England v Australia - as it happened
Preamble Hello. Now, we knew we'd be talking about 5-0 in reference to England and Australia at some stage this year, but it was supposed to be ahead of the Ashes, as we reflected on that 2006-07 fiasco. Instead we have the utterly surreal possibility of England inflicting the first-ever 5-0 whitewash on Australia in any form of the game. Their heaviest whitewash was 4-0, in the Tests against that sublime South African side in 1969-70, although their heaviest-ever defeat came when a Packer-ravaged was smashed 5-1 by England in the Test series of 1978-79.
In one-day cricket Australia have never been beaten 4-0, never mind 5-0, and have only suffered two 3-0 defeats: in England in 1997 and in New Zealand in 2006-07.
That's some seriously orgiastic stattage, I'm sure you'll all agree .
If it ain't broke department England win toss, bowl first. I wondered whether they might change the formula just to test themselves. On the one hand, a 5-0 win over Australia would be the ultimate demonstration of the New Ruthlessness; against that, England need to show that they can also win one-day games while batting first. Ten of England's last 12 ODI victories have come while batting second, as well as four of their five wins in the World Twenty20.
Team news Both teams are unchanged.
England Strauss (c), Kieswetter (wk), Pietersen, Collingwood, Morgan, Wright, Yardy, Bresnan, Swann, Broad, Anderson.
Australia Watson, Paine (wk), Ponting (c), Clarke, White, M Hussey, Smith, Hopes, Harris, Bollinger, Tait.
"Dear Agony Uncle,
I'm confused. I don't know how to behave. One of the loves of my life is doing strange things. They keep winning. I'm not used to this. They are now 3-0 up. Against Australia. I can't remember this ever happening before. Do I stop being worried every time they come out to bat? Do I stop having squeaky bum at the end of every match? Do I no longer worry for the rest of this series? Should I still care because I want them to keep the foot on the throat in a pre-Ashes act of psychological warfare?
confused of Rouen (aka Chris Drew)"
Something to read while you wait is
my book, which this lovely eulogy to Graeme Swann, part of a .
But it falls to Graeme Swann to define the new English spirit. Let's not beat about the bush. He is an offspinner. It is a mundane enough calling: more bank clerk than bank robber. What sets Swann apart is the same thing that is starting to infuse the entire England team. It is called spirit and it's not to be mistaken for cheerfulness. Spirit is not about back-slapping or huddles. Resilience is the crucial part of it. Grumpy teams and players can have it in abundance. Laughing sides can fall apart in a minute. Spirit is the difference between cement and ice. One lasts the course, the other goes to water when the heat is on.
Swann's spirit has two aspects. Presumably he is a merry soul, always game for a lark. Far more importantly, he has another quality, one possessed by bowlers greater than him, including Anil Kumble and Shane Warne. It is the outlook of eternal optimism. Not once in his illustrious career did Kumble admit that he was beaten. Many times he took the ball against the Australians with the batsmen dominant, and always he expected to take a wicket. Rage was his manner, as cheek is Swann's, but the result is the same. He keeps coming, remains optimistic, refuses to go away to lick his wounds. Warne, too, endured numerous beltings and never whined. He was not for breaking.
Although he does drop the ball cleverly and disguises his straight ball and changes of pace adroitly, Swann does not have at his disposal the dazzling deliveries detected in the repertoire of these predecessors. Indeed he toys with the humdrum. But he was dared to push himself to his limits, dared to press the button time and again, and has found a coach and a team that understands and encourages enterprise. It is so tempting to seek security - I built a career on it - but no glory lies that way.
Physical courage has long been recognised and respected in sport. Indeed it is one of the reasons for taking up a game, to be tested. Yet there is courage to be found in the leaving of the comfort zone. Swann unfailing meets that challenge. And his spirit is infectious.
1st over: Australia 3-0 (Watson 1, Paine 1) My black iPod Classic has just tried to get busy with Tom Lutz's slightly more weathered black iPod Classic prompting Lutz to shriek "get away" in his best electrical gadget voice. Thank God the cricket is here to stop the hilarity of this iPod incest. James Anderson starts on a pitch that looks absurdly white – it's actually pretty hard to see the ball – and should be a belter. He gropes at the second ball, which moves past the outside edge. There's some encouraging movement for Anderson in an over that costs just three. "Why do people smile when they miss a train for which they have been running?" asks Rob Smyth, sending himself an email because he hasn't received any. "We all know that you've lost 34.47 per cent of what dignity remains by a) running in public and b) missing the 1201 from King's Cross to Cambridge, and a jaunty visage isn't going to change that one wee bit." This is the best email I've ever received. It's so true.
2nd over: Australia 9-0 (Watson 1, Paine 7) Tim Bresnan, who showed some serious ticker to guide England to victory on Sunday, will start at the other end. His first ball is a fraction too full and driven sweetly down the ground for four by Paine. He pushes two more to exactly the same spot later in the over, before being beaten by a fine leg-cutting lifter. Meanwhile, an email. "Hello, am Anita by name 32 years old single lady live in Senegal Dakar,am looking for my missing partner i hope you will be the one, thanks read from you soon. This is my email." BYE EVERYONE.
3rd over: Australia 9-0 (Watson 1, Paine 7) The sun has gone in for a while, which means you can actually follow the ball in flight and off the pitch. Anderson second ball seams past Watson's tentative feel, and there is enough movement for Watson to play respectfully in that over. A maiden. "I guess you're looking forward to a lonely shift today," says Robin Hazlehurst. "Not because of competition from footy, but because England fans lose interest when we start winning. I mean what's the point; what is there to moan and grumble about here? How about that as your riff for the day, new whinges for new times, what does fan of a winning team whine about. I'll start you off with: 'Proof that 50-over cricket is doomed. Typical England to get good at something just when everyone else is giving it up'." Oh Bob can find plenty to moan about, don't you worry. For a start, England's newfound 50-over competence won't bring back my blond nu-mullet, will it now?
4th over: Australia 13-0 (Watson 4, Paine 8) Australia are having a looksee at the conditions, which is sensible because it is moving – in the air and off the seam – a wee bit more than they probably anticipated. Saying which, Watson clumps Bresnan high over mid-on; the ball lands a couple of yards from the boundary and simply stops there, so they only get three runs.
In other news, the worst joke ever – so bad it goes past good back to bad and then wheezes its way back towards good – comes from Ian Palmer.
A judge asks a little girl, "Now that your parents are getting divorced do you want to live with your mummy?"
Little Girl: "No, my mummy beats me."
Judge: "Well then, I guess you want to live with your daddy."
Little Girl: "No, my daddy beats me too."
Judge: "Well then, who do you want to live with?"
Little Girl: "I want to live with the Australian team for they don't beat anybody!!!"
You've got to love a man who has the confidence to put three exclamation marks at the end of a joke like that.
5th over: Australia 21-0 (Watson 12, Paine 8) Watson is beaten, trying to cut a ball from Anderson that was a fraction too full for the stroke. The next ball brings a big shout for LBW; it appeared to be pad first but there was all sorts of doubts, chiefly height and whether he was outside the line (and, in fact, replays showed it was inside-edge first). Anderson responds with a poor half-tracker that is cut vigorously for four, and the final ball of the over is driven back over his head for another boundary. Good stuff. "Roebuck piece is LOVELY - I'm welling up," lies Mike Rogers. "I feel a bit guilty, coming back to the OBO after arsing around on Ingle's WC blog of late. I feel like I've been caught creeping in at 3am, reeking of Bushmills, curry and shame, after claiming I was only going for a pint." GET OUT. AND I'M KEEPING THE MCCAGUE POSTERS YOU HARLOT.
6th over: Australia 21-0 (Watson 12, Paine 8) Bresnan, who is wicketless in this series, beats Paine in the course of a decent maiden. "I for one fully expect Punter to stop cocking around and produce a comprehensive display that slams the window down on the fingers of English optimism just in time for the Ashes," chirps Andy Bradshaw. England will get stuffed in the Ashes – I'm entirely confident of that – but they do look a half-decent limited-overs team just now.
7th over: Australia 26-0 (Watson 17, Paine 8) Having bish-boshed Anderson out of the attack, Watson now faces Stuart Broad. The second ball is full, swinging and blitzed over cover for four. Sky show a great Hawkeye graphic of Broad to Watson in this series. When he bows short, Watson's strike rate is 11 runs per 100 balls; when he bowls full, his strike rate is 300. "Because (missed train smile 1st over) you're practising the expression known as 'rueful'," says John Starbuck. "You'll probably need it later in life so it's as well to prepare for worse calamities. I expect the OBO community can come up with some apposite cases." Don't you need more than three or four for a community?
8th over: Australia 31-0 (Watson 22, Paine 8) Bresnan has an optimistic shout for LBW against Watson, but there was a discernible inside-edge and Aleem Dar politely says not out. The next ball is filth, speared down leg and whirled past the man at short fine leg for four. "Can I just say it is starting to really annoy me the way commentators keep saying Swann has 'knack of taking wickets'?" says Ben Reynolds. "Botham is especially guilty of this. It is disparaging to Swann, suggesting he isn't really international class, placing an emphasis on luck over skill. Perhaps he keeps taking wickets because he's a fine, intelligent bowler and it's nothing to do with 'having a knack'. I can say that? Thanks very much. Have a lovely day." I will after that blast of serotonin.
9th over: Australia 33-0 (Watson 23, Paine 8) Two from Broad's over. Tim Paine's career strike-rate is pretty low by modern standards (70.50), and here he has 8 from 21 balls. "Could Ian Bell possibly look like more of a clown (and a tiny wee clown at that) than he does in ?" asks (and answers) Steve Lavington.
WICKET! Australia 33-1 (Paine c Morgan b Bresnan 8) Bresnan wins the battle of the Tims – the name Tim isn't really made for a battle, is it – when Paine, working a full delivery to leg, gets a gentle leading edge to cover. Bresnan has his first wicket of the series, and Paine will be disappointed with that effort: 8 from 22 balls.
10th over: Australia 38-1 (Watson 24, Ponting 4) This is Ricky Ponting's 219th ODI as captain, a new world record. He tucks an errant, over-tarnishing last delivery off his pads for four to get off the mark. "What's there to whine about?" says Phil Sawyer. "I'll you what - this new look winning England team doesn't fool experienced followers. It just makes that sense of dread that they're going to revert to old ways any moment now even more painful, no matter how consistently well they play."
SHOCK HORROR NEWSFLASH DEPARTMENT England have taken their bowling Powerplay straight away.
11th over: Australia 40-1 (Watson 25, Ponting 5) Ponting mistimes a pull off Broad and it goes over the man at short midwicket before plopping right where midwicket would have been. Broad is bowling very well. He has become an extremely good first-change in limited-overs cricket "England get it right but too late?" says John Starbuck. "So true; one is reminded of the 1908 pattern cavalry sword, which reached the peak of design perfection just in time for tank warfare."
12th over: Australia 49-1 (Watson 25, Ponting 9) Ponting takes consecutive boundaries off Bresnan with two exceptional strokes, a perfectly placed ping off the pads through square leg and a graceful push-drive on the up through the covers. "They get worse," says Ian Palmer, and he's not wrong. "What is the definition of optimism? An Australian batsman putting sunscreen on."
13th over: Australia 61-1 (Watson 36, Ponting 14) Watson steers Broad through the vacant slip area for four and then, from the final delivery, lifts a slower ball miles in the air and back down the ground for six. Shot! In other news, here's Mac Millings' response to the email in the 2nd over. "Hello, am Millings, 38 years old, married, but wife will come to her senses soon Are you the one. i like bald men with a rueful smile reliant on public transport. am returning your email soon. are you Romance?"
14th over: Australia 66-1 (Watson 39, Ponting 16) England turn to their coagulator, Michael Yardy. Australia put away the big shots but milk him for five runs. He has Watson dropped off the last ball, although nobody realised it at the time. Watson went to tickle a leg-stump delivery, which went off the edge and was dropped by the crouching Kieswetter. It was a really hard chance. Watson then had the nerve to look disappointed when a wide wasn't given. Typical Germans. "Sword design pedantry," is the subject of Hugh Maguire's email, which leaves me desperately wanting more. "Can you ask John Starbuck (over 11) why on earth anyone would continue to develop the design of an obsolete weapon? Of course it never got further developed, it would be like carrying on looking for something after you've found it, or maybe trying to improve on Ian Bell's batting technique."
15th over: Australia 70-1 (Watson 39, Ponting 20) A rare misfield from England, by Bresnan at third man, gives Ponting four runs off the final ball of an excellent over from Broad. He lifted a short one over the top and it went through the legs of the sliding Bresnan. That was unusually poor, and Broad has got the face on.
16th over: Australia 73-1 (Watson 41, Ponting 21) Three singles from Yardy's over. Like the dry hump, he is grimly effective. "Ah, but John Starbuck is cheating there," says Robin Hazlehurst. "You'd hope the sword was perfected just before it became irrelevant, as this suggests sword development ceased when tanks came along. Besides, surely the worry here is that England are learning 50-over cricket after everyone else has stopped. Like sword perfection being reached in the mid-1960s."
WICKET! Australa 73-2 (Watson c Morgan b Swann 41) Here comes Graeme Swann, who bowled exquisitely on Sunday while you were watching the football – and he strikes with his third ball. Watson slog-sweeps straight down the throat of Eoin Morgan at deep midwicket to continue his bizarre run of nearly scores: since last November his ODI scores are 41, 49, 93, 49, 5, 69, 33, 59, 53, 26, 51, 45, 47, 15, 32, 53, 13, 32, 57, 61, 41.
17th over: Australia 74-2 (Ponting 21, Clarke 1) England might bomb the new batsman Clarke with short stuff. GROUNDHOG DAY. "Dear Uncle Agony (TM), Please make it stop. Yours Always, Poppy McNee," says Poppy McNee, who may or may not be watching something with James Corden in it.
18th over: Australia 77-2 (Ponting 22, Clarke 3) England bring back Stuart Broad (5-0-24-0) to give Clarke some moob music. There are two men out for the hook and Swann is under the helmet at short leg. Clarke does nothing silly, lap-pulling a single and then pushing another into the off side later in the over. "There goes Swanny's Knacks again," says Roland Jones.
19th over: Australia 79-2 (Ponting 23, Clarke 4) I wonder if Duncan Fletcher ever looks at Graeme Swann and wonders how good his side might have been. Swann hurries through another over, his variations and confidence demanding respect from the batsmen. Just two from it. "With regards your earlier observation about people ruefully smiling when they miss trains they've been running for, was this something you personally experienced or observed last night by any chance?" says Ben Titchmarsh. "I actually managed after a mad dash to make it on to the very same 1201 night train from King's Cross to Cambridge you allude to yesterday evening but don't recall leaving any Guardian journalists in my slipstream. To draw a rather tenuous cricket parallel as this is meant to be a cricket blog I think the psychological motivation for smiling as you see the train pull away is similar to a spinner pulling a daft grin when they get hit for six – your trying to convey the message – I'll get you next time you @"[email protected](*&!" Sadly it was the 1201 this afternoon, but don't worry Ben: I am stalking you, I do know where you live, and that cute blonde you chatted up last night was me in drag.
20th over: Australia 81-2 (Ponting 24, Clarke 4) England are putting the squeeze on, as they have at this stage in every game. Two from Broad's over, most of it short stuff that Clarke ignores or defends. The key to England's improvement is not Andy Flower, by the way, but Clare Davies. "Well, there you go Rob," she says. "Displacement activity and not being glued to the OBO has resulted in two wickets. I think now perhaps I might try checking out how Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta cycling team won the Bob Chicken Trophy in Woking last week.. I think it highly appropriate that the only food sponsored team won the food-based titled trophy. Karma. What trophy titles do OBO readers think would be appropriate for England to win (at the cricket, obviously, not Tossers Trophy for football)?"
21st over: Australia 87-2 (Ponting 26, Clarke 8) Clarke is dropped by the usually reliable Anderson. He gave Swann the charge and lashed the ball towards short extra cover, where Anderson dropped a very sharp two-handed catch just above his head. A fielder of his quality should have held that. "Am I really the only one on here (rhetorical question) who gets bizarre pleasure from us getting stuffed at everything?" says Peter Darbyshire, high-fiving the Grim Reaper. "I think it has something to do with enjoying being able to say (for example) our footballers are crap, which makes me feel like less of a failure as I look at their £170K a week. Years of practice have also made us really good at losing; I don't think I can take all this winning nonsense. Sorry to tell it like it is..."
22nd over: Australia 91-2 (Ponting 26, Clarke 12) Anderson now comes into the attack, replacing Broad. Just a couple of twos from a tight over. "I've never had a wallet," says the subject of Thomas Jenkins' email, leaving me wanting less. "Ahhh, the rueful smile. Smirk first, exhale heavily through the nose, that way when they chuckle at your misfortune they MUST be laughing with you. How many times now has that manoeuvre been my first line of mental defence down the local Tesco? Performed just before offering up the apparently always amusing 'Ah, my card must be in my other trousers'. I should add that I do have more than two pairs of trousers. Though I can't help but think that life would be easier if I hadn't."
23rd over: Australia 101-2 (Ponting 32, Clarke 16) Swann is a fractioon short and Ponting cracks him through the covers for four. A heap of ones and twos make it a good over for Straya. "I've just spotted something," says Robert Wickes. "That list of Watson's nearly scores appears to mirror exactly the number of weeks between my bedroom activities. (Yes I average 1 every 44 weeks). I really hope he doesn't go out and blaze a 150 odd in the next one dayer as we take our foot off the gas for the final match in the series." One slight problem with the comparison: Watson had consecutive scores of 4, 0, 0, 0 last year.
24th over: Australia 111-2 (Ponting 32, Clarke 25) Clarke has had enough of being bullied by the short ball. He takes a couple of steps to give himself room and cross-bats Anderson witheringly over the cover ring with four. A deliciously timed push through midwicket gives him four more.
25th over: Australia 115-2 (Ponting 33, Clarke 28) Sir Ian Ronald Bell is on the field as substitute; not sure who has gone off. His mere presence is enough to make me completely lose concentration during that Swann over. So I've no idea what happened except that there were no boundaries and four runs. Australia are looking good at the moment, and England could use a wicket. "Re: Clare Davies (over 20), England should be in the running for the big one, the Nobel Peace Prize for their sterling work at healing Anglo-Irish tensions," says David Wall. "England pinching Eoin Morgan/giving Morgan the opportunity to thrive on the full international stage seems, strangely, to have produced not bitterness among the Irish but a transfer of support to his new side (at least if blog commentators are a reasonably representative sample). And if they gave it to Obama for very little then England should be a shoe-in this year. "
'If blog commentators are a reasonably representative sample'. Yeah, well, if blog commentators are a reasonably representative sample, then most people think I am an effing cee so that shatters your theor- oh yeah.
26th over: Australia 120-2 (Ponting 36, Clarke 30) The camera cuts to Jeff Thomson, who has a beer on, and then Dean Headley chatting away at someone. "Headley is definitely not short of a few words. That'll bloke'll be asleep in ten minutes..." deadpans Nasser Hussain in the Sky box. Ponting screws a cut at the new bowler Yardy just short of Strauss, diving forward at backward point, and then scores his 13,000th run in ODIs. Only Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Trevor Ward have more. "The rueful smile is, of course, the go-to option for any weekend cricketer," says Richard O'Hagan. "Every misfortune can be alleviated by one, leaving everyone else in no doubt that it was just your bad luck that your perfect leg glance went straight into the keeper's gloves, or that there was no way that you were leg before, but you understand that every umpire makes a mistake sometimes, or that you would have smacked that 11-year-old's bowling out of the ground, but your migraine was so bad you couldn't actually see the ball.. As a result, practising The Smile during the week is as important as any net session, maybe more so. And any resemblence between the writer and someone suffering the aforementioned misfortunes is, of course, entirely coincidental."
27th over: Australia 128-2 (Ponting 42, Clarke 32) These two are milking the spinners very well, and bring up an ominous fifty partnership. After four singles, Ponting sweeps Swann's final delivery through square leg for four. England's success in this series has been built on the happy knack/ability/whatever of taking wickets just when Australia start to build a partnership. They need one now. "On the contrary to missing a train, in another situation I sometimes find myself smirking like that when I've 'arrived' too early," says Sam Edwards. "The other times I'm drunk."
28th over: Australia 133-2 (Ponting 45, Clarke 34) Five from Yardy's over, none in boundaries. Emails please!
29th over: Australia 135-2 (Ponting 47, Clarke 34) Luke Wright comes on for Graeme Swann. That's a good move from Strauss to deviate from the pre-set plan, because it was all just a bit too easy for Australia. Clarke slaps one straight back into the stumps at the bowler's end. That saves four, and so does a glorious diving stop from Anderson at short extra when Clarke leans into a drive. Somehow, there are just two from the over. "Here's an email," says Billy Mills. "Hope you like it."
30th over: Australia 142-2 (Ponting 49, Clarke 39) More low-risk accumulation against Yardy. Seven from the over. Yardy hasn't gone for a boundary today but they are still scoring five an over off him."I'm doing the Three Peaks Challenge at the end of July and ," says Angus Lockyer. "(Electricity went out about 10th over, taking the email with it. Was hoping to come back to five Australian wickets but not so much...)" Go on, give generously. It beats spending it on a hangover.
31st over: Australia 149-2 (Ponting 53, Clarke 40) Ponting pushes Wright to third man to reach a classy, defiant half-century from 56 balls. Australia are playing these boring middle overs splendidly, getting a run a ball without any serious risks. "When I was at high school, the buses used to be the rear-loaders (I believe you shandy drinkers call them Routemasters)," says Dave Espley. "My first bus home from school used to arrive at the terminus worryingly close to the point at which the next one left, leading to some close encounters, and many leaps aboard a moving vehicle. However, sod rueful smiles – when you didn't time it right and the bus pulled away without you on it, rather than turn round and face the taunts of your schoofriends, the thing to do was carry on running, occasionally all the way home."
32nd over: Australia 155-2 (Ponting 58, Clarke 41) England are struggling here. Bresnan returns and his first ball is driven magisterially through the covers for four by Ponting. "Missing the train in Berlin is certainly not a smiling matter," says Chris Blunt. "The S-Bahn waits for no man. The driver can see that you're a metre from the door and he will happily close it in front of you. Then, for around five magical seconds, as you frantically hit the button and bang on the door, you find that your are being watched by about 50 smirking Berliners. Quite funny if you're one of those on the train mind. I used to point and laugh at the poor buggers." 'Point'. Is that how you describe it in Germany?
33rd over: Australia 162-2 (Ponting 63, Clarke 43) Ponting drags a full delivery from Wright over midwicket for four, an unconvincing but ultimately safe shot. "I refuse to run for any public transport so I never have cause for the wry smirk to myself," says Andy Pechey. "However, I do smirk at other people missing the train I'm on, especially if they plead with me to open the door, even though I can't, then seem to blame me for their being late."
34th over: Australia 168-2 (Ponting 64, Clarke 48) Bresnan bowls a tame short ball and Clarke has loads of time to pull it over midwicket for four. Australia look well set for 300, which will be an excellent test of Nu England, especially if Tait and Bollinger bowl as they did the other day. "You missing the train," says Ian Burch. "Could it be like the film Sliding Doors and that you also exist in a parallel universe? Perhaps there you made the train and bumped into Gwyneth Paltrow (or more likely Rita Webb) in the carriage and an unexpected romance is already in the air." I didn't miss the train, some poor nugget did. I missed my train in the womb.
35th over: Australia 172-2 (Ponting 65, Clarke 51) After the mandatory ball change, England turn to Paul Collingwood. Clarke whips a couple to leg to reach his fifty, from 61 balls. Well played. "I was late for school one day and I hopped off my bus and ran around behind it so as to get across the road faster," says Doug Wilson. "Another bus came up suddenly and without thinking I ran onto the road and was hit by a third bus heading the other way. Now, come on, that sort of accident takes great skill."
36th over: Australia 181-2 (Ponting 70, Clarke 55) The milking of Michael Yardy continues. After five from the first five balls, Ricky Ponting pulls out the reverse-sweep and plays it splendidly for four. You've been watching Eoin, haven't you Ricky? "I love that feeling when you run hard to make the train at Clapham Junction, jump on in relief and then the train takes off in the wrong direction," says Olly Reid.
37th over: Australia 193-2 (Ponting 77, Clarke 59) Ponting rocks back to pull Collingwood for four in another very good over for Australia: 12 from it. They should easily get 300 here. In an unrelated development, here's the latest in our ongoing series, Proud Moments. This time it's with James Prout. "Running for a bus I was never destined to catch I let out 10 seconds' worth of absolute filth at an incredibly ridiculous volume. To which the driver of said bus obviously heard and stopped the bus, got off and directed a volley of not dissimilar filth at me. I retorted that I was not berating him but my own tardiness and woeful lack of speed while employing a rueful smile. He not only let me on the bus, but because I was so out of breath and the talk of all the other passengers let me off paying. I think my explanation would have met with resistance were it not for the inclusion of the rueful smile. Never underestimate it."
38th over: Australia 198-2 (Ponting 80, Clarke 61) Ponting drives Yardy inside-out over cover for a couple but that was a pretty decent over for England, going for only five. "The sentence 'The milking of Michael Yardy continues' creates a disturbing mental image involving a dairy farmer and some heavyweight equipment," says Paul Wakefield. "Please, no more references to extracting bodily fluids from England's finest sportsmen." The Milking of Michael Yardy, a short film directed by David Lynch and starring James Corden as Daddy Farmer.
39th over: Australia 209-2 (Ponting 85, Clarke 67) Clarke, on the charge and backing away, flashes a short one from Collingwood square on the off side and just wide of the diving Bresnan on the fence. That's the sole boundary of another very productive over for Australia; 11 from it. "I generally try to mask the perpetual disappointments of my life (like failing to score any runs every weekend) with the rueful smile and slow shake of the head," says Michael Davidson. "However, recently when I ran for a bus in Edinburgh the behaviour of the driver forced me to abandon this reaction. I thought that I had made it to the bus stop in time to board only for the driver to close the doors in my face and have a little chuckle to himself. At first I thought that he might not have seen me so I gently tapped on the windows but to that he just shook his head. The bus then pulled away but was stopped 20 yards down the street at a red light. So I marched down to the bus door again and knocked to see if he would let me on. Following another chuckle from the driver and a shake of his head I banged on the door and spontaneously thrust the double Vs at him. That showed him as I had to wait for the next bus…"
40th over: Australia 213-2 (Ponting 87, Clarke 69) Even now, with these two pushing for every run, Yardy is able to keep things relatively tight. Just four from that over. "When you wave madly at a cab and then realise its got a fare," begins Colin Veitch, "there's great skill in changing the 'hail' into a 'coo-ee' to an imaginary friend across the road to save embarrassment." A great skill that no human on this planet possesses, in my admittedly limited experience of saying of hearing people say the word 'Coo-ee'.
41st over: Australia 222-2 (Ponting 91, Clarke 74) Here comes James Anderson, who has five overs left and will probably bowl straight through now, barring an over that goes for 719. Ponting screws a leading edge just short of long off and then Clarke slaps the final delivery through the covers for four. Fine shot. " I like to get to my train early, get a nice, comfortable seat in my preferred carriage and settle down with a book at least 10 minutes before said train departs," says Tom Easton. "What invariably happens is that the train fills up, and just at the last moment, a flustered, attractive young mother gets on with three adorable children and looks around pleadingly. Everyone else studiously ignores her and it's muggins here who gets up and offers a seat. Cue 55 minutes of standing, surrounded by sweaty last-minuters. Try arriving a bit earlier next time, attractive young mum, huh?"
42nd over: Australia 228-2 (Ponting 92, Clarke 77) Yardy starts his over with two wides but again pulls it back very impressively, with only four additional runs from it. "All these tales of misfortune remind me of one of my lowest moments," says Stuart Wilson. "A long time ago when I was young and foolish I visited a club in Coventry called Ikon. Deep in to the night I found myself leaping around to the usual beeps and bangs that the DJ was pumping out (probably Josh Wink) when I noticed a length of toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Not wanting to break stride I decided that I could remove it by way of some vigorous dancing footwork. Having pulled off some moves that Jacko would be proud of I looked around to see a group of girls near me doubled up with laughter at my antics. Needless to say I went home alone and have never danced since."
WICKET! Australia 228-3 (Ponting c Strauss b Anderson 92) Australia take the batting Powerplay, and Ponting falls to the very first ball. He tried to drive Anderson over the cover ring but didn't time it well enough to clear the leaping Strauss at extra cover. So ends a splendid innings of 92 from 93 balls.
43rd over: Australia 230-3 (Clarke 78, White 1) The best way to slow the run-rate is to take wickets, and there's just two from that Anderson over. "I wonder if the person running for the aforementioned 1201 would have made it had the train left at 1201 and not at 1200 and 30 seconds, as they increasingly do," says Andrew Stroud. "I normally time my arrival at the station to perfection, so it is very disheartening when the train leaves slightly early - those 30 seconds make all the difference in the morning. However, here in Rio where I am sojourning for a while, it is refreshing to see that the bus driver will still open the door for you at the lights, especially if you give him a thumbs up and a cheeky if rueful grin when knocking on his door to gain entry."
44th over: Australia 236-3 (Clarke 80, White 5) Stuart Broad comes back into the attack and bowls a really good over in the circumstances. Lots of variation of line, length and pace, and only six runs, none in boundaries. "In bygone novels an Australian person would always be identified as such by hollering 'Coo-eee'," says John Starbuck. "It was supposed that such calls were used in the bush by drovers who had mislaid their horses (or maybe camels) and were either hoping to attract them back, or persuade the thief to return it. Very optimistic, some Aussies and not much given to the rueful smile as a result."
45th over: Australia 245-3 (Clarke 85, White 9) Clarke backs away so Anderson follows him, but Clarke is so quick on his feet that he can still make enough room to drive a low full-toss through mid-off for four. Great shot in an over that brings nine runs. "Re: Andrew Stroud – I couldn't agree more," says Ellie Hibberd. "My husband and I recently ran for a train and missed it because it left 15 seconds early. The station guy on the platform then helpfully commented, 'Oh you nearly made it' – we effing would have made it if you hadn't let it go early...." You know it's true love when you both sacrifice your dignity by running for a train. His 'n' Hers Humiliation.
46th over: Australia 253-3 (Clarke 91, White 11) Another great shot from Clarke, who makes an absurd amount of room to swat a short ball from Broad over mid-on for four. Eight from the over. "Surely the king of rueful smiles was Michael Vaughan," says Robert Wickes. "Preceded by a quizzical look at the pitch and the tap of an imaginary divot with his bat following the cartwheeling of his off stump. I tried this with a bus that I had run for. I looked quizzically down, kicked the front tyre, shook my head and then ruefully smiled at the passengers as if to say 'Actually, the state of this bus, I wouldn't want to travel on it anyway. I'm not sure it will make it to my destination'."
47th over: Australia 263-3 (Clarke 95, White 17) White gets his first boundary in streaky fashion, slicing a bicep-busting heave to third man off the bowling of Anderson. That's the only boundary of an over that goes for ten, and Australia scored 35 from their Powerplay, which is well below par. "In addition to people smirking when they have missed the last train, can I add that I always find it very funny when somebody trips while they are walking along and then breaks in to a short jog as if to disguise it," says Stuart Wilson, who himself has never tripped while walking along and then broken in to a short job as if disguise it. "It is particularly pleasing if that person happens to be a city high flyer bustling along importantly on yet another visit to Starbucks." Aye, I do love seeing a high flyer (sic) miss a bus or take a tumble while running for a train. Second only to watching people fail on Deal or No Deal.
WICKET! Australia 263-4 (White c Anderson b Broad 17) England have done extremely well in these last few overs, and now Broad has got rid of the dangerous White. He was a fraction late on the pull stroke and flogged it straight to deep square.
48th over: Australia 266-4 (Clarke 97, M Hussey 1) Just three from Broad's over, and a wicket. Now that's what I call death bowling. He finishes with figures of 10-0-46-1. "In my youth I recall chasing a bus in order to meet a particularly attractive young lady for our first date," says Dave Lowe. "As I made my triumphant leap onto the platform, admired by the other passengers, my right shoe fell off and landed in the middle of the road. By the time that I'd sheepishly alighted at the next stop, hobbled back to the now-mangled shoe, and caught the next bus, my date had long since departed, for both the evening and the rest of my life. Sigh."
WICKET! Australia 266-5 (M Hussey run out 1) Clarke screams Anderson to Strauss on the edge of the ring at extra cover and – probably correctly – sends Hussey back. But by then Hussey is halfway down the track and Strauss throws carefully to Anderson, who does the rest.
49th over: Australia 278-5 (Clarke 98, Smith 8) Smith ends Anderson's spell with consecutive boundaries, a whirl to fine leg and a beautiful ping through midwicket.
"So does anyone else do that thing where you see the train pull into the platform whilst you're still some distance away; decide you haven't got a hope and will wait for the next one whilst continuing to saunter casually onwards; get about fifteen yards away without the train moving and realise you could make it; suddenly sprint like a maniac only, to have the doors slam shut in your face?" asks Richard Lindley. "No? Just me then."
50th over: Australia 290-5 (Clarke 99, Smith 18) The last over of the innings, bowled by Bresnan, goes for 12. Smith premeditates a lap for four from the third delivery and then drives the fifth ball beautifully over cover for four more. He ends with 18 from just eight balls, and Michael Clarke becomes the in a one-day international (England's coach will know how he feels, as he is also on the list). So England need 291 to win. See you in half an hour.
1st over: England 7-0 (target: 291; Strauss 0, Kieswetter 4) Shaun Tait starts the innings with an off-side wide to Strauss. When Strauss gets off strike with a leg-bye, Tait tries to repeat his dismissal of Kieswetter on Sunday – a golden duck, bowled by a very full outswinger – only to stray down the leg side for another wide. Kieswetter then slams a fullish, wide delivery very confidently through extra over for four. "Back when I used to run for the tube I frequently came face to face with a pair of dirty sliding doors and know the smile of shame (I'd rather get the next one anyway. I'm glad I'm not stuck in there with you)," says Emma Cavalier. "One morning I made a miscalculation and I realised at the last moment there would be a meeting of face and glass unless I used my hands to stop myself. But rather than just embarrassing myself I thought I'd turn this in to a little comedy routine, banging both fists on the door, throwing my head back mouthing whyyyyyyyyyyyyy, finishing up with a sad woe-is-me-face and hanging my head. It was amazing how the embarrassment shifted from me to the people on the other side of that door. I then did the wry smile just to confuse the poor buggers getting to work two minutes ahead of me. I walk now, train or no train, and am so much happier for it." When you say you walk to walk, do you mean you decided to become unemployed just to avoid tube-based humiliation?
2nd over: England 15-0 (target: 291; Strauss 8, Kieswetter 4) The fast start continues. Doug Bollinger's second ball is invitingly short and Strauss pulls it meatily over the top for four. The fourth is too full, although not by much, and Strauss square-drives stylishly to the fence. "In a similar vein, I always like it when you see 'someone' walking down the street and suddenly realise they are going the wrong way. In this situation, it is impossible to simply turn round, lest the world labels you as deranged," says Mark Mulgrave. "Instead, an elaborate pantomime must be performed - a checking of the watch, a fake phonecall, a dramatic smacking of the palm to the forehead followed by the obligatory rueful smile, THEN the change of direction. Disaster averted."
3rd over: England 19-0 (target: 291; Strauss 9, Kieswetter 7) Shaun Tait bowled exclusively in two-over spells at Old Trafford on Sunday. Today he has been replaced after just one over, and here comes masculinity's . The first ball brings a big shout for LBW against Kieswetter. It was definitely pad first, and that was an extremely good shout. It was hitting middle halfway up but, as the Sky commentators suggest, it's really difficult for an umpire to be absolutely certain it was pad first when the bat jams against it in such a fashion. That said, he was out. Ponting at mid-off then makes a very good stop to turn four into one when Strauss drives to his right. "Re: over 47 - is there any way to recover from a trip like that with a shred of dignity?" says Steve Lavington. "I've tried the Rueful Grin, the Frown At Pavement, the Cheeky Skip - all to no avail. Perhaps I should just go for the Finn and tumble wildly to the floor, limbs flailing Bambi-fashion."
4th over: England 20-0 (target: 291; Strauss 10, Kieswetter 7) Bollinger beats Kieswetter with a good one that was slanted across him. Just one from a good over.
"Girlfriend's 17th birthday ten years ago..." begins Dominic Wright. "...and I'm hurtling down Putney Bridge trying to catch up with the Routemaster she and her friends are on. She shouts jump and, being easily led, I decide to leap (picture Mike Walker's despairing dive in Essex v Sussex last night). I absolutely clatter into her and to this day I can still see cars dodging around us as we both tumble along the road. Needless to say, she wasn't impressed and didn't think my cheap scented candle gift made up for almost killing her. The morning after I get down to the platform to see my train slowly moving along. Undeterred I sprint after it, open a door and hurl myself aboard triumphantly. Turns out the train was actually just coming into the station. Pretty rueful weekend all round."
5th over: England 21-0 (target: 291; Strauss 11, Kieswetter 7) Just one from that over as well, a disciplined little number from Ryan Harris. "I walk down the platform, not to work!" says Emma Cavalier (1st over). "I may be wiser now (no comments please) but I'll always, always be lazy."
6th over: England 27-0 (target: 291; Strauss 17, Kieswetter 7) Here comes Shaun Tait again, and he has Strauss dropped second ball. The first had been cut for four and, in trying to repeat the stroke, Strauss edged to first slip, where Shane Watson shelled a sharp but ultimately straightforward two-handed catch just above his head. Tait is bowling with serious pace, peaking at 97mph in that over. "As much as I've enjoyed today's riff on people running for trains, buses, etc, I thought there was something fishy about the whole thing AND THERE WAS," says Neil Withers. "I've just checked the national rail website and I can confirm that THERE IS NO 12.01 TO CAMBRIDGE. If only this was 'Murder, She Wrote': Jessica Fletcher would be unravelling your whole sorry alibi faster than Poirot going for a second glass of Creme de Menthe." The names were changed to protect the innocent. Either that or I saw someone smiling about a train they'd missed and inexplicably was not overwhelmed by the urge to fully investigate which train they were actually endeavouring to catch.
7th over: England 34-0 (target: 291; Strauss 22, Kieswetter 9) Strauss, frustrated by the lack of runs, makes room to smash Harris's last delivery through the covers for four. He is so much more unorthodox these days, and he looks a better 50-over player for it. "An office version of the disasters aforementioned - when you send an email by reply rather than forwarding it," says Ian Palmer. "This happened to a colleague of mine who inadvertently sent a rather scathing email back to the person he was being scathing about. Oops." No matter what riff the OBO starts with, it's almost always shunted abruptly towards personal embarrassment. You lot need to show a bit more self-esteem!
8th over: England 35-0 (target: 291; Strauss 22, Kieswetter 10) Just one from Tait's over. England are playing him very cautiously at the moment. "It's amazing how many people can't do something as simple as walk down a street without some kind of elaborate pantomime," says serial winner David Espley. "That said, I once put my foot down a grid which had had its protective cover removed, and the width of which was just less than the length of my foot, causing my big toe to be bent painfully upwards. Try retaining your dignity whilst limping away from that kind of mishap, foul-smelling mud up one trouser leg as far as your knee."
WICKET! England 37-1 (Kieswetter b Harris 12) That's a jaffa from Ryan Harris. Kieswetter goes for an expansive drive and is gated by one that jags back a fair one and rams into the top of off stump.
9th over: England 37-1 (target: 291; Strauss 22, Pietersen 0) "In my Liverpool Uni days, an old-style London bus, with conductor, transported students from residence to lecture halls, presumably to save innocents like myself from the hilarious natural wit of the locals," says Ben Dunn. "On returning to the halls, a friend of mine, Patrick, desperate to be early to the dinner queue, jumped from the back as the bus was pulling up. He miscalculated, wrongly assuming that the 25 mph we were doing would be about the same as his sprinting speed. As the bus slowed, Patrick came staggering alongside like he'd hit the last hurdle at the Olympics but was sure he could stay on his feet and make it to the finish line first. As the bus halted, 60 youthful faces watched a sliding first-year student taking layers of flesh from the hands he was now using as brakes. A rueful grin came often to his face during the next three years when people asked if he was that student." American Pie: the English version.
10th over: England 52-1 (target: 291; Strauss 29, Pietersen 8) Bollinger's over goes for 15 and includes three boundaries: a cut from Strauss and two drives from Pietersen, one smashed through extra cover and another through mid-on. "I once hurled myself through the closing doors of a Northern Line train at Kennington (it can be a long, long wait for the next one) and although I made it, I absolutely crunched my shin into the edge of the train," says Tom Adam. "I was in agony; I genuinely thought I'd broken my leg. So what did I do? Take my seat and pretend that it was all fine, no problem at all. The impact noise had been so loud that the entire carriage was covertly inspecting me to see what would happen, and I was determined not to let on. Internally I screamed all the way to Clapham Common."
WICKET! England 53-2 (Pietersen LBW b Harris 8) Pietersen has got the face on but that looked a pretty decent decision from Richard Kettleborough. He walked down the track and across to the off side before missing an attempted flick to leg, and Hawkeye shows that the ball would have gone on to hit middle and leg halfway up. That's a huge wicket for Australia, who are really up for this dead rubber.
11th over: England 55-2 (target: 291; Strauss 31, Collingwood 1) Harris has bowled extremely well and has figures of 5-0-16-2. "RE: Steve Lavington's query, 'is there any way to recover from a trip like that with a shred of dignity?'" says Emil Fortune. "Why yes, ."
12th over: England 58-2 (target: 291; Strauss 34, Collingwood 1) Three from Bollinger's over. England are going to lose this, aren't they. "I like how all these people claim to have to miss a bus or put their foot in a cattle grid in order to look like an undignified mess," says Niall Harden. "They must be doing alright; I manage that just sitting still. But this does seem a good moment to recall the time I thought there might be a wasp in my trousers and whipped them off at a crowded bus stop. Turns out there wasn't even a wasp!"
13th over: England 61-2 (target: 291; Strauss 37, Collingwood 1) Strauss is playing pretty nicely here in his usual unobtrusive way. He takes three from that Harris over. The required rate has crept up to 6.20. "Try keeping your dignity after accidentally walking into a large map outside your office building - and splitting the top of your nose open," says Rachel Clifton. "Blood everywhere - clothing, bag - and all in front of your boss. Tough to pass that off with a rueful smile..."
WICKET! England 61-3 (Strauss c Paine b Tait 37) Shaun Tait strikes with the second ball of a new spell. He drew Strauss into the drive with a full, reverse outswinger bowled from around the wicket, and the thin edge flew through to the wicketkeeper Paine. That's a very good delivery, and England are in a big hole now.
14th over: England 61-3 (target: 291; Collingwood 1, Morgan 0) A wicket maiden from Tait. To misquote Jeffrey Lebowski, that creep can bowl, man. "I remember an extremely stormy evening in Taunton several years ago," says Sam Tarr. "There were few people about but those who'd braved the weather – my excuse was a leaving do – were cowering under deserted shopfronts, waiting for a break in the weather that wasn't arriving.....anyway, I was under TopShop and there was a guy over the road using Dixons as his cover. It looked like a stand-off, who would go first? He couldn't take it any longer and SUDDENLY, STARTED RUNNING!! An extraordinary turn of speed which lasted a mere few seconds as he slipped in the wet and went head-first into a puddle. I couldn't stop laughing, I'm sorry to say. In fact, I'm still laughing now! Awesome."
15th over: England 71-3 (target: 291; Collingwood 4, Morgan 7) Ricky Ponting has brought James Hopes on, presumably to hurry through a few cheap overs while Morgan plays himself in. It's a sensible if defensive tactic. Saying which, Morgan gets off the mark with a dazzling six, driven mightily over long on. That's an absolutely ludicrous shot to play at the best of times, never mind on nought.
16th over: England 71-3 (target: 291; Collingwood 4, Morgan 7) Morgan is content to play out a maiden from the dangerous Tait, whose figures are now 5-2-13-2.
"You'd know what time the trains were if you did the Cambridge to London trip every day,' fumes Neil Withers from the floor of the overheated and delayed 1744 to Cambridge, fairly obviously adding the last bit - and even this - himself," says Neil Withers.
17th over: England 75-3 (target: 291; Collingwood 7, Morgan 8) One thing Nu England do quite well is target a weak link – remember Shane Watson in the World Twenty20 final – and if they are to win this they are going to have to give James Hopes plenty. Not in that over, though, which brings four runs. Meanwhile in other news and in an unrelated development, here's a of the Australian innings. Highlights on the web? Soon you won't need me at all. I'll be in the underpass at King's Cross, slurring from behind a four-year beard about how I did the OBO for Stuart Broad's spell at the Oval in 2009.
18th over: England 82-3 (target: 291; Collingwood 10, Morgan 12) An interesting move from Ponting, who brings Steve Smith into the attack. He's another one England might have to go target, and Morgan signals his intentions by walking down the track first ball and whipping it just wide of Ponting, leaping spectacularly to his left at short midwicket. Seven from the over.
19th over: England 86-3 (target: 291; Collingwood 11, Morgan 14) There's an unusual urgency to Morgan, who usually starts his innings fairly sedately. There are a few reasons: the realisation that these are the weaker bowlers, the fact that the asking rate is already over 6.5 and, perhaps, the empowerment that comes with the realisation that the entire world man-loves you. Four from Hopes' over. "Rob: as we are no longer in contention for the 5-0 whitewash (yes overs to go but YOU KNOW we are losing this game), is it too soon to berate Strauss for bowling first in this match?" Nah, it wasn't broke and all that. Also – and it's a pleasure to type this in reference to an English cricketer – no game is lost while Morgan is at the crease. If he goes, sure, weep like there's no tomorrow, but not until then.
WICKET! England 90-4 (Collingwood LBW b Smith 15) This looks a poor decision from Aleem Dar. Collingwood played outside a delivery that appeared to be missing off, but the finger went up straight away. England are in the malodorous stuff.
20th over: England 96-4 (target: 291; Morgan 19, Yardy 1) Replays show that that was a very rare shocker from Aleem Dar. It hit him outside the line of off stump and was turning even further away. So it's Morgan or bust now, and he chips Smith deliciously over midwicket for his first four of the innings.
21st over: England 98-4 (target: 291; Morgan 20, Yardy 2) I'm surprised Yardy has been promoted ahead of Luke Wright. I know his is a fledgling career, so any statistics could be consumed responsibly, but his ODI strike-rate is 44.69. Hopes hurries through an over for just two, and England need 193 from 28 overs.
22nd over: England 106-4 (target: 291; Morgan 22, Yardy 8) That's a good stroke from Yardy, who sweeps Smith to the fence. Four additional singles make it a good over for England. "Great highlights!!!" says Sam Tarr. "Apparently Australia made it to 290 without hitting any boundaries! I'm not sure your stint at King's Cross is due just yet..."
23rd over: England 110-4 (target: 291; Morgan 26, Yardy 8) Four from Hopes' over. England need 181 from 162 balls.
24th over: England 116-4 (target: 291; Morgan 28, Yardy 12) Six from Smith's over, all in low-risk ones and twos.
25th over: England 122-4 (target: 291; Morgan 31, Yardy 14) England must be tempted to go after Hopes and Smith, but they can't really risk losing another wicket so low-risk accumulation is the order of the day. A run off each delivery keeps everyone happy.
26th over: England 124-4 (target: 291; Morgan 32, Yardy 15) The expensive Smith (4-0-31-1) gives way to Doug Bollinger, who gives the required run-rate a gentle shove with a good over that costs two and includes a horrible grubber that beats Morgan but misses off stump.
27th over: England 139-4 (target: 291; Morgan 46, Yardy 16) Morgan has had enough of milking Hopes and instead smacks his first two deliveries for awesome sixes, the first a slog-sweep over midwicket and the second a drive over mid-on. He is unreal. "The run-rate is still achievable, Rob – even with four down," says Clare Davies. "I rather like the way Aggers has started to say 'Bowlinger' now for Dougie Bald Boy. It just sounds good."
28th over: England 140-4 (target: 291; Morgan 47, Yardy 16) Morgan drives Bollinger for a single to bring up the fifty partnership from 48 balls. That's the only run from the over. "They may have sent Yardy out as we could to with ten overs or so of consolidation to get ourselves back into this match," says Phil Sawyer, getting all tactical on our collective ass.. "I like Luke Wright but I'm not sure he's got the restraint to settle down with Morgan for a while. Games like this are necessary for this team to see whether they really do have a Plan B. Mind you, with those two sixes Morgan obviously has a different definition of consolidation than us mere mortals." Yeah, Yardy has done well so far. My concern was that the rate would spiral with him there but he has played resourcefully. That said, Wright suggested he was learning how to consolidate with his performance in the .
WICKET! England 140-5 (Morgan c Paine b Harris 47) That should be that. Eoin Morgan swishes at a wide one from the returning Ryan Harris and gets a healthy snick through to Paine. He played another charming innings, 47 from 56 balls, but with him goes England's chances of a whitewash.
29th over: England 140-5 (target: 291; Yardy 16, Wright 0) A wicket maiden from the excellent Harris, and England now need 151 from 126 balls. No, no they're not.
30th over: England 144-5 (target: 291; Yardy 19, Wright 1) Ponting decides to get a few more overs out of Steve Smith while England start again after the loss of Morgan. Just four from the over.
31st over: England 146-5 (target: 291; Yardy 20, Wright 2) Here comes James Hopes, also to bowl some cheap overs while England consolidate. This game is over.
WICKET! England 151-6 (Wright b Smith 2) Ah, the comforting sight of seeing a Pom bowled round his legs by an Aussie legspinner. It's been a while, but all is well with the world again as Wright pushes forward and is beaten by a combination of drift and then just enough spin to hit the leg stump.
32nd over: England 152-6 (target: 291; Yardy 25, Bresnan 1) One thing I like about Tim Bresnan is that, unlike almost everyone else on the planet, he will still genuinely believe that England are going to win this game. Such faith can take you a long way. "I know this is a dead rubber, but if the Aussies win this one and the next, is it just going to feel like they're riding high all the way to the Ashes? How do they do it? Even when they lose they sort of win. It's sick," says Kimon Dallas, before getting on to the real business. "PS if you I'll send you a free copy. Yes, that's a good thing." Yes please.
33rd over: England 158-6 (target: 291; Yardy 26, Bresnan 6) Hopes has a big shout for LBW against Yardy turned down. Too high, possible inside edge. Bresnan would have been run out next ball had Ponting, pouncing in the covers, hit the stumps. He missed by a whisker, if that. Bresnan takes advantage to carve one deliberately to third man for four.
34th over: England 167-6 (target: 291; Yardy 29, Bresnan 8) Steven Smith continues. Some sensible play brings nine from the over, none in boundaries. "I resent the implication that I was only emailing to get a plug. No sir. I'm avid OBO follower and have been for years. I love you man," says Kimon Daltas. "Now to the real business - that link doesn't work." I've fixed it now, multi-tasking champion that I am.
35th over: England 172-6 (target: 291; Yardy 32, Bresnan 13) Hopes continues after the mandatory ball change. Five runs, none in boundariezzzzzzzzzzzz. Hopes finishes with figures of 10-0-56-0. I don't really see the point of him in this team. Talking of which. "Can anyone else not see the point of having Luke Wright in this team?" asks Alex Stamp. "England already have five bowlers, and there are better batsmen out there too. Sure he's a good squad man and damn good fielder, but there is an imbalance." There may be better batsmen but are there better death hitters?
36th over: England 181-6 (target: 291; Yardy 37, Bresnan 17) Tait is back and Bresnan pulls his first ball one-handed for three. Then Yardy tucks the last delivery to fine leg for four. Nine from the over. "Apropos of nothing, I heard Magic Moments the first time in a long while yesterday," says Jonny Sultoon. "Is there a worse rhyming couplet than:
The way that we cheered whenever our team was scoring a touchdown,
The time that the floor fell out of my car when I put the clutch down
I'd be amazed if there was..."
37th over: England 185-6 (target: 291; Yardy 39, Bresnan 19) Four from Smith's over. "Why don't they take the batting Powerplay?" asks Dave Luck. "New ball, Swann to come in... We're not going to win, but it'd be entertaining at least." As the chaps on Sky just said, they'll probably take it as soon as Swann comes in: he's the best at clearing the infield and used to occasionally open for his county.
38th over: England 186-6 (target: 291; Yardy 40, Bresnan 19) Tait is far too hot for Yardy and Bresnan, who can take just a single from that over. Hit out or get out, lads, you know the rules of Nu England.
39th over: England 191-6 (target: 291; Yardy 43, Bresnan 21) England continue to get 'em in singles. Quite what they think they're getting I've no idea: just five from that over and they now need 100 from the last 11 overs. Good luck with that.
40th over: England 198-6 (target: 291; Yardy 49, Bresnan 22) England take the Powerplay, and Yardy makes room to cut the first ball for four. That's the only boundary of an over that goes for seven. So England need 93 from the last 60 balls.
WICKET! England 199-7 (Bresnan c Watson b Harris 22) Bresnan holes out to long on to give Ryan Harris his fourth wicket.
41st over: England 206-7 (target: 291; Yardy 56, Swann 1) Earlier in the over Yardy reached his first ODI fifty, a good effort from 58 balls.
WICKET! England 207-8 (Swann c Paine b Bollinger 1) Oh well. Swann gloves a leg-stump lifter through to Paine, and the game is all but up. Swann will be getting plenty of that sort of bowling come November.
WICKET! England 208-9 (Yardy c White b Bollinger 57) Yardy clunks a pull to mid-on two balls later. At least England are going down swinging.
42nd over: England 208-9 (target: 291; Broad 0, Anderson 0) Eight overs left. If England block them I will go postal.
WICKET! England 212 all out (Broad c Hussey b Harris 4) Broad drives to cover, and the excellent Ryan Harris has his fifth wicket. Australia have won this game emphatically, and look a different team with Shaun Tait in the side. Thanks for all your emails; night.