Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Waugh's declared...

"I am speaking to you from the Long Room at Lord's Cricket Ground. This morning the England Cricket Board's representative in Australia handed the Australian Cricket Board a final note stating that, unless we hear from them by 11 o'clock this evening that they were prepared at once to concede that we are the superior cricketing nation, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country's cricket team is at war with Australia."

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Latest scores

Watson (NSW) ..............................6
Katich (NSW) ................................1
Ponting (Tas) .................................7
Clarke (NSW) ........................Injured
Hussey (WA) ................................0
North (WA) ..................................17
Haddin (NSW) .............................10
Johnson (WA) ...........................121*
Hauritz (NSW) ...............................0
Hilfenhaus (Tas) ....................Rested
Bollinger (NSW) .............................0

Meanwhile, in Tasmania:
Panesar ......................................13

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Ashes advent calendar: Bodyline

If there is one word in the cricketing lexicon that's bound to arouse controversy, it is "Bodyline". The tactic devised by Douglas Jardine to counter the prowess of Bradman, carried out to devastating effect by Harold Larwood, created a full-blown diplomatic incident at the time and has a lasting legacy in Anglo-Australian relations to this day.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Sit Rep

From: A. Flower, CiC, Ashes Expeditionary Force
To: ECB Command HQ, Lord's
08/11/10 09:10 GMT
Overall our first few days behind enemy lines have gone to plan, and we have encountered surprisingly little hostile resistance of the sort we have experienced on previous missions.
We did engage a localised force on 05/11/10 and I am pleased to inform you that after a dramatic breakthrough yesterday morning our first skirmish resulted in a notable success. Cpt Strauss excelled himself, 2Lt Pieterson seems to be back to his former self, and Cpl Broad and Sgt Swann did well to capitalise on some inspired work from young LCpl Finn. There are however still some concerns about Lt Cook and other middle-ranking members of the raiding party, but overall confidence remains high.
We have obtained a document detailing the morale of the enemy populace, and it makes for extremely encouraging reading. It appears that a majority of the locals are convinced that we shall ultimately prevail, and in addition there seems to be considerable mutinous intent both within the populace at large and within the enemy's elite force itself, and we will obviously be aiming to exploit this as much as possible. The enemy have suffered a run of setbacks on a number of fronts of late and seem to be suffering from a certain amount of mental disintegration. Nevertheless I am taking steps to ensure we do not become complacent.
We have now moved camp to Adelaide where preparations will continue.
God Save The Queen.

Ashes advent calendar: The Baggy Green

The Baggy Green Cap is surely the most revered article of clothing in Australian sport. Worn by the Australians since the turn of the twentieth century, the cap is an evolution of the traditional English eight-panelled woollen cricket cap, and features a pre-federation version of the Australian coat of arms.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Shane Warne's nightmare

Ashes advent calendar: Melbourne

Melbourne was founded in 1835 and named after William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, a Whig politician who was British Prime Minister at the time. The discovery of gold in Victoria in the 1850s saw it grow exponentially and with a population of 4 million it is now Australia's second-largest City and it's busiest seaport. After Australian federation in 1901 the national Government resided within Melbourne as an interim measure, until it moved to a purpose-built Parliament in Canberra in 1927.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A solid start

So far, so good...

England wrapped up a good win against Western Australia this morning, and I'm pretty sure that's the first time we've won a First-Class match down under since the 2002/03 tour! We won by 6 wickets after some great bowling by Broad and Swann created a WA collapse and set us up to chase down 243 with just over 50 overs in which to do it.

Good old Captain Fantastic made 120 not out, great to see he's in good nick as his runs have been key for us for a couple of years now. Disappointingly Cook only scored 9 to add to his 4 in the first innings, but Pietersen seemed back to some form with 35. Hard to know how to judge the middle order as we needed to score at a one-day pace, but the main thing is we've started our tour with a win and can build from here.

Ashes advent calendar: The Boxing Day Test Match

The Boxing Day Test Match has become a great tradition in Australian cricket, thanks to a combination of glorious summer weather, one of the world's largest test venues and good old Christmas cheer. This year's Boxing Day match will be the tenth to form part of an Ashes series, with the score currently standing at 5-3 in favour of the home side with one draw.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Ashes advent calendar: Richie Benaud

A international leg-spinning all-rounder, captain, author, journalist, commentator, and Australian national treasure, Richie Benaud is probably the most well-known and well-loved personality in post-war cricket. Indeed, such has been his success with pen and microphone since his playing days ended that all too often his endeavours on the cricket field are overlooked.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Ashes advent calendar: "This thing can be done"

The 29th August, 1882, has, thanks to the Sporting Times obituary, passed into history as the day that English cricket "died". The manner of England's undoing only 8 runs short of victory in an epic match has cemented the everlasting fame of Australian pace-man Fred Spofforth, whose bowling in the final innings almost single-handedly won the match for the tourists, leading directly to the birth of the Ashes.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Ashes advent calendar: The Obituary

While Test Matches had taken place between Australia and England since 1877, and exhibition matches had started considerably earlier, it wasn't until 1882 that the Ashes acquired its name, thanks to the wit of an anonymous cricket fan placing his famous mock obituary in the pages of the Sporting Times.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Ashes advent calendar: Sydney

Host for the fifth and final Test on 2nd January, Sydney is the oldest and largest city in Australia. The city was established in 1788 close to Botany Bay, where Captain Cook had landed 18 years earlier, and from its origins as a penal colony it grew steadily and is now the financial centre of the country and state capital of New South Wales, ranking as one of the wealthiest cities on the planet. It is the site of two contrasting Australian cultural icons - Bondi Beach and the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Ashes advent calendar: Sledging

A firm fixture of the Ashes these days is the practice of Sledging, whereby the fielding side, particularly the bowler or wicketkeeper, attempts to disrupt the batsman's concentration by way of verbal intimidation, mickey-taking, abuse, or anything else with half a chance of working. The Australians are past masters. Rather than give you some long analysis of where it came from, I'll just list as many of the most amusing examples as I can find.


Monday, 1 November 2010

Ashes advent calendar: WG Grace

(the first in a series of trivia articles counting down to the First Test in Brisbane)
What is left to be said about William Gilbert Grace? In his day he was, quite simply, the most famous sportsman on Earth, sport's first real superstar in fact, and even 95 years after his death he remains cricket's most iconic personality.