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from Left field:

Ashes day 4: England had no luck, and nor did they deserve it

CRICKET-ASHES/For a third day in row England's demoralised bowlers wheeled away with all the luck of someone who's just walked across the path a black cat and smashed a mirror while walking under a ladder.

In all honesty they didn't deserve any fortune after another day's abject bowling display and signs from Strauss early on that it was a damage limitation exercise by time wasting with field placings and underbowling key bowlers.

Australia eventually put England out of their own misery, a cricketing version of shooting a lame horse if you like, by declaring on 674 for 6, once wicket keeper Brad Haddin completed his balmy century and holed out on the attack to Ravi Bopara in the deep.

Marcus North by that point had already joined Ponting, Katich and Haddin on the Cardiff honours board, further undermining pre-series reports that he was no more than a solid county professional, much like the much maligned spinner Nathan Hauritz who took more wickets in England's first innings than Swann and Panesar combined in Australia's.

from Left field:

Ashes day one: advantage Australia?


What an extraordinary first day of Test match cricket, even by Ashes standards. A day that ebbed and flowed, that tormented and teased both sets of supporters and ultimately left us with the question: where does the balance of this match lie?

As Kev notes, lunch for England would have been the equivalent of trying to digest tarmac, a disconcerting affair to say the least. Having won the toss and electing to bat England were reduced to 92-3 by a persevering if unspectacular Australian attack, which left the Barmy Army cowering behind their beer snakes fearing the worst.

from Left field:

Where the Ashes will be won and lost

With the furore over Cardiff being awarded the first Ashes cricket test still bubbling, here’s a run down on each venue for England v Australia and how the results might pan out.

Cardiff: Starts Wednesday, July 8th
A controversial choice for the first test, given that Trent Bridge and Old Trafford were overlooked entirely, but we’ve been told to expect the wicket to turn sideways. Don’t be surprised to see: England field two spinners, Shane Warne drooling over the pitch … from inside the commentary box, Ricky Ponting cursing the fact his only spin front-line option is Nathan Hauritz and rain.

What would be YOUR best job in the world?


British charity fundraiser Ben Southall is preparing to begin the “best job in the world” – caretaker of an Australian tropical island — after winning a highly publicised contest this month.

The job involves exploring the islands of the Great Barrier Reef for six months and reporting back to Tourism Queensland and the world via blogs, a photo diary, video updates and interviews. If he feels like it, he can feed the fish, collect the mail and clean the pool, all at a salary of about 74,000 pounds.

Is Vegemite better than Marmite?


vegemite.jpgAustralian athletes have asked the Chinese authorities to allow them permits so they can take, what some might say, is their secret weapon for success at this year’s summer Oympics – Vegemite.

With just under 100 days to go until the August games, a directive that the Australian Olympic team must source all food supplies within China has been dubbed the “vegemite ban” by local media.