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Phoenix from the Ashes

Robbo Robson | 14:48 UK time, Monday, 13 July 2009

It's all been happening in Cardiff, hasn't it? What with the Test Match and Torchwood. In the case of the latter, the kids chanting alien messages was great fun and when they all said as one 'WE ARE COMING - BACK!' I assumed the aliens must be Welsh.

It was a joy to hear the bastions of TMS constantly having to qualify the usual clichés of combox chit-chat. You know, the 'it's a perfect English - erm, not to say Welsh - summer's day.'

Blowers was in particularly fruity form post-lunch. I swear at one point, when Colly and Swann were in, he said 'So it's 192-7 - is it? No. It's 182-7. Collingwood has 51. Has he? Oh. 61! 61 for Collingwood, I'll get it right in a minute... now let's see how Broad gets on with facing Katich. Is it Katich? Broad's out? It's Swann....'

James Anderson, Monty Panesar

He shouldn't really still be there but he's quite the best toff on the radio I reckon so long may he continue!

Cardiff's cricket-lovers were treated to a hell of a game but at about 12.20 yesterday the Blue Bell was chock-full of angry, ale-swilling realists.

'Sack the lot of them!'

'They couldn't get the hoover out of an under-stairs cupboard, let alone get an Aussie out!'

'Andrew Strauss? We'd be better off with Johann Sebastian Strauss!' (This was corrected by some bloke sitting on his own doing a Sudoku from The Observer - it's just Johann, apparently)

From the moment Pietersen was undone by that most mesmerising of deliveries - the straight one - everything went downhill. And it was the lack of plain old gumption that irritated us.

You knew Colly would dig in, grit his teeth and grind on. The rest of them could lose the plot of a Janet and John book. And yet, and yet, slowly and never ever surely, the wafters and clubbers that are Freddie, Broady and Swanny chipped away at the total and, most importantly of all, stayed at the crease.

There were a whole series of nicks and slices that dropped short or wide of the fielders. There must be a field in hell where sinful cricketers are eternally served up catches that are never quite catchable. Then Colly goes, hangs his head like a gunfighter whose Colt 45 has just jammed while the enemy closes in on him, and out comes Monty.

Then Jimmy A gets two fours off Siddle yorkers - with both shots looking like he's using the bat to flush out a rat from under a chest of drawers - and we're in credit.

Add to that the 'confusion' over the 12th man and the physio coming on to the pitch and time was ebbing away.

Ponting, a loser (or drawer) in the Ferguson mould, blathered on about time-wasting. But if England get away with anything against Punter there's usually some sort of underhand anti-cricket thing going on. Get over it, son.

And while it's true that Strauss's captaincy reminds only serves to bolster Michael Vaughan's reputation, Ponting's skippering is a peculiar thing too. Warne and McGrath would've wrapped things up yesterday without Ricky having to make a decision. Fact is he doesn't have the same firepower or know-how at his disposal now, and to bowl at Flintoff with one slip, or to persist with Johnson (and not the brilliant Hilfenhaus) when the bloke was using the largely disgraced Harmison Sat-Nav, or to put North on at the death with his twee little twirlers made no sense at all.

His batting though was epic. All them experts who were talking up 437 as a top total forgot that in when an Aussie's got his boot on a throat, he only ever lifts it up to change feet. Their batters were everything ours weren't: decisive, relentless, greedy, unforgiving. Not for them the potty paddle or the cross-bat flick across the front pad. Strauss said it was horrible to watch that last day but it can't have been more horrible than watching the baggy green boys amass 670-6! At least there were thrills and spills on Sunday. Friday and Saturday was like watching small furry animals being crushed by a 20-ton steam roller at the rate of one inch an hour.

Still, the whitewash has been avoided and the Blue Bell was awash with goodwill after the mighty Monty held them out. That will, I hope, be his final act of the series. As a bowler he's as threatening as a fluffy white cloud.

The missus wasn't too happy when I rolled into bed, smacked a hoppy kiss on her forehead and said 'Did you hear? We drew!' 'You're happy and we didn't win?' she muttered. And here's a tip fellas. Don't turn the bedside lamp on at 12.45 am in order to tell your lass why five-day cricket is the greatest game on earth.

In fact, cheering though it is to still be at 0-0, there's absolutely no grounds for optimism whatsoever, is there? The top three have looked shaky, but who else is there? Bell? Owais Shah, who gets cramp in his hands 'cos he holds a bat as tightly as a kid on a ghost train holds onto his mam? The neutered bowlers could do with re-jigging but Harmy's not the answer and the only obvious switch will be Onions for Monty. And I'm not sure about the Durham seamer, except he gives you the opportunity to say stuff like 'Onions peels off a few layers before bowling his first ball.' 'Oooh! Onions has brought water to Ponting's eyes with that delivery!' 'Onions has gone! That's shallot, Graham!' etc.

But you can't say it hasn't been a wonderful and exhilarating start. And the fact that steam is gushing out from beneath 11 baggy green caps this morning means that this smile won't be leaving my face for another 72 hours!


  • 1. At 4:05pm on 13 Jul 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:

    How come this has been up for over an hour and there have been no comments?

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  • 2. At 4:05pm on 13 Jul 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    I wonder what Ponting makes of appealing every single time a ball hits the pad. Does it amount to time wasting? Is it the spirit of the game?

    Fact is, the last wicket held firm for 69 balls. If you cant bowl Monty out in either innings, you dont deserve to win a Test match.

    No doubt his batting credentials, Punter is definitely the worst Aussie skipper in my life time.

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  • 3. At 4:08pm on 13 Jul 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    One more thing!

    Why on earth does the Beeb hide your blog under the fridge? Why not on the main page? Who did you offend to deserve this?

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  • 4. At 4:12pm on 13 Jul 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:


    I think I've worked out why there have been no comments yet. The Ozzies really beat in Cardiff but you and I are the only ones in this parallel universe where we got a draw. In all the other milions of parallel universii we lost.

    I know how to find out if I'm right. I'll email my Ozzy daughter who resides in Cardiff and go "na na na -- we got a draw." If she emails back, what you talking about -- you lost, then, alas, It'll be parallel universe for you and me.

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  • 5. At 4:21pm on 13 Jul 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:


    I think you have put your finger on why you and I are the only ones to have commented so far. They hide Robbo's blog.

    In the matter of who did Robbo offend, I should think at one time or another just about everyone, lol.

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  • 6. At 4:30pm on 13 Jul 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Just the three of us at the mo, eh? Cosy. Agree about Punter. To be frank I think he's not the sharpest lemon in the fridge. Mind you Strauss sometimes comes across as Tim Nice but Dim.

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  • 7. At 4:33pm on 13 Jul 2009, vanjoh wrote:

    "Jimmy A gets two fours off Siddle yorkers - with both shots looking like he's using the bat to flush out a rat from under a chest of drawers".

    Fantastic simile, Robbo! Had me frowning and smiling at the same time. Ever thought of writing a novel, or perhaps penning a slim volume of verse? You've got the gift, man.

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  • 8. At 4:36pm on 13 Jul 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Robbo... make that four! Quality as ever, seriously man who did you wind up???

    Ah can you feel that, millions of Aussies all wound up at once... The air of peace and serenity this creates is beautiful! I don't like cheating and time wasting, but dam it was for a noble cause... Some say it is us cheating, but i think the Aussies are the cheats, i have no proof yet, but i think they have actually been practicing... the scoundrals! Wouldn't catch us stooping to those levels!

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  • 9. At 4:42pm on 13 Jul 2009, gerimus wrote:

    I thought we were pathetic. A few boundaries and some boozy cheering and this lot thinks they've won already - on day 1. I've seen better performances in Albert park.

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  • 10. At 4:52pm on 13 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    On a wicket where the Aussies could have sent on Rolf Harris to score a century with his didgeridoo, the fact that the best English batsmen were the bowlers is disconcerting. It's as well that Rolf was preparing to sing Strauss cantatas at the Eisteddfod; the embarrassment might have been unbearable.

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  • 11. At 4:56pm on 13 Jul 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    How come this has been up for over an hour and there have been no comments?


    Quite simply because it's cricket.

    Despite Robbo's tried and tested method of injecting a slur about Fergie I'm afraid that the summer 'sport' is just never going to get the comments going like the footie.

    Of course that could be just because this page resembles a children's playground arguing over the latest Harry Potter escapades during the football season, but still, comments are a plenty.

    I read some bloke called Langer yesterday saying how this was the greatest advertisement for cricket in years. Well if you as anyone from Cork what 'langer' means there I would have to say he is well named.

    This is exactly why cricket is going downhill fast. To put it simply I will use an American to explain. Anytime you need something simple it's always best to involve an American.

    Arguing once about why football was better than the American excuses for sports with a friend of mine he said he couldn't understand how you could get excited about a game played for 90 minutes that could still end in a scoreless draw.

    When I told him you could play a game of cricket for 5 days and still not end up with a winner his head exploded.

    Oh and I do believe that that Ponting chap said the physio farce etc. was nothing to do with the reason they didn't win the match. But as usual why let the facts get in the way of a good Aussie bashing eh?

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  • 12. At 5:11pm on 13 Jul 2009, dyrewolfe wrote:

    No doubt about it - England were awful and on balance, deserved to lose.

    Generally good batting in the first innings (apart from a few dodgy shots) was undermined by powderpuff bowling, allowing the Aussies to take control of the game.

    Complete lack of application by our batsmen second time around, almost cost us the game.

    The rest of the team should hang their heads in shame and sing the praises of Paul Collingwood - the only man to keep his head when all about were losing theirs.

    Broad, Swann, Anderson and Panesar also deserve praise for seeing England through to close of play, but serious questions must be asked about their bowling.

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  • 13. At 5:34pm on 13 Jul 2009, andrewtheboom wrote:

    England were shocking, as was Blowers, but yet both are still there clinging on.

    Blowers is not just the best toff on the radio, he's the best toff in Britain full stop, so long may his reign of inaccuracies continue.

    As for England, if they play that badly again, this result will make no difference.

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  • 14. At 5:39pm on 13 Jul 2009, MarcoPongo wrote:

    Please someone tell me we did cheat over time-wasting. We don't want to beat the Aussies fairly but to leave them frothing at the mouth. It reminds me of Michael Owen against the Argies. He scored one great goal against them, but that doesn't count. His masterpiece in another match was when an Argie defender gave him the faintest of nudges (a nudgette - I've just thought of a new word I think) in the penalty area; Owen rolls over and over - Penalty ! - England 1 - Argentina 0; Argies incandescent with helpless rage. That's the purest pleasure.

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  • 15. At 5:48pm on 13 Jul 2009, prettyipswichtiger wrote:

    Great blog Robbo!! GazUtd whilst Ponting said that why mention it if it is unimportant and as a football fan how can you mention anything about time wasting. Punter was too fussed about getting maximum overs in when all he really needed was one over, or even a single ball, of quality. England were poor but lets hope that this draw gives them the confidence and kick up the back side that is needed if we have any chance of winning the series.

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  • 16. At 6:04pm on 13 Jul 2009, WhitleyBayWonTheVase wrote:

    I can't be the only one to think cricket needs to change - and this game typifies why. How the hell can a team that got two innings, a couple more runs and lost a lot more wickets - salvage a draw!?

    It is lunacy and exactly why the younger generation don't, won't and will never want to understand or get involved with cricket at the levels we need them to. Australia won, we all know that.

    The sooner the cricket world wake up and sort out the most ridiculous draw system in the world, the better. England were outplayed to such an extent that it wouldn't surprise me if the series finished 0-4.

    As for Freddie, well he's easily the most over-rated player in Englands long and proud cricket history.

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  • 17. At 6:07pm on 13 Jul 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    I thought the booing of Ponting as he came out to bat was unnecessary, and the 12th man / physio scene wasn't great. Please avoid in future Mr Strauss.

    But Ricky Ponting can't really complain given his previous track record of 'sportsmanship' and his appealing antics during the game. He should be fined for one of those shows of dissent when the ball had gone nowhere near the bat.

    And Aussies in general shouldn't complain too much about the booing given the bottle-throwing antics of Aussie crowds in the past.... and I still remember the whole roast chicken thrown at Pat Symcox!

    Hope the pitches are livelier during the rest of the series and the scores are more like 2005. Noone wants to see scores of 700, but last years test at Lords (vs SA) was on a pudding of a pitch so I'm not too hopeful right now!

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  • 18. At 6:11pm on 13 Jul 2009, Armi89 wrote:

    I don't understand how Ponting ever became captain. Warne was just a bit too wild to select, but he actually captained the team on the pitch when he played. Ponting does have a certain look that makes him appear generally confused. My dog could have captained a team with McGrath and Warne to loads of wins.

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  • 19. At 6:20pm on 13 Jul 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    PrettyIpswichTiger (Roy, is that you?) - Ponting was asked a question by a member of the press and answered it, he didn't 'mention' it and he said it had nothing to do with the result. What more do you want him to do?

    The draw had nothing to do with time wasting, as WhitleyBayWonTheVase said it had everything to do with the most ridiculous scoring system in sport.

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  • 20. At 6:33pm on 13 Jul 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    Draws have always been part of test cricket and always should be. There was a thrilling draw in the '05 Ashes and this one had an exciting finish. If you hate draws watch 20-20.

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  • 21. At 6:51pm on 13 Jul 2009, sportsfan wrote:

    I don't understand the criticism of test cricket after a game like that!! Everyone knows that to stand any chance of winning a test you need to get 20 wickets and that you can't lose if you still have wickets left at the end of five days. Yes the Aussies were MUCH better in this game, but the end to that match had more tension that you're likely to see all year and Australians, appreciating test cricket as they do, can applaud England for their part in the finish, regardless of the dross we served up in the previous four days.

    Roll on to Lords on Thursday, where it starts all over again...

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  • 22. At 6:55pm on 13 Jul 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    Those people who are complaining about draws in test cricket might want to compare it to a situation in football where a team can more or less line up in front of their goal for 90 minutes and still get the same number of points as the other side which spends the match trying their backsides off to actually win. In other words, those are the rules.

    This result is actually far better for England than Australia. 4 years ago with McGrath and especially Warne, this would have been finished just after sunday lunch. Now its quite clear to see that the Aussie bowling lineup just doesnt have the same bite to it. Also what we do know is that at least 3 and probably 5 of the English batting lineup can do better than they did this time. Colly and Flintoff did fine but the others all fell short in one way or another. Of course, since news has recently broken that Freddie is going to miss the next test match, we are already looking a bit weaker. Heres hoping that KP remembers that its actually possible to play a defensive shot, and Cook gets back to his habitual 50-99 innings.

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  • 23. At 7:09pm on 13 Jul 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    northernsuperspur: Did Flintoff really do 'fine'? He took 1-128 and made 37 and 26. He'll be missed for the intimidation aspect of his bowling, and the balance he gives the side when batting, but I think we have to expect more from someone of his reputation.

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  • 24. At 7:10pm on 13 Jul 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    Why do we need to defend cricket to someone who does not like it?

    Is the life really so empty for some that the best use of the time is to search the net for topics not of the liking, you express your not-asked-for opinions as to why we should all hate it coz you do?

    Dont like it, bugger off!

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  • 25. At 7:14pm on 13 Jul 2009, WhitleyBayWonTheVase wrote:

    #22 - who said - Those people who are complaining about draws in test cricket might want to compare it to a situation in football where a team can more or less line up in front of their goal for 90 minutes and still get the same number of points as the other side which spends the match trying their backsides off to actually win. In other words, those are the rules.

    Unfortunately, that is not an apt analogy. A more apt one would be to say that in the first half England are allowed as many free shots on goal as they want, from the half way line. In the second half, Australia are allowed the same. However, to compare it with cricket and this match in particular, England would then be offered the chance to take another 45 minutes of free pot shots at goal! In doing so, they manage to surpass the Australian goal count by 1. Then, the ref declares it a draw.

    They might be the rules, as you say, but as above - they're completely insane. It isn't good enough for people to say 'it has always been like this and we like it'. The fact is that test cricket audiences are dwindling and 20-20 is rising. One is exciting, the other is nothing but boredom with the silliest rules ever invented.

    Those who found it an exciting end have a strange idea of excitement. How is it exciting to watch a match culminate in a completely unfair result all because of the rules. The England players getting credit out of this is a farce. They deserved nothing at all.

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  • 26. At 7:15pm on 13 Jul 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    Spitfire, I used to think you were named after the plane but as you are always so angry I'm beginning to wonder.

    No one is telling you not to like cricket, am I simply saying why I don't like it. I grew up with a father who, and still does, love it but I never got into it. Wouldn't those who love cricket want to know why that is and maybe why the figures for people watching it are so down?

    And as for the football analogy, you will always get people complaining when a one-sided draw happens in footie, usually a Mr. A. Wenger from North London. As far as I know in every sport where there is an undeserved draw people will complain.

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  • 27. At 7:16pm on 13 Jul 2009, whenfridaycomes wrote:

    Can i just point out this particular game was just 20% of an overall series, and it's the series result that matters, which will have a winner, because as previous winners if the Aussies draw the series they will retain the ashes and therfore win. So please can we have an end to the moanng about five days and no result.

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  • 28. At 7:22pm on 13 Jul 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    I don't really like football for many reasons, but don't spend time on football blogs telling them to change the rules so it suits my tastes.

    And I repeat, if you don't like 5 day test cricket there is 20-20 where results are manufactured if the scores are tied, if that makes you happier with the sport.

    Manufacturing a result after 5 days would ruin test cricket for those who do love it, while not attracting many other fans who don't have the attention span for a 5 day event. Luckily there are many sports out there to suit every taste!

    And these tests are all sold out.

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  • 29. At 7:27pm on 13 Jul 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Anyway there was a result - a draw. I've never understood why footy players say 'we hope to go there and get a result.' I mean if you get trounced 43 bloody nil, it's still a result. Just not a good one.

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  • 30. At 7:38pm on 13 Jul 2009, WhitleyBayWonTheVase wrote:

    #28 - as of Day 4 of the Cardiff test you could still buy tickets for Day 5, via the official Twelfth Man website.

    You can still gets tickets for Edgbaston, at the above site.

    Tickets for day 5 of the Headlingley test can be bought now at £20 for adults. There are still limited tickets for day 4 too.

    The Oval is sold out. However, as you can see, the tests are far from fully sold out. Whats more, as this is supposedly the big event in English/Australian cricket, isn't that a surprise?

    On the sporting 'spirit of the game' issue - well Robbo it is evident that Ponting was right and anyone that thinks England aren't telling porkies needs a reality check.

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  • 31. At 7:39pm on 13 Jul 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    23 - I say that Flintoff did fine only in the context of his batting. You can take the scores and say that he could have got more, but in the second innings especially, his contribution was very valuable. Bowling wise, I cant really say much positive about anyone on the team. It's often hard to do so when the other team gets close to 700.

    25 - The bottom line is that the rules were in place before the match started. Its not as if Ricky Ponting could have walked out at the end and said "it's not fair" because everyone involved knew what the situation was, and what they needed to do. I won't pretend for a minute that a Monty rearguard action is a thing we want to repeat, but at least we were on the right side of it.

    This last point is more of a personal point of view, but I would take a test match draw which might have gone one way or the other, over a 20/20 game any day.

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  • 32. At 7:43pm on 13 Jul 2009, WhitleyBayWonTheVase wrote:

    #31 - oh I agree, England stuck to the rules and got what the rules said they would. My point is merely that the rules are wrong and it is difficult not to view the result as grossly unfair.

    England did nothing wrong as far as 'rules' go, but as far as the game and its future goes - the rules have got to change.

    Also, getting back to Ponting - give the man due respect Robbo. He rightly had a moan but he then credited Paul Collingwood. How many England players would have given any respect to an Aussie in the same position? Not many. Seriously, our standards of play aren't the only things in decline.

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  • 33. At 7:46pm on 13 Jul 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    Plenty of 'results' for the Boro last season then Robbo!

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  • 34. At 7:54pm on 13 Jul 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    WhitleyBayWonTheVase: Day 4 and 5 tickets are often available as games are not guaranteed to last that long, as there is often a result before then! There won't be many, if any, spare seats if the games go the distance, as was illustrated in Cardiff.

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  • 35. At 8:02pm on 13 Jul 2009, couch_potato_peeler wrote:

    In the end, I thought the Aussies were lucky it was the last day. Monty and Jimmy A were just getting their eye in, and I could see at least a 200+ lead.
    Just lulling them into a false sense of security lol.
    Anyway, I'm enough of an optimist to believe we can't play that badly again (can we)?

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  • 36. At 8:15pm on 13 Jul 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    #33 Come on Gaz. And when a man is down, too. Shabby.

    AS for WhitleyBayWonTheVAse - I credi Ponting with being one of the best batsmen the game's seen. But he's a whinger of the highest order and if England bent the rules then some of the man's in the face of the umpire appealing left a bit to be desired. But, like he says, he'll leave all that nonsense to the English and get on with playing cricket the Aussie way. (Actually I'm not sure that is the Aussie way, but it is the Punter way).

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  • 37. At 8:45pm on 13 Jul 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    Moving on to the subject of Australia, Ponting is an incredibly good batsman. In fact looking back over the history of Aussie captains of the last 20 years or so, theres a bit of a trend. You could argue in a few cases whether or not their captaincy was all that special, but with some of the players they have had available, its never really mattered.

    As for his "moaning" I actually say well done. Its refreshing for a sportsman to give an honest opinion rather than running off a stream of cliches. If he is gutted about losing, we want to hear it. A lot of people could learn from the Andy Roddick example.

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  • 38. At 9:12pm on 13 Jul 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    I couldn't resist, willpower and I have constant arguments. Willpower always loses.

    Why are you so down anyway Robbo? I saw some old bloke in the crowd yesterday jumping up and down with such fervour yesterday after a draw that it almost made me want to go to a crickte match to see what all the fuss is about. Almost.

    Not saying that you were that old bloke but surely if he was so excited you shouldn't be down?

    Or is there something else? Go on Robbo you can tell me, or you can at least post it here, it's not like anyone will see during the real sports off season :)

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  • 39. At 9:31pm on 13 Jul 2009, Zanderzelle wrote:

    To me the problem with draws isn't the fact that they exist, its that some wickets favour the batsmen too much and cricket can get boring if it's too difficult to get someone out.

    To continue the football analogies it's like having some pitches with much smaller goalposts than others so draws become more likely.

    Having said that I have no solution to that! Not sure if an "easy to bat" pitch is considered a "bad" pitch. Although everyone kept saying that it faouvred the batsmen none of the comments sounded like complaints. Maybe if the pitch is too easy they should plant a few dandelions to give the bowlers something to aim at. ;-)

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  • 40. At 10:17pm on 13 Jul 2009, HappyCamper of West Dorset wrote:

    If your football team is losing 6-0 at halftime, there isn't a lot to play for in the second half, is there? And it's another 45 minutes of abject misery for the fans.

    I've always enjoyed the concept of watching and playing non-limited-overs cricket matches in the knowledge that a draw is frequently a realistic objective for the team under the cosh. There have been plenty of times on a Sunday afternoon when we let the clever-dickie opposition bat first and stack up something like 280 for 3 before tea, at which point we try and survive, ending up at something like 48 for 9. Wonderful entertainment!

    The last two days of the First Test would have been complete purgatory (and nobody would have turned up to watch on the last day itself) had the draw, assisted by rain, bad light, timewasting, etc, not been a possible outcome.

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  • 41. At 11:19pm on 13 Jul 2009, AGillinghamFan wrote:

    I think some people are missing the point about sport. If the best team always won the phrase 'we was robbed' wouldn't have been invented. Every sport has its surprises, the only diference with Test Cricket is that the rules practically demand them. When you add the variables of the wicket (and how it is prepared by the home groundsman), the toss, the weather, umpiring decisions (although less of a problem with TV), general form of the players and frankly pure luck, cricket, particularly in its test form, is one of the most uncertain and often entertaining forms of sport. I like the entertainment of Twenty20, and the one dayers (although I still can't see the point of county matches other than practice games)but test cricket is still the one that really sorts the men from the boys.

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  • 42. At 11:20pm on 13 Jul 2009, sportsfan wrote:

    39 - That is a good point about the wicket. This is being seen as a very good test match because going into the last session there was still two results possible. However, if England had batted with the same resiliance as the Australian team, it could have been a tame draw with less than 20 wickets falling across four and a half days of play.
    Some wickets are set up to be too batsmen-friendly, often to ensure 5 days of entrance money. A test should be an equal contest between bat and ball, likely but not certain to produce a win but with holding out for the draw also an option.

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  • 43. At 01:56am on 14 Jul 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:

    Is it me, or do other people get the impression GazU is not the happiest chimpanzee in our cage, always pretending it is the other simian who has the problem? Although in my case he's possibly correct.

    Gaz, I want you to take yourself out of your self-centric rouge cacoon and imagine you are a supporter of some other side, not Man U. Go ahead, do it. You'll see the humour in Robbo's comments on Sir Beetroot and the Beetrootettes. As well as seeing Robbo's, possibly more than just mild, envy. There, Robbo's not so bad now, is he?

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  • 44. At 02:24am on 14 Jul 2009, tomneed4speed wrote:

    Robbo blogs are genius...and that is the end of the comment.

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  • 45. At 09:48am on 14 Jul 2009, pidgeGULL wrote:

    if the aussies are still whinging about the 12th man, maybe we should be whinging about the two horrendous lbw calls, one when we desperately needed a wicket and one when we needed Bopara to make a stand.

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  • 46. At 10:17am on 14 Jul 2009, spiritofstoggers wrote:

    if you had watched the entire match you would see that yes, the aussies did in fact get two lucky LBW decisions, but also had two clear cut shouts denied. That is part of the game, and down to the umpire's, not the players and should not be confused with the issue of the lack of sportsmanship demonstrated by the english hierarchy. I believe Ponting deserves a hell of a lot more respect than he receives. He is routinely booed as he enters the ground to bat, which is another demonstration of terrible sportsmanship. He is the australian captain, and one of the greatest batsmen to ever play the game. And all the press are claiming he is moaning about it, but should you choose to actually watch the press conference, rather than rely on sensational reporting, you will see the journalists pressed and pressed for a reaction. Of course he was disappointed, who wouldnt be, but he still refused to use the strong language he was entitled to, and admitted this was not the reason for the draw. Strauss' behaviour made fools of his own team, when they didn't need it. Certain members of the england team batted bravely and with courage and deserve a lot of respect for that. Well done. But there are separate issues here. What was done in the dying minutes by the england captain, was childish, cheating, and unsportsmanlike. There seems a tendency to excuse this behaviour by saying that it happens in football so it must be ok. Well if the behaviour of football players is our benchmark, in anything, then we really are in trouble. Routinely faking injuries, abusing officials, and generally carrying on like spoilt 11 year olds, turns many people from the game. Some call this gamesmanship? I suggest we remove the words 'game' and 'man' from this term as they don't belong, and replace the final 'p' with a captial 'T'!

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  • 47. At 10:43am on 14 Jul 2009, shorty7fr wrote:

    Well said SpiritofStoggers. I think everybody saw that all the Aussie Players (and Ponting was the first) shook hands with both Jimmy A and Monty, after the final ball was bowled. Sportsmanship indeed, which I think all Aussie teams have displayed in the past, whether they win, lose or draw. Yes, they hate us Poms and want to beat us on the pitch, but whinge?? I think they leave that to us!!!

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  • 48. At 12:02pm on 14 Jul 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    DennyCrane you've lost me.

    Granted you did use a lot of big words and some phrases I've only heard when Richard Dawkins gets on his high horse.

    But still, what's being a United fan got to do with the cricket?

    Oh, hang on, maybe I see now, is it that we are like Aussie fans in that we always witness winning and don't like it when inferior teams get something that they don't deserve?

    That must be it :)

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  • 49. At 12:57pm on 14 Jul 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:


    I'm a Pom!!

    Apart from that, you're pretty much spot on with everything you've written, :-))

    Although my heart and my intestines lie with West Ham, I have to say I've come to support your lot as my second team. They play such good football and have Carlos Tevez, a personal hero. However, I might have to do a bit of reevaluation now...

    And by the way, I'm not one of the Johnny Come Lately United supporters; I've supported Man U since around the turn of the thirteenth century. I was first taken by my father, Sir Denye de la Crayon.

    Why is it, do you think, there is a sort of cultural cringe among United supporters which makes them hurriedly tell you they've been supporters for at least two decades?

    I'm a Johnny Come Lately who's supported them since Charley Tevez donned a shirt the colour of Sir Beetroot's cheeks, and I don't care who knows. So I guess next season my second allegence will just have to follow Carlos as he takes the path Dennis Law once trod.

    Of course, there is no way I could possibly shake a lifetime's allegenge to old Emil Zola's claret and blue mob. Maybe it's something reprehensible I did in an earlier life.

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  • 50. At 1:29pm on 14 Jul 2009, EmergingFromGorse wrote:

    "Jimmy A gets two fours off Siddle yorkers - with both shots looking like he's using the bat to flush out a rat from under a chest of drawers".

    That's gotta be the best analysis of a sportsman's technique since Jim Furyk was hilariously described as having a golf swing like "a man trying to kill a snake in a phone booth". Genius.

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  • 51. At 1:41pm on 14 Jul 2009, THEREALCAPTAINJACK wrote:

    1 drawn test and cricket has the most ridiculous scoring system in the world?
    what would be preferable?
    if all games had to be result games and if one team gets the upper hand in a test as australia did by the 3rd day, and only one team, australia, has the ability to win the game, why would any england supporters watch the last two days? to see how badly their team loses? indeed by the last day of a test, the majority of the time, only one team can win by this point. the prospect of a draw is the only thing that can keep a test match interesting until the close on day 5. i will agree the less drawn tests the better and this would be easier achieved if the pitches these days were not featherbeds. grounds need to produce more competative pitches. it is for this reason that the best bats playing test cricket are averaging in the mid 50's as opposed to the mid 40 averages from 10 years ago and before.

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  • 52. At 1:46pm on 14 Jul 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    Denny I never feel the need to tell people when I started supporting United. It was that long ago that I can't remember ;)

    Anyway I never understood this "you're only a glory hunter" mentality. I mean who isn't a glory hunter as a fan? Isn't the very definition that you want glory for your team?

    Well apart from being an English cricket fan, obviously. You don't want glory there as a) you know you're never going to get it and b) what would you have to moan about if you did.

    Besides United fans were even called glory hunters in the 80's when we were winning as much as women who aren't called Williams at Wimbledon. I remember because I was supporting them then, did I mention that?

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  • 53. At 1:49pm on 14 Jul 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:

    Lol, Gaz.

    I'm off to beddybyes soon. c ya.

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  • 54. At 3:06pm on 14 Jul 2009, CrazyDragon1979 wrote:

    As regards people whinging that England could get thrashed but still force a draw that's the beauty of cricket! In every other sport in the world a draw is nestled neatly between vivtory for either but not so cricket which unusually in the sporting world has two goals. Score more runs AND bowl the other side out. It may be perverse to your football schooled minds but I love the difference. That civillised most un-Amercian attitudes that allows a team to fight for a more dignified defeat!

    Why make cricket just like everything else?

    Anyway, a team can obtain a lucky result in a single test but that's why we play 5 glorious tests!

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  • 55. At 3:43pm on 14 Jul 2009, Ged Sweeney wrote:

    Living in Australia I spent all Monday whistling the theme tune to The Great Escape. My aussie colleagues were a bit naffed off not to have won to say the least. When I asked them would Australia do the same thing if, hypothetically they were in the same position England were in they prevaricated about hypothetical situations but would not say "No".
    Mind you when I went further and asked if it was sporting to bowl the last ball of a game underarm or not to walk when out? I was told a) to get over the underarm bowling (LOL) and b) to get real. So where do you draw the line on gamesmanship?
    I cannot understand why people think it is unfair that the result is a draw. The basic rule, as I understand it, is that to win you have to get the opposition out twice and have scored more runs than them when doing so. If neither side achieves that, then a draw it is.
    I don't know if it is true, but I am told that Michael Collins in Eire once said to members of the IRA, that they should "Never underestimate the British, for they invented cricket"
    PS next week I am practising "I don't want to talk about it" by Rod Stewart as my tune for work. Lords and England victories in the Ashes are not exactly best mates are they?

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  • 56. At 3:53pm on 14 Jul 2009, CrazyDragon1979 wrote:

    Plenty of teams in various sports in many games play better than the opposition but due to reasons of fate still fail to win. Ahem - Lions . . . grumph . . . Take from it what you will.

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  • 57. At 4:11pm on 14 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Ref 55 sweeneyged

    The last England Ashes victory at Lords was in 1934 - and it was the only one of the twentieth century. Rod Stewart was only 38 at the time.

    Just in passing, Rod's version of "I don't want to talk about it" was in 1975, but the song was written in 1971 by Danny Whitten of Crazy Horse.

    Quiet this afternoon, innit?

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  • 58. At 5:32pm on 14 Jul 2009, spiritofstoggers wrote:

    Ref 55 sweeneyged,
    There are two things I think I need to bring up in response to your note. Firstly, with regard to walking or not walking, Adam Gilchrist was famous throughout his career for walking, even BEFORE the umpire has given him, so I dont think this criticism or implication can be applied to Australian sportspeople. But on the second note, the under arm bowl, you are spot on. I am an aussie, and I cringe and feel ashamed everytime I see that clip. But the last thing I will do is ignore it, or excuse more of it. I feel it is actually a far worse example than what Strauss etc displayed. But that doesnt mean that any australian for the rest of eternity can never be critical of further unsportsmanlike behaviour. We should all be able to identify it, be it carried out by the teams we support or oppose. I have never ever respected Greg Chappell after that event, and I can guarantee there are a great many Australians who feel the same. But we do not try to justify it simply by saying, that someone else may have also done the same thing one day. Wrong is wrong.

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  • 59. At 6:19pm on 14 Jul 2009, vanjoh wrote:

    You know what, folks, I think we've well and truly covered the last test. Let's look forward to the next one. How's it going to pan out?

    Somewhat perversely, I'm predicting that anyone who played poorly in Cardiff is bound to come up trumps at Lord's. So, that'll be centuries for Cook and Bopara and impressive bowling performances from Broad and Swann.

    When it come to the Aussies, I'm using a completely different rationale, for some unknown reason. Anyone who shone last time is clearly on a run of form and is bound to do so again.

    The result? Another closely-fought draw.

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  • 60. At 6:30pm on 14 Jul 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    Won't matter.

    There'll be golf to be watching!!

    I'm predicting a McIlroy major win or Duval to surprise everyone.

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  • 61. At 7:41pm on 14 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Ref 60 GazUtd

    Bearing in mind your earlier comment, if Langer is mentioned I won't shout out "Get in the hole" in case there are some nuns from Cork watching.

    And what about Tiger being 15-8 against for the Open? LUDICROUS! He might lose his ball.

    Won't be overlooking the cricket, though. What a great week!

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  • 62. At 9:48pm on 14 Jul 2009, Retirethenumber17shirt wrote:

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  • 63. At 10:02pm on 14 Jul 2009, Retirethenumber17shirt wrote:

    Reason to be cheerful - Mark Cavendish, fastest thing to come out of the Isle of Man and right cocky with it too! 4 stages on the Tour de France last year, 3 already this year and always a big nod to the sponsors (Oakley specs, mobile phone etc) at the finish line. I'm guessing the Manx Tourist Board are next on the list, so expect a wave of his third leg when he crosses the line.

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  • 64. At 05:47am on 15 Jul 2009, Msmith93 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 65. At 10:52am on 15 Jul 2009, bredtobered-forum troll wrote:

    denny crane whu
    Although my heart and my intestines lie with West Ham......

    seriously? intestines? who says that? did you eat a thesaurus?

    my heart lies with forest but my kidneys follow notts county. luckily theres not too much rivalry so they get along fine.

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  • 66. At 1:28pm on 15 Jul 2009, Ged Sweeney wrote:

    #58 spiritofstogger
    Good point about Gilchrist. I would add that he stands out as one of the few (if not the only) from any test playing country as someone guaranteed to walk if he thought he was out.
    Subconciously I think I was having a dig at Ricky Ponting who I perceive as failing to be whiter than white in the "Spirit of the Game Stakes"
    As for the underarm bowl I genuinely think that while it might be OK to joke about it like I did at work, it was when, 1981? I don't think it should really be used as an indicator of current Aussie fairness and ethics, and that was not my intention
    My Aussie colleagues do have a bee in their bonnet about English timewasting though, today they told me that England had dropped Panesar in favour of a second Physiotherapist.

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