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from Left field:

England break 24-year duck with Ashes triumph

CRICKET-ASHES/

11.53am local time on December 29, 2010 at Melbourne Cricket Ground.  It's the moment England cricket fans have waited nearly a quarter of a century for.  The Ashes are won/retained in Australia.

Minus the Perth aberration, even the hardest Australian heart would have to concede it was deserved. Surely?

Mick Tsikas caught the celebrations.

from Left field:

Johnson makes feelings clear after swinging success

CRICKET-ASHES/

Mitchell Johnson showed the sort of form that won him the 2009 ICC Cricketer of the Year award with a fiery spell  of inswinging that accounted for four of the England top order on Friday morning, bringing Australia right back into the third Ashes test in Perth.

The Australian quick, dropped for the second Adelaide test after going wicketless for the first time in a test in the first match at the Gabba, took time out from his celebrations of his second wicket to make his feelings clear to his press box critics in a gesture captured by Reuters' photographer Tim Wimborne.

from Left field:

Ricky’s woes continue as Aussies struggle in Perth

Ponting dismissed

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting failed for the fourth time in five innings in the current Ashes series as the hosts struggled to 179-6 at tea on the first day of the third test against England.  

His captaincy may be under threat but with his team mates  (Mike Hussey excepted) also failing at the crease, his place as a batsman looks safe for a while now.  

from Left field:

Can England win the Ashes Down Under?

CRICKET/England captain Andrew Strauss sounded confident when he said his side could not have prepared more thoroughly for their bid to retain the Ashes. The squad flew out to Perth on Friday with good reasons to be optimistic about returning from Australia with the famous urn, a feat last achieved by an England side in 1986-87.

Here I look at a few of those reasons to be cheerful, while below my colleague Pritha Sarkar considers why Australia may themselves be feeling confident.

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