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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Davo v Robbo
Our rival Ashes columnists go toe-to-toe ahead of the final Test at The Oval.


Robbo and Davo

Well, Robbo, it's been a couple of weeks - so how are ya?

Well I'm all right, Davo - but where have you been? You've been hiding away.

Well it's more a case of me getting a bit excited after the draw at Old Trafford, having a couple of drinks and only waking up yesterday!

So you had a couple of drinks while you were serving the customers did you?

Very funny. Like I say, I've been asleep, although I understand we lost at Trent Bridge. But that was another aberration and we're all on for The Oval.

We're all on for The Oval as well - and it's brown cords time for your lot.

Langer's been saying: "Well, even if we lose it's been the best series I've ever played in," and Ponting's saying: "Don't make me the scapegoat - I never got too much of the praise when we were winning all the time, so don't blame me if we lose."

Barmy Army 'Usual Suspects' T-shirt
Are England taking the mickey?

You're really getting ready for it aren't you?

We're getting ready for it? Jerusalem? Open-top bus parade? After we beat you at The Oval, karaoke on the Tube is the best you lot can hope for.

Well you've got to make plans for these things.

Robbo, the stage is set for another classic episode of English failure. I'm loving the build-up.

Don't be ridiculous, it's gotta come true sooner or later. I was a little bit worried and then I saw Essex, a Division Two county side, racking up 502-4 against some of your so-called bowlers - I'm surprised they weren't given a pie each in the dressing room.

Ah, we were bowling left-handed at them.

Underarm by the sound of things.

I see Ponting's saying he's glad McGrath's fit because he's "like two bowlers for us". It's a bloody good job as well because Kaprowicz, Tait and Gillespie between them don't even add up to one.

Come off it, Robbo, it was Tait's debut - and he did all right.

Shaun Tait
Tait - how low can you go?

Get away. I've never seen such a tall lad bowl from such a low position. It looks like he's sitting on a deckchair by the time he lets go of it.

Well in a previous career he was a contortionist. Anyway, I admit we've been tossers on occasions on this tour, but it all comes down to the toss at The Oval. We win it and bat first, then you've got no hope.

You won't be chasing 130 like at Trent Bridge, you'll be chasing 400 - Shane Warne, both ends, gone.

Shane Warne bowling at both ends?! What about Stuart McGill?

Nah, he's more interested in drinking wine. He's a bit of a connoisseur.

Well I hope he can turn a cork better than he can turn a cricket ball.

I think England will do all right, although I don't know which one to pick to replace Simon Jones - bit of a blow that.

Yes I must say I was really sorry to hear about Jones. A real tragedy that is.

Simon Jones
Davo's gutted for Jonesy

Yes, about as gutting as that stray cricket ball McGrath stepped on.

I don't think I would pick Collingwood or Anderson to be honest. I'd rather have Caddick - old jug ears - back. He's been doing all right for Somerset.

Yes but you can't look back. This is a new regime in England and we want to be looking for younger lads - not like your reserve batsman who's 31.

The thing about Anderson is I don't see how you can bowl someone out when you're looking towards the long-on boundary as you release the ball.

Nah, Anderson'll fit in with all those interesting hairstyles in the English dressing room. He's got a bit of a quiff or a mohawk - or whatever the young blokes these days call it.

The thing about that sort of hair is you've to play flamboyantly - otherwise you become a laughing stock.

Hopefully Pietersen will get a few runs over the years to match his flamboyant hairdo, but Anderson's done nowt for a few years.

Maybe if he had a good sensible haircut, a short-back-and-sides, it might make him concentrate on what he's supposedly good at. We'll see. I think Anderson'll take a couple of wickets but he might go for a few as well.

James Anderson
Hair today, gone tomorrow?

You may be right there.

Yeah we'll see, but I agree with you - it's all about the toss.

Without a shadow of a doubt. That's why we're going to get Allan Border to toss the coin - two heads, Ponting's gonna call and he better bloody get it right this time.

He'd better do, for your sakes. I keep saying little Ricky looks like George Bush, except he looks like he knows even less of what's going on than George Bush.

Ahhh come on! Ricky 'W' Ponting?

Yeah, Ricky 'W' Ponting. They always say that Bush has been put here by a bunch of other people, well I reckon when you look at Ponting on the pitch it looks like Shane Warne has all the ideas.

Yeah well Shane Warne has had a lot of ideas in his time and not all of them have worked.

That's true. You've gotta say if it wasn't for Shane's various off-pitch whatsits and hoo-hahs - a little bet here, a little kiss-kiss there - he'd probably be the skipper himself.

At the Test at Trent Bridge, he wasn't captaining the team, he was actually looking at a blonde in row F and he was pointing to the stand.

Justin Langer thought he said: "Move over there", so he did, and everyone's thinking he's changing the fielding positions. He was just trying to fix up a date for later.

Shane Warne
Cor, she's all right

I reckon he was saying: "Oi Sheila, wait over there."

So when he put someone on the boundary, it was just so he could pass a message to someone in the crowd, was it?

He's never moved a fielder in his life!

He's never needed to, to be fair to him.

It was scary at the end of the last Test, wasn't it? Dearie me! Anyway, I can't wait to beat your lot, then I can relax again.

As I said before, my wife's been ringing up NHS Direct every day of Test matches this series, saying: "Please help my husband! - but don't tell me to turn the cricket off - I'm not going to do that!"

No chance she'll do that, mate. I have to say it's been fantastic. All I can say is we've had four beautiful Test matches, I don't want the weather to be the big factor at The Oval. I want five beautiful days.

Well, it won't need five, will it? I can't watch another day's cricket from hereon in where some team bats and gets 250-5 at the end of the day.

Andrew Flintoff
It's got to be fours and sixes

It's gotta be 300 plus, and it's gotta be fours and sixes, and it's gotta be bouncers, yorkers, slow balls and excitement, bruises and blood pouring from helmets crashing into the side of Australian and English skulls.

It's gotta be like this from now on.

That sounds like some kind of dirty movie.

Aye, it is. It's like Gladiator, isn't it? It's marvellous stuff, I cannot wait for it to start.

I don't think you have to ask these teams twice to provide that kind of entertainment. It's been absolutely spectacular.

Robbo my prediction, of course, is for a resounding Australian victory - bat first, win by plenty, Ashes coming back where they REALLY belong...what do you say?

Well I say, regardless of the toss, we'll hold on for a draw if we need to, but I said to you at the start of the series, Davo, I was going for a 2-2 but then I thought "wait a minute, 3-1 is a better bet".

I'm sticking with that - we're going to win the last one as well.

Fair play to you, mate. We'll have a beer after the game, what d'ya reckon?

Pint of lager
Always time for a few of these

We certainly will, we'll have several beers and be slapping each other on the back in a big manly man-on-man fashion, saying: "You are great, I'm great, come on England, come on Australia." We'll see the true spirit of sport right here.

"Man-on-man" you say Robbo? I think I'm busy that night.

When I say "man-on-man", I don't know if I've inadvertently used a phrase that is pornographic, so I apologise.

I've often wondered about you northern boys.

Well, you know, you settle for what you can on a dark, windy night.

Less said about that the better! Anyway, good on ya, Robbo!

Right then, all the best. Ta-ta.




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