? Opinions split around me. Quote of the morning: "If you've got your foot on an Australian's throat, you don't take it off."

Russell Crowe was in the Test Match Special box on Friday talking to Jonathan Agnew during the dramatic evening session. He's the first cousin of New Zealand's Jeff and Martin but is very much an Australian, and he wasn't very impressed by his side's display.


1035: Dry at Lord's, covers being removed. Before we get underway, a minute's silence to mark the passing of Henry Allingham, Britain's oldest man. Asked about the secret to his longevity, he answered, "Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women."
We shall not see his like again.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Just spotted an Australian selling his ticket to an England fan. Oh dear."

1025: Yawn, stretch, rubbing of eyes - all well this watery Saturday morning? Who's getting the teas in? I've brought the shortbread fingers.




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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
18 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Bopara in need of Ashes impact
18 Jul 09 |  England
England open up huge Lord's lead
18 Jul 09 |  England
England v Australia day three photos
18 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Superb England dominate Australia
17 Jul 09 |  England
Strauss century defies Australia
16 Jul 09 |  England
Ashes memories: Lord's
14 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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