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from Left field:

Defiant England escape with draw in first Ashes Test


I'm still not quite sure how, but somehow England escaped with a draw from the first Ashes Test against Australia, closing out the fifth day on 252-9, 13 runs ahead of the Aussie total and with no time left for the tourists to bat.

Talk about getting out of jail. Ricky Ponting must have thought he had the match won when England were five wickets down and still facing a massive 137-run deficit in the morning sessions.

Make no mistake about it, England were outplayed comprehensively but Paul Collingwood led a memorable  rearguard action and when he was gone, the rest of the tailenders finished the job.

The key now for England will be to learn from the mistakes that got them into this mess. Australia, while they'll be devastated at not winning this, must surely go into the second Test believing that they are the better side.

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.