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The Perfect Start

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It was never in doubt (ahem). England were always going to reverse their patchy form over the first two days and beat Western Australia convincingly. How could we have thought otherwise? Just because we batted like pelicans (or should that be flamin’ Galahs?) in the first innings, didn’t mean we were going to continue the English tradition of fluffing our lines in Ashes tour matches. So shame on...

The XXXX-up Factor

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Things aren’t going well for the Aussies. Seven defeats in a row now, silly mistakes in the field, reported disharmony in the dressing room – it’s music to any England fan’s ears. And then there’s the captaincy controversy. We all know about Ponting’s weaknesses as a skipper, but now certain players are allegedly unhappy with Michael Clarke – whose aspirations to become Australia’s next...

Mystic Glenn stirs the pot

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One of the more recent Ashes traditions is Glenn McGrath’s biannual prediction of a five-nil whitewash. True to form, Pigeon has once again dusted off his crystal ball, studied his tea leaves, and forecast another Aussie clean sweep. “I couldn’t have more faith in the boys”, he said yesterday. “I think we’ll bounce back and win all the Tests. They’ll be...

The Ashes – just an average test series?

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If you believe the hype surrounding this winter’s Ashes, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re about to witness the cricketing equivalent of Clash of the Titans. The world rankings, however, say otherwise. The Ashes are, after all, simply a contest between the fourth and fifth best sides in the world. That’s two average teams that cannot claim to be world-beaters by any stretch of the imagination...

The secret Ashes weapon left behind in Watford

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It’s become a cliche to observe that this is the best-prepared England Ashes touring party in history. From video analysis to nutrition, sports psychology to biomechanics, no stone has been left unturned. Or so it seemed – until an extraordinary piece of video evidence today revealed a potentially critical oversight on the part of England coach Andy Flower. As the squad prepared to...

May the best team win … as long as it’s England

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Andrew Strauss and the England cricket team fly out to Australia today with the hopes of the nation on their shoulders. The pre-tour interviews have been done, the WAGS have been kissed goodbye, KP has packed his twenty gallons of Red Bull, and Stuart Broad has slipped his anger management self-help guide into his hand luggage. The first ball of the first test is now under a month away – and...

Should England take their WAGS to the Ashes?

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The wives and girlfriends of England’s footballers have become part of the nation’s cultural fabric. A soccer Wag acquires instant celebrity status; their exploits, however trivial, are hungrily devoured by the tabloids – and inspire racy TV drama series. In golf’s Ryder Cup, the players’ partners generate their own biosphere of glamour and sub-plots. Their fashion...

Lies, damn spies, and statistics – a look at the Ashes batting battle

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England fly to Australia on Friday, so it’s time to begin the pre-Ashes analysis and banter. Thus far, most experts seem to believe that the bowling attacks hold the key to success down under. However, they’re forgetting one important, albeit rather obvious, thing: the skill of the batsmen they’re bowling at is just as important. Sachin Tendulkar made Shane Warne look average on a number of...

The Monty ringtone

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Exciting news from Australia, where an England-supporting Aussie has pioneered an important breakthough in the crucial Ashes battleground of novelty ringtones. Phil Dye, a lecturer, musician, and cricketing Anglophile, has composed and recorded a special song in tribute to Monty Panesar – which you can now download to your mobile. Phil got in touch with us to say: “ Monty shows an...

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