1908: Aus 119-1
Three slips and a short leg in for Flintoff. The first two are left alone, the third pushed into the covers by Watson for a single to move along to 62. Movement to Ponting - edged along the ground past third slip for the 22nd boundary of the abridged day. The penultimate one is deflected down to gully, the last one left alone - excellent start from Australia despite the last-gasp team change, and Ponting will go to sleep a happy man tonight.
Big round of applause for all the emails, texts and 606s today - smashing effort from all concerned. Same time, same place Friday?
1902: Aus 119-1
You can see what they're trying to do here - lure Punter forward with a full-pitched in-dipper and get through the gate or trap him ell bee - but it's not quite happening. Flick off the pads from Ponting, and Anderson grimaces. One more from Fred before the death.
1859: Aus 119-1
Fred turns at the end of his mark and lumbers in - singles milked with leans to leg. Easy peas for the Aussie pair out there.
1855: Aus 116-1
Runs wherever you want them from Jimmy Anderson. There's a strayer on leg, a wide one outside off slashed past the diving Swann at gully for four. Light still good, and we should be able to squeeze the remaining three overs in after all.
1849: Aus 108-1
Time for some late-evening Fred, decides Strauss. There are five leave-alones outside off and then the fired-in attempted yorker - dug out by Ponting, and that'll keep rolling away to the mid-on fence. Time for at least two more.
1846: Aus 104-1
Wide and served up on a silver salver by Anderson - crashed through point by Ponting for his 20,000th first class run. 20,000! I don't think I've done 20,000 of anything. Inside edge past square leg for one - Watson on strike, and he biffs away a fullish one to go to his half-century. What sort of fool would have dubbed him a night-watchman when he came in?
1844: Aus 97-1
Broad beanpoling in. That's a better line, keeping Watson on the straight-batted defensive after one wobbler onto the pads is tipped away for a cheeky stolen two.
1840: Aus 95-1
Strauss decides to switch back to swing to greet his opposite number. Anderson keeps Ponting honest outside off, the skipper taking a trademark big stride in and covering any potential wobble with the full face of his blade.
From Mr C, N London, via text on 81111:
"Shane Watson has an uncanny resemblance to Flash Gordon. Luckily for England that means he can't bat for long in this game as he only has 14 hours to save the Earth."
1835: Aus 94-1
Broad tears in - wide, short, slashed away by Watson for four through backward point. That's another short one, pulled away to leg this time, and it takes a fine sliding, diving save from The Big Bopper on the midwicket fence to save another. Ponting on strike now - he watches one go by, and then half-leaves another that crunches into his front pad. There's a big shout from all corners - was he playing a shot at that one? - but Umpo Rudi K rules he was. Close.
From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox:
"By the sounds of it that close shave for Watson may not have been in accord with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, a key tenet of quantum mechanics, which holds that the more accurate is our measurement of a cricket ball's momentum - and we can measure Flintoffian speed very accurately nowadays - the greater our uncertainty about the actual position of the ball in relation to the stumps."
1832: Aus 89-1
Swannage again, floating them up and being tickled away with the tide off the pads for three strolled singles.
1828: Aus 86-1
That one looked leg-side at first glance, but on second viewing Umpo Dar had that bang on - it was a faster, flatter one, and Swanny goes for a happy skip into the arms of his relieved skipper. Broad now against Watson - suddenly there there's a touch more zip in it, and the converted opener jousts wildly outside off. Punter glowers from the non-striker's.
1823: WICKET Katich lbw Swann 46, Aus 85-1
It is - very defensive field for him, mind, with a deep mid-on and a sweeper on the midwicket fence. Big ell bee appeal against Watson as he slog-sweeps - looked out, that one - and then Katich tries to do the same - another huge yell - gone!
1818: Aus 84-0
What can Broad do about it? Ooof - lucky to get away with a full bunger on leg stump, no such fortune with a wide filthy one that Katich crashes off the back foot for four more. Wide, edged along the ground past a diving Flintoff at second slip for four more. Is that Swanny getting warmed up?
1814: Aus 76-0
Onions now, and he's really struggling - over-pitched FOUR, short and sitting up FOUR, onto the pads FOUR. 14 boundaries in the 17 overs so far, and Australia are cantering along at over six an over. Swanny?
From Dave in London, TMS inbox:
"Now that I look at it, there is a distinct likeness between the young pretender and our lovely Caroline. Could it be that after a few ales following the match in Botany Bay in 1793, our lady of Brunswick got into an illicit relationship with a man of the island, thus creating the family chain that this young man is now a proud member of? Surely not... Manou of Brunswick?"
1809: Aus 63-0
Maiden from Broad, but one that carried all the nastiness and threat of a Dido album. Batting simple out there tonight, and the England fielders are ominously quiet.
From Drummond, TMS inbox:
"Will his first child be to the Manou born?"
1805: Aus 63-0
All a little muted at Brumington right now. Onions dashes in with little threat, Watchful staying watson and then jabbing a single to the vacant square leg slot to pinch the strike. If you didn't hear earlier, we'll be going through till the hour of seven tonight, light permitting.
From mickybobmanutd on 606:
"I'd put two men on the hook and hope that curiosity kills the Katich."
Join the debate on 606
1759: Aus 62-0
Nope - Skipper Strauss goes for Broad instead, and he might be wishing he hadn't. Juicy leg-stump half-volley follows juicy leg-stump half-volley, and Katto will munch on them all day long - two more fours to the total, and the once-obdurate opener has raced to 34 from 38 deliveries. Drinks.
From Anon, via text on 81111:
"If Manou trips, collided with and then fell over Stuart Broad trying to take a quick single, would he be a Manouver broad?"
1752: Aus 54-0
Time for a shuffle of Strauss's cards - and it's Onions at the top of the deck. Two slips and a gully, and none of them will be involved there - that's a peachy drive from Watson straight down the ground for four. Onions angles one in - slap! into the pad, decent bellow - oooh, maybe hitting him just outside the line. That one's a fraction too short, though, and Watson swivels onto it in a flash to pull through midwicket. Anyone fancy a slice of Swann pie?
1749: Aus 46-0
Watson squints out from under his lid as the evening shadows stretch across the lush outfield. Full from Fred, pushed with muscle down the ground for a rapid three, and the batsman is happy to leave the remainder. Straightforward session so far for the tourists - lots of leave-alone balls and not a whole heap of menace.
From Nic in London, TMS inbox:
"Lesser men have crumbled under the auspice of a test debut at Edgbaston. Is he a Manou a mouse I wonder?"
1745: Aus 43-0
Overpitched from Jim - popped back past his boot-laces by Katich for his third four. Oops - an over-correcter short and wide, slapped off the back peg for four more. Runs coming easily, and it's starting to look a little Brunswick out there for England.
From Alastair, Cardiff, via text on 81111:
"Is this new keeper the Aussie night-watchman? If so, with the next wicket he could be the next Manou-t."
1740: Aus 33-0
Rules of physics, where is thou sting? Watson jabs down late on a Fred leaper and sends the ball seemingly through his own stumps before it rolls away. Fred stands with hands on well-cushioned hips before trundling back to his mark. Maiden.
From Josh from Kent, via text on 81111:
"Justice has been done! It was Haddin who rolled the ball that McGrath trod on four years ago at this very ground!"
1736: Aus 33-0
Jimmy too struggling for impact. This pitch looks decent to bat on - no movement so far, no frightening lift - and Katich kashes in with a solid push-drive through the vacant cover slot for four. Chirpy rendition of the theme from Grandstand from the Barmy Army trumpeter.
From Ed, London, in the TMS inbox:
"I personally am hoping the Sun headline will be 'Manou dropped the Ashes' after he fumbles Strauss on two and watches him go on to make a double century."
1733: Aus 25-0
Don't recognise the chap in the picture? Clue: it's the Manou the moment. Fred not quite there at the moment - short and wide to be slapped away for four by Katich, a single tucked off the pads and then an underdone attempted yorker slapped away through midwicket by Watson for four more.
1728: Aus 15-0
Jimmy, right arm over to Katich - oh, there's huge in-dip on that one, it's crashed into his back leg in line with the off stump - no, says Umpire Dar. Katich is pointing to his bat, but surely only to remind himself to use it next time. Close.
From Mark Dakers in the TMS inbox:
"The rumours are that he doesn't like sledging, being a Manou few words."
1723: Aus 13-0
Fred's sporting a decent beard of burnished copper this evening - a little like Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Not sure if Henry had trouble with his run-up, but Fred does, and calls for sawdust to fill the soggy holes. Watson ducks under a bouncer and grins back at Fred, and then reaches wide to bottom-edge streakily past third slip.
From Richard Milne in the TMS inbox:
"The new Aussie keeper needs a nickname, so how about Manou 'Le Refresh', as in 'sorry we're having technical problems again so can you...'"
1719: Aus 9-0
Wide and bendy from Anderson, and Watson goes down on bended knee to flay through the covers with extravagant ease. Ooof - almost playing on there, the ball bouncing down between his legs and just past his timbers. Madam.
From Richard Forshaw in the TMS inbox:
"If the new keeper performs well in the sunshine as well as the predicted rain, would that make him a Manou for all seasons?"
1715: Aus 4-0
Tidy from Fred, without perhaps the eyes-out-on-stalks terror of the other Monday at Lord's. Scattered clouds, bright sunshine, considerable excitement.
From Alex Weller in the TMS inbox:
"If the new Australian batsman has a stormer, I'll have 50 quid on the headline in The Sun being 'Manou would be king'."
1710: Aus 4-0
A horn-led chorus blasts out from the Army of Barmy, and Jim scampers in. Skiddy one across the bows of Katich - bit of shape there for sure, with some decent carry off the track too, but the Aussie opener stays in his shell.
1705: Aus 3-0
Freddie now - of course it is - tearing in with the hopes of England at his back. That's a vicious snaker, crashing into Katich's thigh-guard and away for a single, and Watson keeps his blade away from two more big swingers. Re the new 'keeper, what are the odds on him having a blinder and being named Manou the match?
PS could you manually refresh again? Technical stuff.
1701: Aus 2-0
The ground abuzz with late news and liquor as Jimmy Anderson tears in. There's swing there, but both batsmen get off the mark with squeaky edges. The new 'keeper will thus be making his Test debut - will it have a big impact on this series, or is it much Manou about nothing?
1659 and a half: Aus 0-0
Breaking news, quite literally - Brad Haddin has broken his finger
in the warm-up. Repeat - Brad Haddin has broken his finger. It happened after the toss, so in theory Australia could have been down to 10 men - but England have allowed them to bring in Graham Manou. What it is about Edgbaston and warm-ups?
And now the Aussie openers - Simon Katich and night-watchman Shane Watson. Sorry, Shane.
Here come the England players, under bright sunshine. All set?
Ex-Aussie opener Matthew Hayden on TMS:
"It's easy to say Australia will be under pressure early on because they are batting and they are, but England are under pressure too - they have to take early wickets, because otherwise they're faced with a pretty decent batting track."
Hey by the way, if you refresh manually you'll see a video scorecard appear magically at the top of the page. Scorecard - the word sounds so much better when Tony Greig says it. Like most words in fairness.
In the world of the retro, Geraint Jones is king. The Kent keeper - who surely has a long, distinguished career in Test match cricket ahead of him - shuffles to his left to take a tough low 2005 catch and, by the tiniest of margins, England beat Australia to level the series at 1-1.
Ian Bell in for the injured Kevin Pietersen is England's only change from Lord's, with Graham Onions keeping his place in the attack at the expense of Steve Harmison.
England captain Andrew Strauss:
"It's not really a problem, it'll be quite a nice little session to bowl actually. The outfield's got a lot better over the past hour or so, there's no water on it now. We have to hit them hard over the first 10 overs or so."
Ricky Ponting confirms that Phil 'twitter' Hughes drops out of the team and Shane Watson, who has never batted higher than six in a Test match for Australia, will open with Simon Katich.
AUSTRALIA WIN THE TOSS AND BAT FIRST 1629:
Doesn't look like Ricky Ponting is too happy with something, but he dashes back into the dressing-room - hopefully to get changed - and we're set for the toss very, very shortly.
From Phillip Dixon, TMS inbox:
"I can see the ground from my office window 19 floors up and a mile or so away. It's not rained for hours and all around me clouds are white and fluffy, with lots of blue sky in between."
Here we go - next inspection will be at 1615
, with a view to a start at 1700
. If the weather holds - which it might do, if the latest forecast is to be believed. Whoo-hoo, woo-hah, huzzah etc.
Hmmm. Punter and Strauss have now jogged off, leaving the umpires out there. Not a squeak from anyone about what might be likely to occur.
Re the photo - I joke, of course. Decent breeze at Edgbaston now, which should speed up the drying, and we might yet get some play. There's cricket in them there blades...
From Dan, TMS inbox:
"Could they not get loads of people with hairdryers drying the outfield? My mate owns a hair salon so I could get about 10 hairdryers if needed."
Re the photo - I joke, of course. Decent breeze at Edgbaston now, which should speed up the drying, and we might yet get some play. There's cricket in them there blades...
They're rolling the ball around the outfield and through the bowlers' run-ups. Looks pretty ropey from here - here's a photo of Ponting out in the middle a few moments ago.
Hello again - all well? The umpires are out in the middle again - and there's Skippers Strauss and Ponting too. All manner of stamping and prodding going on...
With those grim tidings from Rudi, word comes from above that we'll press pause on the live updates for an hour or so. At least with Lady H we're leaving on a high. Grab yourself a refresco and a leg-stretch and we'll reconvene shortly. And manually refresh, if it's not too much trouble.
From Tim Smith, TMS inbox:
"Re Stephen G. If you can pull that with one eye, one arm and one leg, a Nelson can't be that unlucky."
Stephen Gould, New York, in the TMS inbox:
"Hi Tom. I'm sick of all this ugly aristocratic trout. Here's Nelson's totty Emma Hamilton, in her youth. A considerable improvement, no?"
This from Umpire Rudi K, mid-inspection: "We're not happy about the situation as it is at the moment. If I roll the ball across the turf, it's very wet. It's not fair to ask a team to field in conditions like this. We have to be fair to both teams. We'll have another look at 1530, and we'll take it from there. We can start at any time up till 1800, and we can make up an hour on each subsequent day."
From Chris in Coral bookmakers at the top of South Street, TMS inbox:
"Re: Matt Ruskin. I've been to the MET Office and they employ what can only be described as a crazy amount of people. I've also been to Ladbrokes in South Street and there is no way the 'the whole staff of the MET Office' would fit in there even if they queued single file for the rest of the afternoon."
This from Australian legend Dean Jones
on TMS: "Phil Hughes announcing he's been dropped on Twitter is just wrong, he needs a good foot up the backside for that. He's broken a team rule and he's let the opposition know what's happened before the game's started."
From Sam in Bristol, TMS inbox:
"Amazingly, our Caroline has now become the 5th most searched item on Google worldwide today, according to NewsTrendz."
We're due a pitch inspection in five minutes. No sign of umbrella-wielding umpos, but I'll keep you posted.
From Matt Ruskin, TMS inbox:
"Don't want to cause any concern but I have a friend who works at Ladbrokes in South Street, Exeter and the whole staff of the Met Office have been in and placed large bets on a 1-0 England series victory."
From Andy in Birmingham, TMS update:
"I'm working over near Birmingham NEC/Airport - the sunshine you're seeing at Edgbaston passed over us less than an hour ago. It's now pouring down here again. Sorry."
From Mark James in the TMS inbox:
"Re: Lady Jersey. I believe you have mistakenly posted a picture of Beavis, from the 1990s animated series 'Beavis and Butthead'. Correct forthwith!"
In other real cricket news, it's a disaster for Lancashire but joy for Somerset after a bowl-out to decide who makes it to finals day of the Twenty20 Cup. Lancs lose 5-1 - only one bowler, Steven Cheetham, hits the unguarded stumps for the Red Rose county while all of the Somerset bowlers manage it.
Retro-texto: Giles on for a twirl. Not sure about that - a player of Ricky Ponting's class isn't going to be troubled by a bowler like Gi.... OUT! HE'S OUT!
From Neil Jones, TMS inbox:
"Looks like James I had a thing for women with the hair of Art Garfunkel, the sensitive facial countenance of snooker player Nigel Bond and the upper torso of Desperate Dan."
From Nicholas Wilson, TMS inbox:
"Based on your retro commentary from Edgbaston '05 I have just been to William Hill and stuck £20 on the Aussies to win."
From Alison Cotton, TMS inbox:
"Surely Anne of Denmark is the ancestor of Sir Gower of Sky?"
Retrupdate: not looking too good, all of a sudden. Haydos was bagged early, but Punter and Langer are looking well set. might be time for a bowling change - bit of Flintoff, maybe?
From James, TMS inbox:
"In Islington we are going to have to retreat to the basement as we don't think the structure of our office can take any more rain. If I don't make it home to Birmingham, please give my tickets for Saturday and Sunday to Girlfriend and my mate Steve. Tell them I love them and that I'll near forget the Summer we spent in 2005 (watching the Ashes with Steve that is). Goodbye cruel, wet world."
From Ian in Salisbury, TMS inbox:
"By what defintion of 'right' is Bryan Wilkins describing Anne of Cleeves? Someone so ugly even Harry felt the need to read her a nighttime story on the wedding night than work his magic."
Actual real-time update
: the sun is now shining above Edgbaston, and the moppers/blotters/super-soakers are out in force. If it stays like this for another hour, we could get some play yet...
From Harry Fox, TMS inbox:
"If you are looking for some proper old school crumpet, look no further than James I's significant other. Anne of Denmark. Fact: She officially invented peroxide, hence the bright yellow barnet. Fact: My earlier fact may/may not have any truth attached to it."
Retro-texto: Steve Harmison is now flaying Brett Lee all over the place. Aagh - bowled by Warnie, and England are now 375-9. Can't help fearing we're a bit short here - only about 33 runs or so, but still.
From Mike in Hastings, TMS inbox:
"Lady Jersey might not be a looker, but neither would you with a cricket bat handle grafted to the side of your head."
From Sean of Wiki, TMS inbox:
"As 'History Editor' I was having such a peaceful day at the keyboard, making one or two fine adjustments to the odd inaccuracies that occur from time to time on Wiki, when what can only be described as a 'gulley' of cricket hooligans invaded our Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel web page. Now, you lot might find this highly amusing but I've traced the source and have your 'number'. I'm watching you..."
From Johnny in London, TMS inbox:
"This Lady Jersey character appears to have gone around more of England than Marcus North. With considerably more success as well, if her 10 children are any measure. She also possessed the imagination of Ricky Ponting, calling 3 of her daughters 'Elizabeth'."
I don't know how to tell you this, but it's all going a bit wrong in '05. Fred's gone, Geraint Jones too - 299-6. Only Ashley Giles left with this Pietersen chap, and we all know he can't be relied upon for nerveless rearguard innings.
From Andy L in Brighton, TMS inbox:
"The fact I always remember about George is that he was so lazy that if he awoke in the night and wanted to know the time, he would ring the bell to get his servant to come and tell him the time, rather than turn over and look at the clock for himself."
Brings back unpleasant memories of Dirs in the Bloggernaut, that anecdote.
From Robert Marriot, TMS inbox:
What with England scoring for fun, and Glenn McGrath's misfortune, the people I really feel sorry for are the poor fools who've already bought tickets for the fifth day. Waste of money, that - there's no chance this one will go the distance."
Retrupdate: you're not going to believe this, but Fred's just pulled Brett Lee for six with his eyes shut
. 152 runs in the afternoon session!
From Martin, TMS inbox:
"Why didn't the artist inform Prince Albert that his wig was slowly slipping away down the right hand side of his face?"
Edgbaston '09: covers on, rain falling. Edgbaston '05 looking a whole lot better - Fred's started to slap it all over the place. Can't last, of course, not the way he's playing, but he's moved on to 27, with England 237-4.
From Johnnie in London, TMS inbox:
"Tresco looks in great nick this series. I've just put £1000 on him being the top scorer in the 2009 Ashes series. Nothing can go wrong for this fella surely."
Interesting stream-of-consciousness weather update from Dominic Towey: "thunderstorm now hail size of marrowfat peas only 3 miles away in shirley looks to be settling get the sledges out."
From Luke in the TMS inbox:
"Upon further investigation it would seem that a certain Notts left-armer may have already attempted the 'Braganzan' without us knowing."
From Matt in London, TMS inbox:
"So Tom, as you are doing retrospective commentary does that mean you will be able to circumvent the normal 'commentators curse' by only saying good things about the batsmen when you are sure they will not get out? Or will that then cause some kind of commentators paradox and tear the very fabric of universe and cause a black hole to open up in the TMS commentary box
Retro-update: not sure about this Pietersen chap. Looks a bit flashy - why don't they bring back Graham Thorpe? England 187-4 - we'll need a big innings from Fred if we're to post a decent total from here.
From Stuart in Germany, TMS inbox:
"On closer inspection, it would appear that the dear Caroline actually has no right arm and the artist has erroneously recorded her husband doing a mooney behind the sofa."
From Bryan Wilkins, TMS inbox:
"Whereas King Henry VIII got it: Wrong, right, wrong, right, wrong, very wrong indeed. In that order. The rascal."
From Pete in Lowestoft in the TMS inbox:
"Poor old Georgie. His alternative squeeze, Lady Jersey, doesn't appear to be any more endearing. Her head is wildly out of proportion with her body."
'05 update: Strauss has gone. Heartbreak. But Vaughan spanking it all over the park - 146-1. Gillespie looks like he needs a haircut.
From Robert Salvin, TMS inbox:
"Can't see what objection wikipedia had to the following: 'The marriage was further troubled by vicious quarrels over the relative benefits of numerous sporting competitors. Caroline was a devotee of Lord Graham of Onions, a hard-working but unspectacular "bouler" who achieved an uninspiring mediocrity in the world of international test croquet. However George had a bit of a thing for Stephen, Duke of Harmison-upon-Tyne, and was once heard to exclaim loudly over dinner "But he can hit 95 miles an hour and he has the aggression, you trout-faced woman!'"
Time-travel Brum '05 update: what a start this is from England - 86-0, with Jason Gillespie in particular getting a right pasting. Trescothick's in super nick out there. Decent match so far - probably won't last, but still.
From Sam Taylor, TMS inbox:
"Imagine how many whales they must have had to butcher to make that corset. No wonder they're in danger.
From Roy Brierwood in Sutton Coldfield in the TMS inbox:
"To Graham Norris - I thought of the offspring a little earlier and here she is. I think it's fair to say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
Television now showing replays of Edgbaston '05. Anyone fancy a retrospective text commentary? England currently racing along at 65-0 - it seems one-sided, but I've got a feeling this one could go down to the wire.
From Jonathan Wilton, TMS inbox:
"...'and said to his courtiers 'you have brought me a bat, not a woman.' What sort of bat? I used to sleep with my Stuart Surridge. Lightly oiled."
From The Scribbler in Derby, TMS inbox:
"Further to observations about the good lady's waist, wrists etc - her right arm appears not to join up to her shoulder. The conclusion we're rapidly coming to, I think, is that this painting is rubbish."
Official news: the next inspection won't be until 1400 at the earliest. They'll take an early lunch.
From Amy Watsham, TMS inbox:
"Queen Victoria got it right and picked a most handsome husband."
Looks like he might play rhythm guitar in a Kasabian covers band, Albert.
This from umpire Rudi Koertzen
: ""We are concerned about the softness of the ground at the moment. Our biggest concern is to the right of the wicket, where there's a fairly muddy area. We will do everything to get the game on the road as soon as we can. We believe it's not so good for the rest of the day. If the sun comes out and we get some wind we might have something by mid-afternoon, but we haven't at the moment. You'll probably have a problem with the grip under the feet of the bowlers too."
From Hugh in Birmingham, TMS inbox:
"I like the way that all of this talk about Caroline of Brunswick has made it to her 'legacy' on wikipedia now
'Her fame enjoyed a brief renaissance on the morning of 30th July 2009 when she became the topic of web-based cricket banter.'"
Update from the middle - there is water sitting on the outfield. And frightening black clouds massing overhead. Anyone for an early lunch?
From Charlotte Bird, TMS inbox:
"Caroline is most likely wearing a corset hence the reason as to why her upper torso seems to be six inches to the right."
From Scott Knight, TMS inbox:
"Interesting to see that Georgie is sporting a young Emu, presumably pre- Rod Hull days."
Fire alarms explode into action around the Edgbaston press box and commentary booths. I've never seen Derek Pringle move so fast. If ever there was weather less likely to result in Birmingham bushfires, this is it.
From Nick of Streatham, TMS inbox:
"The ongoing mischief in dear Caroline's wiki entry is a new sport in itself. As fast as TMS readers add previously unknown biographical facts, some killjoy is changing them back. Best so far and already lost to history - "She famously participated in the inaugural Ashes cricket match between England and the Australian colony of Botany Bay in 1793" and "Known for introducing the earliest form of the duckworh-lewis method in cricket, using bones and rope." Suggestions that she had "a face that would frighten a Police horse" have been reported as vandalism - I think the moderator is losing his patience
From John Jones, TMS inbox:
"Is it just me, or does Caroline of Brunswick's upper body seem to be located approximately 6 inches to the right of her waist?"
From Brian in Hungerford in the TMS inbox:
"When Charles II first met his bride-to-be, Catherine of Braganza, he turned away in horror and said to his courtiers 'you have brought me a bat, not a woman.'"
From Graham Morris, TMS inbox:
"Oh my word - the offspring! Just think of the poor offspring!"
Updates from all around: in Burton on Trent the rain is so heavy people can't hear each other speak; in Bromsgrove it's black as night and in Lickey End people are trying to stop other people stealing the road signs.
From Nick Clark, TMS inbox:
"Talking of punters across the Midlands and lookalikes, Caroline of Brunswick looks like Frank Skinner in drag. Interestingly she looks like she has the makings of a good cricketer. Strong forearms and wrists like a gorilla's."
Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory. Several emails now in defence of Brunners - or at least in attack of her sop of a husband. If this is an accurate image of Georgie, he appears to have the hair of Don King, the neck of Gladstone Small and the lower quarters of a shire horse.
From Sean of Brunswick, TMS inbox:
"I'm very much of the opinion that there's a conspiracy to defame the undoubted beauty of Caroline of Brunswick. The oil painting on display is clearly a 20th Century forgery, how else can it be explained that Ms Pinsent of Brunswick is wearing a wrist watch?"
Heavy sopping duties underway on the Edgbaston outfield. As a groundsman's foot goes down, water splashes up from the sodden turf. Think it'll be a while yet.
From Robert Inglis, TMS inbox:
"Dead chuffed to discover that Caroline was prevented from attending Hubby's coronation by my namesake Sir Robert Inglis but less chuffed to find him described by Disraeli "as a wretched speaker, an offensive voice, no power of expression, yet perpetually recalling and correcting his cumbersome phraseology."
Who said that Wikpedia can't be trusted? I've just had my attention diverted to how the entry on Caroline looked about 10 minutes ago.
Mixed meteorological messages coming from punters across the midlands, best summarised like this: bad in Telford, decent in Nottingham, iffy in Stourbridge. The news from Edgbaston both good and bad: the sun is out, but only to make the large puddles on the outfield sparkle nicely.
From Chris Welch, TMS inbox:
"Is the plight of Georgie's grandfather the only example of play ending reign?
Some debate in the TMS inbox as to whether Caroline looks more like Matthew Pinsent or Peter Willey. Extraordinary piece of art - that right bicep seems to follow you round the room. I said piece of art
From Chris Keegan, TMS inbox:
"Apparently Lord Malmesbury (who went to pick her up in Brunswick) recorded in his diary that she often neglected to wash or clean her dirty clothes. George, I know it's too late, but I feel for you brother."
Raining again. Sigh. Not looking great overhead - Brunswick skies as far as the eye can see.
From Simon Rogerson, TMS inbox:
"George the IV's grandfather, may or may not have been killed by a cricket ball whilst playing a match. He may also have despised his wife but he did produce a daughter from her, supposedly hurriedly conceived on his wedding night before he passed out once more due to extreme drunkenness. Still - if he can force a result from such an unpromising and off-putting resource, then I'm sure that cricketers here can as well."
While the players twiddle thumbs in the Edgbaston dressing-rooms, I've been sent a picture of Caroline of Brunswick. To be fair to the Prince Regent, she's no oil painting. Hang on - she is...
From Whitters of London, TMS inbox:
"Let's just hope that Strauss doesn't take it so badly as to build a 19th century Hindu-Gothic pavilion in the outfield. One of those is quite enough."
Empty stands at Edgbaston, the covers on - but the rain is drifting away. We might yet have that inspection on the hour.
From Derek Smith, TMS inbox:
"Laid 'face down on the carpet by the fire in his private quarters'? If I had fire in my private quarters I'd be taking some pretty rapid action."
There's no actual need for either side to name their final teams until the captains come out for the toss, of course - and since it's raining again, there's still a skinny chance that the Hughes/Shane switch could be unswitched. Rumours also saying that Mitchell Johnson will stay in the team. "BRAAANDY!" roars Ponting.
Re the duck graphic at 1015 - it's all about the weather and what might enjoy it, rather than any calamitous early wicket being deducted before play has even begun.
If Hughes is out, it looks like Shane Watson to come in. But will he open, or slot in lower down the order? Could be a job for Mr Cricket, you'd think...
From Chris W, TMS inbox:
"I've just googled Caroline of Brunswick.....I can see what George was thinking."
Breaking news via the Twitter feed of Aussie opener Phillip Hughes: "Disappointed not to be on the field with the lads today, will be supporting the guys, it's a BIG test match 4 us." Is this the first time that a team line-up has been revealed via Twitter?
NB George continued to hit the brandy hard for the three days before the wedding. On the morning of the ceremony, he was found face-down asleep by the fire in his private quarters. We've all been there.
When, in 1796, the future George IV was first introduced to his new wife Caroline of Brunswick, he was said to be so shaken by her appearance that he retired to the far end of the room and called for brandy. Andrew Strauss and Ricky Ponting could be forgiven for doing the same after seeing the state of the Edgbaston pitch on Thursday morning. Wet? It's like the Sargasso out there. Delayed start, and we'll have an inspection at 1100.