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After reading the 'following day' feature in mX last week and LOL several times in public, I've finally gotten around to reading the actually commentary that it was edited from. I can't say that it won't be considered 'gloating', but I do love British dry humour: here are some highlights from Day five of the 2nd Test...

1035: Morning all. I've got the matchsticks at the ready, this could be one soporific day. I think it's all about points scoring today - can Warney inflict a few wounds on England's batsmen? Can Strauss come to the party? Can Flintoff prove his ankle's fit for purpose? Can KP make McGrath grovel some more? Can Boycott get through the day without saying "no-one's ever scored runs sat back in the pavilion"?

1152: WICKET: England 70-3 (Bell 26)
England are doing their best to make a mess of this. Bell nudges the ball to point, Colly goes steaming down the pitch and Bell, hesitant, is run out by a couple of yards. Clarke with the throw and it's Warne who throws down the stumps. Keystone Cops stuff.

1201: WICKET: England 73-4 (Pietersen 2)
Oh my giddy aunt, Warne's bowled Pietersen round his legs. Ropey attempted sweep by KP and the Aussies go ballistic. I should have got myself on Betfair before this all started today.

1209: Well, I should have know better than to write this off as a certain draw at the start of play. I feel slightly sick all of a sudden, a bit like I felt when I got caught in a storm on an internal flight in Vietnam. If it's getting a bit hairy on a plane, always look at men in suits: if frequent flyers look scared, you're in trouble. Colly whips Clark off his legs for one and Flintoff gets off the mark with a similar shot. Clark then nearly cleans Colly up with a spearing yorker, but the batsman digs it out. Over survived. 75-4

1238:
"There's just no pleasing some people. Everyone wanted a game, and now we have one! England out for 150 and then we'll be after the Aussies to skittle them out and win the game."
Gary Crook in the TMS inbox

1242:
"I was expecting to be able to go to bed at lunch safe in the knowledge that the match was headed for a draw. Now I'm involved in some sort of masochistic hell, drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee to ensure I can stay awake and listen to this torture. Why must England do this to us?"
Simon Furnivall in the TMS inbox

1357:
"As Geoffrey Boycott would say - MY MOTHER COULD DO BETTER WITH A STICK OF RHUBARB!!!"
Paul Valentine in the TMS inbox
(see later comment by Boycott himself)

1425: Those 16th Century English protestants had nothing on this Aussie team and their hideous instruments of torture. This is like watching someone get tarred, feathered, skinned and flambéed. Hoggard sweeps against Warne for one. 102-7

"Michael Vaughan my Lord, where art thou? Michael Vaughan my Lord, we need you now, Michael Vaughan my Lord, Michael Vaughan, Oh Lord, Michael Vaughan..."
Dan Walder in the TMS inbox

1430:
"McGrath's exercises could be because he's been told to come on or it could be him saying to his captain, 'remember me? I used to be your premier bowler'."
Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell on TMS

1447: Maiden over, Harmison smothering well. If England lose this it will be the highest first innings total with declaration to go on to lose the match. I probably could have explained that better, but I really can't be bothered... 107-8

1458: McGrath into the attack. He gets one to bounce twice to the wicket-keeper, Gilchrist misses it and it dribbles away for a leg-bye. Sky has gone down! One of their engineers has obviously got so irate he's cut a few cables. Harmy gets another three with an outside edge down to third-man - his signature shot.

1518:
"Working in an office in Albury, NSW surrounded by gloating, laughing Ozzies. After three solid hours of their mickey taking I am now having to put up with their sympathy. I'm not sure which I prefer..."
Nigel Smith in the TMS inbox

1529:
"In an office in Canberra and have started to talk with a Scottish accent now claiming I know nothing about cricket..."
Paul McBride in the TMS inbox

1538: Warne thinks he's got Colly caught at slip, but the batsman's willow was nowhere near it. Warne then thinks he got Colly lbw, but it pitched well outside leg-stump. Respite for Collingwood, Warne serving up a full-bunger and the Durham lad clipping him to deep mid-wicket for two. Gilchrist/Hayden then drop Collingwood, Warne finding the outside edge, the ball ricocheting off Gilly's gloves and Hayden unable to take a very difficult catch at slip. Full-toss from the final ball and Collingwood slaps him through mid-wicket for four. That over almost gave me a cardiac arrest. 129-9

"How, oh how, did it come to this? I have to do a wedding speech next week and my only source of pride (other than my bride of course) was going to be our performance in the second Test. Now I am going to be lone Pommy figure of derision at my own wedding. Curse you Flintoff, damn you Pietersen, this was meant to be my special day."
Dr Graham Hemson in the TMS inbox

====== and the Australian innings =======

1733: Ponting creams Anderson through the covers for four and repeats the shot for another four, all run, to bring up the ton. Australia cantering to victory now, this really is crushing and I want a hug from my girlfriend. To be honest, I would take a hug from anyone at the moment, even that tramp who lives in the doorway round the corner from me. Wonder if he'll be there when I get home? 101-2

"Just woken up from a horrid nightmare about flesh-eating rabbits to this! As I always say to my junior team here in France, 'Never, ever declare on 550, when you've got a chance of batting against Shane Warne on day five of any Test wicket! Especially if you're going to bat like lemons."
Andrew Johnstone in the TMS inbox

1738:
"Take one Ashes urn. Open toilet lid. Drop. Flush."
Barry Moore in the TMS inbox

1750:
"Here in Oregon, USA, cricket doesn't exist. When England collapse and limply cave-in to our biggest rivals, I like to pretend that cricket indeed does not exist. I think more people should think like this."
Joseph Hunt in the TMS inbox

1808: Clarke clips Flintoff off his legs for a few, before Pietersen brings up the biggest cheer of the day, whipping in a wild throw and the ball running away for four over-throws. Clarke gets seven for the shot, Flintoff looks like he's going to cry. 133-4

Geoffrey Boycott
"They only need 43 Jonathan, they could knock those off with a stick of rhubarb..."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1835:
"My gramps just wanted to get this in: 'Giles is the worst spinner in Tests ever. Gramps should know, he's pushing 90...'"
Jem Jema in the TMS inbox

1842: Jones drops an inside edge off Anderson. I'm not bothered, I don't even like cricket. Hussey then swings Anderson away for four before pushing one into the covers to complete a crushing six-wicket victory. 168-4

1853: That was the biggest load of rubbish I have ever seen. Lots of Aussies going berserk in Adelaide, lots of Englishmen looking like they've arrived home to find the French doors have been smashed and their new plasma TV's been stolen. Thanks for staying with me for the last 10 days - it's been a mix of emotions, but mainly depression and boredom, with a bit of anger and embarrassment thrown in. I'm off to Venice this weekend though, that should be nice, they don't even know what cricket is there. Bye.

========

And in related news which absolutely shocked me: Damien Martyn has decided to retire - effective immediately (baggygreen coverage; BBC). Marto has often been lauded for his graceful batting, but many have also remembered how he battled in many difficult situations over the past few years, often aiding and occasionally leading Australia to victory. His batting has indeed been wonderful to watch, and I wish I'd been able to witness more of it over the years.

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