Cow Corner

  • The victory England Haddin the bag

    An unbeaten sixth-wicket stand of 185 runs from the elegant Michael Clarke and the eccentric Brad Haddin gave Australia a sniff of a sensational victory, but England still have their opponents in a nelson hold at Lord's.

    The fourth day of the second Ashes Test was predictable only in the sense that there was drama, tension, a few dubious dismissals, niggles sustained by Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff - and numerous gripes from Ricky Ponting. It was as utterly spellbinding as the stuff that had preceded it.

    After building the suspense like Monty Panesar taking an off-stump guard, Andrew

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  • Australia suffer Broad-side attack

    England seized control of the final and decisive Ashes Test at The Oval courtesy of an inspired spell of seam bowling from Stuart Broad.

    Graeme Swann and Broad bowled in tandem during a wicket-fest of an afternoon in which eight Australian wickets fell for 72 runs and Andrew Strauss's side were left firmly in the ascendancy.

    Thanks to Broad and Swann England now occupy the box seat in the match like Dwayne Leverock on a middle pew of a Ryanair flight, holding a lead of 230 runs.

    When Ian Bell told anyone who would listen at stumps on Day One that 300 was "a great score on this wicket" most

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  • Snarling Siddle scythes through hosts

    England, for only the third time in cricket's oldest and most cherished rivalry, went into the final Test at The Oval needing a win to regain the Ashes but the snarling Peter Siddle had other ideas.

    The coin toss may as well have been bypassed during Nasser Hussain's unlucky tenure as England captain, but Andrew Strauss delivered the goods once again to execute the crucial win-toss-bat-first maxim.

    Alastair Cook and Strauss strode purposefully out to the middle before Cook strode purposefully back to the pavilion after 12 balls, with Peter Siddle's face transforming seamlessly from the usual

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  • Key Ramps up selection quandary

    After England's capitulation at Headingley in the fourth Ashes Test, the pressure now weighs on national selector Geoffrey 'Dusty' Miller like the heavy roller at The Oval.

    The dour Yorkshireman could be forgiven for ripping apart the entire batting line up and wiping the slate clean, but where then: Robert Key, Jonathan Trott, or for that matter a return for the ever-dependable David Steele?

    When unfavourable comparisons are made with England's regular batting collapses in the Nineties, what next? A clamber for the recall of Mark Ramprakash.

    In the Ashes series of 1993, England used 24

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  • Fitting farewell for Freddie the batsman

    It's hard to think of a more fitting swansong for Andrew Flintoff the batsman than the swashbuckling 18-ball cameo that invigorated a subdued Oval crowd early on Saturday afternoon.

    It was full-blooded, frivolous and fleeting. It was unmistakably Flintoff. 

    For the all the criticism levelled at his failure to convert god-given talent into statistical achievement, England's larger-than-life all-rounder has never failed to entertain.

    When Flintoff walked to the crease, the masses rose to their feet. They did so to pay homage to a colossus who has performed with an honesty and integrity that

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  • Ponting left to rue what could have been

    Ricky Ponting took a ball square in the mouth on Saturday, but his dismissal in Australia's second innings on Sunday will have caused the fiercely proud Tasmanian a good deal more pain.

    With Australia on the ropes at 90-2 the stage was set for their battle-hardened captain to perform one last act of defiance, in what in all likelihood would be his last Ashes appearance on these shores.

    But as Ponting and Mike Hussey settled in, thoughts turned to the unthinkable. If these two stayed put, Australia could win this match, rip up the record books and break Pommy hearts. Aussie heaven.

    The hundred

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  • Shah spin steals win and salvages pride

    It took an obdurate 67 from debutant Joe Denly and a consummate display of death bowling by Owais Shah for England to steal a tense two-run victory over Ireland in their one-day international in Belfast.

    After Duckworth and Lewis waded in to have their say following a rain delay, Ireland's revised target of 116 looked paltry when Ryan Sidebottom was given a hiding by 18-year-old student Paul 'Biff Boff' Stirling.

    England secured the Ashes last week, but if the ECB's website is to be believed, this match was the start of a new brave and dynamic brand of cricket complete with tawdry marketing

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  • White innings in vain due to Manchester rain

    A belligerent 55 from Australia vice-captain Cameron White was cruelly rendered irrelevant as rain abandoned his side's first Twenty20 international against England in dank conditions at Old Trafford.

    A characteristically cavalier 27 from captain Michael Clarke complemented White (pictured) perfectly as the tourists salvaged some pride on an arctic evening in Manchester, with even the uncompromising David Warner resigned to sporting two sweaters and long johns.

    A few bashful individuals abandoned the bus in favour of arriving at the ground via lurid orange parachutes, while flares were let off

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  • This is no Rash judgement

    That England slipped to defeat in the opening one day international with Australia will command the headlines, but the emergence of Adil Rashid is a real boon for England.

    England have resisted the temptation to throw the 21-year-old into the fray for some time, but finally gave him his head against Australia and he demonstrated exactly why he is held in such regard.

    He bowled with the confidence of youth and displayed the temperament of a player who belongs on the biggest stage.

    So have England finally found the great spinner that has been sadly lacking from their armoury in recent years?

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  • Lightning Lee leaves England reeling at Lord’s

    Brett Lee ripped through the England lower order with a stunning five-wicket haul as the hosts' insipid batting saw Australia clinch a series victory with a fourth successive win at a sun-drenched Lord's.

    As much as England were inept, Australia were clinical and commanding. Their two leaders, Michael Clarke and the returning Ricky Ponting, pummelled their timid hosts into submission like Tim Bresnan flooring Ian Bell when wrestling is finally brought in to replace football in the team's warm up.

    England's lacklustre display with the bat was largely due to a lull in the middle overs in which

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