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Cook makes the critics eat their words – and also gives our coaches food for thought

Yesterday Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott compiled the ninth highest partnership in test history. It was an incredible effort which secured the draw in style. Now the word ‘style’ isn’t one we’d usually associate with Trott and Cook. In fact, if Trott’s batting is a thing of beauty, then so is Ricky Ponting’s boat race. However, Cook’s batting in this match looked good – really good. In the last couple of years, England’s vice-captain has batted terribly. He’s looked fidgety at the...

Day five at the Gabba

Stumps: England (260 and 517-1) drew with Australia (481 and 107-1) 517-1. I’ll say it again. 517-1. Five hundred and seventeen runs for one wicket. England’s score against Australia, in a live Ashes test, at the Gabba of all places. 517-1. Get it printed on a t-shirt. Have it tattooed over your heart. At work, daub it in wombat’s blood on the desk of your nearest Australian colleague. If I ever go on Desert Island Discs, I will choose today’s play as my luxury item.  It...

Day four at the Gabba

Stumps: England 309-1 and 260. Australia 481. Did that really happen? Have England actually batted an entire day for the loss of only a single wicket, and come right back into the match? Or were we only dreaming? During an Ashes series, early-morning disbelief works both ways – positive and negative. The majority of us totter off to bed at the 2.00am lunch break. But by then even the greatest pessimists could slip between the sheets with a reasonable confidence Cook and Strauss might bat...

Day three at the Gabba

Stumps: England 19-0 and 260. Australia 481. The Full Toss today launches a fundraising campaign to purchase a can of petrol, a box of matches, and a flight to Brisbane. Burning down the Gabba is surely England’s only hope of ever again winning the Ashes in Australia. God, I hate the place; scene of unending, quadrennial torture. It’s little wonder Cricket Australia always schedule the first test here, to rub in the advantage. They know England fear the Gabba. By contrast, the ECB...

Quotes of the day

“A glare from Stuart Broad…seems roughly equivalent to be being sworn at by Aled Jones.” Gideon Haigh of The Times on England’s failed attempt to stare out Hussey.  “I’m starting with newcastle brown ale in respect of big harm, tetley-hoggy, cider-tres, butcher-london pride, collingwood-ginger ale, strauss-pimm’s”. Andrew Flintoff raises a glass to his former team-mates on Twitter “This is the one series we won’t miss, even if the pound falls to 1:1 against the Aussie dollar. It means...

England’s affair with laissez faire

When the players went off for bad light yesterday Sky interviewed Steven Finn, England’s Ashes debutant and prime candidate to snap in half at any time – when he took that low caught and bowled in the afternoon session, millions of viewers instinctively lunged for the sticky tape. It had been a good day for Finn. Despite a shaky start, he bowled with good purpose and picked up two wickets. However, his mood was one of frustration as England were keen to bowl with the new ball in fading...

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