BBC BLOGS - Oliver Brett

Archives for July 2009

English swingers make Aussies suffer

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Oliver Brett | 20:07 UK time, Friday, 31 July 2009

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A Test written off by many as a draw before a ball had been bowled burst into life on Friday - and a result remains a distinct possibility despite the continued unsettled forecast for the Birmingham area.

Why? Because two English swing bowlers used helpful conditions to cut a devastating swathe through Australia's batting - making some good players look relative novices.

James Anderson took five wickets to Graham Onions' four, but Ricky Ponting said he felt Onions had outbowled his more experienced partner, and few would disagree.

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The tweet that slipped through the net

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Oliver Brett | 20:05 UK time, Thursday, 30 July 2009

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At 0715 BST on Thursday, an enthusiastic colleague woke me up with a text message: "Hughes dropped in favour of Watson. Enjoy your breakfast!"

Three hours later, as it became clear that play would not start on time for the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston, the story of how Phillip Hughes, the 20-year-old opening batsman, had been left out of the Australian team was suddenly the talk of the town.

By posting a message to his 3,000 followers on social network site Twitter - "Disappointed not to be on the field today," he told them - he had apparently divulged some of Ricky Ponting's closely guarded strategies concerning team selection.

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Edgbaston 'aura' can lift England

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Oliver Brett | 15:51 UK time, Wednesday, 29 July 2009

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Birmingham was a miserable, desolate place on Wednesday.

The most violent rain struck as soon as I turned left onto the M6 from the M1 in mid-morning, but several hours later the two super-soppers making diligent passes around the Edgbaston outfield were still fighting an unwinnable battle.

Much of the moisture that could be removed was ejected by the super-soppers' water cannons onto the stands, at one point comically drenching some of the stewards and groundstaff dotted around the place. But however hard everyone worked, the puddles and small lakes just stayed there.

Years ago, they used to have a thing called the Brumbrella which completely covered the playing area. Perhaps they should have kept it, even if it didn't always work very well all the time, because of all the English Test grounds Edgbaston is one of the poorest when it comes to drainage.

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TMS Blog changes

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Oliver Brett | 11:09 UK time, Friday, 24 July 2009

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Just a quick note to explain some changes to the TMS blog. From today, the blog will aggregate content from individual TMS bloggers, including myself, Adam Mountford and Alison Mitchell.

That way, you'll have the option of following our individual blogs as well as the TMS blog, which will continue to pull all our entries together, along with the occasional contribution from our fellow BBC Sport bloggers.

We hope you enjoy reading and contributing to it.

Misfiring Australia consider their options

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Oliver Brett | 10:51 UK time, Thursday, 23 July 2009

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Kevin Pietersen's series-ending Achilles operation may have redressed the balance a little, but it is Australia who go into the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston needing to find a method of landing a counter-punch after going 1-0 down in the series.

Whether that method includes making changes to their line-up will be one of the most fascinating tableaus between now and 30 July, when Ricky Ponting and Andrew Strauss swap their team-sheets at the toss.

Besides naming Pietersen's replacement, most probably Ian Bell, and possibly recalling Steve Harmison for Graham Onions, England's position is straightforward, with Andrew Flintoff hopefully fit enough to play.

Australia, on the other hand, have a problem with a bowling attack that has failed to take 20 wickets in either concluded Test and looked a man light at times (there are four of them to England's five).

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Flintoff - England's gladiator supreme

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Oliver Brett | 15:06 UK time, Monday, 20 July 2009

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It was not the moment when England actually won the second Test against Australia that will stick longest in the memory.

When Andrew Flintoff - surely bowling as well as any man has at Lord's - picked up the ninth wicket of the Australian innings, he dropped to one knee, and with his arms outstretched held the pose as he faced the spectators in the Mound and Tavern Stands.

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Second Ashes Test - player ratings

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Oliver Brett | 13:11 UK time, Monday, 20 July 2009

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These are my ratings for the 22 men who played in the second Ashes Test at Lord's, as England completed a rare win over Australia in a memorable Test at the home of cricket.

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Previous entries

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Oliver Brett | 17:14 UK time, Thursday, 16 July 2009

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Before my own blog was launched, I contributed to the Test Match Special blog. Here are some of those entries:

Bopara in need of an Ashes score
The weekend before the Ashes began, Ravi Bopara gave a fascinating first-person account of how he felt going into the biggest Test series of his career to date.

Aussies collapse to revitalised England
Watching England bat is a perilous occupation at the best of times. On how many occasions have seemingly impregnable positions been frittered away with hideous, stunningly awful collapses that transform the other side from apparent underdogs to overwhelming favourites?

Brilliant Strauss leads from the front
The 1980s seem to be in vogue pretty much wherever you go. Today's teenagers wear the quirky clothes, exuberant hairdos and wacky eye make-up of 25 years ago and if you had been at Turnberry on Thursday you would have seen Tom Watson, who won The Open three times that decade, roll back the years in splendid fashion.

A nation holds its breath for Flintoff
Nobody can appreciate the massive emotional gulf between success in an Ashes series to failure in another quite as well as Andrew Flintoff.

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