That's it from us then folks. We'll see you at The Oval, where we will see an 11 from about 436 of your suggestions making up the England side. It's 1-1 people. The Oval will have something in it for everyone - batsmen, pacemen and spinners - and a right royal rumble of a crowd could just swing it. As Kipling says: "If you can keep your head while all around are losing theirs'..." See you in 11 days' time.
From Jamie via text on 81111:
"Cook, Bopara, Bell, Harmison and Onions out. Ramps, Tresco, Trott, Fred and Monty in. Simples."
Australia captain Ricky Ponting
is next up, and a few boos for him for good measure too. How very pantomime. "Our bowlers were brilliant on the first morning and that set up the win for us. Four seamers worked for us here but we'll assess again at The Oval, as we always do. We've dominated from ball one in this match and some of our guys are getting better and better at just the right time."
A few boos for Andrew Strauss
, who reasons: "We didn't really turn up, obviously, but we have a few days off to reassess and regather and it's 1-1 with one to play. We're scratching our heads a bit as to where it went wrong, but it's a time to be calm and not to panic - it's important we don't get too carried away when we win, and the same when we lose. We must just ask ourselves to perform a lot better at The Oval than we did this week."
Sorry, cynicism and pessimism got the better of me, there. Here are the presentations.
One name we haven't mentioned yet for The Oval - Monty Panesar. The theory is the batsmen should have enough about them to get the runs and England will need two spinners to bowl the Aussies out twice. So the hosts could be relying on a man who has taken eight wickets in 212 overs for Northamptonshire this season at an average of 73.75. I can hear the Aussies quaking now.
A bit of slap and tickle for the Headingley faithful, then, but ultimately a win for Australia more comfortable than a pair of Christmas slippers. Before the doom-merchants and red-top rags have us all believing the end of the world is nigh, though, let us remind ourselves that it is 1-1 with one to play. OK, Australia need only avoid defeat at The Oval and every single first class match there this season has ended in a draw, but...
AUSTRALIA WIN BY AN INNINGS AND 80 RUNS
1403 - WICKET! Onions b Johnson 0 (Eng 263 all out)
Bosh! All over! And that's a deserved Michelle Pfeiffer for Mitchell Johnson as well as he gets one to straighten a touch and rip the heart out of Onions' off-stump.
1403 - 263-9
Stuart Clark's mojo has gone very much into hiding in this innings and it allows Steve Harmison to resemble Sir Viv in his pomp as pings another four off his pads. England trail by 80 runs.
"Steve Harmison may not have done that much with the ball but he's now scored more runs in this match than the whole of England's middle order."Alistair Hansen in Hong Kong in the TMS inbox
1358 - 259-9
Graham Onions - on a king pair - gets one into his ribs first up, and the Aussies launch half an appeal next delivery when Johnson beats the tail-ender's bat by a matter of inches. Replays of that Graeme Swann dismissal suggest he might not have hit it after all, apparently. Injustice!
1353 - WICKET! Swann c Haddin b Johnson 62 (Eng 259-9)
That's Swanny gone, flailing at a wide one and succeeding only in feathering it behind to Brad Haddin. Suddenly my 1415 finish estimate appears optimistic.
1352 - 259-8
Graeme Swann brings up England's 250 with a leg glance - and the magic talking box to my right with the people from Sky Sports on it tells me that, so far, the hosts' top five batsmen have scored 937 runs, compared to 903 runs from their bottom five. Ahem. And make that 911 as Steve Harmison twice whips Stuart Clark off his pads with Rolex timing and away for successive boundaries.
1347 - 249-8
Mitchell Johnson will take the second over after lunch and the new plan appears to be to serve Steve Harmison up some chin music. The Durham paceman grabs a single with Shane Watson half asleep, and Graeme Swann does likewise with the field set further back to the spinner. Much more sedate start to the session than the one that preceded it.
1343 - 247-8
What have the Aussies done with their lunchtime of reflection then? Flabberghastingly, they've opted to straighten their lines and lengthen the deliveries. Rocket science. Much better from Stuart Clark to Graeme Swann and a dab to the off-side aside, it's a tight over.
From Anonymous, via text 81111:
"To Kob Rey: I see what you did there, very clever... Anyway, I agree. Wholeheartedly."
From David in Hartlepool, via text 81111:
"Does anyone else think that all the inconsistency shown this series not just by England, but the Aussies too, comes from the scheduling of cricket these days, with players hardly having ten minutes to breathe between matches? Frankly I'm not surprised that concentration levels are wavering..."
Right then, five minutes until the restart, and the chat in the office is split between England's Oval selection and just how long before Australia wrap this one up. The consensus appears to be... no-one has an absolute scooby. I'm tipping Andrew Flintoff and Jonathan Trott in for Steve Harmison and Ravi Bopara, and about 1415. Any advance on 1415? By the way, give this page a cheeky refresh and you'll notice Dirsy's having a wander and me, Sam Lyon, has the unenviable task of talking you through England's inevitable demise this session. Jubbly.
"Why all the doom and gloom? For only the second time in just over twenty years, England will go into the last match of an Ashes series with a chance of winning the urn. Since 1987, we've been either three or four nil down by this stage."Greg, Shropshire in the TMS inbox
"Just finally read Justin Langer's 'dossier' in full. Spot on mostly, but labelling us Welsh fans 'feral'?! Try 'passionate'. And what an ovation we gave Ricky Ponting on his 11,000 test run. Anyone remember the reception Simon Jones got Down Under when he suffered his injury?"Stephen Rees in the TMS inbox
From Kob Rey, Kent, via text on 81111:
"I definitely think we should bring back Rob Key for the Oval."
"I'm blaming Strauss for winning the toss. Vaughan would never have allowed that to happen."Rob G in the TMS inbox
"RE the people calling for a recall for Ramps and Trescothick: Aren't you all the same people who begged for the Harmison recall? Look how well that's going... I'm not defending the England selectors, but maybe they knew what they were doing when they left him out for the first three Tests? Maybe it's all this swapping and interfering that is the real problem."Ani, Cambridge in the TMS inbox
One minute England are a bunch of gutless wonders, the next they are showing their mettle and providing a wave of momentum in defeat. Can I make a suggestion? Maybe this isn't the worst England side in recent memory, nor the best, just one that is pretty evenly matched with an equally good-but-not-great Australian side. Just a thought.
"So 'Justin' (see below) is leaking more helpful suggestions directly to your inbox now, is he? Advising picking one retired player, one failure and one newbie? I couldn't offer better advice if I was, ahem, a recently-retired Australian player myself."Jen in the TMS inbox
"It's no coincidence that England's most gutless performance since Sabina Park comes in the first game that both Bell and Harmison are in the side again. Neither has the commitment or character to play for England and both should be dropped permanently." Robert Maitland in the TMS inbox
"Rob Key should bat at 3 or 4 and frankly should have been there for some time, and the ECB should beg Trescothick to come back - even if it was for just the final Test at the Oval." Andy, Toulouse, in the TMS inbox
"If that was Freddie, not Broad, the whole nation would talk about their six-wicket and top-scoring hero. As it is Broad, it will be luck. The TMS Blog ratings will also reflect this, guaranteed. If you want a new all-rounder, let one develop rather than clinging on to the memory of Fred." Polly on a Scottish Island singing Rain Rain go away, Go away to Headingley, in the TMS inbox
1301 - 245-8
Swann frees his arms and slathers Hilfenhaus into the covers, where North is hit right on the wrist. That hurt. Harmison has a nibble at a couple, before gently pushing the last ball before lunch from Hilfenhaus to point. Huge applause from the Headingley crowd, and despite England's dire situation, they can't say they haven't been entertained.
1256 - 244-8
Harmison offered some width by Johnson and the Durham man carves him uppishly to the third-man fence. FORWARD DEFENSIVE FROM SWANN! No need for that. Swann pushes into the covers, and Australia's lead is down to less than 100. Johnson switches to round the wicket, but Harmison gets a bat on the final ball of the over and England will make lunch.
"Perfect tactics from the Aussies. Give these guys some runs and the England selectors will pick them as all-rounders for the Oval Test, forgetting that they cannot bowl. Expect Harmy to get 50 as well and selected at the Oval. Ashes secure for Australia."Justin, Australian in Ghana, in the TMS inbox
1252 - 238-8
Might as well just bump Swanny, he can't play short bowling... HANG ON A MINUTE, HE'S JUST HOOKED JOHNSON FOR SIX! That's his second Test fifty, his first of this series, and it came from 53 balls. Two more for Swann, now it's up to Harmison to survive until lunch.
"Re. the Ramps recall suggestion... To not bring him back because of his increasing years is a mistake of gargantuan proportions. I say let's all descend on the selectors with pitchforks and burning torches!" Tracey (burning torch at the ready), Northumberland, in the TMS inbox
"Here's a plan. Pick Trescothick, Ramprakash and Trott for the final Test. They are the three best batsmen in England at the moment, plain and simple. They would destroy this mediocre Australian attack." Justin in the TMS inbox
1246 - 230-8
Tremendous knock from Broad, coming as it did from just 48 balls and including 10 fours. The partnership with Swann was worth 108 and came from just 78 balls and included 16 fours. Remarkably, 73 runs were taken from just 5.3 overs. Harmison is the next up the ramp, and he has a rather airy waft at his first ball, a wide delivery from Johnson. Another lazy old swat from Harmison, before Johnson very nearly uproots his off-stump. Cheeky single from Harmison to get off the mark, before Johnson has a meaty lbw appeal turned down by Umpire Rauf.
1239 - WICKET - Broad c Watson b Siddle 61 (Eng 229-8)
Full-bunger from Siddle and Swann pokes it through point for an easy four. Swann has a go at a wide one, and Watson pulls off a fine save in the covers. And that's your lot from Broad, pulling, not quite getting it, and Watson snaffling the catch at backward square-leg.
1236 - 224-7
Ponting feels the need to call a summit between overs, although I'm not sure there's much to be said: "Put. It. Outside. Off. Stump". Swann clips off his pads for a couple, before backing away and looking to uppercut, but he's beaten. Clark is clumped into the covers for a couple by Swann, and he picks up a single with a squirted single off a yorker. Huge lbw appeal from Clark, but that was rather desperate, it was going miles down leg - Umpire Rauf looked as though he was raising a finger, but he was actually just glancing at his watch! And four more! Short fro Clark and Broad slaps him to the square-leg boundary, two Aussie fielders closing in on it, but unable to take the catch.
1231 - 215-7
They're just not learning! Swann backs away and flat-bats Siddle to the long-off fence. Swann's Twitter last night: "2 ways to view 2morrow, a hopeless cause or a chance for immortality..." (thanks Cameron in Sydney). Teaser from Siddle and Swann drives and misses. Broad out... surely... lofted drive... BUT JOHNSON SPILLS IT AND THE BALL ROLLS OVER THE ROPE FOR FOUR! This really is good fun.
1227 - 205-7
CALM DOWN SWANNY! The Notts man clips Clark through point for four, before arching his back and lofting him to long-off for two more. And there are four more! Full and swinging away and Swann monsters him through extra-cover. Two more for Swann, clipping Clark off his legs, before the spinner latches on to a short one and rat-a-tats Clark to the mid-wicket fence. Forty-nine from the last three overs, Swann owning Clark. The crowd loving this, and Clark wears some serious verbals as he wanders down to the boundary at end of over, lovely stuff.
1220 - 189-7
Australia have lost their discipline here, completely forgetting why they had England in such disarray yesterday - kiss the top outside off and let the pitch do the work. That's short from Siddle, Broad goes for the hook, and the ball races away for four byes. And there's Broad's fifty, his fifth in Tests, courtesy of a stand-and-deliver lofted drive for four. That knock came from just 42 balls, and it's a real tonic for this crowd. It may be the equivalent of turning up to watch Level 42 and discovering Mark King has broken his slapping thumb and Earl Falconer is standing in, but it's passable.
1217 - 173-7
Siddle looks like he's got a 2 o'clock tee time - flashing wildly outside off, before missing with a windy old hook. Swann does nick a single with a nurdle into the leg-side.
1214 - 172-7
Apologies to Marcus Trescothick, who was actually the first man to pass 1,000 runs this season, not Ramps. BRING THEM BOTH BACK! Here's Clark, and Broad goes hard outside off and thick-edges for four. He moves to 34 which makes him England's top-scorer in this innings. Four more, Clark offering width and Broad flashing him through point. That's not too clever though, good length ball from Clark and Broad almost puts his back out trying to clobber him over long-off. But that's a peach, Clark straying on leg and Broad flipping him to the wide long-on fence. IT'S BROAD'S ASHES! He frees his arms and marmalises Clark over mid-off for four more to bring up the fifty partnership. Nice to see, he copped some real flak from Clark yesterday.
"Bandwagon maybe, but what does Ramps have to do to get a recall? We need something new and exciting for the fifth Test, bringing him in would be a bold and interesting selection. Of course, the selectors could just put Bopara in at three with no confidence another time and see what happens. Again."Rod, UK, in the TMS inbox
1209 - 156-7
Paul has just emailed in to say England were 148-7 at Headingley in 1981. What he didn't mention is that we had Graham Dilley wielding the willow. Siddle gets one to jag back at Swann and scythe him in half, before serving up a full bunger which Swann tucks away for a single. Bit of cloud cover now in Leeds, and that's a glorious stroke from Broad, crackerjacking him to the wide long-off fence. Swann gets some short stuff, and is hit on the shoulder.
1201 - 150-7
Swann fends Hilfenhaus to mid-wicket for one, as the office erupts into a "How Great Is Freddie?" discussion. A very English hero, I'd say, and that's drinks.
"I think it's important to note that in all the Die Hard films, the Pom is the bad guy. Who's Alan Rickman in this analogy?" Heather in the TMS inbox
1157 - 148-7
Ramps has got another ton for Surrey against Derbyshire - that's his 108th career ton, the fifth of the season, and he's also the first man to a 1,000 runs this season. Hark - I can hear a bandwagon... short from Siddle and Swann flogs him away for four. One more for Swann, and this partnership now 34.
99neil on 606:
"Looks like the crowd won't get much more than an hour's play in. Along with the curtailing of the plastic pint pot 'snake' a pretty dire few days for the Headingley crowd. I'd be demanding a refund."
1151 - 142-7
Hilfenhaus gets one to nip back at Swann and the Notts man Chinese cut for four. You can't set fields for that, that missed the top of off by the width of a fag paper. Hilfenhaus strays and is tucked away for one and Swann keeps the strike.
1147 - 136-7
Johnson too straight and Swann turns him away for a single. Broad, looking to clip through mid-wicket, chips a leading edge to mid-off, where Siddle is unable to pull the ball in. Rolex timing from Swann, pushing Johnson into the covers for a couple. Short and wide from Johnson and Broad carves him to the third-man boundary.
"The term 'Die-Hards' was actually coined in the smoke of war during the battle of Albuhera, fought on 16 May 1811, which was the bloodiest battle of the Peninsula War. It was a phrase uttered by Colonel Inglis as he lay dying in front of his men whilst fighting Johnny Frenchie. However, rest assured, my sentiments are the same, if only because my old regiment was called The Havercake Lads, which unfortunately isn't quite so martial in tone!" Mike, Dubai, in the TMS inbox
1142 - 125-7
Swann, expecting another bumper from Hilfenhaus, goes back before just managing to get forward in time. The England spinner squirts a single through point, before Broad goes for the hook and misses.
"I've just seen a Tanzanian villager throwing rocks at a coconut from 30 yards. He was definitely more accurate and much prettier on the eye than Steve Harmison's bowling. Who do you reckon who would be more accurate Benny, the Tanzanian with a rock, or the big fella throwing pies?" Jarrad, Shane and Wayne from Tulawaka in Tanzania in the TMS inbox
1139 - 124-7
That really was a fine catch from Haddin, and Swann is the new batter. Broad has a big heave at Johnson and gets a thick inside edge for two. Broad drops into the off-side for one. Swann, inevitably, gets a couple of bumpers from Johnson to introduce him to the crease, but there's no direction.
1129 - WICKET - Prior c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 22 (Eng 120-7)
Rauf signals a rather dainty leg-bye, and that means we have now avoided our heaviest ever home defeat, which was against West Indies at Lord's in 1973, although this is currently our third worst two-innings aggregate. Prior squeezes Hilfenhaus off his toes for a couple, before unfurling a lovely-looking drive, but Hilfenhaus stoops and stops it. And Prior's gone, fencing at one and Haddin taking a superb catch diving low to his right.
"Justin Langer may be right, he may be wrong. I for one don't care what Mr Langer thinks. As a long suffering England fan I do care deeply about this team and this series. Having shelled out a hundred quid for a ticket to the Oval I will go there with belief in England and belief that we can win the Ashes. There is no room for negativity. Australia are a good team but they are not the best. They will fight to the bitter end and so shall we. In the words of Lt. Col. Mitchell, 1st bt. Middlesex regiment 1915, 'Die hard boys, die hard'."Adrian in the TMS inbox
1129 - 117-6
Prior picks up a single to point, before Broad is scythed in two by an inswinging Johnson delivery and the ball runs away for four off the inside edge. Nice stroke from Broad, freeing the arms and driving Johnson through the covers for a few.
jackaryquack on 606:
"I have just been told by the wife to make sure I get Sunday lunch underway. It takes two hours to cook and we want to eat at 2pm. Will England oblige with a final collapse or will I face the ire of the wife?"
1124 - 109-6
Broad and Prior exchange easy singles and Broad picks up one more with a flick off his hip. Prior edges Hilfenhaus, but he plays with soft hands and the ball falls short of Ponting at second slip.
1118 - 105-6
Prior flashes Johnson through the covers for four, and repeats the trick for four more. I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, GGParkin, but I'm pretty sure most people that live in London are from England, and, forgive me if I'm wrong, psyches don't just spring up overnight, they are formed over time... somewhere back in the past... England have passed the ton, they trail by 238.
"Why do we pay your wages, you LARD. Keep living in the past - 'discovered new lands... Mother...' most people that live in London are from England are they, Lard? Can teach a Monkey anything can't you? What's the matter Ben, too much egg on your paper?" GGParkin in the TMS inbox
1114 - 96-6
Broad has a windy old flash outside off and is beaten, before the Notts seamer pushes straight down the ground for two. Two more for Broad with an off-drive, before he has another woosh outside off and misses.
"Shoud it be St Anthony, patron saint of lost articles ('Please, sir, can we have our wickets back?') or St Jude, patron saint of lost causes (or, if you retain any optimism, also of desperate measures)?" Andrew Staples in the TMS inbox
1110 - 92-6
Johnson with a bit of width, and Prior steers him through backward-point for four. It's absolutely rammed at Headingley, which surely is another nail in the coffin of Langer's bizarre "English comfortableness" theory. CORRECTION: I WAS GIVEN BAD ADVICE - YOU DO NOT GET MONEY BACK IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES...
"Morning, Dirsy. Last weekend, I played a game of cricket for the first time in a decade - it was supposed to be a 50 overs game, but when we were bowled out in 19.4 (I made a Bopara-esque 7) the opposition offered to turn it into a game of T20, and squeeze another one into the afternoon. What are the odds of Australia letting us play another quick two-and-a-half-dayer? "Anonymous, via text 81111
"Maybe Prior can use his ego to form some kind of defensive wall around himself and Broad - rather like Sue in Fantastic Four. But then he'd probably strain that after the third over this morning and it would fall on his wicket."Andy Baul-Lewis, Muscat, Oman, via Glamorgan, in the TMS inbox
1106 - 86-6
Stuart Broad steps into the bear pit, and he gets a thick inside edge into his pads.
1104 - WICKET - Anderson c Ponting b Hilfenhaus 4 (Eng 86-6)
Apparently, if it's all over within 10 overs today, the Headingley faithful get their cash back, which is nice. Wide from Hilfenhaus, and Anderson cue-ends him to the third-man boundary. But Anderson's gone next ball, following a ball just outside off and edging straight to Ponting at second slip.
It's a barnstorming day down in London, and it's a ripper up in Leeds, England are toast. "English cricketers like being friendly and matey because it makes them feel comfortable," says Langer. "In essence this is maybe the key to the whole English psyche - they love being comfortable." Yes, that's right Justin, comfortableness is key to the whole English psyche. Those lazy, English swines, sitting about on their fat backsides and travelling to all corners of the globe, discovering exotic lands, setting up the biggest empire in human history, getting involved in comfortable wars for the last thousand years. What's that mother? Australia is the 21st fattest country in the world? Fatter than England? "There's only been one miracle in the last 2,000 years, and that was Jesus Christ," roars Sir Boycott as the players take to the field.
"So is it true that the Barmy Army have changed their name to 'The League of St Anthony'?"Colly, Wolves via the TMS inbox
Everyone seen Justin Langer's "secret dossier", leaked to the The Telegraph? In it, the former Aussie opener reveals English cricketers "rarely believe in themselves" and that Matt Prior has a "massive ego". In the next instalment, Justin exclusively reveals that Steve Harmison's not very accurate and Andrew Flintoff's rather injury prone.
Hello. Remarkably, there are people in at Headingley. Not sure what to say really. Gina, you still think we might save this?