Do you think Ricky Ponting has enough confidence in his team? How big a target will he set England before he can breathe easily at the thought that the opposition can't win? Will 700 be enough? Maybe he'll bat till tea-time Sunday and hope that even Australia's bowlers can contain Strauss and Cook to less than 800 runs in four sessions.
Australia 602/9, England 53/3. We've been there before. Many times.
What if Freddie had won the toss yesterday? And said "this pitch has a bit of life in it, we'll bowl first"? Yeah well, what if he decided to have a bat? Maybe they would have gotten 400 and felt happy with themselves.
Instead, they batted second... starting about an hour before stumps on the second day. They might make 400. In fact, they need 403 to avoid the follow-on. That's not looking too good right now.
Some unhappy news in today's press about reports of racial abuse directed at Monty Panesar at the SCG during the England v NSW game this week.
My heading says it all. The great man, Yabba, was a witty barracker in his day ("Hey Jardine! Leave our flies alone!"), but he would never have hit below the belt.
There are plenty of good-natured ways of getting a point across without resorting to abuse, racial or otherwise.
This press release from the ICC regarding Sunday's Contretemps at Kennington arrived in my inbox in the last half-hour. It might be the final word on the Test, but I think there's still some blood-letting to come. I wonder if the ECB's insurance covers this type of cancellation:
Fourth Test awarded to England after umpires deem Pakistan to have forfeited match
The fourth Test between England and Pakistan has been awarded to England after umpires Billy Doctrove and Darrell Hair deemed Pakistan to have forfeited the match.
The umpires made their decision in accordance with Law 21.3* when the Pakistan side failed to emerge from the dressing rooms after the tea interval.
This followed the umpiresâ€™ awarding of five penalty runs to England during the second session of the fourth day after alleged interference with the match ball by the fielding side.
Subsequent to the umpiresâ€™ decision to award the match to England, a series of meetings took place to try and arrive at a situation that was in the best interests of the match and the game of cricket.
Those meetings involved match referee Mike Procter, the two captains Andrew Strauss of England and Pakistanâ€™s Inzamam-ul-Haq, umpires Doctrove and Hair, England Head Coach Duncan Fletcher and Pakistan Team Manager Zaheer Abbas, the Chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) David Morgan and Shaharyar Khan, the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ECB Chief Executive David Collier.
ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed also spoke to umpire Darrell Hair by â€˜phone from Dubai.
Following these meetings the umpires decided that, having made the decision to award the match to England, to change that decision would not be in keeping with the Laws of Cricket.Â The ICC backs the decision of the umpires.
The issue of a charge or charges to be laid against Pakistan under the ICCâ€™s Code of Conduct will now be dealt with at the earliest possible opportunity.
Pakistan has been charged under Level two of the Code of Conduct, 2.10, which relates to changing the condition of the match ball.
The ECB has undertaken to provide a 40 per cent refund to all spectators who purchased tickets for the fourth dayâ€™s play and a full refund for the 12,000 spectators who pre-purchased tickets for Mondayâ€™s scheduled fifth day.* Law 21.3 reads: â€œUmpires awarding a match
(a)Â Â Â A match shall be lost by a side which
eitherÂ Â Â (i) concedes defeat
orÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (ii) in the opinion of the umpires refuses to play
and the umpires shall award the match to the other side.
(b) If an umpire considers that an action by any player or players might constitute a refusal by either side to play then the umpires together shall ascertain the cause of the action.Â If they then decide together that this action does constitute a refusal to play by one side, they shall so inform the captain of that side. If the captain persists in the action the umpires shall award the match in accordance with (a) (ii) above.â€
In the only suitable fashion.
No play before lunch, rain
Marylebone Cricket Club v Nottinghamshire at Lord's, 14-17 Apr 2006
"The England boys richly deserve their MBEs and OBEs and I was delighted when I heard on the TV I was going to get my own Sun gong!"
- attributed to Gary Pratt, The Sun, 30.12.05
I think it's fabulous how the Blair Government has opened up the honours lists to people who would never have been contemplated in stuffier times. But I think they're going a bit overboard in rewarding national sporting victories. A dangerous precedent was set when England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and now we have the 2005 Ashes squad all getting gongs.
Something I thought I would never see, well not in this decade anyway, appears to be unfolding at New Road, Worcester, today.
It's lunch on Day Three of the Second Women's Test between England and Australia. The visitors made 131 in their first innings. England, after being 227 for 9 at the close of the second day, advanced to 289 all out. Australia faced sixteen overs before lunch. They are currently 13 for 3.