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Scott Wickstein

I remember that South Africa had some notions a few years back in 1997 and in 2002 that they could knock us off. Both times, Australia came out in the First Test and ran up 600+ runs in the first dig and skittled them by an innings.

Here's hoping, aye.


Reading those articles and listening to all the 'experts' regarding the Ashes, Englands hopes basically rest on two players - Harmison and Flintoff. Harmison is a better bowler than when he last played Australia if you believe the commentators but still bowls one or two crap balls an over. The Aussies will see off his good balls and belt his others so that pressure will never get built up like it does for other teams. Also, if he continually bowls short and Ponting and Hayden find form with the bat then look out...

As for Flintoff, I'd say confidence is a big part of his game and he could easily go to pieces if the Aussies do the right thing and target him.

I'd say the "little thing" the Aussies are missing at the moment is their middle order batting. Clarke is just starting to settle and Lehmann is on his way out by the looks. Here's hoping its all settled by the 4th Test dead rubber...


Have you checked this out - this guy knows where it's at with cricket I think:


Pedro the Ignorant

What little I have seen of the Poms this series, (Foxtel at the pub, and my attention wanders when the skimpies turn up), I am somewhat impressed with their aggression and especially their remarkable improvement in fielding.
I will still be lodging a few dollars at Centrebet on the Aussies, though.

Plenty of talent on the sidelines for all the current team positions.


I think it will be a good series, and I'm confident that England will perform better than they have in the last few Ashes series, but, and I HATE TO SAY IT, I still think tha Ozzies will win.

I think for batting, we're pretty damn good. Strauss and Trescothick are awesome, if only we could get Butcher and Vaughaun into some form we would have a superb batting line up. Flintoff is good, Thorpe fantastic, G Jones good, Giles much improved and even the bowlers can now block away and chalk up a few runs.

Our bowling though is not as strong, the problem seems to be that only one or two bowlers really seem to fire in tandem. Sometimes Hoggard, Harmison and Jones, sometimes Giles and Flintoff, but they never seem to get going all at once.

What we do now though, which we didn't use to, is to persevere, the heads don't go down as easily, we keep trying until something happens.

As for England's 139 all out, SA performed about as well, it was only the heroics of the wonderful Kallis that put them ahead. The pitch seemed to flatten out after the first two days. All the pundits were convinced it was going to be a three day test.

Ferombah Hynde

England has only one batsman averaging above 45 and only one bowler averaging less than 30.

I can see them copping it in the ass again.


Last night from Sarth Efrica we get a pretty fair example of how England will bowl to Australia. Harmison will keep it short-of-a-length. He's been awful here in SA but if he's on song he will be a handful. Flintoff likes to dig the odd one in short and is dangerous with his wicket-taking balls. The Hogg will toss it up and hope to move it around and Jones will zero in on a good length. Both will be dangerous in English conditions. And Giles will keep plonking it just outside the right-handers' leg-stump and hope the batsmen get themselves out. And he's an offie. Aussies are notoriously susceptible to offies.

Containment looks to be the way of it. But the most impressive thing look to be England's ability to keep the pressure on when they bowl. They don't have any bad bowlers. Thus there will be no easy Aussie runs to release the pressure.

I just hope the Aussies don't start getting themselves out, because I think England will win The Ashes if the Aussies aren't well on top of their game.

Brett Pee

Any observations that predict a close run Ashes contest has me snarling.For one thing, we,ve held the Ashes for most of my lifetime, i cannot remember them being in Pommie hands and, Shane willing, they will remain in our hands.As for the end of the Empire, sure, any empire comes inevitably to an end but this current Aussie side has actually seemed to BE IMPROVING in the last few series. Any cracks, if there indeed are any , are either being papered over convincingly, or simply do not exist.

The Poms have been improving as of late- perhaps because of a settled selection policy at last, no chopping and changing as of old- but this does not make them a genuinely world class side and they still do not totally convince when they come up against class like Kallis, Ntini & Bollock. We, on the other hand, still have Pigeon, Warnie, Dizzie & Kaspo seemingly at the height og their powers !! And.... there's always McGillers to call on on a turner !!! Maybe joking about the last one, but our batting remains resolutely strong, the best opening partnership in world crick going strong, Punter, Martyn , and our lower and middle order can withstand any collapse. Not to mention of course, the emerging Michael Clarke, whom i predict to have a stormer in England- man of the series.

Why don't we take Michael Hussey to England ? Not to mention Kiwi land? He could be a trump card-loves batting on them kinda tracks and is an unknown to oppo bowlers. Now could be his time.

The Ashes prediction ? Well, 3-1 to us and i'm cast iron cert about it.


All pretty fair, Brett.

My main worry, though, is that England will work to a plan an our batsmen will keep playing their shots regardless and get themselves out.

Just look at yesteday. Hayden, Martin and Clarke all got out to shockers.

No doubt the Aussies will be more circumspect against England than that rabble Pakistan, but I still hope they are able to keep their heads down when it matters.

And there's still the luck. Luck in decisions, luck in tosses and luck (bad management, really) in catching.

Big Ramifications


Trescothick 582 runs at 29.10
Strauss (has not played)
Key 141 runs at 17.62
Vaughan 633 runs at 63.30
Thorpe 1235 runs at 45.74
Flintoff (has not played)
Butcher 1287 runs at 33.00
GO Jones (has not played)

TOTAL 3878 runs at 37.29

DIAGNOSIS: Woeful except for Vaughan and Thorpe. Too many players who have never played against Oz.

ENGLAND in 2004

Trescothick 1004 runs at 43.65
Strauss 971 runs at 60.68
Key 378 runs at 63.00
Vaughan 712 runs at 35.60
Thorpe 951 runs at 73.15
Flintoff 898 runs at 52.82
Butcher 498 runs at 35.57
GO Jones 458 runs at 35.23

TOTAL 5870 runs at 48.11

DIAGNOSIS: Showing plenty of form against the might of New Zealand, West Indies, and South Africa. Vaughan seemingly out of form. Butcher rightfully dropped for the current test. Jones a handy 'keeper / batsman.

Big Ramifications


Hayden 730 runs at 48.66
Langer 961 runs at 56.52
Ponting 1043 runs at 41.72
Martyn 702 runs at 54.00
Clarke (has not played)
Lehmann 146 runs at 20.85
Gilchrist 673 runs at 61.18

TOTAL 4255 runs at 48.35

DIAGNOSIS: Current players showing acceptable or excellent form against England, except for Boof who will be lucky to play. Clarke is a pretty boy show pony who may or may not perform. Dizzy and McGrath to help out if Clarke fails.


Hayden 803 runs at 40.15
Langer 1481 runs at 54.85
Ponting 697 runs at 41.00
Martyn 1353 runs at 56.37
Clarke 596 runs at 49.66
Lehmann 803 runs at 40.15
Gilchrist 837 runs at 38.04

TOTAL 6570 runs at 46.27

DIAGNOSIS: Averaging less than the all-conquering Poms in 2004. Take into account fewer not-outs and that they completed cricket's 2nd most difficult tour (behind Australia in Australia of course). Punter back in form in 2005. Gilly is a dud and should be dropped.

Big Ramifications


Hoggard 6 for 375 at 62.50
Harmison 9 for 455 at 50.55
Flintoff (has not played)
SP Jones 1 for 32 at 32.00
Giles 7 for 299 at 42.71

TOTAL 23 for 1161 at 50.48

DIAGNOSIS: Completely inexperienced jokes. Won't be a contest if they repeat that form.

ENGLAND in 2004

Hoggard 47 for 1413 at 30.06
Harmison 67 for 1603 at 23.92
Flintoff 43 for 1108 at 25.76
SP Jones 23 for 814 at 35.39
Giles 38 for 1140 at 30.00

TOTAL 218 for 6078 at 27.88

DIAGNOSIS: That's more like it. Nothing to get really excited about however - except for Harmison.

Big Ramifications


Gillespie 62 for 1587 at 25.59
Warne 132 for 3040 at 23.03
Kasprowicz 16 for 420 at 26.25
McGrath 117 for 2344 at 20.03
Lehmann 0 for 11 at -

TOTAL 327 for 7402 at 22.64

DIAGNOSIS: Not looking good for England. Age and injuries will be the only thing stopping the Oz bowlers, surely? Plus, Shaun Tait will be picked and will completely run amok.


Gillespie 55 for 1369 at 24.89
Warne 70 for 1685 at 24.07
Kasprowicz 47 for 1116 at 23.74
McGrath 47 for 868 at 18.46
Lehmann 8 for 232 at 29.00

TOTAL 219 for 5038 at 23.00

DIAGNOSIS: Not bad for a bunch of old farts. Best bowling attack evah?


Excellent work, Big. Tick. VG.

I'll stress again. Australia will need to get themselves out against an England hell bent on containment.

You watch in Sarth Efrica last night? Flintoff bowling a metre outside off-stump to Jacky's Kallis. Giles bowling outside leg-stump to the righties. Harmison bowling short of a length like the Windies used to do.

And you'll note I said ...

Who, exactly, have England faced?

South Efrica's bowling is as weak as I've ever seen it. The Windies attack is a jopke and the Kiwis strangely out of sorts.

And it's why I headlined the post LUCK!

It may help England get up if it goes their way. But if it goes Australia's way, we could win the series 4-0 or 4-1.

I don't want us to get complacent.



Fancy getting rolled for 160 odd by a bloke with a broken hand. Cricinfo have basically summed up the Poms batting in one:

"If England's first innings at Durban was poor, this was worse. The pitch was good and yet almost all the top order perished as a result of their own deficiencies. England's lost ten wickets for 111, and they only made three figures thanks to Ashley Giles's entertainingly unorthodox 31 not out."

Get your money on the Aussies now before the plunge. Don't tell anyone I told you though, keep it between us...

Brett Pee

A factor working against the Poms is the itinery- who the hell agrees to that. ONE first class match and then a string of tests, all in a row, almost without a break. As Boycott said, madness. Key came into their side and hasn't played ANY kind of cricket at all- surely this is wrong. Too much sympathy from me i think !!


And to think I was worried England would beat the Yarpies 4-0.


Yorkshire Soul

Aargh, just as I'm pumping our boys up, they go all out to prove me wrong, bugger.

Although Bigram's stats are well researched, I'm not sure how useful they are. All players demonstrate the ability to perform valiantly in one series and woefully in another, with the exception of only a handful of players around the world.

And I thought he broke his hand when batting, not while he was bowling.

We would have played more 1st class matches if not for the shambles of a tour to Zimbabwe, should never have gone ahead. We should have cancelled it long ago and sorted out a proper pre-tour in SA instead.

Brett Pee

The Poms are going DOWN in the third test- Yarps are gonna have the whip hand from now on-play on the Poms increasing tiredeness and blokes hopelessly out of form. Hey!!Hey!!Vaughny looks a shadow of his pre-captaincy self and the others are coming straight into tests with only hours in the nets as practice. That'll teach 'em.

Big Ramifications

"Although Bigram's stats are well researched, I'm not sure how useful they are."

I agree. 'Twas just for a bit of fun.


But it was "informative" fun, Biggy.

Mike, I agree entirely with your point that stats mislead, and that it's WHO a team is playing that counts. No doubt runs against Australia are more valuable than runs against Bangladesh. But I'd be concerned that England have had trouble with Sarth Efrica's mediocre attack.

Brett, I'm just crossing my fingers Vaughan doesn't find his form in time for The Ashes. He can bat.

Brett Pee

So can Victoria, apparently.....just beaten the Windies eh ? David Hussey to the fore and that old and not quite forgotten relic, Matty Elliott. What price a recall ??

What the ***k has happened to West Indies cricket ?


If you believe the experts, Basketball.

Brett Pee

Most of their present lot strut around thinking they've got all the god given talent in the world. But Lara's recent one day ton brings back memories of better times for them. A true one man batting line up as i've ever seen.


Lara = Gun.

When he's on song, he never looks like getting out.

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