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Feel the Urn!

Robbo Robson | 12:23 UK time, Thursday, 9 July 2009

Well it's all kicked off. The Ashes. The biennial fight for the most ridiculous trophy in world sport - and since the passing on of Morecambe and Wise, everyone's favourite Little Urn.

Can't they just make a bigger one? I mean every time I see a picture of Vaughany and Punter holding that tiny little toy pot it reminds me of how me mam used to buy me a tiny cheap choccie egg at Easter while Tony Thompson was tearing apart a giant Milk Tray jobbie. She said we were poor, I say she was tight.

Day one began with an almighty sing-song. Of course it being Wales they had to wheel out Katherine Blinking Jenkins. A bonny lass for sure but I'm sure if she was built like Harry Secombe circa 1972 we wouldn't have to be listening to her warbling every time anything of significance happens on the other side of Offa's Dyke.

Still I joined in with Jerusalem. I'm not the most regular church-goer in the land but I blooming love that tune. So much better than 'God Save The Queen' - which is not too horrible a sentiment but I always think that the line is begging to be followed with the phrase 'And to hell with the rest of us'. But I tell you, I'd pay top dollar for a bow of burning gold and some arrows of desire.
Peter Siddle
Then the cricket began. No Harmy so everyone from wickie to gully could take their hard hats off. The lad Johnson bowled a tame over and I thought 'aye, aye, no probs' but he came back well just before lunch.

It's hard to know what to expect from this series, mind. All these new faces but still that rather squinty-eyed Aussie expression in the new boys' eyes, like they've spent their entire lives blinking into the sun. It also gives them an Eastwoodesque meanness. The lad Siddle had that look in spades. A good man to have on your side, by the look of him.

Hauritz looks as average as the press predicted but then that worried me. Four years ago we had the undisputed master of anonymous spin. No not that bloke Gordon Brown had to sack a while back, but Ashley Giles.

Remember him duping Ponting into an unwise sweep? Well substitute rubbish spinner Nathan and top batter KP and it's the same sucker punch. The only difference is that you can be sure Ponting went back to the dressing-room knowing he'd been a right twerp whereas Pietersen comes out and tells interviewers that's just the way he plays.

Can't he at least say 'That's the way I play and sometimes it makes me look a bit silly.' In the past I've thought that big Kev has every right to do his own thing when the rest of them are leaving the hard work to him. But it's not good enough anymore for him to cockily dismiss the fact that he played like a bit of a numpty when he just needed to a bit of sensible stuff while Prior got his eye in.

KP says he likes playing the sweep - but not from three feet outside off stump, you plank! I mean I like a late-night kebab but I wait 'til I find an appropriate outlet, know what I mean?

KP is like the hare in the fable. Bring on a tortoise and he can't help but get complacent. Until he gets rid of his tendency to be a complete dolt when well set he'll never quite earn the tag of the World's Greatest Batsman. Well, outside of his own head, that is.

Still, it kept the day in the balance and Matt and Fred's late show, followed by the wagging tail of Swanny and Anderson (!) has put England on top. Now we'll see how that pair bowl. Flintoff and Broad will bend their backs and Monty will appeal almost as much as the Jenkins lass, but Jimmy can swing it and Graeme can spin it and I think the Aussies could struggle if they get it right.

It's already on a knife-edge, all the memories of '05 have come flooding back, and all the memories of 06/07 have been conveniently forgotten.

Even my missus was hiding behind the sofa during KP's show-stopping 158 at the Oval. Old ladies who didn't get close to the back pages of a newspaper were telling me how much they liked that Mr Flintstone. Kids on concrete housing estates were starting to draw stumps in chalk against ground floor walls and council officials were turning a blind eye to the 'No Ball Games' signs.

More of the same please!

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