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By Mark Mitchener
1900: TMS are going off air - there will be more reaction on BBC Radio 5 live if you want to retune - but we're going to wrap up the live coverage too. Thank you very much for following the Test and the whole series with us on BBC Sport - we only hope we brought you a good flavour of a thrilling summer. But it's not over yet - there's a whole raft of ODIs to come - and we'll be back on Sunday to bring you live text coverage of the first Twenty20 international at Old Trafford. Thanks for your company and your e-mails and texts - and let the celebrations begin.
1850: Jonathan Trott will replace Flintoff in the squad for the Ireland ODI - England will not replace Flintoff in the squads for the Twenty20 internationals and ODIs against Australia, and will announce a replacement for him for the Champions Trophy "in due course".
1847: An ECB press release drops into our inbox, confirming the news reported in the Daily Telegraph a few days ago that Andrew Flintoff will have exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee on Tuesday. He will miss the ODIs against Ireland and Australia, as well as the Champions Trophy. Funny, that, considering a similar ECB press release less than a week ago claimed that Flintoff would take part in all three squads. But a week's a long time in cricket...
Matt Prior on TMS: "I'm absolutely exhausted! They pushed us hard when Ponting and Hussey were in. There was a lot of hype in the West Indies from you guys [the media] about byes, but I knew my game was getting better and better - but getting together with Bruce French and working with him has made the difference"
Steve Harmison on TMS: "It's a phenomenal achievement from a young side who have come through thick and thin in the past 14 months. But this was like the other side having 60-70% possession in a football match but you winning 1-0. People were writing me off, but I was very happy to be a part of this and beat Australia for the second time. It was fitting for Andrew that he went out the way he did. I'm biased because I'm one of his mates, but he's had a great career for England - when you need a bit of a spark, he's always there. Let's not put too much pressure on Stuart Broad, he's a young lad who's had a great series and for a young lad he's got some good tools in his locker. In 2005 when young players came in we put too much pressure on them - let's let these lads develop. I don't know yet whether I'm carrying on - I love playing for my country, but I want to talk to a few people and weigh up if I want to do another overseas tour. I won't decide until the season's over but if the coach and the captain want me in a 16 or 17-man squad for South Africa, I'll go. Hopefully in 10 days' time I can win the Championship with Durham!"
Andrew Flintoff, recipient of TMS's Champagne Moment award for his run-out of Ricky Ponting: "I don't think it's sunk in yet, it seems a bit of a dream. To be walking round The Oval with the urn again seems surreal. I'm a bit older and wiser than four years ago, so I think I'll have a couple of drinks in the dressing-room and then take my missus out for dinner. I think it's the first time I've ever run someone out like that in a Test - I'd love to say it was through hours of practice but that would be a lie, I just wanted some time out of the slips! But it's all about the team. Once I've gone, I think Stuart Broad can step up to the plate, but I think England are in good hands with Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower. I'm going in for another op on my knee in the next couple of days"
Stuart Broad on TMS: "We had to fight very hard for it, but it's been a special day. We bowled well as a unit throughout the series - the first couple of games are tough but I got a boost at Edgbaston with the fifty and a couple of late wickets, and I'm delighted to have helped the side win the series. If I get the chance to move up to seven, I hope to get my head down and play longer innings - I was off the field for Fred's run-out but I heard the roar from the dressing-room and it was incredible"
Graeme Swann on TMS: "This is the best I've ever felt in my life - I don't have kids so I can't imagine what could compare with this. When we kept dropping catches I didn't know what would happen, but I told Harmy this morning he had to play a part in this game. This is incredible. No-one knew this wicket was going to turn the way it did and I lost my temper a bit when the catches went down, but it's turned out beautifully"
1827: England and their support staff continue to acknowledge their fans. Stuart Broad is stood with his sister Gemma, England's team analyst, who's nearly as tall as he is. The singer moves on to "Land of Hope and Glory".
England team director Andy Flower on Andrew Flintoff: "The run-out was brilliant - special athletes have those special moments, like he has throughout his career. People were shouting for Stuart Broad's head earlier in the series, but you can see he's going to be a special cricketer"
1824: Paul Collingwood pretends to "drop" the Ashes. And to think we were worried about that dropped catch?
Vic Marks on TMS: "England go to South Africa this winter - and arguably they'll be playing the best team in the world"
1823: Of course, for winning the Ashes there are three trophies - the (replica) wooden urn (the original remains in MCC's museum), there's a large crystal urn and another trophy adorned with the sponsor's ribbons. And we get another rendition of "Jerusalem"...
1822: England are going to do a lap of honour around The Oval.
1820: Four years after Michael Vaughan did the same, Andrew Strauss lifts the Ashes urn and the champagne flows! Fireworks and confetti fill the sky!
England captain Andrew Strauss: "The guys have done amazingly over the last eight months - I want to thank Ricky Ponting and his team who played the game in the right spirit and are great ambassadors for their country. When we were bad, we were very bad, but when we were good, we were good enough. I can't under-state [I think he means over-state] what a good job Andy Flower's done to pick us up after India, but I think we'll miss Freddie very much"
1817: Nearly all of England's players are already clutching bottles of fizz. KP, Onions and Monty join them on the podium to receive medals.
1816: England's players come up for their medals, in batting order with Cap'n Strauss last.
1815: "It shows how alive and well Test cricket is when you get series like this," admits Punter.
From mtwallis on 606:
"Brilliant!!!! To come back so well after the Headingley disaster. So many great moments in the series... Panesar and Anderson's final wicket stand at Cardiff... Flintoff's five-wicket-haul at Lord's... Broad's five-wicket-haul and Trott's debut century (both at The Oval). Hopefully next year we'll actually put up a fight in Australia"
1813: "We haven't been good enough" is the message from a gracious Ricky Ponting.
From Anonymous via text on 81111: "Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Donald Bradman, Crocodile Dundee, Merv Hughes, Skippy the bush kangaroo, Kevin Rudd, Jason Donovan, Rolf Harris, Kylie Minogue, your boys took a hell of a beating!"
Michael Clarke: "I'd give the award back for a different result today, but I want to congratulate England and Freddie on a fantastic Test career. It was disappointing for Ricky and myself to get run out"
1808: Australia's man of he series, nominated by England team director Andy Flower, is Michael Clarke (with Ben Hilfenhaus getting a mention in dispatches).
1807: England's man of the match, nominated by Aussie coach Tim Nielsen, is Andrew Strauss.
Man-of-the-match Stuart Broad: "It's a fantastic day, everyone's worked so hard throughout the series - it lived up to our dreams, Trotty's knock on debut was great. No-one can replace Freddie, he's been a fantastic servant to Engladn and I hope to play more with him in one-day cricket"
1805: Man of the match is... Stuart Broad for his "reign of terror" in the first innings.
1804: Former England captain Mike Atherton, now of Sky TV, begins the presentation proceedings. The umpires will get their medals first - all the usual suspects are up there, and ECB chairman Giles Clarke is grinning like a Cheshire cat.
1802: England are back out in the middle in their whites and their dark blue England caps. All eyes appear to be on the man who we can now describe as the former Test all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting on TMS: "We're disappointed, obviously, but the difference in this game was our batting in the first innings. As captain of the side, it's even more disappointing. In hindsight, we probably didn't pick the right side, but England would have played two spinners if they knew it was going to turn as it has in the last couple of days. It was a poor Test match wicket, but I'm not blaming it for us losing - both sides had to bat on it. It's probably not my favourite ground in the world, but our guys will learn a lot from playing in this series. I've enjoyed the whole tour, but it makes me determined to win the Ashes back. We let it slip at Cardiff, we weren't good enough to get over the line but the series has see-sawed from one side to the other. It was nice to get the standing ovation today, Freddie thought I had hired a PR company for it! On the run-out, I wasn't expecting too many quick singles but as it turned out I got caught short - it wasn't to be. Broad's been pretty impressive in the last couple of games when it looked like his position was under threat"
1756: A couple of bowling figures to note - Swann finishes with 4-120, while Harmison took 3-54.
1754: England head back to their dressing room to share the victory with non-playing squad members Graham Onions and Monty Panesar, as well as the support staff - I can see bowling coach Ottis Gibson and security consultant Reg Dickason in there. Someone's spotted Kevin Pietersen getting the drinks in.
1752: The England players hug each other - there are a few tears from Steve Harmison - and the Australians troop out to shake hands with their opponents.
England captain Andrew Strauss on TMS: "It's hard to know what to say right now - it's an emotional moment, these things never come easily. At times we thought we'd never get there, but we've done it"
AUSTRALIA SECOND INNINGS
1750: Hussey prods to short leg, and England have wrapped up a 197-run victory.
1749 - WICKET - Hussey c Cook b Swann 121 - Aus 343 all out (102.2 overs) - ENGLAND REGAIN THE ASHES
1747 - Aus 348-9 (102 overs) Harmison to Hilfenhaus - the Ashes set to change hands unless the tall paceman can keep Harmy out here, in front of a deafening crowd. Hilfenhaus plays a straight bat, even when Harmy strays with a no-ball, and he's eventually off the mark with a well-timed off-driven four. Gentle Ben does his job, and England have to wait for their victory.
1743 - Aus 343-9 (101 overs) CMJ makes an interesting point on TMS - looking at the five Tests, the closest of the five was the draw at Cardiff. And what was the crucial session there? That last-wicket stand. So let's just think for a minute - you could say that England are about to win the Ashes because of Monty Panesar's batting. Monty MBE anyone? Swann tries to tease Hussey into an error, he stands firm but can't work the last ball for a single so last man Hilfenhaus will be exposed again.
1740 - Aus 343-9 (100 overs) England's fans may be celebrating like it's already over, but they just need to apply the coup de grace. Ben Hilfenhaus to face the hat-trick ball, it's straight but Hilfy keeps it out.
1737 - WICKET - Clark c Cook b Harmison 0 - Aus 343-9 (99.5 overs) Harmison bear-hugs his mate Flintoff for holding on to that catch as Stuart Clark strides to the wicket. He pops his first ball to short leg, England are one wicket from regaining the Ashes!
1735 - WICKET - Siddle c Flintoff b Harmison 10 - Aus 343-8 (99.4 overs) Harmison tests Siddle with a bouncer, then he gets a leading edge to short cover and Flintoff takes the catch! Start the car!
1732 - Aus 343-7 (99 overs) Siddle pushes Swann to leg, it squirts into the air but safely and they run two. A textbook straight-drive brings the fast bowler a single.
From Paul Morton, TMS inbox: "After watching the Tests and ODIs this year I doubted England would regain the Ashes. I'm really pleased to be proved wrong, well done England"
1729 - Aus 340-7 (98 overs) Harmison to Hussey, who might have to start thinking about farming the strike if he's going to push this game into a fifth day. England's fans are clapping and cheering, the Aussies (and big Merv Hughes) have fallen silent. Hussey tries an ambitious pull but fails to connect as Harmy raises his arms in frustration. The fielders come in to save the single on the fifth ball, so Hussey smacks a four through cover point. He then guides a single off his legs, and shows confidence in his batting partner by taking the second.
From nigeweir on 606:
"What a day. Have sat here and watched every single ball with you guys and boy have we had to be patient. The score Australia had to get was massive, would have been a world record and is simply not in their range. Like at Lord's, we have outplayed them totally and will win the game. IT'S COMING HOME woohoo"
1725 - Aus 334-7 (97 overs) Siddle gets forward to Swann, with a raft of fielders waiting around the bat. A well-timed cover-driven four gets him off the mark but frankly England could have all nine fielders around the bat now, the 214 runs needed for an Aussie victory must look like 214,000,000. He adds a couple more off the last ball.
From Xenia in Hove via text on 81111: "I'm confused. Was born in the UK. Brought up in Aus, now back again for five years. What an amazing win for Aus this would be but I feel so guilty. Help me decide!"
1721 - Aus 328-7 (96 overs) The door to the hutch is well and truly open for England now as Peter Siddle comes to the crease. He guides his first ball to long leg for one - but England only need three wickets now to regain the Ashes. The crowd are on their feet.
1719 - WICKET - Johnson c Collingwood b Harmison 0 - Aus 327-7 (95.5 overs) Given that Harmison may never have to face Johnson's bowling again (considering his record on the last four tours, will England ever take him on tour again? I doubt it. And he's been dropped from the ODI squad), he may feel he has nothing to lose by firing in some "chin music" at the new man. And he does. Johnson, one of Australia's many left-handers, pokes one to second slip and finally Colly holds on to a catch!
1714 - Aus 327-6 (95 overs) Well, bit of a rash shot from Haddin but England won't mind. New batsman is Mitchell Johnson. Big lbw shout from Swann against Hussey (they crossed on the catch) but umpire Rauf isn't interested.
1712 - WICKET - Haddin c Strauss b Swann 34 - Aus 327-6 (94.4 overs) Graeme Swann, still in his sunglasses, continues from the Vauxhall End as Hussey dabs a single, but then Haddin tries to go aerial over the legside boundary and is well caught by Cap'n Strauss at deep-ish mid-wicket!
From Kevin in London via text on 81111: "I've had enough of this tension. Any chance we can stop mucking about and take a wicket or two?"
1709 - Aus 326-5 (94 overs) The Vauxhall End of the ground is now in shadow underneath the massive new stand as Haddin steers Harmy past short leg for a single. He has 34, despite a couple of anxious moments. A mighty pull from Hussey brings him four to square leg, to the delight of a posse of Australian fans behind that boundary. A single to third man and he's nabbed the strike again. What can England do to turn the tide?
From blueboyrob on 606:
"At this level you must must must hold your catches. Surely such basic fielding errors cannot deny us? Hussey is the key, get him before the close of play and that Aussie dressing room will be downbeat"
1702 - Aus 320-5 (93 overs) Strauss shuffles his bowlers as Swann replaces Broad. Two slips and a forward short leg in for the left-handed Hussey, who looks back on form after those scares in the nineties. A single takes him to 109 - the field shuffles for Haddin, there's a slip, silly point, short leg and short mid-wicket. Haddin flicks a two off his legs and a single just before the players take a drinks break. 226 needed for a breathtaking Australian victory. That Colly drop when Hussey was on 55 is starting to prey on my mind.
1658 - Aus 316-5 (92 overs) Harmison replaces Flintoff, Hussey flat-bats his first ball through mid-wicket, and Harmy isn't happy with the ball. He gives it to Umpire Bowden, who has a quick look and tells him to get on with it! Harmy gets one to explode from short of a length past Hussey's face, Hussey leaps out of the way and counters with some aggressive mid-pitch gardening. Hussey turns a single to leg to keep the strike.
From Dave in Brighton replying to hiswrg  via text on 81111: "I'm pretty sure when you look at the 'stats' they will (assuming all goes to plan) say that England won two matches and Australia only won one. I think that makes us plenty deserving of our victory"
1653 - Aus 311-5 (91 overs) Hussey clips Broad for a quick single, "there's a cloud of dust like someone jumping into a long jump pit" notes Aggers, but Hussey makes his ground with a full-length five. Haddin repeats his late cut to third man for four. Broad then charges in, and drops the ball in mid-delivery stride! Is the pressure getting to him too?
From Alyssa, USA, TMS inbox: "Look, I'm trying my hardest to be optimistic and confident, but if anyone could lose this game at this point, it's England of late. And that belief is sadly supported even further by that simple Onions catch that just wouldn't be. Tell me, please, someone, that I'm just being a Debbie Downer and England aren't going to shoot themselves in the foot and lose this match! Anyone?"
1648 - Aus 306-5 (90 overs) A fortunate inside edge from Hussey, the ball dribbles just past his stumps. He cover-drives a single, then Haddin powers a four through point. And as well as being available to listen to on the site, the Daniel Radcliffe/Tom Felton interview is also available
as a podcast.
Jonathan Agnew on TMS: "We're being watched by the editor of Wisden, Scyld Berry - it's like being watched by the headmaster"
1644 - Aus 301-5 (89 overs) Hussey cuts Broad for four, then he cracks a well-run two which beings up his 10th Test hundred, looking to the heavens in relief. A single to the cover boundary brings Haddin on strike, and he defends well.
1638 - DROPPED CATCH - Aus 294-5 (88 overs) Hussey certainly looks to be in the nervous nineties as he nearly chops Anderson onto his stumps! A single takes him to 94. Haddin tries to force one off his legs... and is dropped by substitute fielder Graham Onions at short mid-wicket! It went through his hands as he jumped up. Anderson kicks the turf like an angry Andre Nel as they run two. Haddin smacks a four just wide of a fielder, and a misfield from Flintoff won't improve Jimmy's temper as Fred lets one through for another four at mid-off.
From David in Hook via text on 81111: "Guess it wouldn't be cricket to win the Ashes with one day spare. Thinking of what original sickie to pull tomorrow! Any suggestions? "
1635 - Aus 283-5 (87 overs) Still hardly a cloud in the sky above The Oval Broad is getting some subtle movement as he pitches the ball up well against Haddin, who has to defend as if his life depends on it. We're beginning to wonder in the office whether we'll still be here tomorrow morning - mind you, at one point it looked like there was no separating Ponting and Hussey either... Maiden.
From hiswrg on 606:
"I can't believe the commentators on the radio and people here are already talking about 2-1 to England. Aus are eminently capable of getting the remaining runs before losing five wickets. It is typical of us English to rest on our (slightly flaky) laurels and not see things through properly. Although, to be honest, England don't really deserve to win this series when you look at the stats"
1630 - Aus 283-5 (86 overs) Hussey blasts the recalled James Anderson through mid-wicket for four to reach 93. It's been 28 innings since his last hundred... and there's a brief sign of nerves as he's beaten outside off stump twice in successive balls. He tries to turn the last ball down the leg side... but doesn't get a touch.
From Darren, Cheltenham, TMS inbox: "What better a way to spend the day than to watch my two boys playing cricket on a sunny Cotswold day and to see the Ashes coming home 'where they belong!' Come on England, wrap it up today!"
1625 - SECOND NEW BALL TAKEN - Aus 279-5 (85 overs) New ball.. and we have a new vote in for you too. The shining new cherry is handed to Broad, can he repeat his first-innings "reign of terror" and wrap it up tonight? Hussey pushes a single to cover, Haddin plays and misses outside off stump.
1620 - Aus 278-5 (84 overs) Swann induces an edge from Hussey... and it doesn't quite carry to Colly at slip. The Aussie pair manage three singles, but may have to gird their loins for the new ball soon...
Philip Clive Roderick Tufnell on TMS: "I never captained Middlesex, but my dad gave me three initials just in case I ever had a chance of doing so"
1617 - Aus 275-5 (83 overs) Broad, still with the old ball, runs in to the right-handed Haddin, who is resolute in defence, while Steve Harmison warms up at mid-off - which may be a hint that the new ball may be taken soon.
From James McCarthy, TMS inbox: "Does life get any better? Lazing in my pool in Doha listening to TMS' coverage of possibly the best English cricket performance in four years! Come on England!"
1613 - Aus 275-5 (82 overs) CMJ and Tuffers on TMS are left rather baffled as Colly is taken off after one over! Swann returns, Haddin takes a single and Hussey strokes a confident four through mid-wicket. Australia are now more than half-way to their target. Any reason they shouldn't take the new ball?
From Chris in London via text on 81111: "Come on Freddie, finish them off with five wickets. A fitting ending to an illustrious career!"
1610 - Aus 270-5 (81 overs) They're going to persevere with the old all for a while... with Stuart "Malfoy" Broad taking over. Hussey pushes a couple of twos to take his score to 82.
From Neil in Middlesbrough via text on 81111: "My girlfriend is in serious danger of being single in the morning if my answer to the question 'where were you when England won the Ashes' is 'in a garden centre'!"
1605 - Aus 266-5 (80 overs) Paul Collingwood to have a little trundle with his medium pace, he'll be seeing if he can get his off-cutters to work their magic on this pitch. He goes round the wicket to Hussey, who gently taps a single through mid-wicket. And the second new ball is available...
Christopher Martin-Jenkins on TMS: "No chickens have been counted by anyone - including you, Tuffers, I trust"
1559: After some interesting chat between Aggers and his panel of journalists, it's time to resume. Could this be Freddie's last session in Test cricket?
From Dafydd Rees, TMS inbox: "I write this from a rainy Cape Cod, Massachusetts, having seen Hurricane Bill pass us by with little more than it being a usual rainy day in England, and thinking about seeing my first Test at the Oval in 1957. Anyway, to make all English fans feel better, I thought you'd like to know that if the remaining Australian batsmen all match their highest ever scores against England, they would be all out for 540"
From Ben in Lancashire, via text on 81111: "Oops, I'm in big trouble! I promised the Mrs that I would cook and clean for one month if we beat the Aussies!"
1551: So, it begs the question, can England capture the Ashes tonight? Five more wickets are needed - the scheduled close of play is 1800 BST, but can continue until 1830 if the remaining overs (32) have not been bowled. And, if either captain (most likely Andrew Strauss) believes a result can be achieved tonight (we reckon this would be if seven or more wickets have fallen), they can claim an extra half-hour of play.
From adrian007 on 606:
"This is now really the end of Australia. In the grander scheme of things, we all still have to feel sad that the great team that Australia once was is about to be only fourth in the world. And worst of all, Ponting is about to be the first Aussie captain to lead Australia to the lowest world ranking they have ever achieved"
From Ross Brawn (Team Principal, Brawn GP), TMS inbox: "Our team just managed
a win at Valencia
and I was desperate to see the score after the race. What a weekend - Rubens' first race win for five years and now the Ashes. Go for it boys!"
Thanks, Ross, glad you're enjoying the cricket.
1542 - Aus 265-5 (79 overs) Swann gets one to turn sharply past Hussey, there's a big appeal for a catch behind from Prior, but Umpire Rauf shakes his head. A four through the covers and a clubbed single to leg take Hussey to 77 - that's tea. "A freakish session", says Vic Marks on TMS, but what a crucial session for England.
1538 - Aus 260-5 (78 overs) Two more overs in before tea? Should be. Anderson returns in place of Flintoff, and the Aussie listeners won't like this - Aggers is already talking about how England can claim the extra half-hour tonight if they think a result is possible. Hussey works another single, Haddin flays a four through the covers. And we'll get another over in.
From Frazer, TMS inbox: "Don't want to spread typical British pessimism but have had a cheeky look at the weather forecast tomorrow and it's not great, we may need to finish up this eve no pressure lads!"
Pessimism, Frazer? Are you any relation to Private "We're doooomed" Frazer from Dad's Army?!
1534 - Aus 255-5 (77 overs) Aussies are digging in for tea as Swann's over yields just a single to Hussey. Meanwhile, the entertaining interview with Harry Potter actors Daniel Radcliffe and Tom Felton is now available to listen to on the BBC Sport website - give this page a manual refresh if it doesn't display correctly, and you should be able to see it and have a listen.
1531 - Aus 254-5 (76 overs) Hussey pulls Flintoff for four, they're less than 300 behind now - but as I mentioned just now, the runs have become largely irrelevant. Flintoff oversteps for a no-ball before a single takes Hussey to 69. An exchange of singles takes Australia's total to 250, and Haddin finds the boundary for the first time with a flick off his legs.
1525 - Aus 242-5 (75 overs) Haddin is off the mark with a single, Hussey copes well with some awkward bounce against Swann, then there's a big appeal... did that hit pad or bat first? Umpire Rauf appears to favour the "bat" option. Huss hustles for another quick single, clearly not afraid of doing so, despite having run out his captain in similar circumstances.
1523 - Aus 241-5 (74 overs) The crowd roar again as Flintoff charges into Hussey, who gets forward well to swipe a quick single through the covers - an overthrow brings a second. He has 63. Kevin Pietersen is in the England dressing-room and appears to be in his whites - no doubt ready to come on for the presentation and lift the trophy like David May for Manchester United in 1999...
From Martin watching in Regents Park via text on 81111: "Yes, yes, yes! Five down now. God bless the man who wrote the 'on the line is out' rule!"
1519 - Aus 238-5 (73 overs) Brad Haddin, arguably the last recognised batsman (although don't all e-mail in, we know Mitchell Johnson has a Test century), comes in - he tries to work Swann to leg and they run a leg bye, Hussey rotates the strike with a single.
Vic Marks on TMS: "That's an amazing decision - I can't believe Billy Bowden didn't go to the third umpire, but I think it was out"
1514 - WICKET - North st Prior b Swann 10 - Aus 236-5 After a single from Hussey, North tries to slog-sweep, doesn't ground his back leg and is smartly stumped!
1513 - Aus 235-4 (72 overs) Flintoff to resume battle with the reprieved Hussey, who nudges a single. Fred bellows an lbw appeal against North, was that just missing off stump? Hawk-Eye thinks it pitched just on leg stump and might have grazed off. "Not out" is the verdict.
1508 - DROPPED CATCH - Aus 234-4 (71 overs) After a single from North, Hussey edges Swann to slip... where he's dropped by Collingwood. How did he put that one down? Hussey then steers a two, they take a chance on a third but Broad's throw is wide. Good hustle, Hussey. North confidently square-drives for four - the runs hardly seem to matter now. Just over half-an-hour to tea.
1505 - Aus 226-4 (70 overs) Harmy takes a breather as Flintoff returns, buoyed by his astonishing run-out. Hussey tries to guide him through gully but is denied by a smart Swann stop. A breeze sweeps across The Oval, is the wind of change blowing England's way?
1501 - Aus 226-4 (69 overs) Australia need Hussey to be the sheet anchor of this innings now. He steers a single off his legs which takes the tourists to double Nelson. North flays at one outside off stump, he doesn't quite get hold of it cleanly but it streaks away for four.
From Stewart Robb via text on 81111: "Look away for three minutes to see the Red Arrows do a surprise fly by at the Shoreham air show and miss us getting two wickets! Typical!"
I remember my dad telling me about a game he saw when Gordon Greenidge was playing for Hampshire, hitting the Lancashire bowling attack to the four corners of the Aigburth ground at Liverpool... only to be interrupted every few minutes as the Red Arrows flew past to hold up play. After the umpteenth interruption, Greenidge held his bat up like a machine-gun, pretending to shoot them down as they zoomed over again!
1457 - Aus 221-4 (68 overs) Harmison raps North on the pad, a modest appeal but nothing doing. Maiden over.
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs on Twitter:
"The most beautiful moment you'll see in sport - Flintoff, arms outstretched, all alone in the field, waiting for his mates to come to him"
1452 - Aus 221-4 (67 overs) With two left-handers to bowl at, Swann should come into his own - the Notts twirler spins in a pearler to North that pitches on middle and leg but sails over the top of off stump. "Brad Haddin's a fine player, but these are the last two recognised batsmen," chirps Phil Tufnell on TMS. North is off the mark with a single through cover.
From Aliy in Tokyo-but-returning-to-UK-next-week, TMS inbox: "I am yelling and whooping and screaming "YESSSSS" in my apartment like a crazy woman! Good thing the walls of my apartment are pretty soundproof! And if they are not - good thing I'm moving out next week! And no I didn't send in any negative messages earlier about how we were doomed to lose!"
1450 - Aus 220-4 (66 overs) The crowd are very much back into "going wild" mode as Harmison charges into Hussey - the boot is now very much on the other foot, and the Aussies are back into "survive at all costs" mode, playing out a maiden over. This is why we love the game - as it can turn on a sixpence in moments. Two wickets in the space of an over have had a gargantuan effect.
From Gary Douch in Vernon Ward, St. Georges Hospital, TMS inbox: "My blood pressure has just gone through the roof and the nurses are just composing themselves again - cancel the painkillers, I've just taken a Flintoff!"
1446 - Aus 220-4 (65 overs) A drinks break is held while the England fans check they're not dreaming. Jim Maxwell on TMS reveals that Ponting and Clarke, captain and vice-captain, Australia's best two batsmen, are the first two Australians to be run out in the entire series. Swann finally gets to bowl the last ball of his over - Marcus North defends.
1441 - WICKET - Clarke run out (Strauss) 0 - Aus 220-4 (64.5 overs) Swann begins a new over to Hussey, but it seems everyone in the ground and on the field is still in a state of shock. A three brings new batsman Michael Clarke on strike - but what will Hussey's state of mind be like after running out his captain?! Then, Clarke prods forward, Strauss gathers the ball and tries to throw the stumps down as Clarke leaps back. Billy B signals for the third umpire, it takes several replays but it appears his bat is not behind the line when the bails come off. The line itself belongs to the fielding side, so surely that's out? Yes it is!
1436: A huge roar around The Oval and indeed this office. The phrase "GOTTIM!" is not far from anyone's lips. The throw looks better and better after every replay - Flintoff raises both arms in celebration. Turning point, anyone?!
1435 - WICKET - Ponting run out (Flintoff) 66 - Aus 217-3 (64 overs) Harmy bangs in a bouncer down the leg side, and it's a no-ball to boot. As is the next ball. Ponting pushes a two through cover point, they run two and at the last minute decide they've got time to sprint back for a third. Then, Hussey pushes for a quick single to mid-on, Flintoff's assassin throw breaks the stumps and PONTING IS RUN OUT! Not even by a substitute fielder this time!
1428 - Aus 212-2 (63 overs) After a single from Punter, Hussey gets well forward to Swann, head over the ball like a model batsman while the Barmy Army trumpeter belts out the "Dallas" theme. Another lbw shout, but less convincing. Swann is quickly through the overs, but the England fans' morale can't be too good at this stage...
From Anonymous via text on 81111: "I made a silly bet (as a childish, patriotic reaction to a typically over-confident Aussie friend) - if Australia win, I will have to train for a half-marathon. Surely England won't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Please, no..."
1425 - Aus 211-2 (62 overs) Hussey dabs a single to third man to reach his 50, and an overthrow allows him a second. But Harmy then raps him on the pad with one that jags back at the left-hander, how's that Mr Bowden? The demonstrative Kiwi official shakes his head, ruling it out for height.
From A Brit Abroad, TMS inbox: "To Luke and Jez. What if the Aussies win? Next time we win the Ashes (in a couple of years) will you have ancient BBQ Chicken?"
1422 - Aus 209-2 (61 overs) A rapid recall for Swann, who's back on the field and has switched to the Vauxhall End again. Ponting takes his score to 62 with a single, Hussey taps another to reach 49.
From Carole, Maidenhead, TMS inbox: "Luke & Jez [see 1407] - eat just one piece of the chicken each now, to pave the way for that inevitable victory parade of sumptuously marinaded delights later on"
1419 - Aus 207-2 (60 overs) Swann's off - and leaves the field completely, to be replaced by substitute fielder Graham Onions. Funny how he's stayed with the squad and come on to field, not Monty Panesar... Steve Harmison takes the ball for the first time today, and he gets some interesting bounce against Hussey, looking much better than when he bowled last night and just seemed to be feeding Australia runs. A maiden over.
Vic Marks on TMS: "If you're following England, just don't mention
Just remembering, I did the live text for the final day of that Chennai Test. Sat next to me that day was David "Steino" Ornstein... who's sat next to me today. We're doooomed, Private Frazer...
1414 - Aus 207-2 (59 overs) CMJ can hear a clock ticking, but are England's hopes ticking away? Ponting blasts Broad for four through the covers, then fluently off-drives for four more.. Meanwhile, talk in this office turns as to whether England could improve their side by getting some of the all-conquering England women's team into their line-up - how about Sarah Taylor behind the stumps and Claire Taylor to solve the problematic number three spot for a start?
1410 - Aus 199-2 (58 overs) It looks like Harmison could finally be called upon soon, but for now it's still Swann, who was getting carted around last over. But to his credit, he's tighter this over and sends down a maiden to Hussey.
From "MSMHGEC" on 606:
"This is frustrating! Whenever I start listening to the commentary, we get no wickets! I woke up and saw we had two wickets this morning, have had the commentary on ever since, and nothing!"
On behalf of the nation, can I suggest you go back to sleep, MSMHGEC?
1407 - Aus 199-2 (57 overs) Uh-oh - Umpire Asad Rauf has had enough, and gives Stuart Broad a first official warning for running on the wicket. (You get a first warning, a final warning and then for any further transgressions, you're banned from bowling for the rest of the match). Undaunted, Broad beats Ponting outside off stump and the crowd roars in appreciation. The Aussie captain gives a wry grin before running a cheeky leg bye. Broad switches to bowling round the wicket to Huss, he adds one more.
From Luke and Jez in Peterborough via text on 81111: "We've fired up the BBQ and have created a special Ashes marinade for our chicken, that won't go on the fire until the Ashes are won by Strauss and the boys. This creates a dilemma as the longer the match goes on, the better the chicken gets but the closer Ponting gets to a record recovery. What do you do?"
1403 - Aus 197-2 (56 overs) The TMS commentators are changing more regularly than the England bowlers - CMJ replaces Jim Maxwell at the mic, while Swann has bowled nearly all day. Ponting adds a single, Hussey rocks back and steers a shorter delivery off his legs for four to bring up the century stand. The next ball is a rank long-hop from Swann, and is blasted through mid-wicket for four more by "Mr Cricket".
Vic Marks on TMS: "I might toss the ball to Collingwood, early on rather than as a last resort, and ask him to bowl some of the little cutters he bowled at Cardiff"
1400 - Aus 188-2 (55 overs) Ponting tries to pull one from Broad which stays low, misses and they run a bye on a fumble by Matt Prior behind the timbers. Hussey dabs a two to third man - it's difficult to work out Cap'n Strauss's expression behind his sunglasses, but I bet he wishes he could have Harry Potter's magic wand to conjure up a wicket from somewhere.
From Rosie Branch, TMS inbox: "OK, call me selfish but I have tickets for tomorrow, so I'm torn, part of me would really love England to rip apart the Aussies this afternoon but the other part is thinking let them finish this afternoon with six wickets down so I can then see the finale and be there when we take back the Ashes"
1356 - Aus 185-2 (54 overs) Ponting gets a low edge, it hits Collingwood on the outstretched foot at slip, balloons into the air and falls agonisingly out of the Durham man's reach... A hard chance, but he's England's best fielder and don't catches win matches? The reprieved Punter smears Swann for a single, this stand is now worth 95.
From Katy on the train to London via text on 81111: "Come on people! Can't we even be a bit excited about our extremely likely Ashes victory? We're hundreds of runs ahead, we've got a day and a half to bowl them out and we just can't lose from here, it'd be too cruel! But some people just don't know how to celebrate... When we win people will be saying that we were just lucky against a poor Australian side... No, we were awesome and did the job! Come on England!"
1352 - Aus 184-2 (53 overs) We've got a new vote for you on the BBC Sport website - who is England's man of the series? Ponting jabs Malfoy for a single, Hussey finds the gap as well and scampers back for a well-run two.
Former Somerset and England off-spinner Vic Marks on TMS: "There's been lots of talk about Australia picking the wrong side by not picking a spinner, but what about England? I'm looking at Steve Harmison - he bowled four overs in the first innings, five yesterday and hasn't been needed today. He must feel like a spare part"
1348 - Aus 181-2 (52 overs) Graeme Swann returns to the attack with his right-arm off-spin - the increasingly assured Hussey steers him for a two and a single, allowing Ponting to bring up his 48th Test fifty (he has 38 centuries) with a single. Hussey's then beaten with a beauty that bounces, turns sharply and misses his defensive prod by millimetres.
From Robert Turner, Mansfield, TMS inbox: "I think England should get nervous if they don't get a wicket within four overs after lunch. It would be interesting to re-open the poll on 'Who will win the Ashes' and see the changes now"
1343 - Aus 177-2 (51 overs) Draco Malfoy to bowl from the Vauxhall End... sorry, it's Stuart Broad again, and Ricky Ponting lifts him over the helmeted Ian Bell at Reasonably Short Extra Cover for four. There are also a short leg and a short mid-wicket in attendance. A single takes Ponting to 49, Hussey jabs one to reach 32. The last ball hits a pothole in the pitch and just misses Ponting's bat... still a tricky deck to bat on, but the Aussie pair are looking in good nick.
1339: Some first-class entertainment during the interval from Daniel, Tom and Aggers. But England are ready to resume - it's eyes down for the cricket again...
From Beano in Northwood via text on 81111: "I am not underestimating the Aussies. But its only realistic to expect us to win it from here, and if we don't then the Aussies would truly deserve to win it"
1334: Daniel Radcliffe reveals his true agenda - he wants Aggers' job...
1329: Cue the inevitable question about comparing cricket and Quidditch. But which set of rules are more complex?!
Daniel Radcliffe on TMS: "I speak to Shaun Udal occasionally as I sort of got adopted by the Middlesex players after I went to Twenty20 finals day last year when they won it, even though I support Durham because of Colly. But Test cricket is like a play in five acts - I prefer it to Twenty20"
From Alexei at work, via text on 81111: "I think the clouds will start gathering after lunch and a torrential downpour will save Australia with no more play possible"
Tom Felton on TMS: "I recently met Stuart Broad at a party - the other England players wanted a photo of us together, as apparently they take the mickey out of him and call him Malfoy!"
Daniel Radcliffe on TMS: "Paul Nixon is one of my favourite players, as he's rather hyperactive and full of energy like me"
1319: Right, this is indeed me - as real as I ever get. Loving the Radcliffe/Felton combo on TMS.
1318: Yo - officially handing you back to the remarkable safe hands of one Mark Mitchener. Enjoy.
1316: I can officially confirm that Mitch is back in the room and will be back with you real soon. It truly is a lovely day in London, at least it looks that way as I glance out of the window. An afternoon of hard graft beckons but the rewards are potentially enormous (I refer of course to the cricket, as oppose to what I am doing today).
From plasticoutcome on 606:
"I'm going to predict an Australian victory at the hands of some ordinary bowling and an inspired Ricky Ponting double hundred. Michael Clarke will also hit eighty-odd. The scoreboard is ticking over nicely, and we don't look as though we are troubling this flourishing partnership"
1310: England are eight wickets from victory, Mitch has popped out to grab himself a quick sandwich so you're reading Paul Fletcher - that's me - for the next 10 minutes or so. I had just about dropped off last night when I was brought back from the land of nod by my neighbour having a VERY LOUD conversation on the phone in her kitchen. Struggled to fall back asleep - and my mind drifted to the subject of day four at The Oval. Big mistake. As an observer you are relatively powerless to influence proceedings and being so close to your team getting over the line is, I always think, a pretty frustrating time.
From Peter D, TMS inbox: "This is only going one way because England are not building any pressure and it is all so easy for the Aussies. The wrong bowlers have been picked and Strauss is letting the game drift. Without pressure this will be all over by tonight and all because England hope for something to happen rather than making it happen"
1306: A pretty even steven session. England will be delighted to have nipped out a couple early doors but the Aussies will doubtless be buoyed to have survived 90 minutes or so without further damage to their increasingly fragile grip on the Ashes.
1302: Right, stay tuned on TMS to listen to Daniel "Harry Potter" Radcliffe and Tom "Draco Malfoy" Felton. But make sure you grab a bit of lunch too - I anticipate an enthralling but thirsty afternoon session.
1300 - Aus 171-2 (50 overs) Ponting dabs another single, Flintoff switches to bowling round the wicket to the southpaw Hussey, who leaves one which bounces over the stumps. "Mr Cricket" is bedding in for lunch, defends his stumps assuredly and Billy B removes the stumps with a characteristic flourish.
1257 - Aus 170-2 (49 overs) Ponting smashes Swann for four through mid-wicket, then moves down the track for the first time to a ball sailing down the leg side but can't quite connect - two byes are signalled. A firm on-driven four takes him to 42, and Swann is starting to look a little ragged, having bowled all morning. The Aussie pair trot through for another single and have now put on 80. "England need some inspiration here", says CMJ. One more before lunch?
From Christian Reilly, TMS inbox: "I'm following the drama from on the sofa in sunny Maryland and I can feel the atmosphere from here. So, will Fred go out with a whimper or a bang? At this point, I wouldn't bet against Ponting winning this single-handedly and sticking the proverbial two fingers up to his doubters. Wouldn't that just be typical Ricky?"
1253 - Aus 159-2 (48 overs) Ponting rotates the strike again, a well-timed push through the covers for four from Hussey looks almost effortless. Don't write off his Test career just yet.
From devonFRATTONiser on 606:
"If they can break this partnership before lunch, it will be like ripping the heart out of the Australian resistance"
1249 - Aus 154-2 (47 overs) Anderson flings himself around at short extra cover to keep Hussey in check - the left-hander then guides Swann for a careful single, Ponting drives another to reach 33 not out.
From Nick via text on 81111: "I'm in Lourdes on a pilgrimage and while obviously praying for the sick and infirm, most of our prayers are obviously aimed towards The Oval!"
Should that be Lourdes or Lord's?!
1245 - Aus 152-2 (46 overs) Ponting leg-glances Flintoff for four, the ball only just misses a bald-headed steward, whose pate is compared by CMJ to "a shining, polished army boot". An in-ducker from Flintoff brushes the top of Ponting's pad as he shoulders arms, it was going just wide of off stump. Ponting leaves again, this one moves the other way but it flicks his pad again... this one is ruled out for height by Billy B. Ponting guides a couple more off his legs as Ian Bell gives chase.
Alison Mitchell on Twitter:
"Harry Potter and Malfoy up here in the comm boxes, last saw Daniel Radcliffe at Twenty20 Finals Day last year sitting on the Kent bench!"
1242 - Aus 146-2 (45 overs) A change of ends for Swann - he's now at the Vauxhall End and can aim at Aussie left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson's footmarks when bowling to the right-handed Ponting. But it's Hussey on strike for now, and one turns very sharply which Prior has to take up by his shoulder. "Totally unplayable", says CMJ on TMS. Maiden over.
From Pete in Finchley via text on 81111: "Do not underestimate the Aussies! If they can bat out the day & only lose two or three wickets in the process their score will be close to 400 and the pressure will really be on our bowlers"
1238 - Aus 146-2 (44 overs) The Oval is rocked by cheers and roars as Swann is replaced by Andrew Flintoff - don't forget, the lion-hearted all-rounder is in his final innings of Test cricket, before he retires to spend more time with his knee surgeon and the IPL. Hussey carves a single through the covers to reduce the Aussie target to a round 400.
From Ian, Port Said, TMS inbox: "I don't care if it's light years behind 2005. This Test has more thrills and spills than a Blackpool rollercoaster - and that's good enough for any fan"
1232 - Aus 145-2 (43 overs) Anderson keeps it tight and accurate against Ponting, who's hit on the pad with a full toss which was going down leg, while the TV cameras pick up Messrs Radcliffe and Felton, who are on TMS at the lunch interval and are sat either side of an attractive young lady in sunglasses. Tom Felton has a pint in his hand - I guess a Goblet of Fire would not be appropriate in this heat.
Matthew Hayden on TMS: "This is my opinion, not Cricket Australia's, but I don't like the Future Tours Programme - cricket needs something like a G8 summit with the industry leaders creating a cricketing calendar where everyone's on the same page. This is a magnificent setting here in London, but it worries me when you travel to India and don't get big crowds for Test cricket"
1229 - Aus 145-2 (42 overs) Heart in mouth time, Hussey edges Swann past slip for four... Australia need 401 to win, England still need eight wickets.
1225 - Aus 141-2 (41 overs) "Ponting may keep the job as long as Allan Border had it - he may well be back here in four years" proclaims Jim Maxwell on TMS, continuing the Punter captaincy chat from the last over. England aren't happy about the condition of the ball, and hand it to umpire Billy Bowden for some minor surgery. Anderson isn't looking as dangerous as Broad, he yields a single apiece to the Aussie pair who have now added 51.
From Steve, Essex, TMS inbox: "Re: Phil in Rugby. I agree but sport is all about drama, entertainment and winning and this... hopefully... is fulfilling all three criteria"
1220 - Aus 139-2 (40 overs) Haydos on TMS says there's "no chance" of Ponting resigning as captain, even if Australia lose the Ashes. The defiant Aussie skipper smacks a four through cover, then off-drives and there's an amusing pursuit by Steve Harmison, who fails to prevent the four with a diving stop and ends up in a big old heap on top of a tarpaulin. A single takes "Punter" to 25 - for those of you asking about his nickname, it's because he was a bit of a betting fan in his younger, wilder days.
From Trapper439 on 606:
"Hussey is looking in the best form he has all series. Much like Hayden four years ago it's too little, too late"
1217 - Aus 130-2 (39 overs) "London has to be my favourite city in the northern hemisphere", says Matthew Hayden on TMS as Ponting defends stoutly against Anderson before nicking the strike with a single. Meanwhile, our F1 crew are revving up in the pit lane for the European Grand Prix - check out
Sam Lyon's live text
if a thrilling Ashes finale doesn't satisfy your sporting appetite.
From Amar, via text on 81111: "Broke my ankle while playing cricket but this has allowed me to watch every match in bed. Now eight more wickets and my whole cloud will be silver"
1214 - Aus 129-2 (38 overs) Swann skips in to Hussey, that's a terrible ball and Hussey gives it the treatment it deserves, pulling it through mid-wicket for four - he nearly decapitates short leg Alastair Cook as he does so. Don't forget to send in your questions for the two Harry Potter stars who are on TMS at lunchtime - email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Question for Daniel Radcliffe/Tom Felton" in the subject line
From Phil in Rugby, via text on 81111: "I think people are getting too carried away! Even if england win, for me this series is light years behind '05. That was a very high quality con test betwen two great teams at their peaks. This has been a low quality series between two average teams"
1210 - Aus 125-2 (37 overs) After the players' libation, we have our first change of bowling of the day - James Anderson replaces Broad, but Hussey shows no respect to the "Burnley Express" by crashing him through point for four... A single brings Ponting on strike and suddenly it's all going on as he's hit on the pad, England appeal for lbw and then appeal for a catch at short leg as the ball pops up! But neither appeal is upheld - rightly so, as he didn't hit it and it was going down the leg side.
1202 - Aus 120-2 (36 overs) Hussey helps himself to a couple of twos and a single from Swann - it's jolly hot out there, the players will look forward to a drinks break after this over.
Jonathan Agnew on Twitter:
"Finally the pitch seems to be misbehaving. Crowd here really believe Ashes will be won today. Fabulous atmosphere"
1158 - Aus 115-2 (35 overs) Ponting is hit on the thigh pad by Broad as he tries to force the seamer to leg. "If he's missing them, you can tell the ball is doing curious things" says CMJ on TMS. Umpire Asad Rauf, as ever, is the fussiest umpire in the world about bowlers who run on the wicket - he has a gentle word with Broad. (He gave Broad a couple of formal warnings on his Test debut in Sri Lanka, if I recall correctly). But Ponting shows his class with a jab for two off his legs, and a superb, powerful pull for four off a shorter delivery.
1155 - Aus 109-2 (34 overs) Hussey tries to force Swann through mid-wicket, but it's straight to a fielder. Swanny rips another couple past his outside edge, to the sound of agonising "oohs" from close fielders and crowd alike. That's three maidens in a row. Meanwhile, the injured Kevin Pietersen, in his Sunday newspaper column, has backed Broad to take on Flintoff's mantle as the team's all-rounder. "Stuart is the future", proclaims KP.
From alfie on 606:
"Good bowling so far from Broad and Swann. Keep the pressure on - get Ponting early and they might fold. (Only might, mind, this is Australia)"
1151 - Aus 109-2 (33 overs) Ponting is troubled by another Broad off-cutter which beats his defensive prod. There's a silly point in as well as a short leg, both helmeted. Another maiden over.
1148 - Aus 109-2 (32 overs) Hussey gets a thick edge off Swann, but it sneaks just wide of the two slips. Another maiden by the Notts twirler. Meanwhile, Australian newspaper "The Age" has this to say about yesterday's play. Bloodied and bruised, Australian captain Ricky Ponting watched the Ashes slip from his grasp as Jonathan Trott edged his adopted nation closer to victory while also steering country of birth South Africa towards the Test No.1 ranking." It's funny how Aussie newspapers always talk about "South African-born" Kevin Pietersen, yet never precede any news item on Andrew Symonds with "English-born"...
From Greg in London, via text on 81111: "I have found myself gaining a lot of respect for Ricky Ponting this series. His side have been on the end of some pretty poor decisions, he has copped loads of stick from the crowds but has still conducted himself with dignity and refused to make excuses for the Australian position in the series. Ricky I salute you, now don't drop the Ashes when you hand them back"
1144 - Aus 109-2 (31 overs) Ponting rolls his wrists to carve Broad down to Harmison on the square leg boundary for a single. Hussey steers a two down the leg side, then plays a handsome off-drive for a well-run three. And I can reveal that TMS will be joined today by cricket fan Daniel Radcliffe, who's best known for playing Harry Potter in the film series - and his on-screen nemesis Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy and is a bit of a Stuart Broad lookalike. Do send your questions in for them to email@example.com - please mark them with "Question for Daniel Radcliffe/Tom Felton" in the subject line.
1140 - Aus 103-2 (30 overs) Hussey plays out a maiden from Swann - and stand by for some "magic" news about who's on TMS later today...
1137 - Aus 103-2 (29 overs) Hussey, still on a pair, is beaten outside off stump by Broad... he's finally off the mark with a push through the covers off the last ball.
1133 - Aus 102-2 (28 overs) Ponting prods forward at Swann - there are cries of "catch it" nearly every ball, even if it hits his pad and rolls along the ground... A rapid maiden over.
From Colin Spiro, TMS inbox: "Hi Mark. Soaking up the rays on my farm in the south west of France - with visiting friend and BBC online journalist James Standley - supping Pastis, munching on home-made saucisse and listening to TMS with the acoustic accompaniment of cow bells gently clanging in the next field. Heart says easy win, but head says Freddie to wrap things up in a nerve-jangling climax. Still, staring out over the Pyrenees makes for a huge visual improvement on last time England won the Ashes - when I was stuck on the M6 in a broken down VW Combi. PS. If 2005's squad got MBEs what's in line for this lot? Strauss to be knighted? Flintoff to become a Lord?"
1130 - Aus 102-2 (27 overs) Ponting tries to steer Broad down the leg side... that's four leg byes. A shorter ball is defiantly pulled to the mid-wicket boundary for four. "While Ponting is there, the hopes of a nation are on him," notes Jim Maxwell on TMS. More puffs of dust from the pitch as Punter defends a yorker from Broad. A fluent off-drive brings three runs, that's the hundred up for Australia. Only another 400-odd to go...
From Doreen, Blackpool, TMS inbox: "Heartening to hear the Oval crowd give Ricky Ponting a standing ovation... well done to all of them... wonderful to hear and makes me proud to be English/British"
1126 - Aus 91-2 (26 overs) Swann has four close fielders for Ponting, there's a leg-before shout off his first ball but it was too high. The Aussie skipper works a single off his legs, and Hussey keeps his stumps intact. Meanwhile, England managing director Hugh Morris refused to be drawn this morning on Andrew Flintoff's plans - the all-rounder is retiring from Test cricket after this game but although he was named in all three England one-day squads last week for upcoming games, reports in the Daily Telegraph last week claim he's about to have major knee surgery which will keep him out for several months. "We will be making an announcement at the end of the game on his fitness", Morris told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek.
From Guy Lewis, Berkhamsted, TMS inbox: "Second time in two days I have spilt my breakfast down my top, this time it worth it, only nine wickets go, come on boys, and wow, now Watson has gone! Eight to go!"
1121 - Aus 90-2 (25 overs) Replays are not entirely conclusive on Watson - was it pad onto bat, or bat onto pad? No matter - it's the old Geoff Boycott maxim of "add two wickets to the score"! A big innings needed by Mike Hussey for Australia now. He's on a pair - will he still be called "Mr Cricket" if he gets dropped after this poor run of form? Or will he become "Mr Drinks-Carrier"? He sees off the over.
From David in Kings Langley, via text on 81111: "As an American, having lived here for 20 years now, I find this so gripping! Far more so because of the beauty of the game, the sense of earning what you achieve over a lengthy period of time. We have nothing like this in the States, and maybe worldwide. Come on England! I reckon if one goes, they'll all go"
1118 - WICKET - Watson lbw b Broad 40 - Aus 90-2 (24.3 overs) Let the record show that while he got a few boos at Edgbaston, the Oval crowd give Australia captain Ricky Ponting a standing ovation as he strides to the crease. (It may be his last Test in England, after all). Wonderful sportsmanship. Meanwhile, Broad gets more movement off the pitch as Watson miscues but the ball sails down to third man for four. But next ball, he's trapped back on his stumps, it hits his back pad and he's gone too!
From 22notout on 606:
"Morning all. Most kittens calm and quiet. Merv the naughty kitten gave me nightmares, miaowing about that Punter double ton. Aussies to score 410. Someone will score a century. A fine effort, but it'll go down in the history books as England's Ashes"
1115 - WICKET - Katich lbw b Swann 43 - Aus 86-1 (24 overs) Swann spears in a quicker ball at Katich, who defends in front of his legs like a French cricketer in the park. But when he offers no stroke to a straight one, there's a huge shout for lbw and he's out!
From Jamie, Phuket, Thailand, TMS inbox: "It just wouldn't be English to win easily, would it old chap. Give the jolly Aussies a chance, make a show of it, we wouldn't be gentlemen if we just went out there and bowled them out for 200"
1113 - Aus 86-0 (23 overs) The third over of the day is delayed while Katich changes his boots... Broad gets one to spit up off the pitch, like a Darren Gough-style fast off break, and it pings Watson on the gloves but it falls safely and they run one. Horse racing eccentric John McCririck is in the crowd, are there no gee-gees running today?
From Steve in Kent, via text on 81111: "Why oh why are we as a nation even considering defeat as a possibilty? As the great Vince Lombardi said - 'Defeat is worse than death. You have to live with defeat.' England to win comfortably"
1108 - Aus 84-0 (22 overs) Aggers and Tuffers on TMS agree that England are right to bring Graeme Swann, their sole spinner, straight on. And I do mean sole spinner - Messrs Strauss (two first-class wickets in 11 years) and Cook (five in six years) don't even bowl often enough to be called "occasional" or "part-time" bowlers. Watson steers a single, the crab-like Katich defends the rest of the over.
From Mark Tate, TMS inbox: "Had a terrible dream last night: Clark and Hilfenhaus were still there with 10 minutes to go on Monday evening as an ironic revenge for Cardiff. Need to get a grip"
1104 - Aus 83-0 (21 overs) The flaxen-haired Stuart Broad, England's destroyer on Friday, charges in past umpire Asad Rauf, and the first ball of the day is... a wide one outside off stump which Shane Watson leaves. Let's hope the rest of the day isn't all anti-climax! Watson gets the tourists under way with a back-foot prod through the covers for three - yesterday's centurion Jonathan Trott does the fielding. There's a first slip, a third-and-a-half slip and a fifth slip in for the left-handed Katich, who sees off the over.
From enanjay on 606:
"The big advantage for England is that Australia have to play positively - if they try and bat it out - they will lose. This could still go either way, but thank goodness for that - at least we won't have a boring draw to finish the series. Enjoy all fans - get the beers in and savour the last bits of the battle"
1058: The usual stirring rendition of "Jerusalem" precedes the umpires, the England fielders and the Aussie openers. 20,000 people on their feet, flags fluttering in the breeze. Here we go! Will today be D-Day? (Or GPS-Day if Swann has his way?)
From Anonymous, via text on 81111: "Here we go - the most important day in four years, marginally edging out my wedding day! They're definitely coming home, unless Swanny decides a pre-match game of touch rugby is in order..."
Discarded England batsman Ravi Bopara on BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek: "I am really really happy for Trotty. We get on well. We've played a lot of cricket together. He deserves it. He's played some brilliant cricket this year"
1054: I was trying not to think about the game too much last night, for fear of a sleepless night - if I'm getting that worked up about it, how on earth do the players cope?
From pollyowls on 606:
"I could go on with the usual stuff about line, length and patience, but for some reason this morning I've come over all poetic... To the tune of Jerusalem, with sincere apologies to William Blake: Bring me my Broad with heart so bold! Bring me my Swann to spin and inspire! With Steve, Jim and the Fred of old...To set all English hearts a-fire! We shall not cease from toil or fight Nor shall the ball sleep in our hand. 'Til we defeat Australia. On the Oval's green and joyous land!"
1050: A quick word on the texting front - firstly, please remember to stick your name on them. Secondly, and this is really important today as we'll be competing for the text inbox with the football guys'n'gals and the F1 pit crew later on, please put the word "CRICKET" at the start of your message - it is likely not to be noticed if you don't!
From Anonymous, via text on 81111: "I'm as patriotic as the next person but I can't help but think Australia are gonna win this. Don't get me wrong I'm cheering for England all day, but 80 without loss is a pretty good start and everyone knows how good Ponting can be at just sticking around. I hope I'm wrong!"
1041: No doubt, there will be a lot of "chat" today, both on the pitch, in the press box, in the stands and across the world about the state of the Oval pitch. Some of the Aussie press have already been getting their excuses in early about a "doctored wicket" (sic). But I'm rather a cynic when it comes to pitch chat - I think 99 times out of 100, the side which plays better tends to win, given that both sides have to play on the same pitch. If the pitch has been deteriorating to a great degree and making batting progressively more difficult, how come England managed to score 373 after Australia only scored 160?
1034: Right, time to give your page a manual refresh - the TMS video scorecard will appear at the top of the page. And there's a new vote for you to take part in - who will win the Ashes? And when?
From Ian, Muscat, TMS inbox: "I think things started to go a bit awry after Lily Allen appeared on TMS. England need more energy. Can Aggers persuade Suzi Quatro to like cricket for a bit?"
Well, if England "fire up the Quattro" one last time, will it be Ashes to Ashes by tonight?!
Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke speaks to TMS's Alison Mitchell on BBC Radio 5 live: "It's hard to get guys out. It (the wicket) is slowing by the minute which means nicks won't carry. It's a different wicket to what we're used to, it is so slow it just won't carry to the wicketkeeper. Graeme Swann will defiitely play a big role, but we are confident we can withstand that. We are going to have to believe."
From Anonymous, via text on 81111: "Is Matthew Hayden going to treat us to his renditition of 'The Bear Necessities' [again], in his fruitless attempts to distract our attention from the cricket?"
Former England skipper Graham Gooch on BBC Radio 5 live: "It's going to be a tough call but I think England will win. It's a lot of runs and a lot of pressure. They've got to concentrate on the process and try not to make it happen too quickly."
1010: First, let me apologise for a few technical problems we had yesterday. We had major problems affecting the whole of the site - the system was down for just over an hour after tea, and crashed again just after the close of play. The technical team eventually managed to restore the status quo, and fingers crossed it'll be OK today.
So, contrary to a few e-mails received yesterday, we did not slope off at the tea interval and not bother to post any updates, just as Caroline Cheese on the football live text did not unilaterally decide not to post any updates on the second half of yesterday's games! If the system does crash, you can be assured we will be aware - all our live text commentaries are monitored as they go out (just in case I go off on one like Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross)...
England spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed on BBC Radio 5 live: "We've got to work hard and not assume anything. We've got to work really, really hard to get those 10 wickets. Swanny's going to play a huge role. The bowlers must keep their patience. It's important to keep your patience, bowl in the right areas and let the wicket do the rest"
1000: Morning, everyone. Are you ready for history?
It's day four of the final Test - England need to take 10 wickets to regain the Ashes. Australia, however, need to score 546 to retain the little urn - they're 80 without loss overnight. A draw (or even an unfathomable tie) is increasingly improbable, barring some unfriendly weather of astonishing proportions. But there's barely a cloud in the sky. The gladiators will recommence battle in an hour.
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