Second Test, Lord's, day five:
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AUSTRALIA SECOND INNINGS
Splendid Test match, thrilling morning, and we go to Edgbaston in 10 days time with the series in the rudest of blooming health. Hats off for the thousands of texts and emails - super effort, and I only wish I could lob them all in. See you on Thursday week...
From Paul Buck, TMS inbox:
"What about a Segway for Sir Fred? I can just see him steaming in from the Kirkstall Lane End at Headingley (I doubt one could be ordered in time for Edgbaston) on two wheels, touching 100mph with his deliveries, skittling the Aussies and doing doughnuts around the stumps
Only thing is, what would constitute a no-ball? And would the wheels damage the pitch?"
From Paul Goldstein, TMS inbox:
"Did Neil Armstrong have his knee held together by a band-aid? Freddie's follow through - now THAT'S a giant leap for mankind."
From Mark Hesketh, TMS inbox:
"Would cricket's ruling body prevent a little motorized granny trolley for Sir Fred. Surely the ECB budget could stretch to a super charged one for the big man, to save on the knee and keep that arm turning over?"
From Ian in Coventry, TMS inbox:
"Just collected my Australian father-in-law from the Airport. He landed at the same time as the final wicket fell. He seemed to take a lot longer to come through Customs than normal."
Anyone want to hear from man-of-the-match Andrew Flintoff
? "It's nice to get five wickets and get some plaudits, but it's a team victory. There was no chance of Straussy getting the ball off me this morning. I've got three more Test matches left - it'll be hard getting through those, but it's something I'm confident I can do. We can't be complacent now."
From Marc Kelly, TMS inbox:
"Of course this is bigger than Neil Armstrong's achievement. This was against Australia."
And now this from Andrew Strauss
: "It's been a great Test match - a really special victory for the team. 11 delighted guys in the dressing-room. To win an Ashes Test at Lord's is something that a lot of men have dreamed of over the last 50 years. I want to give special mention to Andrew Flintoff, who was exceptional this morning."
From Rich Tyson, TMS inbox:
"Does this mean we have to go back to work now, or do we unite and declare a public holiday?"
chat on TMS: "The first couple of days were where this game was decided. We started the game poorly with the ball and that gave England the momentum. There was no hangover from Cardiff - how could there be when we played so well? We have to look at some of the positives that came out of this game."
From James in York, TMS inbox:
"I'm willing to donate any body-part Freddie needs to keep him playing Test cricket. Just say the word."
From I.R. Wintergarden, TMS inbox:
"Matt loves Fred, Jonathan will have his babies but don't feel left out Tom, I would gladly have your babies."
God bless you, I.R, whatever gender you may be.
A quick word from England spinner Graeme Swann:
"I was a bit apprehensive this morning, but Andrew Flintoff getting that early wicket calmed everybody down."
Standing ovation for England as they walk off, smiles on every man's face, led by a stump-waving Flintoff. Despite everything that happened in Cardiff, England lead the series 1-0 with three to go. The TMS inbox is in danger of melting.
From anonymous, text 81111:
"Sat on a beach in Cornwall. All the Dads have stopped what they are doing. Is this more significant than what Neil Armstrong did 40 years ago today?"
It's gone ripe golden bananas at Lord's - after 75 years of waiting, England have beaten Australia at HQ. Johnson fell on his sword in the end, striding down the track for an eyes-shut slogger and not even bothering to turn round as his middle stump fell back drunkenly.
From Jonathan, TMS inbox:
"I know I can't physically have Fred's babies, but I'm willing to try."
1242: Johnson b Swann 63, Aus 406 all out
Swann fancies getting involved here, tossing them up invitingly for Johnson and beating him twice outside off after a mow over midwicket brings up two. BOWLED HIM!
From Dan, TMS inbox:
"What an effort from super Fred - don't let him retire from international cricket, we will be in the same boat as the Aussies without McGrath and Warne. DON'T GO."
1240: Aus 403-9
Johnson's decided to go down all blades flashing here - lovely drive down the ground off an exhausted Flintoff, and that takes him to 61 - let's get a overdue graphic in there for him.
1237: Aus 397-9
Swann twirls, very much the support act on the big stage today. Hilfenhaus squeezes two away off the face, and England are on the brink.
From anonymous, TMS inbox:
"Knighthood for Fred anyone? He is a national hero! "
From Matt, TMS inbox:
"Fred: I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you."
1230: Aus 386-9
Lord's has seldom heard a reception like this. Flintoff seemed spent, the over appeared to be done and the last (extra) ball cursory at best. No-one told Freddie. Siddle didn't know whether to go forward or back, and before he could decide his timber was scattered around NW8. Fred's spell today: nine overs, one maiden, 3-33; in the innings, 26 overs, 5-82. He raises his floppy sun-hat to all corners and milks the ovation with a look of utter delight across his chops.
1229: WICKET Siddle b Flintoff 7, Aus 386-9
He's starting to look a little weary now, Fred - Siddle jabs down on two in-dippers and gets the second down to long leg for a single. Johnson defends one away, takes a single off the fifth and exposes Siddle to what could be Flintoff's last ball. In-swinging yorker dug out - no-ball, so he'll have another pop. He turns off a run-up of about 10 paces - BOWLED HIM!
Rob, Gloucester, text 81111:
"Has Glenn McGrath revised his series prediction to a 3-1 Australian victory yet?"
1225: Aus 381-8
Slip and short leg in for Johnson as Swann looks to tempt him into another big drive. He does, but the mighty mow clunks over Broad at midwicket for a meaty four. Flintoff has never taken five wickets at Lord's, and this is his last chance - what's he got left in the tank?
Nic, Bristol, text 81111:
"Normally cricket is something that happens whilst I am waiting for the football season to start - but this is compelling! Supposed to be working but all I can say is thank heavens for the wonder of the internet."
From Sue Panda, TMS inbox:
"How can anyone not love cricket at times like this? Heart-warmingly lovely to see Freddie back on his proper form. Smiles are erupting in the office."
1220: Aus 381-8
It would take a braver man than Strauss to tear the ball from the Flintoff fingers now. Full and nasty at Siddle - tonked off the toe of the bat for a single. That's nice from Johnson, an authentic drive back past the non-striker's stumps for his seventh four to move to 44. Fred greets it with a toothy smile.
From Joe, Ealing, TMS inbox:
"Me and my best mate are starting new jobs together at the same company this morning. Neither of us is making the greatest first impression with regards to workload."
1215: Aus 375-8
Lord's has seldom seen at atmosphere like it. Every ball is being greeted with oohs and aahs and yeeesss's. Big loop from Swann, Johnson smashes one back at him - oh, dropped at full-stretch by a diving Swanny.
From Steve, Blackpool, TMS inbox:
"'The Aussie sat behind me is going to get some serious abuse this afternoon. I cannot wait for his return from lunch."
1210: Aus 367-8
You'd have more joy trying to catch bullets in your teeth than you would stopping Fred in this mood. Hauritz was utterly befuddled by that, terrified of edging to slip and opting to play no stroke to one that spat back like a cobra. Flintoff raises his arms, one wicket away from his first Test five-for since The Oval '05, and the England supporters packed into Lord's genuflect at the feet of their hero.
1209: WICKET Hauritz b Flintoff 1, Aus 363-8
New-man Hauritz, looking somewhat worried - he's got a whole lot more to worry about now...
From Christopher Gardener, TMS inbox:
"I work in a office of around 50 people i reckon about 75% are on here. The biggest yes get in there! just erupted around the office."
1204: Aus 356-7
Drift and dip did for Clarkie there - Swann gave it some air, Pup got monkeyed in the flight and the ball then turned just enough from outside off to thunk the top of the off peg. As bowling changes go, that's useful...
1200: WICKET Clarke b Swann 136, Aus 356-7
Swann into the attack and - WICKET TIME. Clarke dances down the track and completely misses the ball, which goes on to hit the stumps. A great, great knock by Clarke but England just three wickets away from victory now.
From anonymous, TMS inbox:
"Furtively following the action from a port in South Vietnam. Unlike the chap yesterday who was emailing from an airport control tower, ships move a lot slower and fortunately there are none in today. Now, if they can just wrap it up in an hour or two, that'll be perfect timing to head uptown to the Australian bars and tune to the sports channel."
1158: Aus 356-6
Fred will have one more, at least. That's nightmarish to face - pinging up from short of a length and crashing in to Johnson's bat handle - but that's well played, pulled off his nose for two to deep midwicket. 166 needed by Australia, and Johnson is settling in a little - 26 not out, hogging the strike from his more experienced pardner.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell on TMS:
"A lot of captaincy is about gut feeling. Standing at slip, as Strauss does, you get a feeling for when a guy is going to take a wicket - but when you don't have that feeling you have to make a change. If I was England captain at the moment I would not be thinking that Broad is about to take a wicket. I would be tempted to bowl Swann."
1152: Aus 353-6
Broad to continue, although Swann is winking at Skipper Strauss and making give me a joust eyes in his direction. Fullish one dug out by Johnson as Broad comes in from round the wicket, angling the ball in from wide - and that's nice, the ball swinging away just a fraction and inducing an airy waft. Johnson tugs at the peak of his helmet, steps into the next one and drills it through point for a tasty four. Cheers from the Aussie contingent at HQ as the 350 mark is passed, cheers that rise in volume as Johnson clips through mid-on for three more.
1147: Aus 343-6
How many more overs can Flintoff get through in this spell? Lord alive - how did that one miss Johnson's timbers? It was short and nasty, and Mitchell can only jab down late and watch as the ball rebounds down and over the stumps. A wider one is driven off the back foot for three to the cover fence before Clarke defends with the straightest of bats.
Phil Tufnell on TMS:
"Bats are like girlfriends - you always have your favourites."
1141: Aus 343-6
Detailed chat between Strauss and Broad as the crowd shift forward in their seats. Is Broad going round the wicket? Yup - and almost an instant dividend, Johnson edging just shy of Flintoff at second slip. They take a single as the ball dribbles away, and that's a sweet drive from Clarke for two to cover - followed by four more as he drives straighter past the diving Onions. Broad getting put away here, and Clarke moves to 136 - 179 more runs needed.
From Mark Taylor, Hornchurch, TMS inbox:
"I actually feel physically sick and am unable to concentrate on any work as I'm too busy clicking refresh on this page every two minutes with crossed fingers and knotted stomach. Not sure I can bear this all day - especially if they get much closer and we bring Broad on. Why is supporting England in any sport no real fun whatsoever?"
1138: Aus 335-6
Well bowled, well played - rapid spitter from Fred that Johnson leaps to jab down, and then - ouch - another brute that Johnson wears on his shoulder. That's better from the Aussie no.8, though, a classy pull through midwicket for four. Fred goes round the wicket; Johnson defends doughtily. 187 more runs needed by Australia.
From Elis, Chingford, TMS inbox:
"Take That played Wembley, not the O2, but I presume thousands of 20-something females are telling you that already. For an 02-related simile, perhaps the celebration more resembled Beyonce shaking her utmost at the Greenwich-tent? Perhaps not."
1134: Aus 331-6
Looks like a change of bowling here - yup, Broad replacing Jimmy. Touch surprised by that - Jim's been looking useful so far. Singles aplenty on the leg side as Strauss has stuck two men back for the hook, looking to get Johnson out in the same way as the first innings. Watchful from the Aussie pair.
From Harvey B, TMS inbox:
"I've played cricket with Stuart Pearce for Shalborne CC and his bowling is actually quite good - he responded to mockery from the opposition batsmen with a yorker that knocked over all three stumps and then made the same face as when he scored that penalty in Euro '96 and screamed 'Come on'!"
1129: Aus 329-6
Yelps from the slips as a horrible in-dipper from Fred almost cuts Clarke in half. The buzz-cut Pup angles one to leg to get off the strike - cheers, says Johnson, as a seam-up lifter fizzes past his snout. That's even nastier - a knee-high full toss that smashes into Johnson's back leg, plump in front of his timbers - but it's a no-ball! Johnson takes a deep breath and responds with a two clipped off the legs to deep midwicket and then an aerial four smacked over a stretching cover.
From Matt TMS inbox:
"I was in the pavilion yesterday and saw Mitchell Johnson being told very seriously by an elderly Indian gentleman, in his blazer and MCC tie, that when he hooked he should roll his wrists to keep the ball down - and he demonstrated the correct technique. MJ was very charming and smiled and thanked the man for his good advice and said he'd be sure to take it on board - we shall see!"
1123: Aus 321-6
Three slips, gully, backward point for Johnson. Super line from Anderson, right arm over to the leftie, pitching on middle and jumping up towards the top of off. Johnson gets behind two of them and then goes onto the front foot to drive with class past a chasing Cook at cover for four. Fred paws the ground at long leg.
Michael Fish, text 81111:
"Based on the long range weather forecast I sold the tickets I had for today's play on Thursday. Not my best decision ever."
1119: Aus 317-6
Huge beamer on Fred's face as he turns at the end of his run-up and lumbers in like a runaway Eddie Stobart. Wicked yorker just dug out - I mean that in the evil rather than baddass sense - and that's another brute, leaping up and smashing into Clarke's gloves as he throws his head back with eyes shut and mouth open in a silent scream. Whooah - 93mph snaker outside off, and Clarke pokes at thin air with petrified feet nailed to the floor. Dabber single to mid-on, Johnson on strike - oh, edged two inches in front of Colly at second slip. Stick that over in a frame and pop it over the mantelpiece.
From Matt, Bristol, TMS inbox:
"The second casualty of the day - Fred gets Haddin and I manage to crack my head on the coffee table after getting over-vigorous with my celebrations, slipping and falling head first. Ouch. Still, I'll suffer the bumps and bruises for four more Aussie wickets. My Aussie housemate has little sympathy though."
1113: Aus 314-6
Anderson now, arrowing in to Clarke - ooof, a leave-alone that suddenly darts back and winks at the off-stump as it whistles by. There's a scampered single before Johnson takes anxious strides down the track to cover his castle. Clarke ashen at the other end - the big ask just got bigger.
1108: Aus 313-6
Cometh the hour, cometh the Flintoff. It was a steepler angled up the slope to Haddin, the batsman could only fence desperately away from his body and Colly took a lovely low snag at second slip. Flintoff disappears under a pile of exultant team-mates, and Lord's reacts like the O2 arena on the Take That reunion tour.
1107: WICKET Haddin c Collingwood b Flintoff 80, Aus 313-6
Who's coming in from the other end? Fred, of course - he took no part in any of the warm-ups this morning, but he'd still be bowling if they needed to attach electrodes to his chest and jump-start him at the end of his run-up. Here he comes to Haddin - nick - Colly - OUT! FRED!
From JP in St Albans, TMS inbox:
"I'm organised and prepared to a tee. In work early at 07:00 and have blitzed the Monday morning pile up that is my inbox. I have just sundry tasks to complete before a scandalously early finish of three o'clock. Until then I will forsake any productivity for patriotism to will England to victory."
1102: Aus 313-5
Extraordinary atmosphere at Lord's. Cheers from all quarters as James Anderson sprints in from the Nursery End to Michael Clarke - slam, into the pads, huge ell bee appeal... no, says Umpire Doctrove. The next one's down leg - clear sound of something, Prior pouches, England scream - flicked the pad, says Doctrove. How about that one - no shot from Clarke, ball darting back into the exposed pad - too high, this time. Fantastic over, maiden, and the spectators are on their feet as if its Edgbaston '05.
DL, Brighton, text 81111:
"I've got that sick feeling I always get before an England penalty shoot-out. Thank goodness Stuart Pearce isn't bowling."
Here come the players, to roars from the packed stands. Deep breaths, puffing of cheeks...
From Whitters in London TMS inbox:
"It's not just the anniversary of the moon landings, but also of the birth of Alexander the Great, the destruction of the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the World), and the completion of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt. Are any of these good omens for England?"
Full house at Lord's too - complete sell-out. It's you and me till the end, I'd say, unless anyone's got access to the Betfair blimp and a rapidly-deploying pair of parachutes.
From Dan in Bristol, TMS inbox:
"Calm down everybody, momentum always swings in 5 day matches. A good spell from Jimmy and Fred and we'll have this wrapped up quickly."
Climatological chat: sunny at Lord's, with just a few wispy ones up above. Only a 20% chance of precipitation, I'm told. Anyone got a cold compress they could lend me?
From Steve in Manchester, TMS inbox:
"When England were playing the Windies at Old Trafford several years ago, I had the pleasure of sitting at a table in an Indian restaurant next to Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch and John Emburey. I can confirm that Gatting does indeed eat dessert. And he also eats about 30 onion bhajis and 42 popadoms."
Talk around me turns to England's tactics. Consensus is settling on an in-out field, with the bowlers preferring all-out attack (four slips, gully, fly slip) and the batsmen blaming bowlers in general for failing to knock over 10 wickets for less than 500.
From Russell in Nottingham, TMS inbox:
"After a nightmare Sunday, including two people you hoped you'd never have to see again inviting themselve round for dinner and insisting on watching the golf over the cricket (flippin' cheek) glad to be back at 'work' ready for the quick, stress-free end to the Test match."
From James in London, TMS inbox:
"Getting married on Thursday but the nerves about that are nowhere near how nervous I am about today. No fingernails left to chew already and we haven't had a single delivery yet..."
On the other hand, no-one has ever successfully chased more than 418 to win a Test. Haddin got lucky a few times on Sunday evening, Hauritz is protecting a dodgy digit and Fred roared in like Frank Tyson. Gulp....
Let's do the sums. Over 130 runs were scored in the final session on Sunday. 209 more are needed. On that basis, if Australia are still batting come tea, they'll have won.
They said it couldn't be done. For as long as anyone could remember, a target like that was considered out of reach. Many great men had tried and failed. On 20 July, it finally happened. Still - enough of the Moon landings - do we think Australia will chase down 522 to snatch this from England's grasp?
Gnawing of nails, pulling out of hair, covering face with hands. All these and more may be needed as the nervefest that is Manic Monday begins to unfold. Anxious? Does Mike Gatting eat dessert?