Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 3rd day

The third day from Melbourne, and possibly the last. It’s all gone horribly Percy Sonn for England. But who knows? Two spectacular double hundreds from Flintoff and Pietersen, 600 runs in a day to give England a lead of 300ish. It could happen…but only if England have a peek at John Buchanan’s bowling plans…

Chat away

Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne

Posted massively in advance. By the time you read this, you’ll all be bursting to the seams with turkey, bread sauce and stuffing – and enough wine to sink a battleship. I’ll be heaving my way from the kitchen to the sitting room to cover the Test, so if you too are a sad loser with nothing better to do on Christmas Day than watch England get a roasting (HONK) or a stuffing (HO HO) or a basting (I’ll stop now), do join us at Cricinfo for full, live, uninterrupted, groundbreaking, turkey-laden coverage!

Terrorists considered attacking Ashes squads

I’m not altogether sure what to make of this revelation::

A friend of one of the four bombers who killed 52 people when they bombed trains and buses in the British capital on July 7 last year told The Sunday Times newspaper that the Al-Qaeda cell was initially ordered to kill the England and Australian cricket teams during the Edgbaston Test in Birmingham.

The claim was made by a family friend of bus bomber Hasib Hussain, who killed 13 people in London’s Tavistock Square. According to the 32-year-old friend, whose family has links to a terrorist training camp in Kotli in northern Kashmir, the bombers were instructed to get jobs as stewards at the Edgbaston cricket ground and to spray sarin gas inside the changing rooms.

The second Test between England and Australia began in Edgbaston on August 4 last year.

The friend – whose real name was not published – said the attack may have been called off and the Tube bombings planned instead because one of the bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, was a cricket fan.

It’s a scary thought, but sooner or later one must expect a terrorist strike on a major sporting event. Yesterday England played Macedonia in front of a crowd of 71,000. And a crowd of 100,000 is expected for the first day of the fourth Test at Melbourne.

Juicy targets for psychotic terrorists.

Vaughan injury worries Aussies?

Well perhaps not – but worries one of them!

No Vaughan no Ashes good people, England must find the nearest hyperbaric chamber and hibernate for the next six months. I cancelled a perfectly good family holiday in Queensland to watch two great teams lock horns in Melbourne on boxing day; i can not and will not settle for anything less!
it’s over to you England………..DO SOMETHING.

Comment of the week by a long shot.

A farce waiting to happen

Just a quick post from the Antipodes to put in my two cents on the Great Australian Ticketing Fiasco. Needless to say, Cricket Australia won’t accept a bar of responsibility for this; just as needless to say that they won’t learn from this if it happens in the future.

What I would have done is copied the system used by England; for all the faults of the ballot system, the UK ground authorities are well experienced in dealing with demand for tickets that well outweighs capacity. Cricket Australia has this ‘we know better’ notion when it comes to England and English cricket, which may have had some relevance in the 1990′s but certainly isn’t the right mindset in 2006.
I’m not concerned in the slightest that Australian grounds will be full of visiting Englishmen this summer; the tourist boom to the economy will be well worth it, and it will teach the good for nothing, fat, lazy, whining Australian public to appreciate Test cricket more. I’m fed up to the back teeth of going to half-empty Test grounds. And, yes, I do have my tickets, if not for my home Adelaide Test, but I did get tickets for Boxing Day. 100,000 fans on the MCG for an Ashes Test; a dream come true for someone like me that cares far more for Test Cricket, and Ashes Cricket as the pinnacle of Australian Test Cricket.

Australia vs South Africa wrap

I’m not the only one bored with the VB series going this long. I listened to the radio for most of the day while watching the play, as I was getting close to an act of violence if I had to listen to any more of Tony Greig’s insufferable inanities. Peter Roebuck was clearly even more bored then I was since he was more keen on discussing his charitable foundation’s activities in Africa then the game, and he follows my lead in calling for the format to be scrapped.

The game itself was actually good, and Adam Gilchrist was back to his sparkling best, scoring 88 off just 66 balls, with 14 glorious boundaries. His innings was theoretically terminated by a mis-played pull shot, but the actual thing that got him out was the commentator’s curse; as he passed 80, they started talking about double-centuries. He admits he was thinking about it himself, so obviously he got out.

Ponting, Martyn and Hussey all tucked in as well against a very weak South African pace attack, and settled on 344. Chasing that monster of a total, South Africa were just on the edge of possibility until Mark Boucher got out after scoring an excellent 76. They ended up with 287 for 6, which is a huge score in itself.

So a pretty meaningless game in the great scheme of things, but an entertaining fixture, at least compared to what happened in Melbourne on Friday. The difference was that the pitch here was good.

Statistical oddity- Australia scored 344 for 7 in 50 overs, with only one 6 for the innings. And that didn’t come up till the 46th over. Australia scored 300 in 45 overs, without going over the rope once. Bizzare.

Triangular tournaments in Australia

I am so not entertained by the ODI Triangular tournament currently going on in Australia. The format is tired and stale, and the current game, between Australia and South Africa, is suffering because of the slow, low pitch, which makes for hard work for both bowlers and batsmen.

I would much rather just have three or five ODI games between Australia and the touring sides, rather then the traingular format. What do readers think? I’m especially interested in the views of English readers, where the triangular format has only recently be introduced.

Australia v World XI, 3rd ODI, October 9

This series is all over, so today’s game is simply a bit of fun. Maybe that’ll inspire some of the World XI to go all out and try and win – and enjoy it. So far, they’ve looked laxidaisical and disinterested – and not very good, either. All eyes point to the Test but, in the meantime, let’s see if we can have a game on our hands…chat away. I’m posting this yesterday in advance, if that makes any sense, and won’t be around until later on Sunday.

Australia v World XI, 2nd ODI, October 7

So, Australia won the first – let’s hope World XI can keep the series alive by winning today. And, also, I hope the crowd’s are fuller. I’ll be in work at the unearthly hour of 7am BST. Chat away – let’s hope the World XI can put up a better fight this time.