Second Test, Lord's, day four:
LATEST ACTION (all times BST)
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AUSTRALIA SECOND INNINGS
No more staggering today, at least until I get home - play has been abandoned for the day. Thanks for all the splendid emails and texts today - first-class performance. See you for Nervous Monday on the morrow...
Play isn't officially over for the day - they're waiting until 7pm - but I'd be staggered if we get any more. I've been staggered before, mind.
BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY
Almost as much as a relief for England as for Australia, to be honest - this match feels like it's not far off evenly poised now. 125 to Clarke, 80 to Haddin, a partnership of 185 - and we'll come back on Monday with the Aussies needing 209 to win with five wickets left. Gulp...
1825: Aus 313-5
Three slips and a short leg in for Clarke - successive lifters from Fred, and he ducks under those. The yorker next up - dug out with flinty resolve by Clarke. Is this the light being offered? It is, and Australia will take that.
1820: Aus 306-5
Cries of disbelief from players and crowd - Haddin slashes wildly, only for the edge to fly a fingernail over a desperately stretching Fred and Skipper Strauss at slip. Four - with a single to follow, and Haddin is now on 79 - Australia need 211 more to win...
From Martin Reeve, TMS inbox:
"Lucky Rob Coyne - both of his wives have gone out (it must be something to do with the law in Turkey). Meanwhile mine keeps popping in to make sure I'm studying and not glued to the cricket."
1815: Aus 306-5
Fred again - singles run away to deep cover. No sign of this precious wicket now, and England are starting to look just a little bit anxious. A maximum of 14 overs left in the day, but you'd be surprised if they get more than a couple in. Oh, what a ball from Fred - how Clarke hasn't edged that I'll never know.
From Mike, Devon, via text on 81111:
"Purgatory, following score on mobile, wife in foul mood & three-year-old daughter insistent on watching HER programmes on TV"
1809: Aus 304-5
Dreamy cricket from Clarke, picking Anderson off his pads with a flick of his elegant wrists. Cheers from the Aussie fans as the 300 comes up - the partnership now 175, a sterling rearguard effort that's gradually becoming an attacking one.
1805: Aus 297-5
Hungry roars as Fred lumbers in - upper-cut by Haddin for four, single to leg, and then - oof - edged from Clarke through fourth slip for four more. Anguish for the three existing slips. Someone has just pointed out that if Australia are still batting at tea on Monday, they'll have enough runs to win. Oi-yoi-yoi.
From Anonymous, via text on 81111:
"My French wife who doesn't boast to know too much about cricket did say to me this morning, 'why don't your batters get more runs before they give up?', as I explained the technicalities of a declaration - wise words ma cherie"
1801: Aus 287-5
Strauss calls a huddle in as Umpire Rudi throws the new ball to Doctrove - who drops it. "Oi," says Jim - "you've scuffed that one now. Can we have another one?" Refused, but Jim makes good use of damaged goods, getting Clarke to play and miss. Crowd go raucous as Freddie limbers.
From Rob Coyne, TMS inbox:
"19.55 in Turkey. Sun on way down. Both wives gone out and fed up with two blokes drinking beer on sunbed, sharing earphones and missing dinner just to hear outcome. New ball and Freddy will get them going."
1756: Aus 287-5
Colly with the last over before the new ball. Super shot from Haddin, running the ball away off the open face to the vacant third man slots for four more. Sun out - just in time to see Haddin thrash a half-volley away for another four. Australia need 235 now to win - interesting...
1752: Aus 278-5
Floodlights on now, but there's also a patch of brightness drifting over up ahead. We'll be okay for a while yet.
1749: Aus 275-5
Discussion now about the light. Clarke is in Doctrove's ear, telling him it's not looking good with the new ball just two overs away. One more for Swanny, one more for Colly, and then it's surely Fred and Jim.
From Marc Hudson, TMS inbox:
"I'm Aussie and want to see us lose this tonight. I have to face taunting poms at work tomorrow, and would prefer a done deal to a gleeful wicket by wicket commentary"
1746: Aus 274-5
Rank long hop from Swann, dragging the ball down leg, and Haddin smashes it to the midwicket fence. That's a record sixth-wicket partnership for Australia at Lord's - 146 - and England are hanging on for the new ball now.
1742: Aus 270-5
Flintoff off the field, loosening up you'd think for a fiery burst with the cherry. Sweet placement from the Aussie pair, Haddin cutting late for three, Clarke driving for the same, Haddin dabbing and Clarke then timing beautifully between midwicket and mid-on for a head-nodding four. Grey overhead now - there's rain in them there hills...
1738: Aus 259-5
One off the pads from Haddin - that's his half-century, and a ball later Clarke gets his full one - wonderful knock, a lovely mix of resolve and flair. 159 balls, 10 fours in the knock; for his partner, 95 balls, five fours. Lord's rises to them both, with special applause for Clarkie. Pleasure to watch a player like him in full flow, even in these circumstances.
1734: Aus 251-5
Colly tries to fox Clarke with a shorter one, man on the midwicket fence - pulled finer, and he'll get two there to move to 98. There's another guided out to deep backward point - 99 - but Haddin then nicks a single to move to 49 himself and steal the strike.
From Anonymous, via text on 81111:
"I am taking the missus to Edinburgh for our wedding anniversary tomorrow. She will get a rude surprise when she finds out that our itinerary will involve sitting in a pub and watching Australia complete one of the greatest run chases ever!"
1731: Aus 246-5
Clarke to 96 now, and he's enjoying himself - pressure-free runs, a ton at HQ a single shot away.
From Tony Roberts, Bury, TMS inbox:
"England need to get this game finished tonight because tomorrow morning I'm going to Venice for my birthday and won't have a radio."
1728: Aus 246-5
The partnership goes up to 118 as Clarke clips delightfully off his legs for an effortless four down the hill. Eight overs to go till the new ball - England checking their watches and waiting anxiously for Fred o'clock...
From Craig, Cambridge, TMS inbox:
"Please let it rain! Despite this being the first time we might beat Australia at Lords for donkeys' years, I find myself temporarily supporting Australia. I'm very uncomfortable about this and wish it would rain instead. If you haven't already guessed, yes, we have tickets for tomorrow!"
1724: Aus 242-5
Anguished yelps from slip and stumper as Clarke leans back, cuts and misses by a skinny one. Super slider from Swanny. Ooof - that one's nearly cleaned him up too, the livewire Aussie making room and having to jab down late.
1720: Aus 241-5
Be a sport and manually refresh, would you? Now then - looks like we'll have some Colly wobblers. Smart move, I'd say - in times like this, get Sir Mixalot involved. Haddin stays watchful, and that's a maiden.
1715: Aus 241-5
A huge cheer erupts around the ground as Michael Clarke guides a Graeme Swann delivery into the hands of cover - only for the cheers to subside as it a bumped ball. No real concern for either man as Haddin works a single through square leg. Right, time for me to do one - hopefully "Golden Arm" Fordyce can deliver. See you anon.
1712: Aus 240-5
Anderson overstretches as he attempts to squeeze every last kilojoule in his body to oust Haddin, but instead sends down a leg-side full bunger which evades the diving left glove of Matt Prior for the first byes of the innings.
1708: Aus 233-5
Swann, ever the improviser, opts to go around the wicket to Michael Clarke. But despite his endeavour, Clarke and Haddin pick up singles with little danger. And is that a sly smile from former Aussie wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist in the crowd?
1705: Aus 231-5
Anderson saunters in and sees the ball hoop back towards Haddin's pads - could this be the first signs of reverse swing? That's a big, fat juicy "no" not if the second ball is any indication. Haddin is back and across, playing with a straight blade and shutting up shop. Maiden over.
1702: Aus 230-5
Clarke brings up the 100-run partnership with a crisp punch down to deep mid-on off Swann before Clarke plays yet another raunchy cover drive, partially stopped by a diving Alastair Cook, for three. All a bit staid - surely it must be Freddie O'Clock, non?
1659: Aus 226-5
Fresh from his sliding antics in the outfield, Anderson is summoned for his first joust post-tea and sees Brad Haddin fortuitously glean three with a bottom-edged drive which squirms down to fine leg for three. A single for Clarke sees Australia's required runs drop below 300. Cue a few shifty glances, not least from twitchy Rich below. The crowd sigh in unison as Haddin plays a lazy upper cut over a vacant second slip for four. Odd - we have a first and a third slip, but no second, although the ball would have probably evaded the fielder's head. But still...
From Richard, twitchy in West London, TMS inbox:
"At what point does 521 look gettable? 300-5?"
1654: Aus 218-5
Swann has dispensed with the sunnies as Haddin pushes into the leg side for a single. A huge gust of wind puts the cameraman off balance, as well as blow the bails off the stumps at the non-striker's end. None of that bothers Michael Clarke though, easing on to his front foot and steering a delightful drive through extra cover which, for all money, looks like a boundary, only for Burnley's finest, Jimmy Anderson, to execute a text-book dive and slide to prevent the ball from crossing the boundary.
1650: Aus 216-5
Clarke ducks under a Broad bumper, but the ball rather pathetically spoons off the pitch and loops over the foetal-positioned batsman, bouncing a second time before Matt Prior snaffles the ball in front of his toes.
From Alice Meynell, TMS inbox:
"My father, Peter Balfour, now 88, was at Lord's in 1934 the last time England beat Australia. He clearly remembers watching Hedley Verity et al. He's there today, with my nine-year-old son (one of his 14 grandchildren) and my mother in the Warner Stand. My father is just recovering from a major operation and the excitement of this game is better than anything the doctor could prescribe!"
1646: Aus 216-5
The partnership reaches 87 - the Australian equivalent of the accursed Nelson. A slice of fortune for Clarke, who thrusts his front pad after his is beaten in flight by another crafty off-break from Swann. The ball spoons high into the vacant gap at gully as the duo - as well as a sizeable contingent down under - shift a little easier as they add a single to the total.
1642: Aus 215-5
Bang on cue, after questioning the juice in the pitch, Stuart Broad beats the Michael Clarke with a snorter which bites off the pitch and fizzes past the outside edge of Clarke's dangling bat and into the gloves of Matt Prior. A look of abject disbelief on Broad, who looks as if someone has just been outbid in the final seconds of a popular internet auction website.
1639: Aus 214-5
Swann, all arms and palms in his coil as he bowls, dives low to his left to parry a well-struck straight drive from Clarke, ensuring the duo are restricted to a solitary single. Not much turn for Swann just now, the pitch seems to have become a touch benign right now.
1636: Aus 213-5
Graham, below, I'm too professional to say that these two have batted with intelligence, sensibly rotating the strike in an 83-run partnership. Despite England's dominant position, there are still plenty of gaps to guide the ball into with the field spread and the duo add three more runs - all singles - off Broad.
From Graham in Barcelona, TMS inbox:
"Methinks maybe it's time for a Fordyce-style 'how well this partnership's going'-type comment. Mr. S, please oblige!"
1632: Aus 210-5
Swann opts for the Chris Gayle school of wearing sunglasses while bowling, although he eschews the Kanye West/Christopher Biggins-style yellow-rimmed efforts for a more respectable wraparound pair. He drops short again and sees Haddin smear a cut to deep point, where James Anderson makes a superb stop, sprawling on his belly, to prevent the ball from rolling over the rope.
1629: Aus 207-5
A bowling change, but not one for the populist vote as Andrew Strauss turns to the shaggy side parting of Stuart Broad - if he ever grew a moustache he would look like a dead ringer for a 1940s RAF pilot. Lovely shot from Haddin, who once again opens the blade and steers a ball outside off stump past the outstretched diving hand of Ravi Bopara before rolling over the backward point boundary.
From Paul Tyrell, Northampton, via text on 81111:
"Time to throw another baggy green on the barbie."
1624: Aus 202-5
Clarke takes abortive action as he pads up to another crafty, flighted delivery from Graeme Swann. But he fills his boots as Swann sends down a long-hop outside off stump with a "spank me" gift tag dangling from the seam, crashed away to the deep point boundary for four.
1620: Aus 197-5
Sensible batting between this sixth-wicket pair, rotating the strike with well-judged singles as well as the odd double when Onion offers width outside off stump. Bit subdued at the mo, maybe a slice of Flintoff pie will get the Lord's faithful interested again.
From Anonymous, via text on 81111:
"Isn't modern technology wonderful? Sitting on the 3.25 from Dundee to Edinburgh listening to TMS online, getting my picture taken by the Japanese tourists every time I shriek when a wicket goes down."
1617: Aus 194-5
Fascinating battle between Swann and the twinkle-toed Clarke, still hell-bent on using his feet to disrupt the off-spinner's rhythm. However, the Notts tweaker is really getting the ball to loop and dip - and the last delivery of the over turns and bounces viciously, deflecting off Clarke's bottom glove and then into his midriff before dropping to safety by his feet.
1614: Aus 191-5
Clarke harmlessly ducks under another bumper from Onions, who tightens up his lines with a straighter delivery which has the Aussie vice-skipper playing with soft hands to steal a quick single. Haddin then opens up the face of his meaty blade and guides the ball all along the deck between third slip and gully for a controlled boundary.
Jonathan Agnew on TMS:
"I had a look on the radar just before tea, and it appeared to be raining in the Reading area."
1609: Aus 185-5
The sound of a siren wails around the ground - hopefully not as a direct result of our cricket-obsessed friends in the constabulary from below tuning in. Cries of "catchit!" from Graeme Swann as Clarke deflects the ball high into the sky, but all of it off his thrusting front pad. Haddin steals a couple of quick singles to move to 16, with his partner on 66 from only 75 deliveries.
1606: Aus 181-5
Encouraging start from Onions, banging the ball in on a good length and obtaining a touch of movement away from the bat, but Clarke judiciously shoulders arms. He nudges the first run post-tea through midwicket before Haddin returns the compliment with a similar stroke.
Graham Onions to bowl the first over post-tea to Michael Clarke. Game very much on.
From Adam, via text on 81111:
"I love my Canadian wife. I do. And she likes her sport. But some things like the Ashes just mean nothing to her. Now if I'd have stuck with my first girlfriend Charlotte I wouldn't have this problem. She lived round the corner from The Oval."
Afternoon all, a quick change in the commentary seat so please manually refresh your webpage
and my name will appear, so you know whose name to yell out with repeated unprintable expletives if something bad happens. Or bellow in unadulterated joy if something good happens.
BBC weather forecast for London
is still steadfastly insisting on that heavy rain shower at 1600 BST, although it's still cloudy but dry here at BBC TV Centre, just a couple of miles west of the home of cricket.
From Englebert Humperderdle, TMS inbox:
"Superb news regarding England thrashing the Aussies. Not sure about the Old Bill's lack of work ethic though. They all seem to wrapped up in the action at Lord's."
From Dan, Hackney, via text on 81111:
"How about a little credit for those of us who aren't doing anything remotely quirky or eccentric, preferring to lie on the sofa doing absolutely nothing?
1541: Aus 178-5
Last over before tea. Gaaghh - super yorker from Anderson, dug out desperately by Haddin. Great session from England - 102 runs, three wickets, Clarke and Haddin now fighting hard with the partnership now up to 50.
From Anon, text 81111:
"Working in a high street mobile phone shop. A customer said they were just gonna choose the phone, then a minute later I shouted 'COME ON!' at the Swann wicket. The customers thought I was talking to them, glared at me, and stormed out."
1538: Aus 178-5
Apologies to Michael Clarke - I failed to put in the graphic for his half-ton. Crashing cover drive to take him to 60, the Pup on the burning deck.
From a police custody inspector, via text on 81111:
"Glued to my computer at work. At least I don't have to hide from the boss since I am the boss here!"
1533: Aus 168-5
Looks like we'll have a double change here - Jimmy Anderson from this end, Onions from the other. Crunch - lovely cover drive from Haddin, but it's peanuts when they need forests of almonds.
From Paul Cotterill, TMS inbox:
"Some people may find it disgraceful that on duty police officers are listening to the cricket when they should be totally focused on busting crime. However, they are simply observing a proud tradition. The original police force, the Bow Street Runners, are so called because they often stopped their normal policing activities in order to dash between wickets for injured batsmen."
1529: Aus 163-5
Flintoff steams in, shuffling in like a man in desperate need for the public conveniences, and pierces the sizeable gap between Haddin's bat and pad, although the ball keeps a tad low as the Aussie keeper gives the Preston lad a big pouted "ooohhh". Haddin shoulders arms to a delivery which jags back sharply off the pitch before Rudi Koertzen shakes his head when Flintoff raps Haddin on the front foot with a full delivery. Good decision from the South African as the ball would have missed leg stump.
1524: Aus 162-5
Haddin skips down the track to a full Swann delivery, jamming his bat down just in time to squeeze a quick single to point. Clarke, whose foot movement would make Strictly Come Dancing doyen Len Goodman drool with joy, does something similar and steals a single.
From Iain and Tom, via text on 81111:
"Just been told to leave the quiet coach on the 11am from London to Edinburgh for cheering too loudly at North's wicket. Think the guy complaining had a slight Australian twang."
1520: Aus 158-5
Ooo-la-la - Fred nearly gets Clarke in three different ways: inside edge past the stumps, yorker that nearly does him round his legs; zipper outside off that draws a prodder. 20 minutes to tea.
From Mark in Newmarket, TMS inbox:
"Re: Emma in Manchester  - if you've only the one child, may I suggest leaving him in there until the series is over? You can feed him under the door on toast, tortillas and sliced fruit for balance, and watch the rest of the cricket in peace."
1515: Aus 147-5
Stat attack: Australia have only lost by more than 300 runs twice in the last 20 years - to India by 320 runs in Mohali in October 2008, and by 343 runs to West Indies in Barbados in April 1991. Just in case you were wondering. Huge shouts for ell bee as Haddin thrusts a pad forward with bat raised - probably would have hit, but he was so far outside off that it would be a mighty tough one to give.
Jayne, Cardiff, text 81111:
"Been in the bath since 1030. Now very wrinkly. Afraid I'll jinx England if I get out. Partner ticked off with my inactivity."
1512: Aus 141-5
Brute of a lifter from Fred - Haddin throws his gloves up at his face, the ball goes through to Prior - England scream an appeal, but Umpire Rudi shakes a stern head. That's one balanced up, I think - sounded like some material on that. Strauss moves Cook from third slip to leg slip and, would you believe, next ball Haddin edges straight through the newly-vacated area...
Jules, Brum New St, via text on 81111:
"Train is messing with my long wave reception, so I'm leaving the carriage at every station, playing chicken with the doors. I'm winning so far..."
1507: Aus 141-5
If Swann could bowl eight-ball overs you wouldn't be able to tear the ball from his hands. Clarke runs a straighter one away off the face for three to third man and then hustles back at pace to cover up his castle to a big tweaker.
From Robin, Edinburgh, via text on 81111:
"I am listening in the Witchery ghost tour shop in Edinburgh. When Hussey was out I screamed so loudly I scared a tourist. I suppose the cricket is helping me do my job."
1503: Aus 135-5
Fred again, and Clarke gets lucky twice - a fended-off rapid one that flies just past gully and a frantic pull that bottom-edges down at his castle and away.
From Emma in Manchester, TMS inbox:
"I have just terrified my four-year-old son with my shouts at Swann's wicket; he has run into the bathroom, locked the door and refuses to come out 'until mum stops yelling'."
1458: Aus 132-5
75 years since England last beat Australia in a Test at Lord's... Lovely piece of bowling from Swannage, setting North up with the looper and then spearing it in. Cheers from the crowd as the giant screen shows Ricky Ponting with his head on his chest on the visitor's balcony.
From anonymous copper, TMS inbox:
"Another police officer, desk bound, trying hard to hide the computer screen from my Sgt and praying no suspects come into the cells so I can go to the pub and watch the fun. Come on England."
1455: Aus 128-5
Swann loops up a slower one - blocked away by a wobbling North. Next up, faster and the arm ball - BOWLED HIM!
1453: Aus 127-4
Fred almost decapitates Clarke with a lifter that could penetrate a Challenger tank - single off the gloves. North wafts nervously at one speared in and gets lucky as the edge flies just over a grasping gully.
From furtive copper, west London, via text:
"Little cheap mini radio wired up through my stab vest so I can listen in on patrol."
1449: Aus 122-4
For the first time all series, Swann is in his groove. There's drift, there's bend, there's bite. Ooohs and aaahs from the salivating close fielders.
From Ian Walker, TMS inbox:
"Putting off my crocodile with termite sauce dinner in Douala Cameroon, stuck to the cricket text updates. The hunger for an Australian defeat is greater. Did Ponting walk after being bowled?"
1445: Aus 121-4
If Fred bowls any quicker than this, the ball will become invisible. And his arm might come off, although if it did, he'd probably pick it up with the spare one and stride back to his mark. North looking terrified, and quite rightly so.
From Levon Marsland, TMS inbox:
"I am listening in on my computer at home in Trondheim, Norway. My Norwegian girlfriend has got so infuriated by my relentless cricket listening that she has left the house and taken a boat across a Fjord to stay with her parents. She'll be gone until the match has finished."
1439: Aus 120-4
So that's four wickets down, three of them potentially dodgy. Hearts break around Britain. North dashes a desperate single to get off the pair, and he'll have to face Fred at full pelt now. It's all happening.
Ricard, text 81111:
"Last night I broke into my mate's house and stole his dressing gown and wax jacket and I will not take them off until England have secured victory."
1434: Aus 120-4
Australians, cover your eyes: I don't think Hussey hit that. I'm serious. The ball turned out of the rough alright, but the noise everyone thought was edge of bat on ball might well have been bat on ground. No moans from Husselhoff, but he's been done like a Craster kipper there...
From former Australia captain Ian Chappell on TMS:
"Paul Collingwood is an exceptional slip fielder. He probably would have been unsighted for a fraction of a second when he took that catch."
1426: WICKET Hussey c Collingwood b Swann 27, Aus 120-4
Swann again - glorious footwork from Clarke, turning the flighted one into a full bunger and running three. Swann to Huss now - turn from the footholds, edge, caught! Caught at slip, a ripper from Colly - and what sort of idiot would write a sentence like my last one down below?
1423: Aus 113-3
A few drops of rain in the air, but there's a brisk old breeze blowing now and it should clear off. I say brisk - it's blown one of the bails off. Crack - that's a super pull from The Hussar, and they're starting to settle, this pair.
From AJ, London, text 81111:
"Am on call in hospital at the moment. Just checked the score while in intensive care and yelled a bit too loudly at Punter's wicket, the nurse nearly fell off her chair. Good thing the patients are sedated, though they are missing out."
1419: Aus 109-3
Swannage time. A little early bite, but that's delightful footwork from Clarke - the Ginger to Fred's, erm, Fred. Has R (see below) just sent in the most worrying email we've ever had?
From R, TMS inbox:
"I'm sat at the supervisor's desk in my control tower; watching the planes go past and the overs tick by online. Not telling which airport though
1415: Aus 106-3
Three slips in, all with hands on knees in Botham-approved fashion, plus a point and backward point. Showy leave from Clarke, who looks bang on the buck this arvo. Swannage time?
From Mark Bamford, TMS inbox:
"Sitting on a beach in Gallipoli, Southern Italy. Following the cricket and hearing the news about Punter's wicket is like watching a threatening storm cloud looming over the blue horizon tracking across the sky and disappearing over the yonder. Nastro anyone?"
1411: Aus 105-3
Two spanking cover drives from Michael Clarke off Anderson, both shots finished with a Tendulkar-style flourish in the follow through. Anderson drops short outside off stump, allowing the Aussie vice-captain to jump up and thump a back-foot drive through the same region for another boundary.
1406: Aus 91-3
Push-drive again from Clarke and that's rapid running - three as Onions chases it down like a man with fly-paper for soles. Grey up above, but dry as we go.
From Mike Geddes, TMS inbox:
"In a sweltering New York City, never so happy to have jet lag that woke me up in time for the cricket. Celebrated Ponting's dismissal with peanut butter M&Ms for breakfast. Now feel a bit sick, but well worth it."
1402: Aus 85-3
Jimmy definitely getting some reverser there - Hussey's having a nightmare, but so would the lovechild of Allan Border and Don Bradman right now. Fuller one after a single and that's a creamy drive from Clarke - four through cover to get off the quacker.
1358: Aus 80-3
Broad bowling with menace now, bringing the ball back down the slope and allowing Husselhoff and new man Clarke almost nothing. The ground's still reverberating with the repercussions of Ponting's dismissal - people doing replays for each other with rolled-up newspapers. Funnily enough, it's out every time.
Matt, on a small island off Bali, text 81111:
"Just hope nobody at work notices the bill from refreshing the Blackberry."
1353: Aus 80-3
Anderson hooping it all over the shop, and that's got to be close against The Hussar - ooh, not out says Billy Doctrove. Ball looked like it was hitting pad before bat and going on towards the middle of off...
From James, USA, TMS inbox:
"Am in Connecticut for a wedding and have hidden out with the hotel's computer and pray no one finds me and drags me to brunch. I love my family, I love the Aussies getting a thrashing at Lord's more."
1348: Aus 78-3
Lord's has gone ripe bananas - Skipper's gone, cleaned up off an inside edge. Broad is hauled down by his team-mates, and Ponting trudges off - great line, probing away, and he had to have a joust in the end. PS could you manually refresh for me, when you've sat down again?
1347: WICKET Ponting b Broad 38, Aus 78-3
Bit blowy at Lord's now - AARGHGHHH!
Anon, text 81111:
"By a pool in Umbria. My mate Nick has just got a ticket off a tout and is now sitting snugly in the Compton Stand. Can't help feeling I'm in the wrong place..."
1342: Aus 78-2
A skinny sliver of Sunday sun sneaks out from behind the greyness up above as Anderson marks his run out from the Nursery End. Oof - in-dipper to Ponting, and that ball ricochets through his legs as the three skips yelp like seals.
The five-minute bell's gone - and right on cue, Mr Fordyce is ready to resume proceedings for the afternoon session...
From Caven, driving to Cornwall, TMS inbox:
"Re: Trebell on 606  - the Aussies might fancy this, but I fancy Jennifer Aniston - doesn't mean it's going to happen. Jennifer - if you're watching TMS - call me"
From Ashy & Julie, Tameside Hospital, via text on 81111:
"In a deserted maternity ward in Manchester waiting for the arrival of my first child as my wife has been induced. Following the cricket on my phone and loving it. Think it would only be fitting to name him Freddie if it's a boy!!"
From Andy in Sydney, TMS inbox:
"Whinging Aussies all the way here on local TV, with Stuart MacGill and Greg Matthews complaining about the umpires. Looking forward to the schooners of Toohey's I'm going to win off my Australian workmates."
This could be fun - Aggers is about to play Rolf a charity version of "Two Little Boys", sung by none other than Phil Tufnell! It's called "Two Cricket Teams", and there's plenty of guitar...
I've just come back from a week playing cricket myself down in Dorset, which was interrupted by the rain at various stages. So with trepidation, I've had a look at
the BBC weather forecast for London
which threatens light showers, plus a heavy shower around 1600. Keep those umbrellas on stand-by, folks.
From Trebell on 606:
"England should have batted an hour out of this morning and got the score to 560. Aussie will fancy this now"
As Rolf Harris joins Aggers in the TMS box as their lunchtime entertainment (bemoaning how Elvis Presley's "Return to Sender" denied him the chance to top the charts), I'm afraid you're stuck with me in text-land for a brief spell... give it a manual refresh to see the name change.
From Ciro, via text on 81111:
"At a kids party constantly clicking refresh on my Blackberry. I suppose being with my son is marginally more important that the Ashes - but not by much."
Christopher Martin-Jenkins on TMS:
"The largest fourth-innings Test total ever made was England's 654-5 against South Africa in Durban in a timeless Test in 1938/39, a match which was drawn. The largest fourth-innings total in a losing cause was New Zealand's 451 in Christchurch when Nathan Astle went mad at the Jade Stadium on a drop-in pitch against England in 2002, when Nathan Astle smashed 222 from 168 deliveries."
1300: Aus 76-2
Broad sticks to his prober outside off and Ponting leaves alone until one a little straighter is turned behind square for one. Husselhoff does the same - last ball before the break, optimistic ell bee bellow and that's our lot. Good session for England, good nascent recovery from the Aussies.
From Anne in Kalkaringi TMS inbox:
"Sitting in a remote Indigenous community in the Northern Territory with my laptop on my knee watching this and laughing. Can't wait to go to work tomorrow and laugh some more..."
1256: Aus 74-2
Two to go before the carbo-loading. Onions weaves his way in and keeps the brakes on - just two rapid singles. Ponting's crept up to 36 off 55 balls, Hussey 12 off 34.
From Ciro, text 81111:
"At a kids' party constantly clicking refresh on my Blackberry. I suppose being with my son is marginally more important that the Ashes - but not by much."
1252: Aus 72-2
Lovely anecdote from Shane Warne on the telly, recalling how Michael Slater used to get such a strop on when he was out that he used to try to flush the offending bat or gloves down the dressing-room toilet. Wide of off from Broad, and Ponting leaves them disdainfully alone.
From Simon, TMS inbox:
"Sitting at a beachside taverna on the beautiful Croatian island of Lopud. Costing me a fortune to log in to text commentary on my phone but worth it so far. C'mon, England."
1248: Aus 72-2
Hmmm - sloppy from England - Broad allows a dribbler through his hands at deep square leg to toss away four, Onions drops short to be pulled away again and Bopara flings casually to give away overthrows. Good and bad for the last two - slider across Huss that nearly takes the edge, over-pitched to be driven straight for four more. Expensive over.
1244: Aus 59-2
Good start this from Broad - Husselhoff foxed by a sequence of wobblers down the slope, fencing and poking until a controlled edge flies through the gully for four. Huss needed that - he'd been marooned on three off 27 balls. Time for at least three overs before luncheon.
1240: Aus 55-2
Ponting shifts his weight on his back foot and attempts to punch Onions through cover, but the ball moves off the deck and beats his outside edge before swinging outrageously into the diving gloves of Matt Prior. He plonks the next ball for a well-judged single - only to double up as the ball deflects off the stumps into a vast green expanse on the leg side, bringing up the Australia 50. Onions overpitches and strays on Ponting's pads and the Aussie captain rolls his wrists and glides the ball through midwicket for four.
1236: Aus 49-2
Short from Broad, pulled away high by Punter and going one-bounce past Cook's dive on the square leg fence. Sprinted single and then a delightful slider that has The Hussar poking at damp air.
1231: Aus 44-2
There we go - Fred's strolling off for some treatment. Good over from Onions, keeping Hussey housed, and it will be Broad up next.
From Danny, TMS inbox:
"Soaking wet and clicking refresh in an internet cafe in Eritrea. Summer rains have just started so no-one else is here, so I'm getting a half-decent speed. Loving the scoreline so far"
1226: Aus 43-2
Fred looks to be in a little pain now. He's carrying a limp back to his mark, and this might be his last over in this spell. Still plenty of menace in the six, one in-dipper coming back down the slope to crash into Ponting's exposed front pad - just going over, rules Billy D. Stuart Broad warming up in the outfield.
From Paul Mainwaring, Charlotte, NC, TMS inbox:
"Re Laurence Hayes in a hot tub. Is he really in a communal hot tub at 4am??"
1220: Aus 40-2
Brief break for drinks, Freddie slaking like an elephant at a Serengeti watering-hole. Looks like Graham Onions for his first joust of the day - yup. Yorker speared onto leg stump that Ponting clips away for one, a rapid in-slider that generates an optimistic well bee shout and a shortish one that The Hussar pulls away for his first runs of the day from his 17th ball.
From Cicely Brown in Nigeria, TMS inbox:
"I walked down to the main street in my village, flagged a passing car and joined 4 other passengers in a incredibly battered old Toyota, with a windscreen more crazed than optimistic Australians, and travelled 15 km so I could have internet access for the match. Come on Australia - make it worth my while."
1213: Aus 37-2
Fred is absolutely loving this - his last Test appearance at Lord's, the crowd roaring, the Aussies cowering. Hussey is done every which way by this over, the ball arrowing past his snout, zipping past the outside edge and rearing up into his rib-cage. Six overs, two wickets, six runs, and he has a good laugh at Hussey as he strolls past, face beaming.
From Thom in Sydney, TMS inbox:
"In absolute shock that the Hughes decision wasn't referred to the third umpire."
1208: Aus 36-2
So we've had one wicket to a no-ball and another to a catch that's as disputed as Schleswig-Holstein. Ponting? He looks ready to chew his helmet grille off. Hussey takes giant steps forward to Anderson as the vultures gather.
From Laurence Hayes, TMS inbox:
"Sitting in a hot tub in Napa Valley, California, trying to celebrate Hughes' wicket without causing a scene."
1203: Aus 34-2
Flintoff sent down another probing delivery outside left-hander Hughes' off stump and the 20-year-old snicked a fine edge into the hands of Andrew Strauss at first slip. England are jubilant - but Hughes is told to stand his ground by his stone-faced captain, who is adamant the ball did not carry into the England skipper's hands. Umpire Rudi Koertzen looks towards Billy Doctrove at square leg for adjudication - and the West Indian nods, no need to go to Nigel Llong upstairs. However, TV replays paint a different picture - it looks as if the ball made contact with grass before Strauss slipped his fingers underneath the leather... Oh my. New man Mike Hussey leaves a ball which flirts with his off stump.
1158: Aus 34-2 WICKET Hughes ct Strauss b Flintoff 17
Hughes has edged Flintoff to first slip - has it carried - yes!
Tim Vine, TMS inbox:
"Thank the Lord Christian Reilly is not England captain. Anyone stupid enough to blow 40 notes on a Top Man t-shirt should be ignored outright, but his view on England batting on is also just plain wrong. Forget 600 - the Aussies aren't even going to trouble 300."
1156: Aus 34-1
Anderson across Hughes - edged - and dropped by Freddie at second slip! Very, very hard chance - skimming low, way out wide, and Fred probably did well to lay digits on it, but that'll still hurt England. They take a single, and Jim drops a tad short and is pulled away by a stone-faced Ponting.
1151: Aus 29-1
Ponting refuses the offer of the physio, in the spirit of the modern-day Eddie Paynter. Fred comes in from round the wicket again, Hughes jumping away and trying desperately to get that cut working. Sprinted single taken at the death, and there's heavy pressure on the Aussies here.
1147: Aus 28-1
Watery sunshine, but there's nothing watery about that - a vicious spitter that thunks into Ponting's bottom hand again. That's really hurt him - the glove is off, and the physio will be coming on an the end of the over. Ponting's face a mask, but he struggles with the full remainders and the glove has now come off again.
1142: Aus 22-1
Is that Rolf Harris in the crowd - or should I say, can you guess who it is yet? Ouch - rapid from Fred, and that cracks Punter on his bottom hand before rolling away for a wincing single. Hughes backs away again - deliberately, as that's his technique - and he has to hit the deck to avoid wearing another spicy one on the mooey.
1138: Aus 21-1
Australia fans, prepare to weep: replays show that Fred's delivery that got rid of Katich should have been called a no-ball. By a clear couple of inches. Jimmy to Hughes - slapped off the stumps for a couple, but he's hopping like a nervous flea.
1134: Aus 17-1
Fred to Ponting, the two gladiators eyeball out. Two snakey ones outside off are left alone with extravagant bat raises. Two more are angled in - defended edgily out to point. Ear-splitting applause at HQ.
1130: Aus 17-1
What a ball, what a start - angled across at pace, moving a touch off the track, drawing the drive and snaffled by Pietersen in front of his breastplate. Joy for England - and here comes Ponting...
1129: WICKET Katich c Pietersen b Flintoff 6, Aus 17-1
Fred - slashed - KP - OUT!
1126: Aus 17-0
Jimmy now to Katich, the Aussie opener shuffling across his castle, and a full one gets drilled uppishly through the covers for four. Pushed single to get Hughes back on strike. Pitch still looking remarkably good - no cracks, very little wear - and Hughes steps back to crash a wide one though point for a trademark boundary. Positive start from the tourists.
From Christian Reilly, TMS inbox:
"I hope Straussy has got this one right. I would have let Fred have a final mash for the first hour, in Twenty20 style, then shoved Punter and their boys out there chasing 600. 522 sounds nice, but it's like when you see a nice shirt in Top Man for £39.99, it doesn't sound as impressive as telling your mates it was 40 quid.
1121: Aus 8-0
Is Fred fit? He's steaming in okay from the Pavilion End, so you've got to think so. That's a great ball, short and rib-wards, cramping up Hughes and almost making him play on. Two more testers slid across, and now he switches to round the wicket. Three slips, short leg, gully and backward point. That's slapped to the latter, but that one nearly takes Hughes's head off. Roars of approval, and Fred strolls down the track to pass on a few kindly words of advice.
1116: Aus 6-0
Jimmy Anderson to steam in from the Nursery End. Short one at the leaping Hughes - gloved away just past Prior for the first runs of the day. Lovely line on the next couple, shaping across the leftie and coming back in, but that's a fraction too wide and gets chopped away past point for the first four of the day.
Both sets of players out - we're almost off...
From Ben, Aussie in Dublin, TMS inbox:
"I believe in miracles."
Is that a patch of blue sky up above? Just enough to allow play, but not so much that the ball won't swing?
From Henry Blofeld on TMS:
"The clouds at the moment are reasonably high - and there's a little bit of blue sky. There is going to be moisture about - so can England make the ball swing?"
From Rob in Brighton, TMS inbox:
"I blame this weather on all those lily-livered souls who called for rain in Cardiff. We didn't need it then but those cheques always get cashed eventually."
Charming scenes down below - the Aussies are lining up for a team photo in front of the pavilion. Usual japes going on - Shane Watson complaining that Phillip Hughes is too short, Hughes trying to stand on tip-toe, Andrew McDonald pushing Hughes over.
Breaking news - England have declared
. Australia have two days to score 522 to win. Who likes the sound of that sentence?
Hold up - the covers are coming off! What's that? Start at 11.15am
No news yet on any declaration, but you've got to think England will call it quits at 311-6 and a lead of 521.
Keep your panic housed, though. It's by no means set soggy for the day - most likely to be on-off, and the drainage at HQ is a thing wonder. Remember that Test two summers ago against India when dolphins were swimming round the outfield at 12.30pm, and by 12.45pm dust-devils loop-the-loop from extra cover to long leg?
I won't mess about - it's raining at Lord's, and the covers are on. We'll have a delayed start.