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I hope Vaughan enforces the follow-on.

Is Mark Nicholas a dick, or what?

What's he done to you then?

Ah, I'm sorry. I can feel a little depression around these parts. Obviously, meanwhile, I'm loving it.

In all seriousness, though, I think many Aussie fans have forgotten just how long it's been for England since we had any success. Sure, Nasser Hussain had those famous three series back to back against who was it now? but, other than that, it's a good two decades. I think you folks have had long enough at the top of the tree.

Offered in the spirit of bipartisan fairness - I wouldn't take the captaincy away from Ponting. As I write this, he hasn't come in in the Aussie second innings yet, but I was there on the last day at Old Trafford, and if I could tell you how many times England have needed a captain to step up to the plate and perform a match-saving innings, it would break my heart. In fact, the last one really was Atherton in S Africa about a decade ago. That's too long. Any captain who can do that while captain is a rare commodity, and as for Edgbaston - we all make mistakes!

Buchanan must go for a start. But I don't think Punter's captaincy has been that bad and who would replace him anyway?

Far too sensible, you blokes. I demand immediate recriminations and severe telling-offs topped with lashings of sackings. Rash decisions, too. It's been an eon since we had a good old fashioned irrational blood-letting.

Just quietly, though. You're both probably right about Ponting. Just not sure there are too many folks here prepared to forgive him for inserting England at Egg-Basket.

Buchanan, though. Now there's another story. Time for another Simmo, me thinks, and less of the new-agey wankishness. Get the troops doing sprint training and catching, catching and more catching. It's military discipline we need.

Screw the cricket....


Get off the cricket bandwagon, plenty of room left to get on the best side in Victoria. No Ricciuto for next week (surely)...

Best side in Victoria? Pah! Biggest bandwagon, though.

PS: Rick Utero will get off.

PSS: Go 'mons!

Ha! Ha! Brisbane are getting bent over.

Milne has kicked TEN?!? TEN?!? Fuck! TEN?!?

Ahem..... ELEVEN!!!!!!

Yep Tony, more actual training drills might help. Is it really true that the squad has a yoga teacher? If so piss him (her) off and bring in DK to sort out the bowlers for starters.
And ban JL from talking to the media until he makes a few.

Twelve, anyone?

Yoga, Cappy? Christ! What next? They don't need yoga, they need Yoda.

Where's Mike from Yorkshire Soul, anyway? You out there, Mike?

All good points, Tony, but you left out one crucial point - selections. The Aussies have been walking onto the field with a disadvantage before play even starts. The bunnies like Gypsy Gillespie and Hayden have turned into koalas, while talented players have been sitting on the sideline watching the chaos unfold. The filthy look on MacGill's face in the stands yesterday said it all. And yes, Simpsonian military discipline would help. I'd like to see the poorly performing players hung from the ceiling by their nipple rings, or sent to the Appalachias for some sow impersonations in the Deliverance position.

Mike Hussey is screaming for a place. He likes to grind it out. Hayden is an FTB. Always hasbeen, sorry has been, no, where you were. No matter. He's a hack.

I hope they play both MacGill and Warnie at The Oval.

So how about that Troy, hey? Clang! Crash! Burn! The Gods must be avenged! Come, let us hurry! And all that business. What a load of rubbish! They just don't work without bad dubbing.

I've completed the gallows for Ned Flanders. I started work on them in 2001 actually.

Is this one of those 'lets trick the fates with a bit of reverse psychology' posts? i.e. you actually expect Australia to keep the Ashes, but by saying all this you hope to fend off the karmic retribution that venting such thoughts aloud would cause?

Or not?

Nah. If Oz manouvere the gods to granting a win in the last, I'm of the opinion that they should hand over the damn port glass anyway. I've got a couple of ways to knock that churlish Hayden straight.

Never thought I'd see the day when our bowlers are consistently taking the attack to the Poms, in lieu of pathetic efforts by our vaunted batters. What do you think Langer and Hayden would look like with their willows whacked up their butts, handle first? Lollipop anyone?

I can't believe it - even here at AGB the most obvious point of our demise has been missed. In a word - MARTYN! A pox on him, his house and 3 generations hereafter.

Why does no one ever mention Martyn? He's a Jonah I tells ya - a big fat fucken alabatross hung from the mizzen mast oozing bad Karma all over the bloodied deck. He saunters in, delicately times a few balls "gloriously", rund the fucking captain out, times a few more balls then gifts a catch to anyone anywhere - forget field settings, Marto will find you every time.

I hate him!

Because Martyn is quiet and compact and elegent even in his incompetence. Martyn is never obvious. But yes, he'll be invited to resume training with the Western Worriers this coming summer.

Excellent summary of the series so far Tony. Without wishing to appear contrary, when reflecting on all the points you have made IMO all bodes quite well for Oz in the short term future of transition.

Taking your three main points, catches or the dropping thereof,luck/poor umpiring, and McGrath's injuries, all of these can be rectified. As you say, taking all this into consideration it is amazing that Oz is still level in this series and even if they were to lose this Test still have the opportunity to win the last and thus retain the Ashes.

What does all this say for England - supposedly the 2nd best team in the world? A home series, a badly out of form batting opposition, an opposition bowling attack where one of the greatest bowlers ever in Test cricket history fails to start twice on the morning of 2 Tests due to unlucky injury, and a string of some of the most woefull umpiring that thrice removes the top/middle order of the opposition's batting when all can see that the batsman hit the ball before any pads were involved. Umpiring that refuses to give Warney plumb LBW's. It can't get any better than this for England and thusly it can't get any worse than this for Oz.

Positives: Clarke and Katich are getting better. Lee has proven himself as a Test bowler with much improvement yet to come. Warne and McGrath have many years left in them physically. Punter has stood up with the bat under heavy duress as Captain.

The poor catching can be rectified through training.

Changes: Hayden and Martyn have to go. Pick anyone else and they can't do worse so it doesn't matter. May as well have Hodge and Hussey or my radical preference would be for Haddin to take over the gloves and Gilchrist move to opener with Hussey replacing Martyn. Since these Tests are merely extended ODI's Oz may as well go with the formula that has won them many ODI's i.e. Gilchrist opening. Added bonus is that Haddin is a better wickie and Gilchrist's skills would come in very handy at 1st slip.

With a fit McGrath (as no doubt he will return - none of his injuries are age/strain related) Oz still boasts a brilliant attack in Warne and Lee. Kaspa and Dizzy sadly must go and the 4th bowler should be picked on a horses for courses basis.

So my full team for the final Test would be: Langer, Gilchrist, Punter, Hussey, Clarke, Katich, Haddin, Warne, Lee, Tait, McGrath. McGill possibly replaces Tait if spin is expected to feature.

Gilchrist, Punter and Warne in slips, Clarke at Gully and Haddin at stumps firms up the close catching.


I can't find anything to disagree with there. As a West Australian, this Martyn-hate has oft struck me as irrational - his major failures have been where the other batsmen have dropped the ball and left him to pick up the pieces. But yes, time has come and he and Hayden must walk off and make way for the new breed.

Gilchrist could probably give up the gloves and take over the captaincy - his stint as chief during the successful Indian tour shows he has the brains for it.

Geez, what a set of whinging Ozzies.

I think you're giving far too little credit to England. Australia are out of form, why ? Because England are on top form, they have not allowed Australia to get starts in the run making, the English bowlers have been aggresive and more importantly, they have bowled as a unit.

For years the opposition have been seeing one English bowler on fire and the others just plodding along, but in pretty much every test so far the entire English attack have bowled very well indeed.

It's lucky for you lot that we didn't drop Bell for Collingwood, it would all have been over yesterday.

Yorkshire, the poms have put together a fair team at last and credit is their due. Besides the fact they are a bunch of pansy shirt lifters they have given mediocrity a good name in this series.

Rod Marsh at your acadmeny has lifted the standard of English cricket to that set by Australia and with the added bonus of Troy Cooley to teach your men how to bowl the poms have shown us all that being average can win games if not series.

Once England has drained South Africa of its ever lessening talent and the Ozzies decide to use some of the coaching talent it has shipped OS things should return to normal. Enjoy your day in the sun - it's early days yet.

Steady on, the Pommers are not home and dry just yet. And i always cling on to the last vestiges of hope. Did that sound convincing ?

Tony- just think of Calcutta and the turnaround instigated by the Rag Heads back in 2001- and pray.

Sorry- was that politically incorrect ? O.K. Just think of Calcutta and the turnaround instigated by the Curry Munchers back in 2001- and pray.

But this tour has offered glimmers of hope for the future and proves that our system will continue to produce a generation of Genuinely world class Cricketers. I give you- Shaun Tait and Micky Clarke.

Bubbling under the surface we have The aforementioned Hussey clan and Phil Jacques. What about Marcus North ?

I want to bugger the lot of them, and give Ponting a right fisting for being so stupid, unless we turn things around tonight.

These mongrels have no right to screw with my emotions like this.

Is that it then? Can I turn my TV back on now?

The Crows. Shit. 'Nuff said really.

One thing that all Ozzies can rejoice in is that we don't, under any circumstances, do team huddles on a cricket field.

Vaughan and Co post Oz 1st innings follow-on huddle - how gay was that?!

It's a Mozz you're looking for, Ed. But it's not the done thing to admit it. Or not admit it. It just is. Or isn't. Clear on that? I think you are.

Pat, don't you worry, we'll be getting stuck into the prime suspects soon enough.

There was a good article by my very, very good friend, Spanky Roebuck, in today's Fairfaxes. It echoes my last point, namely that we'll be ready in 2006/07. Spankles thrust was that the Aussies are indeed struggling and are not as good as they used to be. England are also just as obviously much better. But anyone expecting Australia to fall into a Windian slump is in for a rude shock.

Not sure Test Gilly is going to play as a batsman alone, though.

He has talent to burn Mr Z (One sincerely hopes that is Zed, not Zee, otherwise there will be questions asked) , great balance and a superb eye. However, his soft dismissals, reek of questionable mental application. The run out at Edgy and his run out of Ponting here stunk! (I hit the bastard roof when Ponting was picked off. It has been a while since I was that wild; nearly a week, in fact.) And his dangling outside off means he will always struggle against high quality fast bowling (HQFB). Thing is, though, he probably won't get dumped and will make a bundle over our summer.

Hello there, Mike. How are things in Ye Olde Darte? Peachy, I've no doubt. What's on the dessert menu tonight? When are you serving the humble pie? I'll have a slice thanks.

Anyhoo, you write "I think you're giving far too little credit to England." I hope you read this ...

To be brutally frank, it's astounding Australia are in it at all. England have bowled better, batted better, fielded better, been captained better (How long has Ponting got, I wonder?) And given our largesse, we really should be at the very least, one down.

For mine that is pretty damn complimentary to Eng-Ger-Land. But I suppose it is up to you whether or not you consider it a ringing endorsement.

SB, I'm appointing you and CB as coaches. You obviously appreciate steel.

Not just yet, HB.

Brett. Toast slumping. Mons surging.

Huddling. Even the word is gay.

Well at least we made them bat again.

Brett Lee has shown himself to be a test bowler??? Get fucked he has. A *constant* no ball problem. I reckon he has given up at least 6 test dismissals through no balls now. More damningly though, he has a half-volley problem. He sends down 2 or 3 every fucking over. The first innings here was his 8th ton with the ball. His test average of 31-ish is flattered by his bright start until teams realised he really does send down a lot of tripe. If you were to graph it, it would be a pretty straight line heading up, up, up. Will it reach 40 before he is finally given the arse? This has piqued my interest - I will be doing a bit of research to prove how shit Brett Lee is.

ok - Would you believe that Lee has proven himself to be a Test batsman then?

Definitely something in what you say, Bruce. Because he is not tall, Lee doesn't get the ball up off a good length. Couple that with the fact he, as you say, serves up too many half volleys.

He bowls some beauties, and has been much better here in the UK, but he still needs to tighten it up and find a way to bowl a surprise agate. One that makes the batsman shit himself.

His no-ball 'wickets' have been a nightmare.

It's not every cricketer that gets to tonk a six over the grandstand.

Is there any chance in this wide, round, blue orb of a world that fucking Michael Fucking Clarke will NOT get out just before a fucking interval?!? Fuck! Shit! Fuck!

And Geraint Fucking Jones! I can handle losing to Flintoff and Jones.S, but I can't fucking well handle losing to a second-rate club cricketer.

So. Think I might go and check out that cheesy earthquake flick. It looks agreeably appalling.

Even though I think there is a definate NSW bent in the selectors thinking (and there has been for years, but sue me, I'm a Victorian), Bracken would have to be unlucky not to get a callup at some stage here wouldn't he?? I'm not up with his tailend four day form from last season but christ... a bowler who can bowl across Flintoff and Pietersen instead of into their pads and....

FUCK!! Gilchist out. Please excuse me whilst I put my foot through the telly. I may finish this later... or may not.

Boycott: Ooh, I think that was a good decision by Bucknor...

Yeah you fucken would, wouldn't you??

(Sorry for the profanity, but my telly survived)

Alright. I've grabbed the stats and done the crunching and it looks like my theory is correct. I'll do a full writeup tomorrow as it is getting late right now. Look for it on my blog tomorrow arvo.

Summary: If you discount his first 8 tests his figures look ordinary. If you look at his last 15 test - they are fucken atrocious.

As for his six hitting. At last nights grogblogging I was asked. "Did you see Brett Lee's six?" to which I replied "Yes, but Brett Lee certainly didn't".
Swinging from your arse when you are 9 down and miles behind doesn't really show much in my books. For every one he connected with he missed 4.

You are right of course Bruce - Lee is to McGrath as Magilla is to Warne. Sudden stunning wickets amongst loose long hops and wides versus grinding accuracy and subtle variation.

I still reckon Lee has looked pretty good this series but he'll never be the mainstay of a winning team. If he were to be utilised as Vaughan does his fags that would suit Lee's style of bowling - short five over spells with long rests.

Richie called the Gilchrist LBW as going down leg and then *ahem* amended his call once Bucknor posted the finger. Looked out to me but then again so did Flintoff to Warne when he was on 8 so what the fuck would I know.

Take away the umpiring bias of those 5 absurd decisions and Australia's already won this one, despite how crap they played. England's not the world's leading team just yet.

"Besides the fact they are a bunch of pansy shirt lifters"

"Huddling. Even the word is gay"

There is only team in the Ashes who are constantly touching each other's bottoms, and it's not England.

"Geraint Fucking Jones! I can handle losing to Flintoff and Jones.S, but I can't fucking well handle losing to a second-rate club cricketer."

I'm with you on this one, I was willing to forgive him some sins after his eighty odd in the 1st innings, but his suicidal smash down the ground to throw away his wicket in the second was unforgiveable. Pieterson was lucky to make as many as he did, he seemed intent on getting out, Bell's hook shot was just as bad.

On Wisden the laughable title is "England Hold Nerve To Win Thriller." Hold their nerve, we were all over the fucking place, only Hoggy seemed to be taking it at all seriously.

Lee, much as I detest him, was fantastic, Warne as good as ever.

I can't take another Sunday like this, I was shitting bricks when the captain and Bell went, and after Lee bowled Freddie I thought your lot were going to do it.

Phew, I'm off to find a bottle of Coonawarra cabernet and calm my nerves.

7/129 - the umpiring - in the end - was the difference. Check out Katich's LBW: pitched outside of line, hit in line, but going well over the stumps. Shit decisions may well be part and parcel of any game but the consistency of the shit is what counts - the shit has been all one way and that can get a man down to the point of murderous intent.

That being said, Haydo and Marto have to go, hey hey ho ho Haydo and Marto have got to go hey hey ho ho....

Are we taking a collection to help pay Katich's fine?

I reckon he was pretty restrained in his reaction to the most disgraceful decision in the series. (And that has some pretty stiff competition)

Analysis done and results are up.
Brett Lee is gone - proven statistically.


Ahh Katich.

I always thought that the difference between myself and a test batman was, ahem, batting ability. But I would not have the mental application. See, if I had had Katich's LBW decision made against me, I would have made some attempt to bang the umpires head into the pitch ON. THE. LEG. SIDE. A. FEW. TIMES. to make sure the same mistake would not be repeated.

Oh, and the Z is pronounced 'Zed', Mr Teacher. Nothing worse than being mis-pronounced by some Sesame-Street-raised simpletons.

Oh, and re: Gilly as a test batsman. I can't see taking the gloves away from Gilly would lower the fielding teams ability by any great margin, if at all.

Does anyone else think the luckiest Aussie at the moment is Lehman? I remember him being dropped for the tour due to poor form but I don't think he would have done worse than Hayden/Martyn. Punter has sorely missed his cricketing brain on the field.

I hope some people have'nt written us off prematurely in this series. The way things are going, the Poms will panic at The Oval and we must be in with a chance. They tend to do well there but usually in dead rubbers but now we can put pressure on them. The way some of them chuck their wickets away falls into our court. While there's Lee there is, indeed, hope.

Are the NSW selectors bent ?

Bruce, yes Lee's figures have been unflattering. No argument here. I remember against India in 2003/04 he was simply awful. But I'm sure he would offer two things as mitigating circs.

First, his elbow injury. Second, the restructure of his action because of his early dodginess chuck-wise. (Possibly his chuckiness was a reason for his wicket-taking)

He seems to have sorted those things out now and as he has come to terms with the revisions seems to be bowling much better these days. And let's not forget that he is still Australia's fastest bowler. If he get's it on the spot he is always going to be a handful. It's hard to ignore the claims of a dead-set speed merchant.

I just hope he CAN manage to get it on the spot. And keep it there.

Two-one up in the series and the pressure's on? Brett you're delusional.

Delusional, yes. Brett does barrack for the Eagles afterall. But you can't knock his optimism.

Z and Pat, I haven't seen the Katich dismissal, but I remember a few from when England won in Sydney in 2003 that were pitched wide outside leg and still given out. Those ones are just so simple to get right. I can't understand how any umpire, even the halfwits who have been 'officiating' here, can get them wrong. They are every bit as straightforward as edges onto the pads. Especially when the edge virtually comes off the middle of the bat like some of the shockers here. They are still picking splinters out of the ball.

A Crows man myself, and the seasons' panned-out pretty much as expected.

Fucking apostrophe

No worrie's.

About the apostrophe, that is, Lionel. Unlike the Crows business. Dees man, myself.


1. You've still got to win the Ashes.
2. If you cannot win at home against a team of geriatrics then WHEN exactly will you win? So...
3. Come back in 18 years after winning 8 consecutive series and I'll give a fuck.

You've got a point, Murph. But you've also got to admit it must be pretty cosy being a Pommy cricket fan at the moment. If I was YS, I'd be quaffing a few reds (Coonawarra, too!) about now and feeling rather confident.

Naturally, I hope it all comes to tears for England. In a friendly, but malicious, way of course.

So England won't win, because they're not good enough... But they *should* because the Australian team is so bad... But they won't.

Sucks to be English.

Real anger out there in Australia it seems... Don't you think you've had the Ashes long enough? Are you not a little bored of beating everyone all the time? It does seem to mean more to you guys. I think if it was the other way round (not that it ever could be, of course) then we wouldn't be whining about it so much.

Whingeing Aussies.

"Don't you think you've had the Ashes long enough?"

Preposterous AND absurd.

"Real anger out there in Australia it seems... "

It is just a matter of time before we start with the flaming effigies.

Simon Katich is of Croatian descent according to the doyen of Perth sports radio, George Griluysich ("grillersich", God knows how to spell it), and he is recruiting a reborn Ustashe gang to go to Pakistan and kill Aleem Dar, his family, his goats, his dogs and everyone who ever spoke to him, and then burn down his house and his chook shed.

Can't say I blame him.

Aleem Dar sure does like the LBW law.

He's an incompetant fool (or a cheat). I'll chip in to pay for Pedro's hit squad.

Now that you're all falling apart, blaming the umpires, Ponting, the pitch, the Gods, your "geriatric team" and anything else you can think of, only a few short weeks ago Australia won the 1st test and there were chants of

"5-0, 5-0, 5-0"

We enjoy beating the Ozzies more than any other side in the world because you are the world's biggest whingers, when you lose this series you will make every excuse except the real one, that England were the better side.


I didn't say that England were not the better side. I'm saying that the Aussies are playing like retards and with absolutely everything going their way, including home advantage, England are still JUST scraping over the line.

They're good but not a champion team. You're lucky to have a 2-1 lead.

you are the world's biggest whingers

Pot. Kettle.

That's fucking rich, coming from a country which invented violent sports hooliganism. I've never seen a grown Australian cry or throw a punch over a sporting match, yet in my six years living in the UK I saw plenty of allegedly mature adults bawling and brawling about sport.

Poms are simultaneously the fucking sorest winners and losers that ever walked the planet.

Have you ever heard of projection?

The attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or suppositions to others.

Play nice, boys.

Haydos looks like a tard.

And why isn't he praying to that God of his for a big ton?


YS can fuck off and die.

What's the chance of seeing that limp wristed fuck hanging around here come an Australian win in the 5th?


The Poms could not give a flying fuck about sport if they're not at the top - which is almost never.

Sure I don't always agree with YS, Murph. And if I was in his position, I'm 100% sure I wouldn't be already calling the result - "when you lose this series".

But I reckon you can get stuck into him without going over the top.

It's all laughs, murph, don't worry about it. YS is just giving a little "trash talk". I thought Australians could take it...

It's true though, we don't care about sport as much as you. Perhaps we're more ironic, I don't know. Whether this is good or bad is a different question...

Mate, we live for sport in this country. Well, i live for sport and have got into rucks in Cricket, footy, Tiddliwinks , darts etc and commit 100% to everything, just to win. Come 2nd ? No thanks.

And Steve waugh has just stated that McGill should come into The Oval. He must have read my post-i've got a fan.

Oh....and Go Eags of course. For the Finals.

Yep Brett, we're all praying the Eagles make the finals.

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