1st Test day three - rolling blog
The box that rocks
There are plenty of hospitality boxes at this redeveloped ground, all of them full with happy hordes of guzzlers, but one is proving significantly more popular with the snoopers and binocular-users than any of the others.
The match sponsor's one is passed over, the England team sponsor's likewise - for just beyond both lies the seat of the Australian Wags.
Neither is short of glamour or long-lensed admirers.
There's been some stern criticism from some quarters about Cricket Australia's decision to allow players' partners to accompany them on parts of this Ashes tour - not least from Michael Slater, who separated from his wife Stephanie during the 2001 series.
Going by Clarke's innings on Friday afternoon, however, the company is certainly working for him.
Dressed for success
I can't offer Thursday's carnival queen again - although she is knocking about, should you be in the vicinity and mood - but there's been a decent display from her fellow fans today.
These two claimed to be from Mexico, although one sounded very much like he was from Perth and the other seemed very keen on real ale for a central American.
The chaps down below? British through and through, and insistent that no leopards were hurt in the making of their shirts.
Back from the Boks
As you'd expect, the South Wales glitterati have been out in full for this Test. Katherine Jenkins, Max Boyce - and now a decent slice of the national rugby side, including a chirpy-looking Lions fly-half Stephen Jones.
"This is definitely the best way to recover from a Lions tour," said Jones, a middle-order batsman in his own cricketing days. "The sun's shining, I'm out with a few mates and we're enjoying ourselves with a few beers.
"I'm not thinking too much about rugby at the moment - it's nice to have some downtime and switch off - but the tour was a fantastic experience. It was a cracking group of guys.
"I enjoy cricket. I used to play a lot when I was younger, although never at Sophia Gardens - we played in the south Wales league.
"A few of the national team were in the Welsh Schools cricket team though. Jonathan Thomas is a pretty decent player."
On Saturday, Jones's fellow Lions Martyn Williams and Gethin Jenkins are also expected. Expect the principality paparazzi to be out in full.
The battle of the breakthrough
After that sobering afternoon and evening for England on Thursday, all the morning chat in Cardiff was about whether Andrew Strauss's men could haul themselves back into things in the first hour of the day.
The consensus was that three wickets were needed before lunch, with a minimum requirement that overnight centurions Ponting and Katich be sent on their way.
Strauss opted to start with Stuart Broad from the Cathedral Road end and Monty Panesar at the other, and the early signs were promising.
In Broad's first over he got one to jump and jag past Katich's prodding edge, something of a collector's item in the opener's innings so far, and the first run of the day didn't come until the third over.
From then on, however, the Aussie pair began to play how they'd left off the night before. The 200 partnership came up in the sixth over, and when Strauss turned to Graeme Swann, the leading Test wicket-taker in 2009 responded with two full tosses that Ponting put away for a four and three.
Nine overs in, it was time for the new ball. Ponting lined up James Anderson, pulled a short one away for four and then drilled a dreamy drive away for another.
When Andrew Flintoff's first ball turned out to be a replica of Steve Harmison's in Brisbane - starting wide, going wider, taken in front of second slip by a full-length Matt Prior - a groan of dismay rolled around the grandstands.
As omens go, it was a horrible one. Australia rattled up 602 in that Brisbane innings, Ponting contributing 196, which made Anderson's pearler to get rid of Katich three overs later even more important.
The same fans who'd been rooting around in their picnic boxes for something to take their minds off the cricket have now pushed the nachos away unwanted.
Breakthrough #1 in the bag. Now for the next two.
NB I'll have eyes on this blog all day, so pile in for a chin-wag whenever the mood takes. Twitter also in action - 'http://twitter.com/tomfordyce', unsurprisingly, if you fancy following.