The Rambler :: blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Ashes 

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I'll be honest - I can barely contain myself, and have been counting the hours until 10.30 tomorrow morning for some time now. I don't expect us to win - they may be older and weaker than two years ago, but there are still 7 or 8 players in the Australia team who'd make most world XIs, and England can't match that. 2-2 is our best hope, and I see most commentators reckon 3-1 to Australia, which seems distinctly possible. So I'm not looking forward to a series win - that's for 2006-7 - but I am looking forward to some proper clashes, the best players in the world having to raise their games, that sort of thing. And I'm also looking forward to seeing Brett Lee come out to bat as Michael Vaughan chucks the new ball to Flintoff and Harmison. Oh, I am looking forward to that.

While you lick your lips for that particular encounter, have a nibble at this selection of doosras from the papers:

Fantasy test match in the Telegraph

Dream/Nightmare scenarios for each ground in the Times: Lord's; Edgbaston; Old Trafford; Trent Bridge; The Oval.

Christopher Martin-Jenkins offers tips on how to play the Aussies; Matthew Syed offers tips on how to sledge them (funny, I don't remember much sledging going on in table tennis...), also in the Times.

And in the Guardian, Allan Donald and Jacques Kallis respectively offer useful tips ("Matthew Hayden: You absolutely have to make the new ball count; if you don't then he'll settle quickly and hurt you badly. You have to bowl just back of a good length and try to get the ball slanting across him. He loves coming forward and playing hard at the ball, which is why you must give him as few genuine driving opportunities as possible"); and obvious banalities ("Glenn McGrath: He's very competitive, and he likes getting up a batsman's nose") to help England's cause. Very kind.

If anyone wants me, I'll be on the couch.

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