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m0nty

One wonders which Sophia we will see when the pitch is finally uncovered. Sophia Loren, with a brittle exterior that crumbles quickly leaving craggy lines everywhere? Sofia Coppola, who has a fine pedigree and gets one day in the sun to shine, but fails otherwise to impress? Or the Hagia Sophia, a triumph of (groundskeeper) architecture?

Tony

Or the rude, blunt and shocking, Sophia Petrillo, the oldest Golden Girl.

Bitter of Richmond

Just had about enough talk of the 2005 Ashes. And the highlights package on Fox is no highlight, if you ask me. And even if you don't, I'll still tell you so.

Every mention gets right up my goat.

m0nty

Oh I dunno, I enjoyed the First Test highlights. They called the whole thing off after that, didn't they?

m0nty

Talk of Hilfy playing instead of Clark.

Tony

Poms have picks the two spinners - Flanders and Swann.

m0nty

Dammit, lost the toss. There goes the series.

Tony

Poms won the toss and will bat. What's Ricky doing calling heads?

Tony

Hilfenhaus and the Hauritzer both in.

nick

No Clark! And we lost the toss. Hauritz must really have the team's trust.

Tony

On SBS Stewie, Mo and Marto are "pumped".

The aura of Colin "I'm pumped" Scotts is strong at SBS.

SaggyGreen

Marto could have shaved.

Tony

Both Fox and SBS pumping out the ads.

Throbber

No ads over here on Sky in the UK, just loads of blather about 2005.
Thankfully players coming out now so that can stop.

m0nty

I am livid that the Ashes Dream Team compe was locked out an hour before play started for absolutely no good reason, so I'm getting a donut from Clark. Dumb dumb dumb.

Tony

Going hard, going early: very ordinary first ball, England are home.

m0nty

Come on Hilfy, hoop it about like a circus freak.

Russ

Huge risk in picking Ritz and Hilf over Sarf. Perhaps Clark was struggling - he certainly isn't young. But I'd still back him over Ritz. No swing or pace from Studs or Hilf. Worrying...

Throbber

huffenpuff bending it a little.

Tony

Are they playing on a rectangular field because the match is in rugby-mad Wales? Are there any oval ovals in the UK. Even The Oval isn't oval.

Russ

Yes, Hilf got a couple to go once he found his length and got the seam up. Not a pitch for banging it in though is it?

Tony

Looks like a very tame track. We have some work to do to get the Poms out.

Throbber

Most of the grounds over here are odd shapes. I kind of like the quirkiness of it all.
Canterbury even has a tree inside the boundary.
It was an ancient old thing but got blown over in a storm a while back - so they planted a new one.
Nice.

Tony

Gulp.

Where's yer rhythm, Studsy?

m0nty

I saw games at the T20 world cup that started slower than this.

Tony

Yep. Much more of this leg side theory - as opposed to the other, more famous, leg side theory which actually was a theory and not a sloppy accident - and England will be out of sight by lunch.

Not that I'm panicking. Not one bit. Not fvcken at all.

Tony

An RT text arrives.

"Is the Test at Carrara?"

Tony

The Poms have taken a leaf out of the Injuns' book. Give the Aussies low, slow pitches and they are rooted.

Note: Rooted is Hindi for "rooted".

Russ

Did you honestly expect Studs to have rhythm Tony? Lords is his pitch. Just got to hope we aren't one down when we get there.

m0nty

Siddle is getting Harmison Swing. Which means second slip fields it after it barely registers on the cut surface.

Tony

Russ: No. And ditto on the hope.

Monty: They are sucker balls. It's glass half full time.

Tony

Christopher Dale Flannery is not dead. He's in the Fisherman's Friend ad.

Tony

My mistake. The ground is not a rectangle. It's a square, with bevelled edges.

Tony

Wicket!

Cook caught Hussey, bowled The Hilf.

You ripper, Huss! A snorter in the gully.

m0nty

Wow, that was a fair catch. Excellent sign.

Throbber

good catch huss

Tony

Two balls. That's enough for Bopara. It's already past time he was out.

And chin music.

Well bowled, that man Sizzle.

Russ

Rubbish shot. Typical Cook, getting settled, then getting out. Not that I mind.

Going back to the selections, why play Clark for two warmup games and Hilf one, when they clearly need a run. Johnson especially. Bizarre...

Sizzle somehow manages to extract bounce out of the feather-bed to hit Bopara. Brilliant. I love the way Siddle goes about his work.

Throbber

Hello Ravi - this is what test cricket really is, not that rubbish you have been getting centuries in.

Tony

As you say: rubbish. Cook cocked his wrists and opened the face to glide the ball straight into the cordon. Must have forgotten it's not a one day game.

m0nty

One in the the throat and one in the jatz, onya Sizzle.

Tony

Siddle has changed the complexion of the first hour.

And now he's through R-Bop.

Technical question: What do you call a French cut that goes over the stumps?

m0nty

C'est une chance.

Throbber

lucky maybe?

Tony

Lucky cut. That just about covers it, give or take a letter.

Tony

The 7-2 field is good.

Bruce

Since the Sizz branded him a couple of times Bopara isn't too keen to get in behind anything.

And 14 overs in the first hour? WTF!

Tony

Strauss is farming the strike away from R-Bop.

15 overs before the first drinks. Better have a few meetings to slow things down.

Tony

1/39 after an hour is an improvement on the run rate before Cook got out. Double that and I'd take the less than 80 in the session.

Strauss looking very comfortable.

Tony

Look like I was right. SBS have said barley Charley to the studio honkers during drinks and have filled the break full of ads.

Throbber

Bipolar looks all at sea. Bet he wishes he was playing the west indies in a meaningless test again.

m0nty

Does anyone else find that chick from the H&R Block ad hot?

No, just me then?

Tony

We're in trouble: The baggy green goes metrosexual.

Brett Pee

The Poms look all at sea to me, Ravi Bopara the new Sachin Tendulkar ? Not from what i've seen. It all hinges on Strauss, Siddle needs to get under the blokes skin. Our attack is pretty dangerous and the Poms gambling on 2 spinners should backfire.

Tony

Love your work, Brett. Hope you're not just mad.

Tony

Just. What. Is the sports show The Squizz?

Tony

Strauss plumb off Studs?

Well, I would have given it out.

Before Hawkeye, too.

Tony

Wicket!

Strauss caught Clarke, bowled Studsy.

Go you Studly one.

Bruce

I went up hard from the chair for the LB. And then 2 more great deliveries and a wicket.

Some fire from Studsy and Sizz. Another one will be a very good start.

Tony

Right then.

I expect nothing less than wall to wall media coverage about how Strauss appears to have a weakness against short balls a la Hughes against Harmison.

Carrot

Guten abend everyone (or Guten Tag for me)- logging on from Germany.

Hurrah! Pack 'em Strauss. My first comment's a lucky charm....

Carrot

Great mozz, Tone!

Tony

Tag, mein Ranga.

But where's my mozz? You mean comment 60? That was after the wicket.

Brett Pee

Tony- looking good to me mate. Our attack is doing the business, thus far you do understand. I have a good feeling about this. Keep 'em down to under 250.

Tony

Who's going to the first commentator to say "That would not have been out if we had the referral system"?

Brett Pee

We have 'em on the run. Strauss has been targeted, KP is bound to be looking for the aerial route. Round one and two to us.

Brett Pee

Saying that, Bopara HAS just played a classy shot, shot of the day. But i'm confident he will edge behind or to the cordon.

Russ

Mitch and Siddle are leaking an awful lot of runs. Wickets are good, but two is a minimum before lunch. This isn't our session by any means.

Carrot

Pieterson not looking comfortable at all, quite enjoying this! Bit worried about Bi-Polar though - this has all the hallmarks of a an uncertain start that brings a century.

Tony

Bipolar is either getting hit, playing and missing, or hitting a four. Frustrating.

Brett Pee

Ravi Bopara is massively overrated. With Strauss gone a lot is expected of KP. If we get him cheap the advantage is ours.

Tony

Not frustrating.

Wicket!

Bipolar, caught Our Phil, bowled The Stud.

Sucked in Ravi.

But. Do ya reckon Our Phil misjudged it? The ball nearly lobbed in front of him.

Bruce

Dunno what Bipolar was waiting around for. Done like a dinner son and off you go.

Maybe leaked a few more runs than I would like but so far the attack has been the biz. Get in amongst them fellas!

Carrot

Hahaha - does THAT count as a mozz, then??

Brett Pee

Rounds one, two AND three ours Tony. The Poms are running scared and i'm loving this. KP needs a miracle.

Tony

If you mean Brett's comment 67, yes. If you mean your comment 69 - Ooo, errr, matron - well, yes, I suppose so, maybe, almost, begrudge.

Carrot

We need a Mozz league table, Tone...

Tony

Already got one.

Tony 132
Rest of World 12

(Records courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

Brett Pee

I can almost hear Pigeon crowing "5-0" as i sink another coldie. Bloody brilliant stuff.

Russ

Solid first session, 79 comments.

Oh, and 3 wickets for 97 is probably slightly in our favour. Interesting to see when Ritz comes on. Also interesting to see whether he was the captain's selection, or the selectors.

Brett Pee

The Ritz should not figure too highly in this Test. Hopefully not. Our pace and seam battery will do for them. 1st Session to us, first blood ours. Let's knock 'em further down for 200.

Tony

SBS are wasting their our money on the three Ms. No wonder they have so many ads. The vaunted trio have been on for all of about five minutes. What's the point?

Over on Fox, the four wankers building their boat need smashing.

Brett Pee

Pietersen looking edgy AND nervous. Can't see him lasting. Collingwood may stick around but jokers such as Prior and Broad will edge behind. Freddie no longer a force. Prediction? England 200 tops.

Bruce

Hilfbrauhaus showing signs of Alderman - which is why he is there.

Tony

It's the Hauritzer.

Tony

Be nice to get KP out soon. And this pitch is made for a puncher like Pies.

Tony

KP has to be kidding picking up a ball that bounces at his feet and is still moving.

As for Bumble's "Be careful, this is Australia". I can't remember an Aussie appealing in those circs.

Tony

Fvcken 'ell.

This pitch is going to be turning sideways by day four, maybe day three.

We better get among the wickets.

nick

If KP does a Slot and stuffs himself for the series winning this Test...

Carrot

Not sure which feed you boys (and girls?) are watching, but the Sky team are talking a lot about Pieterson's achilles - lots of close-ups of him wincing when he's running etc. etc. Good signs.....

I blogged recently about the fact that the thing that Staya have over England is their willingness to get on with it. This is exactly the sort of thing that I mean - Pieterson and Collingwood are chipping it around at 2.5 runs an over without looking the slightest like they want to assert themselves. There's a time to do that, and as far as I'm concerned it's not when you've got a 70-run partnership on the board and the sun is shining. If they're only 250-odd when the new ball is taken, they might rue this.

Tony

Both SBS and Foxtel have the same Sky feed.

Have been listening to them talk about Pietersen's achilles.

You're right about the sedate nature of the batting. I certainly won't be staying up past tea, unless we get a sudden bunch of wickets.

And as I type this, the batsmen have started to get stuck into Hauritz. They must have read your comment.

Bad signs afoot.

I predict, with certainty not mozz, we will not win this Test, and be very lucky to hold on for a draw.

Tony

Give the Kat a bowl.

Russ

Give someone other than Ritz and One-Bagger a bowl. 11 wasted overs for 38 easy runs. Pointless cricket.

m0nty

This feels like the middle 20 overs of a one-day match.

Tony

Well, that's it for me.

Time for bed.

The intentionally slow pitch coupled with our only-occasionally bitey bowling gives me a grizzly feeling I'll wake up with England at 3/350.

m0nty

Absolutely plumb elbee from a Hilfy inswinger to KP. No joy from the ump. I hope that isn't going to start a trend.

Russ
63.6 Hilfenhaus to Pietersen, no run, inswinging yorker - that's damn close! Quick delivery and the ball balloons to the slips who appeal for both lbw and a catch. That is so, so close! It looked like he got an edge, onto his boot, and the lbw was damn close too. Seriously close

By close, what they mean is absolutely and totally out, but not given. Costly decision. That 3/350 is looking more and more likely.

m0nty

The Sky commentators are slipping, took 'em until next over to whinge about the lack of referrals.

m0nty

Hilfy gets Collingwood! Haddin takes a catch! Both seemed unlikely before the teams were announced this morning.

Russ

Great ball from Hilf. He's bowled well. Horrible technique from Klutz. Made a routine take look extremely difficult.

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