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BethnalGreen

The Aussies have arrived

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England lost victory when they conceded Australia's first 50 in seven overs in what were, from what I have seen and heard, very bowler-friendly conditions.

Having said that, when you reduce a side to 33-5, you should win, no matter what level. There is no way that the Australia of four years ago would have let England back into that game.

ehem.

When you have a bottom order like Australia and England do.. anything can happen... There are some quality batsmen towards the bottom.

Collingwood, desperatly underated.. Gilchrist (in test matches)

Remember Gilliespie and McGrath against New Zealand at the Gabba. Both scored 50's and added an extra 120 runs as the 10th and 11th men.

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None of that alters my original point - four years ago, England would not have come anywhere close to Australia from a position of 33-5. You can spin it as much as you like, that is the fact.

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Great nine-wicket win for England at Headingley today. Obviously overshadowed by what has happened in London, but still nice to beat the Aussies so comprehensively.

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Are you guys taking us seriously?

:) Hey arwebb!

:oops: We Are NOW!

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:) The ICC's ODI ranking for England has probibly just gone through the roof!

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Good fightback from England to post 223-8 led by a knock of 87 from Andrew Flintoff.

Nonetheless, the wickets late on, particularly Flintoff and Jones, will probably as crucial as England being reduced to 45-4 early on.

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Australia level the series with a seven-wicket victory thanks to 111 from Ricky Ponting.

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I'm starting to get worried. A thrashing at the Oval and an injured captain? Here we go again.

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The big headline in today's announcement of the England squad for next week's first Test is the inclusion of Kevin Pietersen over Graham Thorpe.

I have to say I was surprised when I heard. Thorpe is the one real battler in our batting line-up and I felt he would be crucial. I hope Pietersen proves the selectors right, but I have to confess its not the pick I would have made. It's a brave call and, hopefully, the right one.

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So Australia draw their final warm-up game before the first Test against Leicestershire.

Who's getting excited for Thursday morning at Lords now?

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So Australia draw their final warm-up game before the first Test against Leicestershire.

Who's getting excited for Thursday morning at Lords now?

Notice how the main reason why the game ended in a draw was because an Aussie cricketer who can't secure a game even in our A side scored a double ton...

When the ECB can start selecting their cricketers along lines of whether they come from Australia and have some tint filial link with the Old Dart is when they might...just might...have a decent team. Until then it's the same batch of plodders, South African imports and bright young things who quickly fall off the radar.

There hasn't been a truly decent Pommy team since 1970-71 and Ray Illingworth's mob. And generally speaking all Aussie teams who lost or drew the Ashes during the 70s and 80s were riven by splits, injuries or politics.

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I'd dispute that. This is the best England side since Brearley's teams of the late 70s. And the 85 mob under Gower weren't bad either.

Nice to see you're writing us off. Presumably you're viewing things the same way as Glenn 'say something stupid quick' McGrath.

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I'd dispute that. This is the best England side since Brearley's teams of the late 70s. And the 85 mob under Gower weren't bad either.

Nice to see you're writing us off. Presumably you're viewing things the same way as Glenn 'say something stupid quick' McGrath.

Let's look at facts and stats arwebb:

The 1970-71 team with Illingworth, Snow, Boycott et al won 2 tests out of 7 (1 abandoned) against an Australian side with either then current or emerging greats as the Chappell brothers, Rod Marsh, Bill Lawry, Dennis Lillee and Keith Stackpole.

The 1977 team contained Boycott, Brearley (who was a woeful batsman but a great captain), Snow again, South African import Tony Greig, and defeated an Australian team without Dennis Lillee (then the worlds greatest quick) whilst we were split between the pro & anti Packer WSC camps amongst the touring team.

The 81 ashes series had a similar problem, in that you had no Jeff Thomson in the Aussie team, no Greg Chappell, and residue problems between those who supported Kim Hughes and those in the ex-WSC camp. And if it hadn't of been for two amazing examples of individual brilliance from Ian Botham the series would have ended up 3-1 in Australia's way, not the other way around.

And finally, the 85 & 86/87 English team beat a young Australian team rebuilding after a significant proportion of our then best players (e.g. Kim Hughes, Graham Yallop, Terry Alderman, Carl Rackeman) were banned from the game after their South African tours.

It's easily seen; the only time in the last 35 years that a full strength English team has been able to defeat a full strength Australian team was way back in 1970-71. This current English team is certainly better than more recent ones, but is at as good as the 74/75 team, the 77 team or the 81 team...no way. And this Australian team is easily the best one in the world currently and can sit very comfortably in comparison to earlier Aussie great teams.

As for Glenn McGrath...499 test wickets say a lot more than the pathetic rumblings of personal tabloid-inspired criticism.

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But one might look back and say that had Bill Lawry not been dropped for that final Test match in 70-71, Australia would not have lost early wickets in both innings and ultimately lost the series.

In 77 you may not have had Lillee. But in Jeff Thomson and Max Walker, Australia still had two thirds of the pace attack that had terrorised England two years earlier. And several of our side later threw in their hat with World Series Cricket, so I'm not sure you can claim that as an excuse. Cricket generally was in crisis, not just Australian cricket. It's more of an excuse for us winning 5-1 in 78-79.

I deliberately didn't mention 81 for the simple reason that it was Botham's psychological grip on the Australians, taken at Headingley, that won it for us. That and him giving up the captaincy.

Yes, Australia were rebuilding in 85, but England were probably the number two or three side at that time, disputing it with New Zealand. Let's face it, any batting line-up with Gooch, Gower, Gatting, Lamb and Botham in it is pretty tasty. And we'd won a series in India from 1-0 down the previous winter.

To say that England haven't beaten a full-strength Australian side since 1970-71 misses the point. When England did win, they beat what was put in front of them and that's all you can do. Besides which, I would hardly call the England side you beat in 2001 our best team at that time.

What I was talking about was overall record. Brearley's teams beat everyone except the West Indies. Gower's team was at its height in 85 before the West Indies tour knocked the stuffing out of them.

The current Australian side is and has been an outstanding team. The question is can they beat the best England side for 25 years? We'll soon find out.

As for McGrath, everyone knows he has been an outstanding bowler. I just don't think he needs to make comments like that when he can do his talking far more effectively at the bowling crease. But maybe that's just me.

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The England team has been named for tomorrow's First Test at Lords and the line-up is as expected.

Trescothick

Strauss

Vaughan ©

Bell

Pietersen

Flintoff

G Jones (wk)

Giles

S Jones

Hoggard

Harmison

Hampshire quick bowler Chris Tremlett has been left out from the initial 12 man squad.

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Well, the day of destiny is almost upon us.

I for one am glad that the hype can now stop and we can, at last, get down to business.

Any of you Aussies coming over for the Tests?

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Unfortunately, it appears the great British weather may intervene. The forecast for Thursday and Friday is good, then for some showers on Saturday and more general rain on Sunday. Wonderful.

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MATCH SUMMARY:

Australia: 190 all out

Steve Harmison produced some inspired pace bowling to return 5-43 as Australia made just 190 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test.

Harmison cut Ricky Ponting with a short ball, dismissed him for nine and then cleaned up the tail after Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones also shone.

Only Justin Langer (40) made any kind of score as the Aussies really struggled after electing to bat first.

The best stand of the innings (49) came from Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist.

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MATCH SUMMARY:

Australia: 190 all out

Steve Harmison produced some inspired pace bowling to return 5-43 as Australia made just 190 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test.

Harmison cut Ricky Ponting with a short ball, dismissed him for nine and then cleaned up the tail after Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones also shone.

Only Justin Langer (40) made any kind of score as the Aussies really struggled after electing to bat first.

The best stand of the innings (49) came from Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist.

Someone swab Harmison...he must have Australian or South African blood in him  :P

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