England v Australia 4th Test day one as it happened
Fourth Ashes Test, Headingley, day one:
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By Ben Dirs
AUSTRALIA FIRST INNINGS
From hititforsix on 606:
"I was so depressed I had to turn over to watch Come Dine With Me on Channel 4. The souffle looked delicious. It just proves that without our two best players we are very ordinary indeed. Why is it so obvious that we should be bowling full yet we're still banging in too many short balls? What are the coaching staff doing?"
From IndianBlade on 606:
"England have to score 500 in the second innings to stand a chance. This has to be bopara's last chance."
From ltc on 606:
"Any side that does what England did in the first few hours of this Test deserves a hiding. Which, let's face it, they're going to get."
1838: "Can England ever have had such a dreadful day with both bat and ball as this before?" asks Aggers in his column, which will be online shortly. Well, have they?
1835: How to summarise that? Australia bowled with tremendous discipline, England batted as if with rhubarb. England bowled with tremendous indiscipline, Australia batted as if with barn doors. The upshot? England are up to their necks in the sticky stuff, and anyone with day four or five tickets may as well tear them up now.
1831 - 196-4 Harmison's gone chin music crazy, but Clarke's unfazed, gently bending underneath. Clarke plays uppishly, just past Bell at short-leg. North gets a lifter, and North edges him down to the third-man fence for four. Streaky, but I think he kind of meant that. North gets a lifter, and North leaves extravagantly, and that's stumps. What a weird, weird day of Ashes cricket.
1825 - 191-4 Anderson over-pitches and is clipped away for a couple. Clarke quite brazenly opens up the velcro on his glove and checks out the bruise on his wrist, just so we know exactly where it hit him. Australia's lead now 89...
1821 - 188-4 Clarke makes some alterations to his helmet, before Harmison digs one in down the leg side. YES! A WICKET! No! Harmison serves up another bumper, and Clarke looks to have gloved it, but Umpire Rauf presumably thinks that hit his forearm. Replays suggest it in fact hit the wrist-band, which is out. A life for Clarke, and he compounds England's pain by driving Harmison through the covers for a few next ball.
"PS. I meant Bridget, not Barbara, sorry! That's what comes when you try to type one-handed whilst trying to stir chilli con carne, read a German literature book and listen to the boyfriend's lowdown of how he and his mates beat the chaps from Personnel at Office Cricket." Helen in the TMS inbox
1814 - 185-4 Boff! Short stuff from Harmison and Clarke turns his head on it and is clonked on the back of the lid. Clarke has to have a little sit down after that, that was a brute.
1812 - 185-4 Australia finally weighing anchor and parking up their battleship as stumps draws closer. Another maiden over from Anderson as the Headingley crowd begins to thin.
"For Dal in Wolverhampton - might I, in the manner of Barbara from Wettingen, respectfully remind you that one day you might just walk in, say 'I'm leaving you, you cow' and she'll say 'fine, there's the door'. Which means you'll soon realise that the laundry can't climb into the washing machine on its own, trousers aren't self ironing and shirts don't come with self-stitching buttons. Suddenly, life will take a turn for the worse... just like it has for the gentlemen's team as demonstrated here. Barbara - here, here!" Helen from Birmingham in the TMS inbox
1808 - 185-4 Not sure what's going on out there, but we've got a hold up. Strauss has a chat with the umpires, before Broad comes back on and off trots Azeem Rafiq, the 18-year-old sub fielder from Yorkshire. Another pie from Harmison outside off and Clarke gleefully plonks his face in it, crashing him through point for four. My, those days when Steve Harmison was the best bowler in the world seem far off now... a jaffa, beating Clarke outside the off-stump, but he releases the pressure again with another wide one...
1803 - 179-4 Another maiden over from Anderson, just 23 minutes remaining, Australia lead by 77.
1800 - 179-4 Nasty looking bumper from Harmison to North, straight into the body. North with a single off his hip, before Harmison lets fly with another bouncer that Clarke easily ducks underneath.
"If England were a woman they'd be Kim Wilde - they did something brilliant in 1981 and keep harking back to it all the time." Mark, Selby, in the TMS inbox
"Well said Bridget! My mate and I were talking about this moments ago. The women retain the Ashes for the THIRD time, are T20 and ODI world champions and do they ALL get Queen's honours? Do they get open-top bus parades? Don't get me wrong, I love men's cricket and would love to see our men doing well but their female counterparts deserve a lot more hype than they do at the moment. Maybe the men need to employ some of the women's backroom staff?" Ruth, Shropshire, TMS inbox
1755 - 178-4 Touche, Bridget, touche. If England were a man and I were a woman, I'd probably have taken the scissors to his suits by now. Dismal. Anderson back in and that's short and wide and flogged through point by Clarke for four. Not at the races today, the Lancashire man, but that's better, first getting one to dip in late and then beating Clarke outside off. But there hasn't been anywhere near enough of that - no pressure building, it's like a boxer landing with a flurry before dropping his guard, sticking out his chin and allowing his opponent to hit him.
"Might I respectfully remind you that if England were a woman, she wouldn't have batted so badly in the first place. The England women play a darned sight better than the men - just look at their Ashes record!" Bridget, Wettingen CH, in the TMS inbox
1750 - 170-4 Good length from Harmison, and that just moves away a shade from the right-handed Clarke. Short into Clarke's body, and the Australia vice-captain tucks him into the leg-side for a single.
1747 - 169-4 Harmison loosens up, he'll be having a bowl soon. Onions off-target down the leg side two balls in succession, the short flash of England intensity has rather dimmed... Clarke picks up a single with a tug through mid-wicket.
1742 - 168-4 North, with that airy back-lift of his, jams down on a Broad yorker. Another yorker from Broad, another maiden, but Australia's lead still 66.
"I went on a blind double date once with my friend 'The Human Toothpick'. My arranged date didn't turn up, so I had to provide my own. When a girl looks disappointed to see you even when she already knows what you look like - now that's rock bottom." Simon Scott in the TMS inbox
1738 - 168-4 That was a tight over from Broad to North, a maiden, and here's Onions again. The Durham man strays down leg, but Clarke is unable to put the ball away. That's a decent leg before appeal from Onions, England convinced that was hitting, and conveniently ignoring the fact that Clarke got a massive inside edge. Onions angles on in to Clarke's mid-riff and is tucked away for a couple.
"I went on a blind date with someone who allegedly looked like Lisa Snowdon as well. Unfortunately someone got the mountains mixed up and she actually looked more like Ben Nevis." Nigel Taylor, Plymouth, TMS inbox
"RE: Your comment @ 1652 'if England were a woman'. She'd then shout 'no, don't leave, please, I'm sorry, I will change!' followed by a short-lived attitude/behaviour adjustment." Dal in Wolverhampton in the TMS inbox
1729 - 165-4 Still 21 overs to go, that's another hour and a half. North drives into the turf and bowler Onions can only deflect it for one. Nice stroke from Clarke, flipping Onions round the corner for four. Four more, Clarke dispatching a half-bunger through the covers.
1725 - 156-4 Clarke this time shouldering arms, and Broad, getting one to jag back, is close to the top of off. But Broad is intent on testing old Prior's back out, sending two hooping deliveries down leg. Still, that's a maiden over.
1720 - 156-4 This pair of North and Clarke put on 185 at Edgbaston to defy England. North shoulders arms and that ball from Onions just misses the top of off. Four byes down leg side, Prior clearly not right. Australia now lead by 54. Gina (see below), that reminds me of the time my mate set me up on a blind date and told me she looked like Lisa Snowden. Imagine my surprise when I turned up to discover she looked more like Wincey Willis.
1715 - 152-4 North the new batsman, and he's immediately off the mark with a nibble round the corner. That was a marginal decision from Rauf, but I'd have to disagree with Hayden, not sure it was "dreadful".
1711 - WICKET - Hussey lbw b Broad 10 (Aus) 151-4 Hussey gets up on his haunches and punches Broad through the covers for four. But that's another wicket! Broad from around the wicket, angling one in, and Umpire Rauf decides that was hitting leg. Matty Hayden says that was a "dreadful, dreadful decision", but Hawkeye reckons it was clipping.
1707 - 147-3 Hussey rather punctures England's balloon, timing an over-pitched ball from Onions through the covers for four. Nice send-off for Ponting there, the Western Stand standing as one to acknowledge another pearling knock. New batsman Clarke turning Onions away for a single to get off the mark.
"On a further pedantic note, sweetbreads, of course, aren't necessarily the 'pancreata'. They could also be the thymus gland. Doesn't help Strauss much, though." Bill Faber, Italy, in the TMS inbox in the TMS inbox
"Not sure what Dimitris (see below) is talking about. My dictionary (New Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd edition revised, if you must know) only mentions pancreases as a plural. This is more interesting than the cricket, right?" A Raccoon in the TMS inbox
1702 - WICKET - Ponting lbw b Broad 78 (Aus 140-3) Ponting cramped for space and playing a rare loose stroke. Loose from Broad and Ponting skews him over point for four. Run out? Ponting clips to long-leg - leg-byes actually - and comes back for a suicidal-looking second, but he was in by a frame, just beating the throw of Onions. But Punter's gone! Falling over playing a shot, and that ball from Broad, ducking in, would have hit leg-stump.
1655 - 133-2 That's all England need, in the corner and getting a kicking and in strolls Mr Cricket. Hussey sees out the over.
1652 - WICKET - Watson lbw b Onions 51 (Aus 133-2) If England were a woman, I'd burst into the house this evening and shout "I'm leaving you, you cow!" Onions back on and Watson moves to his third fifty in a row with a glide to third-man. But England have a breakthrough, Onions serving one up full and straight and Watson playing all round it - that's plumb.
"Ben, Ben, I am here Ben. And my positive thinking is being very sorely tested. But I have had an offer of a date (I think?!) from Michael in Victoria (1531) so it's not all bad. Just waiting for him to send the (first class) tickets for the flight over! And if he wants to know what I look like - most common lookalikey is Amanda Holden." Gina in Gloucestershire in the TMS inbox
1648 - 131-1 How to get out of this hole? Someone's just suggested the entire England team pull a Del Boy, pretend to have collective heart-attacks and get a fleet of ambulances to take them away. Four more, wide from Broad and flogged down to third-man by Ponting. Good fielding from Anderson at gully to save four. Just a reminder that the Aussies now lead by 29, refresh the page if you want to see our new vote.
"My boss and one of my colleagues have abandoned me (with the rest of the team on holiday) to go and watch the match with brokers, leaving me to look after the department on my tod. Having followed progress throughout the day, the one word that keeps coming to mind when I think of this is 'schadenfreude'. Except they have free booze, so maybe not so much..." Rich, Leeds, TMS inbox
1645 - 127-1 As bad days at the office go, this performance by England is the equivalent of strolling in four hours late, making a pass at the receptionist before accidentally headbutting the boss. Short and wide (I might make that a shortcut) and Watson uppercuts him for four. Watson with a firm push to mid-on, and we've got a misfield now from Anderson. Uppish from Punter, but it's another four through the covers. Short, and Punter rolls his wrists and pulls him away for a few.
"Re comment at 1629, you'll find that the plural of 'pancreas' is 'pancreata', weird as that may sound." Dimitris Athineos, TMS inbox
1640 - 117-1 Gina? Gina? Where are thou now, Gina? Many thanks Dimitris, I've always been a little bit sketchy where the plurals of gland organs is concerned. Better over from Broad, ploughing a corridor outside off.
1637 - 115-1 It's like England have been drugged. Harmison short and wide and Watson yanks him away for four. How many wickets has Harmison taken this season? Fifty-odd? What does that tell you about county cricket? I'm not exaggerating, I think this is worse than Two Pints - short again and Watson trollies him through mid-wicket for four more. Everyone getting quite angry about this now, Blowers just felt moved to label it pathetic on TMS. Short outside off and Watson smears him through the covers for four more. The man opposite me just gestured rudely at the screen and blew a raspberry. It's that bad...
"In your website poll that's just finished, 6% (of the 12,480 individuals that voted) think England will take eight or more wickets before close of play today. Could you please supply me with the email addresses of these halfwits, as I have a Nigerian colleague who would like to offer them a share of an exciting business venture? All they have to do is supply their bank account details." Justin Bricknell in the TMS inbox
1633 - 103-1 Splendid stroke from Watson, opening the face and gliding Broad down to third-man for three. The Aussies have passed England, but at least we made them fight. Bit of shape from Broad, but it's time for Harmison...
1629 - 100-1 This is a bit embarrassing now, England just aren't learning, they're just not learning... short from Anderson and Ponting steers him through point for four. Strauss is wearing the look of a vegetarian who thought, "oh, sweet breads sound nice", only to be told they are in fact lambs' pancreases. Anderson onto Watson's pads and he's turned away for a couple and one leg-bye brings up the ton.
"Plane ticket from Ireland: £100. Three nights accommodation: £250. Not being able to use your day four ticket because the mighty Aussies have levelled the series: PRICELESS." Ben, Dublin, TMS inbox
Andy, London, text 81111: "If only we had had Ronnie and Reggie batting at one and two this morning, who's gonna tell them they are out with a bit of Duncan Fearnley 4+2 in their hands? I had a goldfish called Trevor Brooking once, he jumped out of his bowl and my mother trod on him."
1625 - 92-1 Big lbw appeal from Broad, the ball jagging back in to Ponting, but that was going miles over. Short and wide from Broad - I swear I heard the ball cry an anguished "hit me" - and Punter carves him through backward-point for four more. Australia trail by 10...
1621 - 87-1 You don't bowl there to Ponting - short and wide from Anderson and the Australian captain carves him through point for four. That's his 47th Test fifty, and came from just 63 balls. This body language doesn't look too clever from the England bowlers, Anderson's strolling back to his mark wearing the haunted expression of a man being dragged round B&Q by his wife on a Sunday morning. Punter nicks the strike with a prod to mid-on.
1617 - 82-1 Doozy of a drive from Ponting on the up from Broad. Ponting nicks a quick single, and that's a good piece of fielding from Broad, but Watson was well in. Watson picks up a couple of his hip as he moves to 27. For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings...
"Reasons to be Cheerful: Dirsy on the updates, making fun of my mates, Obama running the States, Fordyce's yellow hair. Looking like I'm working, when I'm really shirking, have another gherkin, Boycott trying not to swear." Dinz in the TMS inbox
1611 - 77-1 Anderson serves up a nasty inswinging yorker, which ricochets off Ponting's heel. Umpire Bowden calls dead ball. Short from Jimmy and Punter pulls him away, but that's good save from Harmison at mid-wicket. Ponting drives for a couple, before tucking into the leg-side for a single.
Jeremy, London, TMS inbox: "Well at least we've stemmed the scoring for a bit Oh, that was tea."
Flintoff Flash - a fitness update from the England and Wales Cricket Board: "Andrew is still very keen to play in the fifth npower Test at The Brit Oval and a decision on this will be made in due course. He will not be exposed to undue risk or masking injections and any decision regarding his participation in the fifth Test will be made in conjunction with the ECB, his surgeon and the Lancashire medical team."
1608 - 74-1 Broad into the attack now and that one stays low, beats Ponting and ricochets off Prior's knee and away for one run. Broad wide outside off... Broad wide outside off... Broad wide outside off... we shall overcome... we shall overcome...
1604 - 73-1 Anderson onto Watson's pads and he's clipped away for one. Anderson over-pitches and is creamed through the covers by Punter for three runs. Lots of dramatic sighs in the office now, my nan would have loved this, she made hobbling to the kitchen on her zimmer sound like she was charging with the Light Brigade.
1559: Players coming back out, play in a couple of minutes...
Garry, Manchester, text 81111: "I'm off to Headingley tomorrow. It's going to be the equivalent of going to a second-round cup tie when your already 3-0 down. I was looking forward to this for months as well."
1555: "Went for a quick nap at about 11.30am and appear to have woken up in 1981." Simon, Horam, in the TMS inbox
"This is so much more entertaining than work. In fact I haven't laughed so much since one of my goldfishes died whilst having a poo." Tim Meader, Kent, in the TMS inbox
1550: All right? Benjamin here again, manually refresh and my name will appear. Reasons to be cheerful? The juice of the carrot, the smile of the parrot, a little drop of claret, anything that rocks. Elvis and Scotty, days when I ain't spotty, sitting on the potty, curing smallpox?
By Pranav Soneji
1547: So with Australia trailing England's good-fer-nuthin' 102 by 43 runs, I hand you back to Ben for the remainder of the afternoon. Stick around, if you haven't smashed your computer screen or thrown your mobile phone against the 1558 from Coventry, it might get better...
TEA: AUSTRALIA 69-1
1536: Aus 69-1
A distant diatribe of expletives are muttered as a toothless maiden from Onions finishes off a thoroughly anodyne bowling performance from England as Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson, who might as well book a few days in Scarborough on Monday and Tuesday judging by how comfortable they are right now. Punter is unbeaten on 39 while Shaaaaaane is 24 and counting.
Neil Boston in the TMS inbox: "Funny you should say that, Simon from Leicester, but I still blame Chris Waddle for missing his penalty in the footie World Cup for my chunky build. My wife says it's because I eat rubbish but you and I know better."
Stuart Johnson in the TMS inbox: "My boss Steve, who knows a lot more about cricket than most in our office, has closed his internet browser. I presume that means we have no chance?"
1536: Aus 69-1 I haven't seen so many pies being thrown since the last ever episode of Tiswas. Anderson's first delivery of his second spell - a juicy long-hop with more fruit on top than a Carmen Miranda hat piece - is clattered through midwicket for four. A little bit of hoop as Watson extravagantly leaves an outswinger. It's all looking as easy as the Woman's Own annual bumper Christmas crossword right now.
1531: Aus 63-1 Ponting's eyes light up like the Las Vegas strip as Onions drops short once more, only to mis-time the ball for a single through midwicket.
"I'm with you Gina from Gloucestershire - let's get behind the team. Are you single?" Michael, Victoria, in the TMS inbox
1528: Aus 62-1 Oooof! Watson receives his second welcome to the breadbasket, this time from Harmison - the TV replay is a belter, you can mime his inevitable reaction. Katich's wicket seems like a lifetime ago now as Watson stoically defends Harmison's missiles. By the way, anyone seen Mr Reverse Swing during this series? You know, that one that everyone sang the praises of in 2005. Me neither.
1523: Aus 62-1 Good over from Onions, who has a bit of a pathetic caught behind shout turned down by umpire Asad Rauf, who adopts a Queen's guardsman-like expression as England's yelps for joy subside into grumbles.
Peter in the TMS inbox: "Why, oh why did we bat first? In Division 11 of the East Sussex League only a dangerous lunatic would win the toss and bat. I know this, as I tried it once. We were all out for 55 (extras top scored with a plucky 12). The game was over before tea."
1519: Aus 62-1 Ponting drops his wrists and opts for a dicey single off Harmison, only to see Ian Bell's shy from cover miss the stumps by a fair distance with Ponting at least three feet out of his ground. Actually, Bell probably wouldn't have been close with another couple of sets of stumps to aim at. Australia now trail by 40.
Neil Boston in the TMS inbox: "For Fat Simon in Leicester: You're getting married and you think ENGLAND are ruining your life. Word of advice, your wedding day photos will be your weight benchmark for the rest of the marriage: don't set the bar too high."
1515: Aus 61-1Hearty riposte from Onions, who twice beats Watson outside off stump with deliveries which nibble off the pitch, although the square-shouldered Queenslander merrily skips along to 24 as he smites an overpitched ball through cover for four.
1510: Aus 57-1 Not enough zip in this pitch to trouble Ponting with the short stuff, despite Harmison's zesty efforts. Nothing to concern Ponting as the man to my right bellows "gun-barrel straight". Where are you ye pitch demons of Headingley? Are you watching re-runs of Last of the Summer Wine on UK Gold?
Andrew Bentley in the TMS inbox: "England need to rally now, like Billy Casper in Kes. 'They beat him. They deprived him. They ridiculed him. They broke his heart. But they couldn't break his spirit.' I fancy Brian Glover racing in from the Kirkstall Lane End.
"My uncle told me recently that he sold a car to Graham Onions not long before the start of the Ashes. As they prepared to go out for a test drive my uncle chucked him the keys, which Onions gracefully dropped! 'That doesn't bode well!' they laughed. Not so funny now." Adam in the TMS inbox
1506: Aus 57-1 We've only had 38 deliveries and Australia have just brought up their 50 as Ponting thumps Graham Onions' first delivery over into the crowd over deep midwicket for six before brushing a rank leg-side long-hop off his hips for four. Lord of mercies, Ponting has only gone and walloped another not particularly menacing short delivery over mid-on's head for boundary number four of his short innings. That's 18 from the over - wonder if Lily Allen's sheen for our Graham has slightly lost its gloss after that over.
1501: Aus 39-1 Trick or treat from Harmison, who serves up another speedy bumper, but Ponting rocks back and smears the ball through midwicket for a ferocious boundary. Good comeback from the Durham beanpole, who sees Ponting fend a streaky edge over the heads of the slip cordon, down to the vacant third man boundary, for his third boundary. The runs are flowing, unlike the beer taps at Headingley, which have all been switched off until after tea.
1456: Aus 29-1 Anderson's not quite right at the moment, overpitching for Watson to guide through backward point for a couple before another inswinger is misdirected down leg side, with Watson turning another boundary off his hip down to fine leg. You could hear a gnat break wind right now, it's that quiet in LS6.
Simon, Leicester, in the TMS inbox: "I was going to eat up the miles in the gym this afternoon whilst watching England bat themselves into a good solid position (this is in aid of getting fit and trim for my upcoming nuptials). All of a sudden, I have lost the enthusiasm and as a result I will still appear chunky in my wedding photos. Thanks for ruining my life England."
1451: Aus 23-1 Punter, who has two tons at Headingley, gets stuck into a short and wide delivery outside off stump from Harmison, swiping an authoritative cut off his back foot through cover point for four. A sneering bouncer loops limply over the Aussie captain's head into Prior's gloves, a ball which does not impress Billy Bowden, who signals a wide. Ponting decides he wants nothing to do with the rest of the over and judiciously leaves anything not straight. Apologies for the slow updates, the hamster has been instructed to run faster around his wheel.
1449: Aus 18-1 Watson is clattered right in the breadbasket by a zippy Anderson inswinger, with the Lancastrian following that up with a few choice words, maybe about a restaurant recommendation in the Beeston area possibly. Anderson's radar errs on leg side as Watson tickles a glance down past fine leg for four. But enough wobble in the air to excite the seamers.
1444: Aus 14-1 Someone give me strength...After flashes of Brisbane 2006 following a wide leg-side delivery for four byes, a nasty Steve Harmison delivery, so nasty it should do at least three years behind bars, has Katich in knots and the left-handed opener gloves a looping catch to Ravi Bopara, who takes a smart diving catch at leg gully. Out comes Ricky Ponting - oh shut up you idiots - the Aussie captain is booed by some members of the Western Stand and completely misses an attempted pull outside leg stump. Not often you see the Aussie skipper miss out on the short ball.
1440: Aus 14-1 WICKET Katich ct Bopara b Harmison 0 HARMY'S BACK!
Simon Franklin in the TMS inbox: "What a load of pony. In fact, that wasn't just pony, that was a herd of ponies, their teenage girl owners, their parents, their parents' Range Rovers, a field, some jumps, enough ribbon to circumnavigate the globe the full gymkhana!"
1437: Aus 10-0 Stephen King could not have penned a more poignant horror than James Anderson's first two deliveries of the Australia innings, both scythed through point for successive boundaries. No swing for Anderson, who looks as if someone has stolen his prized double of Rodney Ontong from World of Cricket 1983 sticker book. However, he has more success with the inswinger, with the final ball which Watson just about manages to fend away.
1432: So less than four hours after deciding to bat first, England are now bowling. So that's England's lowest total in an Ashes Test since 1997. Fortunately, England's lowest ever total in an Ashes Test at Headingley is 87 in 1909, so it's not all bad then.
Ian, Fleet, in the TMS inbox: "Surely the best offering from the S&G songbook is: "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you". He may have held the bat a bit funny, and be dead, but he may well be an improvement."
1427: Apologies if you've just spat out your lunch all over your computer screen - you have read correctly. Anderson attempts to fend off a short Siddle delivery, but meekly gloves to Haddin, whose fingers are about as limber as Richard Clayderman's following his injury, before the very next delivery sees last man Graham Onions loop a simple catch to short leg Simon Katich. The Aussies go absolutely ballistic, although Onions reacts as if he has been sold a dud Rolex on a popular internet auction site. Lo and behold, up goes the finger of Asad Rauf, although replays suggest the ball was nowhere near Onions' bat. Wonder if Lily Allen will Tweet about that.
ENGLAND 102 ALL OUT
1422: 102 all out WICKET Onions ct Katich b Siddle 0 A ball later and it's over.
1420: 102-9 WICKET Anderson ct Haddin b Siddle 2 After scything a drive through point, Anderson spoons another simple catch to Haddin from a nasty Siddle bumper. Someone start the car...
From Louise in the TMS inbox: "Feel the need to apologise to the whole of England - this performance might be my fault, not Hugh's. I accidently, sort of fleetingly, felt a bit sorry for Mitchell Johnson for not being on form, and Ponting for getting booed. Sorry "
1418: 100-8 Matt Prior moves to 37 with another tidy square drive, this time off the impressive Ben Hilfenhaus, a man who could probably swing a gala melon. You remember that sound when England won the second Test at Lord's? We've just heard something similar as Anderson pushes a quick single off his back foot into the covers, bringing up England's hundred. Three figures have been reached - call off the dogs.
1414: 98-8 More simple cricket from Australia as Harmison plays all around a straight delivery from Siddle, handing Haddin the simplest catch of his international career. In comes Jimmy Anderson, the man who has never scored a duck for England. Oh what a day to break that run...
1410: 98-8 WICKET Harmison ct Haddin b Siddle 0 A huge appeal from the Aussies as Prior attempts to hook a short Siddle delivery, but umpire Asad Rauf is unmoved - but the finger heads towards the heavens a couple of deliveries later as Steve Harmison edges a straight ball to Haddin.
1407 - 97-7: Here's a reassuring fact for you - Steve Harmison has 19 ducks in 60 Tests for England. Only Mike Atherton has more with 20, although I know who I would like at the crease right now. Harmi then proceeds to play a leave outside his off stump which would make Courtney Walsh jealous. Four leg-byes off the pad of Harmison sees England crawl towards the ton.
"Here we go - let's kick the team, abuse them, call them useless. From what I see and hear its more about great bowling this morning. Only Bopara can not dare look at himself in the mirror. I am fearful of the improving weather, but I will for always be positive. Anyone care to join me?" Gina in Gloucestershire in the TMS inbox
1402 - 92-7: In the words of that annoying meerkat on that insurance advert, simples. Siddle serves up a tempter outside off stump, too much for Swann to resist as he attempts an expansive drive through cover, only to edge to Clarke at first slip. Out comes Steve Harmison to a rousing ovation, only to get absolutely clattered around the helmet by a "Howdoyoudo" from Siddle.
1359: 92-7 WICKET Swann ct Clarke b Siddle 0 Swanny's only gone and spooned a simple catch to first slip...
Jonny in the TMS inbox: "Young Extras can hold his head high as he enjoys his cucumber sandwiches knowing that even with a lowly innings of 10 he's still out-bat five of his colleagues."
1357 - 91-6 Lovely banana-shaped outswinger from Clark, outrageously flirting with the edge of Swann's bat before thumping into the gloves of Brad Haddin. What is Bowden doing? The Kiwi does some sort of can-can shuffle signalling a leg-bye before Prior threads an aesthetically pleasing drive through extra cover for three.
1352 - 87-6 Four men in KISS costumes the stands look unusually chipper considering what they're watching as Siddle serves up some chin music for Graeme Swann, who takes evasive action, much to the delight of the pumped up Siddle, who looks as if he has forgotten to lick the cream off his face after wolfing a doughnut. A no-ball and a couple of singles see England limp towards three figures.
1348 - 84-6 "What's a good total from here?" asks Dirsy as he finishes off the dregs of his refreshing beverage. We all think 150 and a spanking square drive from Prior and a cute drive through cover for two off Stu Clark sees England add a few more to their meagre total. More encouragingly, Prior's back has been gip-free so far.
From Emma, London, TMS inbox: "I'd have thought that the Simon and Garfunkel lyric on Strauss' mind is more likely to be: 'Hello darkness my old friend...I've come to talk with you again'."
1344 - 77-6 The players are out a few minutes before the usual post-lunch resumption, with Peter Siddle to open up against the lumberly challenged Matt Prior, who sees a thick outside edge bisect the gaping hole between third slip and gully for four, although the ball rolled all along the carpet to the boundary. His next shot is more confident, clipping a ball off his toes down to fine leg for a single.
1335: For those of you wondering why the standards of this text commentary have collapsed like England middle's order, that's because Ben is eating his body weight in crisps to console himself after presiding over the morning session. Refresh your browser or batter the F5 key to Headingley to see my name magically appear at the top of the page. The players are back out, with new man Graeme Swann at the crease. PS - here's a picture of Ian Botham shaking hands with a gorilla.
1335: To quote Simon and Garfunkel, "I get all the news I need from the weather report". The BBC weather website tells us we have a weekend of sunny intervals, although we're due for light rain on Monday. Right now, I wouldn't worry too much about that forecast...
From David Martin, TMS inbox: "Forty minutes without the loss of a wicket - God bless the lunch break."
Butch socks it to the Aussies
1326: Yeah cheers Dirsy, thanks for that, the equivalent of Stuart Pearce's back pass to David Seaman against San Marino in 1993. Let's hark back to better days - here's Mark Butcher, who announced his retirement from cricket on Thursday because of a debilitating injury, smashing a match-winning 173 against Australia at Headingley in 2001. Someone show this to Matt Prior.
By Ben Dirs
1312: Right, I feel very depressed and a little bit sick. Here's Pranav, have fun... oh, and I hope the site starts working properly... what a hospital pass that is...
"I told him, I told him this would happen. As Onions and Anderson ripped through the Aussies' middle order last week my colleague was heard to declare, 'This is the morning we won the Ashes back'. Does he know nothing? You don't say things like that, ever. It's the rule. And now we're paying for it. If you want someone to blame for this his name is Hugh..." Tim, London, in the TMS inbox
"Once again I am left bamboozled and wide-eyed by the ability of the English Cricket Team to stride valiantly towards the 'beast of victory' before drawing the 'sword of ineptitude' and striking cleanly for the monsters beating heart! All hail Sir Collapse-a-lot." Ahmed Zeidan in the TMS inbox
1302 - 72-6 Right, that's lunch. Sorry about that ladies and gents, but look on the bright side, you can do that shopping down Homebase on Tuesday that you've been putting off for weeks.
1258 - WICKET - Broad c Katich b Clark (Eng 72-6) One more over before lunch, Clark into Broad. Broad nibbles again and is beaten. No-frills from Clark, just slinging it down the corridor of uncertainty, but at least Broad might learn something. Lbw appeal from Clark, but Umpire Bowden looks singularly unimpressed, that was slipping down leg and high. BROAD GONE! The Notts man turns Clark off his pads and straight into the hands of Katich at short square-leg.
"The scorecard says 'Australia: Yet to bat'. Apparently, so are England." Paul, Nottingham, in TMS inbox
1253 - 72-5 I see Sam the koala, survivor of the recent bush fires in Australia, been put down. Ave Maria, really puts things into perspective. Wild wide from Johnson, but he's really got his dander up, he's as wide-eyed as Blowers in a meadow full of butterflies. Whoa! Lifter from Johnson and it catches the shoulder of Broad's blade and runs away for a couple. Every ball's a grenade at the moment, but that's a cheeky single from Broad to keep the strike.
1248 - 67-5 Broad is the next man in, surely the target must be 130-140 now? They'll be lucky to get there, as Broad is beaten outside off. How was Clark not in this side at the start of the series? Just good, no-nonsense Test match bowling, putting the ball in the right areas outside off... four byes down the leg-side...
1245 - WICKET - Cook c Ponting b Clark 30 (Eng 63-5) England in a right pickle - Cook comes forward tentatively, edges and Ponting takes a straightforward catch at second slip. Nice lines from Clark, that's all it was...
"Ah, that familiar feeling of crushed dreams. Welcome home, old friend." Tom in the TMS inbox
1242 - 63-4 Shot! Wide from Johnson and Prior twirls him over the slips and away for four. Brute of a ball from Johnson next up, that must have been like taking the lid off a basket containing a King Cobra. Deary me, Prior flays at another wide one and picks up four more unconvincing runs. Johnson gets in Prior's face at change of ends, the Aussie really putting the hobnails in now.
1237 - 55-4 Prior may well have 'streaky' chiselled into his gravestone. Wide from Clark and Prior skews him through third-man for four. No dramas the rest of the over, but the Sussex gloveman has a decision to make - perish playing defensive, or go down in a hail of bullets?
"We can only hope - for the sake of his career, this Test, and the Ashes - that Harmy can produce a spell of brutal magic to rescue us from this start." Adam the Concerned, Warwick, in the TMS inbox
Phil Hannant, TMS inbox: "It seems poetic justice that as England's batting order collapses, so does the BBC website."
1233 - 50-4 Prior deflects Johnson past the man at short-leg for a couple before picking up another single. Apologies again for the technical problems, we've got our bods on it... anyone? Anyone? There's England's fifty, Cook turning Johnson off his pads for four.
1229 - 43-4 Prior next in, and England have never needed him more, although expecting him to weigh anchor and come over all Boycott is rather like expecting Lewis Hamilton to downgrade from a Pussycat Doll to a 50-year-old nurse from Peckham. Some lovely hoop on that ball from Clark to Collingwood, all four wickets taken by different bowlers so far. One leg-bye, England creaking and groaning like a battered warship.
1225 - WICKET - Collingwood c Ponting b Clark 0 (Eng 42-4) Cook pushes Clark to mid-off for one. But down goes another one, Colly prodding tentatively and Punter pouching a safe catch low to his left.
"Bopara reminds me of one of my friends who goes out at three and as a result gets completely smashed, when he'd probably do better to go out later, say about six." Hugo in Geneva in the TMS inbox
1222 - 41-3 Good toss to lose this, bit of swing, bit of nibble off the pitch, and a bit of lift for Johnson too. Snorter from the Queenslander, and Cook plays it well. Matthew Hayden has just revealed on TMS that he calls his wife "honey". For some reason, that didn't surprise me. Cook clips Johnson off his pads for a single.
"Why is it we English keep producing 'highly talented' batsman that just can't produce in the big games? It seems to be the English problem. I think we need to send our young talented boys to Australia or South Africa to learn something." James in the TMS inbox
"Ian Bell has never exactly filled me with confidence. Watching him bat is a bit like turning up for a flying lesson to find the instructor wearing cataract glasses." Steven in the TMS inbox
1218 - 40-3 Cook has a nibble and is beaten by Clark. Cook prods forward again and gets a thick outside-edge through point for one. Clark with a strangled lbw appeal against Colly, but umpire Bowden looks at him as if he's just trodden in some dog mess on his way to his daughter's wedding.
"A cover-drive?! Boycs' jim-jams would have nothing more aggressive than him blocking out a dot ball to protect his wicket. Even in his dreams he'd only play for the draw." Marcus, Chelmsford, in the TMS inbox
1209 - 39-3 Johnson full of beans now, and he's now getting it to swing. Collingwood the new batsman, and he does well to keep out a ball hooping back in.
1209 - WICKET - Bell c Haddin b Johnson 8, Eng 39-3 Single for Cook with a dab to point. Johnson in from the rugby league ground end, and it's a bumper... AND BELL'S GONE! Fine, lifting delivery and Bell is unable to get his gloves out of the way. England coming apart like a badly-packed kebab...
1207 - 38-2 Clark continues after drinks, as I imagine what various England cricketers might wear in bed. Bell struggling to get into any kind of rhythm at the moment - Clark is Norris on the Spot and that's a maiden. Gatts, presumably, wears little more than a strategically-placed tea tray, while I imagine Bell opts for something in the Loony Toons range.
1200 - 38-2 Two for Cook, timing Johnson down the ground. The enigma that is Mitchell Johnson... for the Aussie selectors it must be like packing a Steinway piano onto the plane at Sydney only for a Bontempi organ to turn up in Heathrow. Short, but Cook misses out with a pull shot. Players take drinks...
"I can see Boycs wearing a plain night shirt and matching headwear and climbing into bed very slowly with absolute precision. When questioned about his manner of entering the bed, he would simply answer 'is good technique is that'." Big Phil, Wrexham, in the TMS inbox
1155 - 34-2 Here's Stuart Clark, player of the series in 2006/07, and he's a bit frayed so far. Leg-side ball to Cook and Haddin is unable to gather and the ball dribbles away for one. "Would Geoff Boycott's pyjama bottoms have the words 'corridor of uncertainty' on them? emails Joe in Oxfordshire. I think those words would be piped in ye-olde script down either leg. My father once opened the front door wearing a pyjama top and no bottoms. Bit odd that.
"Bopara reminds me of an episode of CSI, all style and no substance." James in Woolwich in the TMS inbox
1151 - 33-2 That's streakier than a bag of Frazzles from Bell, reaching for one and the ball flying over the slip cordon and away for four. Johnson the bowler, and that's a pretty good lbw shout against Bell, playing across the line, but it was going down leg. Have a word with yourself Belly - the Warwickshire man swipes at a ball about three feet outside off and is beaten again. Hmmm...
1146 - 29-2 Hilfenhaus teasing and Cook plays a rather woolly drive outside off and is beaten. But that's a settler for Cook, Hilfenhaus straying onto his pads and allowing him to flick him away for four. Two more for Cook with an on-drive, he's now 18.
1142 - 23-2 Apologies for the technical problems you're having, but I'm afraid the whole site is rubbered at the moment. No point in taking it out on me, that's a bit like shouting at George Alagiah when one of the phone lines goes down on the news. Siddle round the wicket to Cook, and the Essex man is beaten outside off. One for Cook, before Siddle's radar goes awry and Bell isn't made to play for the rest of the over. Some chat on the wireless about what Boycs might wear in bed. I reckon he wears jim-jams with little cartoon pictures of himself playing a cover-drive all over them.
1137 - 22-2 Hilfenhaus really hooping it away from the right-handed Bell, who is yet to score. Ponting masticating maniacally at second slip. He doesn't chew gum, he teaches it a lesson. Another away-swinger from the Tasmanian and Bell gets well forward and creams him through cover-point for four.
1134 - 18-2 Siddle slides one across the face of Cook's bat before the Essex left-hander pokes into the covers for a couple. Just seen a replay of that Bopara dismissal and it looked like Hilfenhaus may have overstepped by a fraction, but what goes around comes around.
1130 - 16-2 No need to worry folks, here comes KP... hang on a minute... come on Belly, now's your time. He gets a poor leg-side full-toss first up and sees out the over.
1127 - WICKET - Bopara c Hussey b Hilfenhaus 1 (Eng 16-2) A couple of Pearly Accountants Lambeth Walk past my office as Hilfenhaus rather squares Cook up. A single for Cook... AND AUSTRALIA HAVE GOT ANOTHER ONE! Ball nibbling about a little bit, bit of lift, and Bopara fences straight to Hussey at gully.
"Have you never cooked for her folks before? You always end up taking far longer than expected, throwing things into the pot you didn't even know existed, and after plying the parents with booze because they're convinced you're making a hash of things, your mint pork hazelnut paprika red pepper stir fried casserole turns out to be absolutely delicious. To whit, Harmy will have a horrible first four days and then wrap it up with a five- for to win it on the final day." Justin Williams in the TMS inbox
1124 - 15-1 Nice lines from Siddle and Bopara, fencing rather, is beaten outside off. Full-length ball from Siddle and Cook prods into the covers and scampers a quick single. No dramas for Bopara for the rest of the over, as the man next to me asks wistfully, "is this to be the making of Ravi?"
TMS summariser Phil Tufnell: "Andrew Strauss was going for a big expansive drive and did not quite get his foot to the pitch. But that's a catch in a lifetime for North, he almost didn't see it come off the bat."
1120 - 13-1 What a catch that was from North, it was one of those ones that either sticks or snaps your fingers off. Bopara next up the ramp, and he owes England a few runs. It's all very well scoring three tons in a row against the Windies, but it's a bit like taking Cliff Richard to the cleaners on the outside courts at Wimbledon before going up against Rafa Nadal. Well-placed flick through mid-wicket for a couple.
1115 - WICKET - Strauss c North b Siddle 3 (Eng 11-1) One leg-bye before Cook nibbles into the covers for one. The site's a bit slow today apparently... sorry. AND WE'VE GOT A WICKET! You won't see many better slip catches than that, Strauss driving and edging and North chucking out a right paw and snaffling an absolute pearler at third slip.
"Look 'ere Ben Dirs (is that really your name?) there is nufink worse than the middle classes appropriating rhyming slang. Its my bleedin 'eritage - wot next, Pearly Accountants?" Burner in the TMS inbox
"I once burst into uncontrollable floods of tears on discovering that my old Eton tie had run into my ermine robes. That's what happens when the scullery maid is suffering from swine flu and her Ladyship has to take charge of the laundry." Patrick, Swansea, in the TMS inbox
1112 - 9-0 Headingley (it will be nice when it's finished) filling up rapidly now. Hilfenhaus gets another to dip back in to Strauss, but I'm not sure it's going to do much off the pitch today, this looks a pretty good batting pitch. Short from Hilfenhaus and Strauss tugs him away for a single. Cook shapes to fetch one from outside off, but thinks better of it.
From Callum, text 81111: "My gran was ko'd by a polo ball and swooned into a butler serving champagne. Aristocratic? Or merely bourgeoisie."
1107 - 7-0 Siddle shares the new cherry with Hilfenhaus, and here's Cook on strike, and he's off the mark with a nicely-timed clip through mid-wicket for four. Cook opens the face and tries to run the ball away square, but that's well-fielded.
1103 - 2-0 Hilfenhaus up first with the ball for Australia, and that's a very respectable lbw appeal first up - big inswinger into the left-handed Strauss, and that looks like it's hitting middle and leg. Umpire Bowden thinks not, and the England skipper has a life. Strauss off the mark next ball with a push into the covers. Strauss' face was very telling after he was rapped on the pad, he thought he was a goner...
1057: Right, it's Jerusalem, and here come the players. Most important session of the series so far, and here come the left-handed Strauss and Cook... manually refresh to catch the vote and video scorecard... put a fork in me, I'm done...
England captain Andrew Strauss: "It is a big blow losing Fred but unfortunately he just isn't fit enough. We all feel for him but it is great to have Steve Harmison coming in. He has been in great form, he is champing at the bit and hopefully he will add some potency to our bowling attack. We have decided to go for an extra bowler. I think we have got the batting there. Hopefully we have got an attack that will take 20 wickets. We are mad keen to win this Test. There are no thoughts about hanging on to our lead."
Australia captain Ricky Ponting: "It probably always is (a risk to leave out a spinner). But we have got Marcus North who can do a job for us, and Michael Clarke and Simon Katich can also turn their arm over. We think with the conditions we have got here, it is our best chance of taking 20 wickets."
1054: KP on a cross... and relax... Harmison's Shakespears have obviously cleared up, his feet were apparently giving him some serious gip during Durham's recent game against Sussex. Harmison's been terrorising county batsmen so far this season, as is his wont. But it's all very well impressing your girlfriend in the kitchen on a lazy Sunday afternoon, can you do it when her folks are round?
England: AJ Strauss (cap), JM Anderson, IR Bell, RS Bopara, SCJ Broad, PD Collingwood, AN Cook, SJ Harmison, G Onions, MJ Prior (wk), GP Swann Australia: RT Ponting (cap), MJ Clarke, SR Clark, BJ Haddin (wk), BW Hilfenhaus, MEK Hussey, MG Johnson, SM Katich, MJ North, PM Siddle, SR Watson
1042: So there's no Jonathan Trott in the England side, as some had expected, and Stuart Broad keeps his place. Ponting admits he would have had a bat first, but seems encouraged by the overhead conditions. Two changes for the Aussies: Clark and Haddin in for Hauritz and Manou...
1040: I'm hearing now that England have made just one change, and not the two that may have been expected: Harmison in for the injured Flintoff... and here's the toss... ENGLAND WIN IT, AND THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE A BAT!
1038: Just cribbing from Sky and Athers says it's a "dry, decent pitch". England fans may or may not gain succour from a Rick Wakeman quote I heard the other day: "To find success you must dig in the garden of failure". No idea what he was talking about. The lead singer from Egg said he used to "plunder Ovid" on the same programme, so Wakeman was probably just talking a load of old rubbish.
"Ben, why is it that when Fordyce was in the hot seat all seemed fine in the English garden. You, Sir, take over the text and first Fred's knee finally goes and now Prior, due to FOOTBALL! Ben, please go home and get Tom back, thank you." Niki really nervous now in Oxon in the TMS inbox
1033: YES! KISS MY FACE! PRIOR PASSED FIT! Toss in eight minutes... AND YES, IT IS MY REAL RUDDY NAME, DANIEL KING!
"Ben, why is it that when Fordyce was in the hot seat all seemed fine in the English garden. You, Sir, take over the text and first Fred's knee finally goes and now Prior, due to FOOTBALL! Ben, please go home and get Tom back, thank you." Niki really nervous now in Oxon in the TMS inbox
1029: This is getting ridiculous now. Someone's just wandered over and said England might have asked if Bruce French can keep wicket for 20 minutes while Prior sorts out his back. Next we'll be dragging Bumble out of the commentary box. Gary - Oliver Urpi wants to know what happened three years ago to make you cry? I cried three years ago after eating a partridge and biting into some lead shot. Has anyone ever cried for a more aristocratic reason?
1025: This is absolute chaos - and by the way I did mean Newsnight without Paxman. Prior is back out! Bit of a grimace as he's warming up, or is that just his face? England, meanwhile, have asked the Aussies to delay the toss by 10 minutes. No need to poke my housemate with the 'fat stick' to check he's not dead this morning, he'll be glued to this...
"I haven't cried for roughly three years, but news of Big Fred not playing at Headingley has made my bottom lip quiver!" Gary Mills in the TMS inbox
"Football? Prior is out because they were playing football?!?!? Everything the Aussies can do, we have to try to do one better. What's next? Onions out due to an intense game of monopoly?" Aneesh Desai, Brussels, in the TMS inbox
1019: If Prior doesn't play, then we're assuming England will ask Australia whether Colly can start off behind the stumps until a replacement can step in. Here's where those prospective replacements are: James Foster is in Southend with Essex (might need a helicopter), Tim Ambrose is in Birmingham with Warwickshire (couple of hours in traffic?), Steven Davies of Worcestershire was in Durham, but may have gone home, and Phil Mustard of Durham is also at the Riverside...
1015: For those looking for a ray of light on an otherwise depressing morning for England, you might want to remind yourself that Flintoff does actually average 48.57 with the ball so far, which doesn't strike me as particularly "talismanic". Australia have their own dilemmas, and I'm hearing Stuart Clark might have earned a recall...
1011: This Prior thing has really rubbered England - he's played pretty well so far, with gloves and bat, but they've now got to dig up a replacement from somewhere. Or do they? News reaches me that it was actually a back spasm rather than a knee and he's now having treatment...
1008: Oh my giddy aunt, the thing that's happened that everyone thought was going to happen at some point - Matt Prior has apparently done a knee playing football during the warm-up and it looks like Paul Collingwood is going to keep wicket, at least until another gloveman can arrive. Playing football on a wet outfield before an Ashes Test is as nonsensical as a bride doing a full workout down the gym in her dress an hour before she's due in church.
1004: Morning all. As you've probably already heard, Andrew Flintoff has been ruled out of the fourth Test in Leeds, but we're yet to discover who will be stepping into his very large boots. An Ashes Test without Flintoff is like Newsnight without Paxman. I like Wark, but she's far less likely to get Harman or Blears quaking than Paxo in full attack dog mode.
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