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Grammath

The Ashes

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What's the situation with adverts on Sky? I'm sure I remember ads being shown between overs, both on Channel 4 and Sky. It makes cricket matches unwatchabale, not just because of the suddenness of the ads cutting in like someone clapping too soon after the end of a piece of classical music, but because of the loss of the chat between overs. I don't need live commentary when I can see what's going on, but the conversations about the previous over was what was needed.

 

And I'm obviously missing some doppelgänger stuff I'm quite happy not knowing about.

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Have you not just contradicted yourself. If you are that interested pay for Sky.

Give it up, please, daydream. This is boring.

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Have you not just contradicted yourself. If you are that interested pay for Sky.

 

Nope. I'm arguing that cricket does not get enough exposure on U.K. terrestrial television and that the sport suffers as a result. I think the sport's premium event of the summer should be covered and it used to be mandatory that this was the case.

 

I've personally chosen not to get Sky but that is because, for me, it would not be value for money - I'm not at home enough to justify spending the best part of £500 a year for the few days of live coverage I might be able to watch, and apart from that my TV needs are being met by the five terrestrial channels, Freeview and membership of a DVD rental service.

 

Give it up, please, daydream. This is boring.

 

That explains a lot.

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I think Atheron does a pretty good job, both as presenter and MC. The same is true of all the other ex-captains - Botham, Hussain et al. Not so keen on Gower, though, who cannot stop chuntering, right up to the time the next ball is about to be delivered.

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Actually you were almost right, there are a few of us posting and yes we do know each other, we (daydream and I joined) as San1968 was telling us all about this forum and we wanted to see for ourselves if all that was said was true and yes it is - for better or worse - we have differing views on whether we felt comfortable with the forum and the responses, some of us are a bit more sensitive and opinionated than others. Daydream was very happy. But I guess we are all "Persona non grata" now and we all promise "cross our hearts" we will not be involved again.

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Actually you were almost right, there are a few of us posting and yes we do know each other.

The e-mail and IP address information I have access to doesn't entirely sit with that, but there we go.

 

All very silly, frankly, and having tracked down eventually what you...ahem, sorry, San1968, was unhappy about over-sensitive is the term I would use. Ta ta and farewell.

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Going to be at The Oval tomorrow. Iffy start to this final Test for England but, provided the weather holds, should be a good day.

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Going to be at The Oval tomorrow. Iffy start to this final Test for England but, provided the weather holds, should be a good day.
Well you got your wish!

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Indeed - I take back what I posted last night. I guess most Aussies will be saying "strewth mite". I guess there's still time for us to mess up or for the Australian side to make a record ninth wicket partnership or something.

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Well you got your wish!

 

Certainly did! I've been waiting to see Stuart Broad come of age as a Test match cricketer and he did that in spades, making me wonder why Strauss didn't turn to him sooner and why there was talk of dropping him to give Steve Harmison his umpteenth chance to prove he's still Test class. Here's hoping it means we're not going to miss Freddie too much.

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Chris Gale should have been at the Oval last Sunday. He thinks Test Cricket is dying on its feet, soon to be replaced by Twenty20 or at least the ODI circus. How wrong can one be? But, to be fair to Gale, it was of course The Ashes and that means more to an Englishman than the World Cup in either of the football games. Last Sunday, even my wife couldn't leave the screen. The celebrations after the game recalled The Last Night of the Proms, a vulgar patriotic razzmatazz that I find irresistible. The Times on Monday gave 10 pages of news, pictures and commentary to the Fifth and Final Test. Times change, but The Ashes remain.

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I don't expect them to give up and anticipate full committment when the next match starts. Both teams really raise their game when playing each other and it will only take one inspirational performance from someone to see the series at 1-1.
Ah, but the question is from whom? The issue the Aussies have at the moment is that the cupboard is pretty bare; there are no obvious candidates to step into the shoes of the current XI. Philip Hughes will no doubt be called up to replace the injured Simon Katich at the top of the order. I remember during the 2009 series in England there was talk of Marcus North's vulnerability and yet 18 months later he still has a place. New spinner Doherty appears to be out of his depth.

 

Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Johnson et al need to exploit the WACA which should be more friendly to their style of bowling. However, it will also suit Anderson and especially Finn and Chris Tremlett, who I think will be Stuart Broad's replacement. It is ironic that the Aussies' bowling coach is now Troy Cooley, who coached the English unit that ensured victory in the 2005 series. He seems not to have had the same effect on their Australian opposite numbers.

 

Finally, the Australian's fielding was pretty abysmal at Adelaide; they'll need to sort that out too. Catches win matches, and all that.

 

I also have to wonder about the captaincy. Ponting himself is out of form, but I do wonder what he's like at inspiring his troops when the team's back are against the wall. The Australians have been used to being so successful for so long on the back of enormously talented cricketers like Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist, Langer and Hayden that I'm not sure he knows what to do with the Aussies on a sustained poor run; they lost in India and Sri Lanka gave them a run for their money prior to this series.

 

I have to say, though, having spent 20 years following England receiving sound beatings at Australian hands prior to the close series of 2005 and 2009, there is a part of me that will experience more than a little schadenfreude if England achieve a comfortable victory in this series.

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Australia are a shambles and I'm loving it. 1137 runs for 6 wickets in our last 2 innings, 4 players with averages over a hundred in the series, batting records tumbling everywhere and we have a fielding side that is streets ahead of theirs.

 

Apart from all the other superiorities we have, that last one is an intangible but potentially massive advantage.

 

(Should I have said all that...?)

 

Anyway, roll on next Thursday.

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It's difficult to beat a winning team, and England are certainly that at the moment. The tide seems to be turning and it's the Aussies who need to agonise on team selection and tactics.

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Aussie journalist Peter Lalor sees the funny side. A good read for a Pom!!

 

YOU got to laugh. Got to. That's what Smithy and Hughesy were told.

 

Crack a gag, lift the mood, put a propeller on the baggy green, a "kick me" sign on the captain. You got to laugh, got to laugh otherwise you'd weep for the sheer heart-wrenching misery of it all.

 

No, must be positive. Must look on the bright side. Deep breath, in with anger, out with love. Pop another pill. Ready? Ahem. Here we go.

 

At least they're getting better.

 

OK, so things turned to crap at the toss, but Australia rose from the disappointment of not giving its four-pronged pace attack first crack on the reinvigorated WACA Ground deck and made a good fist of the start.

 

Well, a better fist of the start.

 

Yes, Phil Hughes was out 12 balls in, but Shane Watson saw off the 13th ball of the innings and the scoreboard read 1-2.

 

By that stage in Adelaide, the finest cricketers our country could produce were 3-2. Simon Katich run-out, the skipper snicked off, the vice gone the same way.

 

And, hey, at least Hughes wasn't sucker punched with the short ball. Stick that in your bowling plans, England.

 

Yes, Ricky Ponting was out 20 minutes into the game, but even then things weren't as bad as they were when the bells were ringing in the city of curses.

 

Baby steps, but steps none the less. Chubby little legs, wobbling like a drunk, nappy chock-full of no, no, must be positive. It's only 1 1/2-nil. Adelaide could happen to anyone. 'Twas an aberration. These are Australian cricketers. Best in the world. And the selectors, they're wise men who know what they are doing and have a grand plan. Aren't they? Don't they?

 

Tomorrow's another day and all that. Another day another disaster. Oh, sorry. My bad. Good thoughts.

 

Ponting hit three fours in his 10-minute stay at the crease. Geoffrey Boycott batted all day here 40 years ago and only hit three. It's a little thing, but little things provide comfort in tough times. That's why men in solitary confinement befriend cockroaches.

 

OK, so the skip probably shouldn't have hung the bat out there to a ball from the jet-lagged James Anderson. A bowler not fresh from a return trip to a maternity ward in the UK.

 

And it was just a bit of bad luck that the ball was edged into the Collingwood postcode. Nothing going there comes out alive and good old Paul didn't disappoint, taking the sort of grab that will make the lowlights reel from this Ashes series. Sorry, done it again. Be positive. Highlights reel.

 

Great game cricket. Got to respect the brilliance of your tormentor. Even if you are rooting for the kangaroo you can appreciate the momentum of the road train that flattens it. Who are we to question the grand design?

 

It would be nice to say the next in line for the captaincy did better than the incumbent, but Michael Clarke was gone for four. It would be nice to suggest his waft outside off was a little better than it looked, but at this stage not even that fistful of little blue pills can distort the reality of the situation.

 

Oh, no, silly me, there it is, look hard enough you will always find something. Pup lasted three balls more than Punter. I wonder, if we looked hard enough we'd find those Ashes that Rick and the boys keep losing. Has anyone checked behind the couch?

 

With Clarke gone, the finest cricketers in the land had advanced to 3-28, a bloody great improvement on Adelaide. A good 26 runs better.

 

And then Watson was gone. Four down inside 77 minutes and just 36 runs on the board. Things were bad. Put your head in the cutlery draw and slam it until you die bad. Gnaw through to a vein stuff.

 

There has been a feeling in the hallowed halls of Australian cricket that the media have been too pessimistic, that Adelaide was an aberration, that things weren't as bad as they seemed. They were right, things weren't as bad as they seemed. They were worse.

 

Don't worry about the pessimists of the press, they said. All you need to do is laugh and all your cares will disappear.

 

And wouldn't the Aussies bounce back?

 

Didn't they, like a dead cat.

 

Even if they manage to get away with another disastrous start you have to think the universe has set a course for this mob. Maybe these blokes are just no good in the morning.

 

Oh, you have to laugh. God knows England was when Steve Smith couldn't see out more than a couple of minutes after lunch.

 

Heard the one about the captain who lost the Ashes four times? No?

 

Don't think you will either.

 

Damn, done it again. Doctor, these pills ain't workin'

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Listened to Radio5Live all night (my throat/chest infection kept me awake) and was thrilled to hear the end of the match and the series and the wonderful reception given to the England Cricket team and it's backroom staff by the Barmy Army. A day to remember for sure. :banana::arms::beerchug:

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Listened to Radio5Live all night (my throat/chest infection kept me awake) and was thrilled to hear the end of the match and the series and the wonderful reception given to the England Cricket team and it's backroom staff by the Barmy Army. A day to remember for sure. :banana::arms::beerchug:
Indeed. Hard not to experience a little schadenfraude after having been on the receiving end of regular poundings from the Aussies throughout the '90s.

 

The Australian squad seems in disarray now. My personal take is that actually Ponting isn't a particularly good captain and, as the talent around him - Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist, Langer, Hayden - has progressively retired, he has been increasingly exposed. Not to say he isn't a talented batsman in his own right, just not a great leader and tactician.

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What a start to the series! An advertisement for all that is great about Test cricket. I can't remember a match where fortunes have seesawed like they have in this one for a very long time.

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