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RT

Selection nightmares. Headlines say it all - Lee '100% ready' | Keeper 'okay' after injection | Gillespie: Australia need Clark | North seeks consistency | Clarke treated for stomach strain | Is Onions married? |
Hilf the only bowling certainty. Keeping now an issue with clean keeping or clean hitting being the options. At least the batting is a bit more settled, for now. In a way you feel for Hilditch and co, Hohns' honchos never had it this tough.

Weather forecast looks pretty reasonable.

os

I was really pleased for Manou, a good citizen wins at last.
And just as I was revising my view that Clarke is a girl, he starts rubbing his poor lil tum-tum and sure enough, he's pulled his bloody g-string.
I loved the way Watson wore that whack from Freddy and didn't even ask for the magic spray. No arm guard or chest guard either. Maybe he'll do, though I reckon Hughes should still open - it's alea jacta est time.

Nick

I'm very happy to read the Crash article! Lee would be a shocking pick.

The Don has risen

Lee would be an enormous gamble given the lack of games he has played and the possibility of injury.

Australia must win as the Oval is a batting paradise.

We must pick bowlers who will get wickets.
Motels is first pick. He is our best swinger of the ball and the most likely to get wickets.
Mummy's boy also must be selected as his record over the last year speaks for itself. There is the possibility batsman have worked out how to play him ( wait for short ball to cut and play off the hip on the leg).
Clark must play as well. He bowls line and length and keeps the pressure on which bowlers such as Motels and especially Mummy's boy desperately need.
It then comes down to either Horrors or Bing. I favour a spinner.

In our favour is the fact that when the ball doesn't swing their bowlers are fodder. Our bowlers are used to this because of the disgraceful action of TV stations on groundsman here.

Tony

Flintoff out, Harmison in.

Pity about that. I was hoping they'd run him into the ground, or go the soft option and pick a batsman.

But Harmison can bowl, and has been bowling well. He's much more of a threat than Freddie at the moment and a much more attacking option than a replacement batsman.

nick

Not on Cricinfo yet - confirmed?

Tony

The Sun is pretty unequivocal (if you can be pretty unequivocal):

Freddie's out

ANDREW FLINTOFF is out of today's crunch Fourth Test at Headingley.

Russ

Fascinating few days. First the Slot media machine rolls in and he looks a certainty to play. Then Paper Cut bags him and he's now completely out of favour. Clark must surely come in, probably for Siddle who lacks supporters, but possibly for Ritz, who has maybe not quite done enough. And all the while they talk about how the current team "did the job" in South Africa, Despite being different in several respects - notably McDonald, but now also Our Phil and Klutz.

I have this feeling, that this will be the test that it clicks for Studs. Not that that means we will win, but I wouldn't drop him. Before Edgbaston, maybe, but not now.

As for Harmy. It is no bad thing when you need to take 20 wickets, to see only 5 specialist batsmen, two of whom are struggling a bit. Not that Flintoff has ever been that reliable, but he has done enough to be a scourge in the past.

I am dreading the idea that we'll do the same, drop North, and play five bowlers plus Paper Cut. Apart from being horrid overkill (neither PC or Krab bowled much at Edgbaston, so why add more armory), it is also terribly dangerous when you've made a habit of being bowled out for less than 300. The last test in South Africa, where we played five bats, was an out an out disaster. It is hard to believe we'd contemplate doing that again.

Yobbo

England leave themselves pretty exposed by not picking a batsman to replace Flintoff.

They only have 5 specialist batsmen in their team now, and 1 of those is Ravi Bopara.

Prior comes in at 6 and I guess now Broad will bat 7?

Collingwood, Bell and Cook are the other 3. They are basically putting all their eggs in the Andrew Strauss basket.

A couple of early wickets and it could all be over very quickly. Even more reason to pick Lee in my opinion, he swings it back in to the lefthanders and has a knack of picking up wickets very early in a match. He's got Graeme Smith LBW early a heap of times like that.

Get Strauss out early in the remainder of this series and we could easily win it 2-1 from here.

Tony

Hope you're right. It would be a similar situation to us in the third Test in SA.

That's if our bowlers can get their collective act together and put the heat on the Englands.

Got a similar gut feeling to Russ: Studs, come on down.

Adolphe out, Klutz in.

Yobbo

Update: England agree with me and it looks like they are going to drop Prior, play an extra batsman and give the gloves to Collingwood..

Tony

There is speculation Prior did a Klutz and got injured in the warm-up.

Tony

This morning England were ousted from their beds by their hotel's fire alarm.

Tony

Prior actually did a McGrath. He got hurt playing footy... sorry, footer.

Tony

Wait!!! England don't agree with Yobbo any more.

Prior's back and he's got his gloves on! This merry-go-round continues. Not sure what they've done to him, and he looks a bit tentative - so I imagine he has a couple of minutes to prove his fitness for a series-deciding Test match. What a total maelstrom of madness.
m0nty

The Croquet bloke is having conniptions.

m0nty

Good Lord, Fat Gat is an ugly man.

m0nty

Fat Gat is so ugly that he makes Boof look good.

Tony

The Crooky bloke will have a conniption if he keeps using panic words.

Maelstrom of madness. Utter chaos. Trouble at t'mill. What a morning. What a morning. Sheesh.

m0nty

Perhaps they can draft a Triffid to keep wicket.

m0nty

Prior apparently passed fit now. Can we get the English to play more sports prior to the toss in future? Maybe jai-alai, a bit of Greco-Roman, perhaps some UFC?

Tony

Ponting lost the toss - again! Call tails, ya peanut!

The one time he won the toss the match was rooted by the weather.

Tony

Fingers crossed Klutz doesn't drop any catches in this first session. Same goes for the rest of them.

Throbber

THAT WAS PLUMB!!!!

Tony

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First ball dudded by an LB.

Get Rudi back.

Fvcken Bowden!

Yobbo

Jesus Christ.

First Ball, plumb, not out?!?!?

m0nty

Billy, Billy, Billy.

Throbber

Bowden is an idiot show off and incompetent with it.

Bruce

WHERE THE FUCK DO THEY GET THESE IDIOTS!!!!

Hatstands with a camera - it's the only way.

Tony

That's it. We're gawn.

Screwed by Billy in 2005. Screwed by Dar in 2005. Screwed by Rudi in 2009. Screwed again by Bowden first ball here.

You watch when we bat. The maggots will fire us like machine guns.

(Although I agree with Athers. I thought he hit it.)

Throbber

There are too many wrong decisions against Australia by too many umpires to be a coincidence.

m0nty

The only query Billy might have had was that it was too high, as it often is early in a Test match. He's just off the plane, I presume, so he hasn't seen much of how the ball is acting in English conditions on local pitches lately. A conservative decision that was wrong but understandable.

Throbber

You can't deny that one Bowden you cheat.

m0nty

Justice done.

Tony

I'll put that on a placard round his neck as I drag him round the streets of Leeds behind a taxi.

Tony

Snorter from Snorter!

Klutz tackled him like a madman!

Tony

Love Warnie:

"Billy Bowden's started with a shocker," says Warne. He's right, too. Strauss had practically tucked his bat under his arm!

"Come on, Billy," spits Warne. "I thought Rudi had a pretty ordinary series but..." and he trails off into disgust

Tony

Hit the bricks, Bipolar! Club cricketer.

Yobbo

How does Bopara get a game, honestly. He's got no idea.

Throbber

BiPolar lives up to his ability.

Tony

38, 39, 40: I think that's what you call "consensus".

Yobbo

"1 brings 2" has never been more apt than when talking about the current England top order.

Yobbo

Ian Botham is so flustered he forgot the no ball rules.

Tony

He wasn't flustered; he was trying to beat up a dodgy wicket for Straya.

Throbber

Sir Ian is a buffoon of the highest order.

Tony

Hilfy is really tempting them to reach for hit outies.

Noice.

Yobbo

Siddle's last over was a smorgasbord.

Bruce

Well done bumble for shutting down the no-ball talk. He actually seems to understand the rule, which I'll admit I didn't until the Hauritz one in Cardiff.

Where it lands and his heel did indeed touch down behind the line - just.

Tony

Couple more for Siddle, at most, unless he gets it on the spot.

Tony

Blowers: "Strauss palpably out first ball."

The radio blokes have absolutely been laying into the pre-match shenanigans.

Tony

Hope Studsy going for four first ball isn't an omen.

Although.

With a little luck we'll have Bell out slicing into the off.

Samir Chopra

Rauf will do a decent job in this test, I think.

Tony

Samir, I hope so. It would make a change from the other clowns.

Bruce

Geez Bell misses a lot of straight ones.

Tony

Paul Harris is in the top ten bowler rankings. Test cricket is a shambles.

m0nty

Carn Stuey, swing that sucker. Good lad.

SaggyGreen

oh Sarfraz, I've missed you

Samir Chopra

Both these batsmen are prime LBW candidates.

m0nty

Gah, Bux interviewing Juddy on Seven. I am sick of hearing both of their voices.

m0nty

Clark is swinging it but it's pretty easy to pick. Has he got Aldermanesque variation?

Tony

Come on, Stuey! Duck one in.

Tony

Go you Studley!!

Get trudging, Bell. Best forget about today's innings.

Samir Chopra

OK, fine, Bell is a caught-behind candidate too.

Yobbo

I think my comment at #9 is doing pretty well so far.

Strauss out all out?

Collingwood might scratch around for a few hours but I think England will be lucky to get 200 from here.

Yobbo

England will be lucky to get 200 from here.

See comment #9.

Tony

Studs!!! Big inny. Pad up, Pies.

m0nty

Even Studsy is getting some shape.

Tony

Flatty is all about "stepping up" and "skill sets" on Radio Internet. Apart from that he goes alright.

Bruce

This is the anti-Lords.

Nothing given away. Good areas. We don' need the ball hooping around to be dangerous. We just need to get it right. Nothing more than a first day wicket and a new ball so far from the conditions and we are in amongst them.

Tony

Pies gawn!

STUEY! Clap. Clap. Clap.

Samir Chopra

Clark gets on the board.

Yobbo

If Bill Lawry was commenting here he might say "Dear Oh Dear".

m0nty

Having said that, Bruce, it is hooping around a fair bit. Not that I'm complaining.

Tony

Thankfully, Ponting's given away that farcical business of catching low chances with his fingers pointing up.

Samir Chopra

That Prior flier through the slip-gully gap suggests an obvious comment: four wickets down before lunch on the opening day, an all-pace attack on, why not pack that cordon a bit more?

Tony

Indeed. They had a fourth for Clark, but not for Johnson who slides across the righties.

Tony

Cook gawn!

STUEY! Clap. Clap. Clap.

Samir Chopra

Or you could just edge it to first slip.

Yobbo

They've got a short leg and a deep fine leg for Johnson though. They could easily get rid of the guy on the hook.

5 down now, 200 looking a long way off.

Bruce

Broad batting before lunch on day 1.

Let's see how breezy you want to bat now son!

Yobbo

Draco Malfoy's in. Probably better at Quidditch than batting.

m0nty

42 runs in total from the five recognised batsmen.

Tony

Gotta get through Prior, Broad and Swann. It will give me some ferocious shits if they hang around for good runs.

Tony

Broad gawn!

STUEY! Clap. Clap. Clap.

Tony

Ooooo. Looks like there will be some issues with the Katich take.

Yobbo

Clark 3/7.

Samir Chopra

Tony: Its clean; fingers under always create that impression.

Tony

I forgot what I was going to say. Oh, that's right:

Bowler		O	M	R	W	RR
Stuart Clark	6.4	3	7	3	1.05	
	
Yobbo

But no Hauritz. That could come back to haunt us!

Bruce

100 is looking a long way off now.

Haddin and Broad had some sort of altercation there. It isn't the first time Broad has made contact while running between wickets.

The only blemish on my night so far is the cats.

God I've missed Clark and everything he brings to the attack.

Tony

Yep. At the risk of wearing an accusation of double standardization... it looked like the ball was going to drop and hit the ground, but Katich's fingers looped around it.

Still, there will be the odd comment.

But not from Will Luke, who's English:

Clark to Broad, OUT, great catch! What a pickup from Katich at short square leg, Broad has clipped that off his pads and Katich has to go low down and gets his fingers under the ball, very quick reflexes
The Mongrel

In June 1989 I was at the SCG to see the Mighty Blues beat the Swans.

Simultaneously Steve Waugh was scoring 177NO in the Ashes.

20 years later. The Blues win by 6 goals against the Cats, and England is 6 wickets down at lunch.

Shame I can't bottle tonight and sell it. (I know, you'll all say - but who would buy it?) ;-)

Tony

I tipped the Blues.

Tony

Funny time for Blowers and Tuffers to start talking about Australia's weakness against swing.

pat

"Cadel on Tour 2008". Watch him crash then bitch and moan his way through the Pyranees, hire a security guard to harass anyone who comes near his delicate shoulder, not win a stage all tour and then come 2nd overall without ever in all reality ever challenging, especially after the most hyped and deflating penultimate stage time trial.

Compelling stuff.

btw. Has anyone noticed the way Strauss likes to wear his shirt sleeves halfway up his hands like some emo nancy boy, or coy girl in the midst of puberty? He also wears his cap pretentiously popped up on his scalp. He's too contrivedly cute by far to hold these Ashes.

Tony

Upon Broad's dismissal, a text arrives: "Take your teddy and piss off, Sebastian."

Yobbo

Footy hasn't even started on TV here yet. Oh well, wasn't going to watch it anyway.

m0nty

Gerard Whateley's pomposity really shits me. Deserves a knee in the cods, that weed.

Yobbo

I wonder what the score would have to be before Ponting would risk going with a full slip cordon. 8 for 12? 9 for 2?

Throbber

Brilliant selection having Sarfraz as drinks waiter in the first three tests,

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