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Archive for the ‘The Ashes’ Category

This has been one of the funniest set of video diary clips I’ve ever seen from a sports team. You don’t get comedy like this from £million T.V comics with massive budgets! Down to earth, they all seem to have a sense of humour… It highlights how relaxed all the test match squad were, not many massive ego’s and if there were, Swanny and co would deal with it! The first clip that started off ‘the sprinkler’ was hilarious and if you haven’t seen them, you must! Well done Swanny and the England Cricket Team.

I’m also pleased, and slightly surprised that the ECB decided to show highlights of each session, pretty much instantly, on their home website. Essential resource for people who don’t have Sky.

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I’m sure that a lot of you will have read Will Swanton of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph’s 10 point plan as to why England won’t win the Ashes. So here it is, but with my take on Mr. Swanton’s ludicrous list.

1 Overrated

They walked around The Oval after their dominant home summer like they were God’s gifts to Wisden. Here’s who they really beat. No one. Nuffies and cheats. England clean-swept the worst team on the planet, Bangladesh, and then won three out of four Tests against rotten Pakistan. Now they’re portrayed as superstars.

You can only play who is put in front of you and England easily and nonchalantly dispatched both Bangladesh and Pakistan with ease, they were rightfully ranked above Australia before the Ashes so had every right to feel confident and be rated by the public.

2 Kevin Pietersen

He might be growing a moustache for a very good cause but he’s still getting around looking like Dirk Diggler out of Boogie Nights. His most recent Test efforts have been the biggest joke. John Buchanan was right with his assessment of Pietersen. Buchanan was panned because the truth hurt. There’s more than one ‘I’ in Kevin Pietersen and it hurts morale.

He wore the moustache for a charity that was started in Australia no less, but go ahead and mock anyway. Every batsman has a run of good and bad form but without doubt the Aussies would love KP to have been playing for them. 227 at Adelaide tells its own story too.

3 No top speedster

Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steve Finn are respectable quicks. But they lack the fear factor. Every truly great attack has someone pushing 150km/h, like Mitchell Johnson does for Australia. None of the touring fast bowlers are frightening. Away from swing and seam-friendly England, that doesn’t leave them with much.

As it turns out, pace is overrated; England’s bowlers barely touched 90 mph (or 93.21 mph as they put it) but looked and indeed were, far more dangerous than the random selection of “bowlers” they put up. Johnson was so bad after the 1st test he was dropped for the 2nd, despite bizarre claims he was ‘rested’. The only time Johnson was dangerous was when he was swinging the ball, pace had nothing to do with it.

4 Passive captain

Andrew Strauss has to lead by example because his introverted demeanour doesn’t get the blood pumping too much. Only his scores do. He leads with quiet assurance when things are going well. But he comes across as introverted and submissive when things start going pear-shaped.

I don’t need to defend Strauss so I won’t, but Ponting needs to be questioned as captain surely? That is now three Ashes series defeats and during this series his captaincy was at times a joke. Strange field positioning, wrong bowlers at the wrong time and whatever you read to the contrary, it was Ponting that didn’t want Hauritz in the team. He ducked the last test and left poor pup to face the wrath of the media, he is one of the greatest players of all times but sometimes you need to do what’s right for the team. Learn from Paul Collingwood Mr Ponting.

5 No superstars

Pietersen is as good as anyone when he’s in the mood, but he hasn’t been in the mood for a long time. He couldn’t make a hundred against Bangladesh – his 99 was close but no cigar – and Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus and Johnson can smell blood. Graeme Swann is the only Englishman to make a world XI right now. England are successful because they know their limitations. Which means there are limitations?

A current world XI would include more Englishmen than Graeme Swann, I don’t believe however, that any Australians would make it in at all. Bollinger, Hilfenhaus and Johnson smell blood? Between them they didn’t take as many wickets as Anderson took on his own. Oh, and again, KP scored 227 in Adelaide.

6 Over-analysis

They’ve faced bowling machines with footage of Australian speedsters running in at them – and still didn’t want to know about Mitchell Johnson. They’ve given themselves three weeks in Australia to acclimatise but haven’t played on pitches like the monster they’ll encounter at the Gabba. Every breath they take is a part of a suffocating plan. There’s no freedom, nothing instinctive or adventurous. Paralysis by over-analysis.

At no point during the entire series did any of England’s batmen look like they were bothered or scared by the bowling of the Aussies. Is this because they are fearless by nature? Some are, but mostly it is because they prepared themselves and analysed the opposition properly. As for the machines that replicate Johnson’s bowling, you simply couldn’t make a machine be that random, other than one decent swinging spell he was incredibly ordinary. As for the “Monster of the Gabba”….517/1 is all I have to say to that.

7 No depth

In such a cramped schedule, injuries are bound to hit both camps. England are in serious strife if they lose any of their first XI. There’s a vast gulf between their top-tier players and those on the standby list. Australia can only hope and pray that off-spinner Monty Panesar is called in for Graeme Swann. Australia have eight Test-standard speedsters in the queue.

This is by far the stupidest of all of these 10 points, England lost Broad after two tests so Tremlett came in and took 17 wickets in 3 tests at an average of 23. Bresnan replaced a jaded Finn who had already taken 14 wickets at 33 and took 11 wickets at 19.5. Lots of numbers and facts but essentially, England’s “back-up” bowlers were almost better than the first choice attack. Also, anybody thinking Eoin Morgan wouldn’t have knocked at least a century against this very poor bowling attack is crazy.

8 Chokers

This is England we’re talking about. Losing is a tradition. Think soccer World Cups. Think Tim Henman at Wimbledon. Think every cricket tour of Australia since 1986-87. They always arrive talking themselves up, vowing they won’t wilt under the heat and pressure and scrutiny, then wilt under the heat and pressure and scrutiny. They’ve hired a self-described Yips Doctor – because they need one.

If they did hire a “Yips Doctor” then it worked a treat, but if we are talking about choking then England certainly isn’t the team that should be mentioned. Traditionally England do struggle in sporting events but when everything clicks, they are more than a match for anybody, the Australian rugby team who played in the  2003 world cup final will testify to that.

9 Warm-ups

Everyone keeps rattling on about England’s perfect preparation. They must be having a laugh. A few of them made runs at Adelaide Oval. It’s like batting on the Hume Highway. Anyone seen the scorecards? Western Australia rolled England for 223. South Australia dismissed them for 288 on the Hume. And Australia A ripped through their top order in Hobart A yesterday. Perfectly prepared? Piffle.

All of those matches showed where the problems were and what mistakes are being made, then they were all corrected when it really mattered, it was the Australians who peaked far, far too early in those games.

10 Scars

Five of their top six batsmen are the same lot who stumbled and bumbled through the 5-0 loss on England’s last trip to Australia. The scarring is deep and real. Jimmy Anderson’s memories of Australia are all nightmarish. He averaged 45.16. Broad and Finn are yet to play a Test series in Australia. Hard surfaces jarring bones and muscles, oppressive heat – they won’t know what or who has hit them.

I would suggest that instead of scarring those players it spurred them on to play at the highest possible level and with a mentality that was “we will not be beaten”. Six of England’s top seven batmen all scored centuries during the series and as for Jimmy Anderson, he was simply unplayable. Hard surfaces jarring bones and muscles, oppressive heat – they won’t know what or who has hit them – this must be how the Aussies feel.

Marcus J Mitchell & Will Swanton (sort of!)

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First and foremost I am a football fan, I love lots of sports but it’s instilled upon me to be a football fan, so I am used to seeing all sorts of players using gamesmanship to gain an advantage over the opposition. It could be making the most of a challenge, wasting time near the end of a match or claiming a corner or throw in when you know it went out off you.

I am also, and disappointingly, used to players outright cheating, it isn’t uncommon to switch on a live match, or highlights and see somebody pretending they have been hurt when tackled, or worst still, making out that they have been punched or kicked to try and get their opponent sent off.

But last night I saw something even worse than that, Philip Hughes fielding at short leg claiming a catch off Cook when he knew it had bounced first. This might seem like nothing to the eyes of a non-cricket fan but cricket is a different sport to football. In fact cricket is different to almost any sport in the world because in some respects the umpires are there just for decisions the players can’t make, but for everything else the players do the work for them.

It is the done thing that a batsman walks before being given out if he knows he hit it, same if a fielder knows he caught it, the umpire would simply ask the fielder if he did indeed catch it, if he said yes you take him at his word and the batsman is out.

That is what makes Hughes’ claim even worse, if you see a replay of it, he knows straight away he hasn’t caught it but is almost convinced by his team mates that he did, Cook stands his ground forcing the umpires to deliberate and check with the video umpire who, along with everyone at the ground and everyone watching around the world, see the ball bounce before going into Hughes’ hands.

Hopefully this isn’t the end of cricket as we know it, but there surely should be repercussions for Hughes, just because he is a dreadful cricketer doesn’t give him the right to cheat. But that is exactly what he attempted yesterday.

Phil, it’s just not cricket.

Marcus J Mitchell.

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After England retained The Ashes yesterday with a very comfortable innings victory, it was left to the man who started the craze in the first place to lead the jubilant team in a perfect rendition of…The Sprinkler.

Lets go to Sydney, destroy the Aussies and leave with a comprehensive 3-1 series victory, then the dancing can really start!

Marcus J MItchell.

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The two captains shake hands. The umpire flips the coin. The coin lands… The game is decided. According to cricket, according to some analysts, according to many fans, the game is over. Whoever wins the toss, wins the match. This may, in hindsight, be wishful thinking while Australia are 50-odd for 4 in the all-important 4th Test, but England have won the coin toss, bowled first, with only four bowlers, and done very well.

So is it crucial? It does give the winning captain a choice. Bowl; or, usually, bat first. ‘Get some runs on the board.’ Set the other team a target. Compared to football, compared to tossing for which ‘end’ to play toward; compared to who serves first in tennis, the flipping of a coin has a direct impact on how a cricket match develops. The captain is in control. Or is he?

It’s a tough choice. If the wicket is flat, then the batsmen are jumping for joy. If it’s green, then the bowler is chomping at the bit trying to pick up early wickets. If it’s in between, a bit green, a bit flat, who knows? The skill of the captain.

I’m not overly convinced the toss has such a great impact. Many commentators claim it’s crucial. I believe if your team is good enough, if your batsmen are better, if your bowlers are better, if your fielders are better, you’ll win. If it’s close, again, it’s the skill and ability that’ll decide the game, not who wins the toss of the coin (unless you’re playing in Sri Lanka or Leeds ;o))

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The crucial word in the title is “upcoming”, it may never happen; England winning The Ashes on Australian soil, as many a cricket fan of my age (29 years and 16 months) knows, just doesn’t happen. I’ve never seen it. The current Australian players may well turn on the ability switch we know they’ve all be pre-programmed with (or so it seemed to me forever) and drag this 3rd Test back from the jaws of obvious frailty and turn it into a dramatic victory. Ending my current state of constant goodmoodedness. Right, now all the superstitious insecurities are out-of-the-way, we can get on with defending the current – and we’ve won two of the last three Ashes series – level of success.

We beat Australia in England in 2005.  That series has been described as the best series of test cricket ever. I agree. It was the first time I’d ever seen an Ashes victory, so I’m somewhat biased. Nevertheless, we did beat an Australian side full of proven world-class performers. Warne, Ponting, McGrath, Hayden, Lee, Gilchrist, Langer, Hussey, Katich and, erm, many would include Clarke and Gillespie/Tait, which kind of makes the listing of individuals pointless. They were all world-class. And we beat them.

They then got revenge. The Ultimate Humiliation. McGrath predicted correct and we lost 5-0 in Australia. Similar sides, reality reinstated.

We fought back. Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar held on for a draw in Cardiff and we went on to beat a slightly different set of Aussie players. No McGrath, no Warne, less attitude, less ability, less confidence. Australia weren’t the same team. But they were playing a better England side. A side growing with confidence. Young players fulfilling their potential, long-term positive consequences of central contracts (something the Australians did first), an impressive coach and an even more impressive captain (after the chaos of Flintoff and KP).

So here we are…

What made me think about the upcoming banter, defending the victory from various accusations, was this retweet by the wonderful cricket/sport tweeter Pam Nash or Pam_nAshes

It’s not really England that are winning. We’ve got four players who were born in South Africa. We’re effectively South Africa 2nd team. Strauss moved to England at the age of six whereas KP, Trott and Prior all headed to England looking for new opportunities in their own cricketing careers after failing or not being picked for their sides in South Africa. Not only do they have to qualify over a period of years before they’re eligible for England, but they have to be good enough. Contrast that with the days of Hick, Lamb and many, many other players who were born in other parts of the world. I never heard the claims “ENGLAND ARE CRAP: WHY? THE FOREIGN PLAYERS” I might’ve missed it in the Star, but from memory it was England who were crap. Everything about the game. The county game. The contracts the players were on. The intensity of first-class cricket. The attitude. The pitches. Graeme Hick. The coaching. The coaching and the coaching. Never the non-English-born-but-now-qualified-different-accent-types who filled the middle order, bowled the new ball spells or found drift and turn with the off-spin. It never came up. We blamed Robin Smith, Allan Lamb and Graeme Hick. Not South Africa or Zimbabwe.

Another reminder was this brilliant blog post by Lev Parikian. The title ‘Come back Australia, all is forgiven’ hints at the content. He may, at times, be provocative, or maybe he’s in a state of shock – as I am – with the current on-field success. But this claim takes a shine off any potential England victory.

The worst-case scenario is that the dip in quality in Australia’s domestic scene persists, young athletes look to other sports (notably Australian Rules Football) and Australia become, medium-to-long term, a mediocre team, thus further denuding the pool of competitive Test-playing nations.

I don’t mind if this happens. As long as we’re a little bit better “mediocre team”. Of course we all want to see barnstorming, edge of the seat, nail-biting test matches like we saw in 2005. Overcoming the very best in the world. It was amazing. But then,

They then got revenge. The Ultimate Humiliation. McGrath predicted correct and we lost 5-0 in Australia. Similar sides, reality reinstated.

I don’t want that. I’d much rather they were in disarray. Changing the system. Doubting the attitude, blaming the coaches, introducing different contracts, laying different pitches…anything but long-term stability. I want them to select the wrong players. I want them to select players who are out of form. I want them to drop players who could do a job. I want them to be nostalgically hoping Warne might turn his arm over again. I bloody love it. And if any Australian fan has to endure 20 years of defeats, humiliating defeats, constant defeats, only defeats; I’ll be smiling. And I’m prepared.

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Before play started we were given the news that Stuart Broad has torn a muscle in his side and will play no further part in this tour, it’s a great shame for him and for England as he would have been perfect for Perth with its bouncy pitch, but in Chris Tremlett we have an able replacement, I feel that both Bresnan and Shahzad are better bowlers but for Perth, Chris Tremlett was made to bowl there.

Still feeling rough with my headaches, went back to the doctors who assured me I have nothing more wrong than was first diagnosed, I cannot question it as I do not have a medical degree but I will see how I feel come the end of the week, due to not feeling well I have no snacks whatsoever!

23.32pm: I missed the first two overs of the day as I was unaware that play was starting early again, missed nothing important so no harm done.

23.39pm: Beardy Prior misses a catching chance of Hussey, this could prove disastrous as Hussey can bat all day if needed to and also plays spin very well so negates the danger that Swann possesses.

23.54pm: Fortunately that miss from Hussey didn’t prove too costly as he plays a terrible shot from a high delivery from Finn and hooks it skywards and into Jimmy Anderson’s hands.

00.00am: Anderson is really causing Haddin some problems, his bowling is accurate and you feel Haddin really wants to play at one but just can’t, 272/5.

00.12am: Swann is back bowling, he needs to stay in now until the Aussies are all out.

00.20am: Finally the consistency of Anderson’s bowling pays dividends when Haddin caught one with his bat and it went straight into Beardy Priors gloves. 286/6.

00.24am: Harris comes in on a king pair (when you get out with the first ball you face in both innings) and duly obliges by getting trapped first ball LBW by Anderson, he reviews it with an expectant shrug and the review confirms the decision, Australia struggling now on 286/7.

00.27am: A massive appeal goes up for LBW against North, the umpire says no, England review and it was given out, a massive blow as Australia’s last recognised ‘batsman’ is out and the tail is exposed.

00.36am: I remember one of the commentators of TMSofa saying yesterday that he had something in common with X-Doh, they were both going to play the same amount of test matches from the end of this test until the day they die, none!

00.41am: Australia’s tail enders momentarily are putting up a little fight by both scoring 4’s.

00.42am: The resistance is short lived and X-Doh is bowled between bat and pad by Swann.

00.49am: Doug the rug plays a couple of decent shots and the Australian total moves past 300, they are still a long way from avoiding an innings defeat.

00.55am: Swann clean bowls Siddle with a peach of a ball and it is over, Australia are out for 304, England win by an innings and 71 runs.

It has been a truly fantastic performance from England and they have dominated from the beginning, we now head to Perth 1-0 in the series and because we are the holders only need 1 win from the last 3 tests to retain the Ashes.

A nice stat to end, Peter Siddle’s wicket fell at 10.55am local time, at 1.42 the rain started falling and did not stop all day, the Aussies only needed to bat on for 90 minutes or so to have secured the draw, wonder if Mike Hussey will be thinking about that when he sees a replay of the shite shot he played to get out.

Oh and also, yesterday was Adelaide’s wettest December day since records began in 1839. Good timing boys…….

See you in Perth (not actually of course)

Marcus.

Sleep total for 1st test – 28.5 hours (still quite respectable but remember bad head + painkillers)

Sleep count for 2nd test – 25.5 hours

Food count for 1st test – 2 Cheese, Ham and Tomato toasties, 2 Ham and tomato ketchup sandwiches,1 Chicken and Mushroom pot Noodle, 2 slices of bread and butter, 2 mallow chocs, 1 WS&V, 1 WC&O, 1 Steak kettle chips (150g), 1 Roysters, 1 crunch corner, Faye’s leftover Cantonese chicken, 4 pints of diet Pepsi, 1 pint of Beck Vier, 1 bottle of diet coke (200ml) and 1 pint of water.

Food count for 2nd test – 5 pints of diet Pepsi, 2 WC&O, 1 pickled onion monster munch, 2 cheese and ham toasties, a pack of custard creams.

FIFA record P11 W10 D1 L1 – F25 A13.

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The wicket of the future Australian test captain Michael Clarke at the end of the 4th days play was another example in a list of players who knew they were out, but stayed around and waited for the umpire to give them out. Of course they should. Umpires need to be left to do their jobs. That’s what they’re there for after all. Not in cricket. Since cricket began, players have been encouraged to walk off the field if they know they’re out.

“If you nick it to the keeper, walk off the field, don’t wait for the umpire to give you out – you know you’ve hit it. It’s cheating otherwise.”

I heard those words at the first two junior clubs I played for, from both the captain and the coach. Once I started playing adult cricket I found the rules had changed. I was informed it was bad for the team, by the same coach – who claimed they had to encourage ‘the spirit of cricket’ to junior players. Now, I knew many players in the junior ranks, including myself who never walked. Ever. I’m a wicket keeper and I’ve caught batsman after batsman, who’ve hit the ball but haven’t been given out by the umpire. They didn’t walk and I don’t blame them. So what’s with the apology from Clarke? Either admit you theoretically cheat, like most players; or walk. Don’t bloody apologise afterwards on a social network.

There has been a famous example of an Australian legend, and the best wicket keeper I’ve ever seen, Adam Gilchrist – who in the last few years of his career was known to walk off the field if he hit it. The idealist in me loved it. On the big stage, under the intense pressure, he still decided to set an example. Other players were not so keen. You can’t win.

As I’ve got older, I’m leaning toward the Gilchrist way of thinking. Another famous name within cricketing circles, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, explains it better than me,

That is the way I was taught to play cricket. I believe it to be in the true spirit of the game and that what one might call the Southern Hemisphere view – that the umpire is there to decide if a batsman is out or not – is rubbish and has been responsible for a demeaning of that spirit. I give you simple evidence. When a batsman is bowled; he walks; when a batsman hits the ball in the air to mid-off and is caught; he walks. When a batsman snicks Monty Panesar to slip via the wicket-keeper’s glove and is caught by slip; he walks. But when a batsman snicks it into the keeper’s gloves only – and not into a fielder’s hands – he doesn’t walk – in the hope that the umpire might not be certain… Where is the logic, or the honour in that?

Umpires need the help of players because there can be no organized game without umpires. Walking helps them. It used to be the convention in England, still is for most county players and it should be again, here and everywhere, because is the honest and decent thing to do. Not walking when you know you are out is dishonest. I did it only once – for a good reason it seemed at the time, but still the wrong one. I felt so guilty that I got out immediately afterwards.

Cricket would instantly become a better game if young cricketers in every country were to be taught from now onwards that walking is the right thing to do when they know they are genuinely out. Most wickets fall, after all, to catches. Essentially it would reduce the umpires’ contentious decision-making to lbws, run-outs, stumpings and those rare occasions when it is not clear whether or not a fair catch has been made.

If you’ve got time, read the whole speech. It’s a spirited and passionate plea that I hope becomes the norm, although I’m not convinced that it will. I went to play cricket again this year for the first time in 10 years. I had this exact conversation. I then batted 2 weeks later, and walked. My captain was furious. I explained why, and he seemed okay but we’ll see what happens next time it happens. Thankfully, he’s given me out LBW twice since when the ball hit me outside the line of off stump. I’m not too sure what his logic is, but he’s not the captain (or if I’ve got anything to do with it, umpire either!) next season so swings and roundabouts…

Yorkshire broadcasting great and avid cricket fan Parky also makes the case for walking here in The Telegraph.

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Heading into day 4 there have been rumours of more rain so Strauss needs to be careful regarding what he does next, he could bat on and quickly add another 80 or 100 runs then put them in and see if we can knock them down, alternatively he could declare now, personally I would declare now and let Swanny get at them, but maybe that is why I’m sat in N. Wales watching and he is over there with the decision.

11.30pm: I flick on Sky Sports ready for the action and as I do they are ready to bowl the first ball, that was lucky, they are making time up which was lost due to rain yesterday.

11.32pm: As I was not ready for the start, I have no snacks prepared, I will rectify that situation asap, KP and Bell get their 100 partnership, that is 4 consecutive 100+ partnerships for England, impressive!

11.46pm: KP is caught at 1st slip off the bowling of….X-Doh, the Aussie selectors have nailed it, KP’s frailty against left arm spinners is once again shown and he gets his man for….227 (only 18 short of Australia’s entire 1st innings!) KP bests his previous highest score by 1.

11.53pm: Prior is out LBW from Siddle, he starts to walk but just for the hell of it calls for a review, why not, we have 2 left and only the tail after him, review shows the ball missing leg stump by 4 or 5 inches, not out, result!

11.55pm: I pop downstairs and get myself a pint of diet Pepsi and 1 WC&O.

11.57pm: Bell get his 50, he was the man all the chatter was about as the form batsman coming into the ashes, unfortunately for him (but not for anyone else) all the top order batsmen have been scoring for fun so he hasn’t had a chance yet.

11.59pm: Bell reverse sweeps one and the injured Katich has to run all the way to the boundary to retrieve it, they run 4 so he needn’t have bothered, just made me laugh!

00.05am: England reach 600, Bell and beardy Prior are flying, I imagine a declaration is imminent, within 20 mins I think (although you can never second guess Strauss)

00.11am: This is one-day stuff from them now, they are scoring at about 10 runs an over at the moment.

00.12am: England declare on 620/6, that is a lead of 375 and just for the record the weather looks fine at the moment.

00.22am: Australia start the run chase and Katich faces his 1st ball in 4 days of cricket!

00.42am: A comfortable start from the Aussies and they are 30/0, Also I have just eaten my WC&O.

00.57am: Australia are 44/0, the wicket is playing the same at the moment and they are looking good, Swann is coming in to bowl, this literally could be the pivotal moment in this test.

01.10am: Drinks break and Australia are 50/0.

01.20am: England have Swann and Broad bowling in tandem at the moment and they are doing an excellent job, hardly giving any runs away, 51/0.

01.27am: Swann is really causing them problems but still no breakthrough, 55/0.

01.48am: Let me say I am a massive cricket fan but even I am only just about getting through this, it is very tedious at the moment.

02.00am: Lunch, Australia are 78/0. FIFA time.

For the 1st time since I started this diary I will admit that my opponent, shovelikethesun, was definitely a better player than me, I really struggled to get the ball from him at any point, I was playing as Manchester City (as always) he chose Chelsea, like I said it was attack, attack, attack from him but he never scored and at Full Time it was 0-0.

Extra time started and it was much the same until a hopeful hoof up field found David Silva on his own and massively against the run of play I score to make it 1-0, now I need to defend again but alas the pressure tells and Malouda gets on the end of a rebound and makes it 1-1 with 3 minutes to go.

So, also for the first time I have a penalty shootout, I don’t remember who scored what but amazingly I won 4-3, massively outplayed but as Jimmy Greaves used to say “It’s a funny old game”.

Fredi Fudpukka Vs shovelikethesun      

Manchester City Vs Chelsea

1-1

(4-3)

        Silva 101’      Malouda 117’

02.40am: Swann is picking up where he left off, looking quite dangerous.

02.56am: Finally a breakthrough, Katich edges to Prior from the brilliant Swann and it’s 84/0, I had a bet that their first wicket would fall after 84.5 runs, fucks sake!!

03.03am: Swann is tormenting Ponting here, it’s great to watch.

03.11am: It has taken Ponting 15 minutes to score a run such the pressure that Swann has put him under.

03.14am: I’m sure none of you care that much about my health but after 10 days I am still suffering with headaches so am heading back to the doctors tomorrow, this requires me ringing for an appointment at 8am, that is on my mind with regard to how long I stay up.

03.18am: The pressure on Ponting pays off and he edges Swann to Colly at first slip for 9, great catch low to his left.

03.31am: Tiredness is getting the better of me now, sleep time, hopefully Swann can get 5 by the morning. Australia 111/2.

07.55am: Awake, Australia finished the day on 238/4, not ideal but assuming the rain holds off we surely should go one up after 2 tests.

Turns out there was drama at the end when it was KP of all people that got Michael Clarke with what was the last ball of the day, this brings up the interesting memory of Harmison taking Clarke at Edgbaston in 2005, this ball set up victory in that game, I hope it does again.

So I am now off to pray to the sun god of Australia to fight off the evil rain and help what I am certain will be England going 1-0 up in the series.

One thing I would like to point out is, when me and George recorded our Ashes preview Sportscast, my prediction for the Ashes was an unbelievably optimistic 3-0 to England, what is funny now is that can anybody seriously tell me they think Australia will win one match, let alone the series, they are looking completely hapless with regards to bowling and take Watson and Hussy out, the batting has been suspect too, this is going to be England’s Ashes, I feel it in my bones!

See you tomorrow.

Marcus.

Sleep total for 1st test – 28.5 hours (still quite respectable but remember bad head + painkillers)

Sleep count for 2nd test – 19.5 hours

Food count for 1st test – 2 Cheese, Ham and Tomato toasties, 2 Ham and tomato ketchup sandwiches,1 Chicken and Mushroom pot Noodle, 2 slices of bread and butter, 2 mallow chocs, 1 WS&V, 1 WC&O, 1 Steak kettle chips (150g), 1 Roysters, 1 crunch corner, Faye’s leftover Cantonese chicken, 4 pints of diet Pepsi, 1 pint of Beck Vier, 1 bottle of diet coke (200ml) and 1 pint of water.

Food count for 2nd test – 5 pints of diet Pepsi, 2 WC&O, 1 pickled onion monster munch, 2 cheese and ham toasties, a pack of custard creams.

FIFA record P11 W10 D1 L1 – F25 A13.

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So today I have suffered a setback regarding my head problems, I have had a terrible migraine all day so have spent it semi-conscious on the couch medicated with co-codamel, I feel a lot better tonight though so hopefully I will have the stamina to see us through till tea.

And after that morbid start (sorry for that) I will update the snacks, I have 2 packs of Pickled Onion Monster Munch, a large pack of custard cream biscuits (an impulse buy, but haven’t had them for ages!) I have also bought the ingredients for toasties, so should the mood take me I can indulge, and of course, I have the customary pint of diet Pepsi.

11.48pm: As always, TMSofa on, Sky turned down.

00.00am: 1st over of the day is bowled.

00.07am: England have started safely with KP and Cook, Aussies have the Rug and Rolf Harris bowling.

00.25am: KP smoothly moves to 99, concentrate please Mr P, don’t be an idiot.

00.27am: Yay! (That’s right I said yay), KP makes his century, it wasn’t really in doubt, good job Sir. 343/2.

00.36am: Cook is out, he gets a slight inside edge and Haddin makes a brilliant diving catch (1st Aussie praise so far in the whole series) it brings Colly to the crease, last time he batted in Adelaide he got 206!

00.42am: Just looking at a replay of Cook’s dismissal, I might be in the minority here but one of the reasons I love cricket is the respect and honesty that has always been displayed by the people playing it, so when Cook knew he had touched the ball he should immediately have walked, everyone knew he was out, including Cook himself but he waited for the umpire to give him out, to coin a phrase “It’s just not cricket!”

00.50am: I am witnessing a left arm bowler lobbing shit down again and again who is about to go for over 100 runs, It is as though Johnson is still here…Well done Doug!

00.52am: Here is an example of Ponting being fucking clueless, he has noticed that KP struggled against 1 short ball so sets a field with 3 fielder on the boundary for the pull shot, Siddle throws 2 shit waist high balls in a row and KP dispatches them for consecutive fours and dissects the men standing on that boundary…I repeat, fucking clueless!

01.04am: Refilled my Pepsi.

01.15am: KP and Colly are really motoring now, scoring runs for fun. England 389/3.

01.24am: England bring up their 400 with Colly smashing two 4’s in a row.

00.25am: KP smashes X-Doh for 6 straight down the ground, I bet the selectors are so glad they picked X-Doh to make KP struggle!!

01.30am: I feel like I am singling X-Doh out for extra criticism but his Ashes series bowling average is 120! That means he has conceded 120 runs for every wicket he has taken, a bad average is over 40 so make your own conclusion to that!

01.50am: The toastie machine is on and I’m preparing for a quick toastie and then FIFA!

01.59am: KP sweeps hard and gets to his 150, great job.

02.00am: Lunch, England are 449/3, KP is 151 and Colly is on 40, I make myself 2 cheese and ham toasties and devour before FIFA.

I play danbase in a Manchester derby, I play as City and he, Utd, it is quite a boring game, I make more chances but no goals until the 82nd minute when a corner gets cleared and Kolo Toure picks it up turns one way then the other past two defenders and hammers it low in off the post, it is the only goal of the game and I win 1-0.

Fredi Fudpukka – danbase

Manchester City Vs Manchester Utd

1-0

K. Toure 82’                       

02.40am: 1st over after lunch bowled by Twatto.

02.45am: With one shot, Collingwood brings up both the 100 partnership with him and KP and also England’s 450.

02.49am: Colly is out LBW for 42, Twatto gets one to seam slightly and replay shows it was out, England 452/4

03.06am: Considering he is probably 5th choice bowler, Twatto is actually bowling quite well (praise again, I must be ill!)

03.08am: I assume everyone knows about @theashes by now, she has just tweeted…

“So do they really say horrible things to each other to try and break concentration? That’s allowed??”

…Bless her!

03.21am: The pub has just closed and Faye has come upstairs, late night! The scoring has slowed down now 489/4

03.29am: I’m quite surprised I’m still awake to be honest, I’m pretty tired but awake, so see how long this lasts.

03.49am: England have passed 500 for the second consecutive innings, really impressive, I notice KP seems to be nursing an injury he looks uncomfortable but nothing too serious.

04.10am: KP is now on 197, but he really seems to be hurting, hope he doesn’t have to retire hurt, England 524/4

04.19am: It is RAINING!! It rains about once every 32 years in Adelaide, it would be today wouldn’t it?

04.22am: KP gets to his 200, great effort from him, didn’t show much problem when sprinting for the single to cross the threshold!

04.40am: Tea, England 551/4, more FIFA? Go on then.

I play Ddark94 (I would assume he is 16, so old enough to play with the big boys!) Once again it is a Manchester derby, (he had already picked Utd so I couldn’t suggest a lower starred battle)

Once again, no long winded explanation of the game because for the second time during this series, the twat quit on me, this time I was 3-0 up with 30 mins to go, can’t remember who scored and it doesn’t matter!

05.04am: No play yet after lunch because the rain is very heavy, I am going to sleep, I honestly don’t think there will be any more play today.

10.28am: Awake, as expected there was no more play and we finished 551/4.

My opinion is that we should declare overnight and have a go at them from the start, the pitch was showing signs of turn for Swanny and with the weather not being great we don’t want to risk losing too much time and letting them bat out a draw.

See you tomorrow.

Marcus.

Sleep total for 1st test – 28.5 hours (still quite respectable but remember bad head + painkillers)

Sleep count for 2nd test – 14.5 hours

Food count for 1st test – 2 Cheese, Ham and Tomato toasties, 2 Ham and tomato ketchup sandwiches,1 Chicken and Mushroom pot Noodle, 2 slices of bread and butter, 2 mallow chocs, 1 WS&V, 1 WC&O, 1 Steak kettle chips (150g), 1 Roysters, 1 crunch corner, Faye’s leftover Cantonese chicken, 4 pints of diet Pepsi, 1 pint of Beck Vier, 1 bottle of diet coke (200ml) and 1 pint of water.

Food count for 2nd test – 4 pints of diet Pepsi, 1 WC&O, 1 pickled onion monster munch, 2 cheese and ham toasties, half a pack of custard creams.

FIFA record P10 W8 D1 L1 – F24 A12.

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