The Ashes - 3rd Test

England v Australia

Match drawn

Overs 1-50  | Overs 51-100

Three slips. Gully, short-leg

The tenor is belting out Jerusalem, which is beginning to feel a little tired. But it's certainly woken up the crowd, all of whom are now singing "Oh, Jimmy Jimmy" who's preparing to bowl to Shane Watson. As an opening batsman in first-class cricket, he averages about 4.

4.50pm Ten minutes to go. Stick a cold one in the fridge or boil up the kettle, and at last we'll have some action for you.

"There are two TV channels in Australia showing the Ashes and neither has shown the toss yet, or even indicated that there has been one," notes Brydon, my co-commentator. Mate, you're batting.

"The players are getting the ball to swing around corners on the side wickets," says the ever-alert Alex Brown. Potentially, we have two-and-a-half hours of cricket which is excellent to hear, if a tad unlikely.

England 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 Ian Bell, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Matt Prior (wk), 7 Andrew Flintoff, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Graham Onions

Australia 1 Shane Watson, 2 Simon Katich, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Mike Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Marcus North, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Nathan Hauritz, 10 Peter Siddle, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus

"Nice little session," Strauss says of bowling, in spite of the wet conditions. But Strauss refuses to be too concerned.

Toss Ponting calls heads, and it's a heads and, unsurprisingly, he's batting. "The best way for us to win is to bat first," he says. Watson in and will open the batting in place of Hughes. "Phil found things a little tough...Shane got some useful overs under his belt [in the warm-up game]." No Stuart Clark. Again...

4.25pm The 4.15pm inspection's lasted ten minutes so far. Much pontification and concern over the moisture on the outfield and Ponting's just spoken to Jeff Crowe, match referee, before sprinting off. Is that a sign? Must be. Toss could be coming up any minute now.

3.45pm - play to start at 5pm - hurrah! Hurrah, huzzah and other joyful words. There'll be another inspection at 4.15pm and the ground will have to improve, but all you millions out there, keep your fingers crossed and we might have some play. Meanwhile, Murali's retiring in 2010.

3.35pm - captains on the field news The captains are on the field. Yes, I'm hearing and seeing both captains are out there and Strauss is smiling. Ponting, less a smile, more a grimace, and they're wading through the bog and out to the pitch. They whack a ball into the turf and, err, there's no bounce at all. The ground swallows it and it's clear the ball is absolutely drenched. The puddles, however, have gone and it's sunny and breezy - ideal drying conditions. The verdict? Well, it's in the best shape it has been for two days, that much is obvious, but I can't see there being play for another few hours if at all.

Steven Lynch, the Steven of Ask Steven fame, spots an opera singer out in the middle to entertain the crowd. Sean Ruane is his name. Well done him.

2.10pm The covers are coming off, but the outfield remains very boggy indeed. We'll keep you updated. Meanwhile: Dave's brought the weather with him. Spare a thought for Steve Rouse, who offered a fascinating interview with us on yesterday's Switch Hit Cricket Show, who hasn't had a wink of sleep for nearly two days. He and his team worked through the night; that the ground isn't a lake is a bit of a miracle. Well played, Steve.

2pm inspection Rudi's not happy with the situation. The bowlers' run-ups are saturated, and he explains that even when the ball rolls tamely across the turf, it becomes absolutely covered in water. Which, understandably, is unfair, though the Brummy crowd are booing him. And booing some more. Poor bloke's getting absolutely grilled by a bored crowd, but it's entirely down to the weather, not Rudi. Slightly ridiculously, he insists they could still play at 6pm, but realistically the chances of that happening are roughly equivalent to England handing me a late call-up.

2pm Thanks for all the entries to the limerick competition. 500 or so in about 10 minutes, so we'll wade through them and announce the winner in due course; some cracking entries, so thanks to all who entered. Still no play out in the middle, by the way. The sun's out, it's bright and windy and looks marvellous, but the super sopper is at work mopping up the covers, and I imagine the outfield remains a bog.

1.30pm The sun's out. The cricketers are not. It's boggier than Geoff and Rod out there.

1pm It's lunch on the first day, and we've had precisely zero cricket. But there's still plenty to chat about, so join Cricinfo's deputy editor Alex Brown, UK editor Andrew Miller and Australasia editor Peter English for a live discussion here. Send your questions for them in to chatterbox@cricinfo.com

Next inspection will be at 2pm. Sorry, chaps, but that's the way it is. We'll keep you updated, of course, but we're not holding out much hope for there being any play today. Hang tight.

12.05pm Rudi Koertzen has just spoken about conditions and didn't sound too hopefully. The main areas of concern are a very muddy area at about cover and the run-ups which are soggy. It's going to be a long drying process, but more showers are also forecast.

11.45am The news is, there is no news. It's wet. The puddles are puddly. Meanwhile, Alan Tyers has rifled through Ian Bell's diary at our former sister publication, The Wisden Cricketer.

"The sun is shining quite brightly for the moment, which is good. But that downpour has set the day back by two hours at least, I reckon," says Andrew. The puddles are back, and some - a fine effort from the rain once again. Impressive stability, just sitting there calmly and patiently and laughing in the face of the weak summer sun. This is intensely frustrating.

11am The rain is still falling at Edgbaston, so there has been no toss, nor any news of a time for the toss. Sorry folks, but that's the way it is. And the teams don't need to be confirmed until the toss. So that's why we haven't any official starting XIs yet.

While you're waiting, have a go at Andy Zaltzman's second Ashes quiz.

10.45am As the umbrellas remain in place in Birmingham, Pete from Australia makes his point: "Merv Hughes has just shown why he should not be selecting teams. They rate Watson as one of 5 openers in the squad because he opens in one-dayers - that is laughable. If that's the case, why didn't Adam Gilchrist ever open in Test matches?"

And Graham asks a question which, frankly, I don't know the answer to: "Didn't Edgbaston used to have a motorised cover for the entire playing area, including the outfield? The 'Brumbrella' wasn't it? What happened to that?"

Gav from Scotland has an answer about the Brumbrella: "It was removed as it was 'too heavy to move once it had rain on it'! - only in England could an umbrella be too heavy to move after a shower."

10.30am "There are some dirty clouds rolling in from the north." Thanks, Miller. And indeed the covers are on and there is some rain spitting.

"Why are you Cricinfo guys acting so surprised about Hughes dropped for Watson?" asks Chris H. "Everyone has been predicting it since Lord's, yourselves included." That doesn't make it the right decision, though.

And it's worth noting that Shane Watson has usually batted at No. 4 for Queensland in Sheffield Shield cricket. When Justin Langer retired, Watson tried opening in the Shield to push his case as a Test opener. In his only six innings opening he made 0, 0, 0, 15, 13 and 0. "Hmmmmm," opines Brydon. Hmm indeed. Here are his Test stats thus far, averaging 19.76. Never batted higher than 6 for Australia...last four innings were single-digit totals.

One of Australia's selectors Merv Hughes is speaking to the Australian commentators at Edgbaston and while he won't confirm the starting XI, he says the selectors always considered Shane Watson as a potential opener. "When we picked this squad everyone sat back and said we only had two openers. But we felt we had five, with Hussey, North and Watson. He [Watson] has opened in one-day cricket and done very well there."

Meanwhile, Durham have been awarded an Ashes Test in 2013. More on that shortly; in the interim, you should click here if you want to talk to us.

10.10am Alex Brown is alongside Miller, and spits the following. "They've just announced play is delayed. Umpires will monitor at 11am. Miller and I had a poke to the outfield and it's completely sodden...you could hear the sound of people walking across it from 20 yards away." Not good. Shane Watson will open the batting, replacing Phillip Hughes who announced his axing on Twitter no less.

"In fact," finger-wags Miller, "it's not a Barbour, it's my special npower-branded mackintosh." What a complete sell-out.

And, as predicted, we're in for a delay. For how long, we're not yet sure, but the rain gods have been slapped around the face by the sun which, pleasantly, is beaming down across the ground. Excellent news.

10am A very warm good morning and welcome to Cricinfo's ball-by-ball coverage of the third Ashes Test. Or should that be drop-by-drop? It might as well be given the buckets of rain that have dumped themselves rudely over Edgbaston and poor Steve Rouse's head. The head groundsman and his team have been working through the night in their wellies and, unexpectedly, we're in for a bit of a delay. But fear not, people of the internet, for I, Will Luke, along with Brydon Coverdale - from the still-mourning metropolis of Melbourne - are here to keep you amused, informed and entertained.

Andrew Miller, like Rouse, has his wellies and Barbour, probably, and spake forth the following. "Well, there is the increasing likelihood of play. There's been bright sun and a perfect drying breeze for most of the morning. I tested the grass at the edge of the pitch and it is still seriously boggy but the groundstaff have done a fine job out in the middle."

0.1

Anderson to Watson, no run, wide of the off stump and left alone

Brad Haddin is out of the Test. He has broken his index finger of his left hand - took a couple while practising in front of the pavilion, and Graham Manou has been picked instead

0.2

Anderson to Watson, no run, prodigious swing wide of the off stump and left alone

0.3

Anderson to Watson, 1 run, drops this out to the off side and has to really, really sprint for the single! And does so

Well well - what news about Haddin. Poor bloke. This happened after the toss, so he's only just broken it.

0.4

Anderson to Katich, no run, Katich leaves his first ball outside the off stump. Quick ball

0.5

Anderson to Katich, 1 run, straighter; in fact, on his legs, and tucked down to fine-leg

0.6

Anderson to Watson, no run, straighter ball which hurries Watson and it comes off his pads

End of over 1 (2 runs) Australia 2/0
SR Watson    1* (4b)      JM Anderson    1-0-2-0
SM Katich    1* (2b)     

Here's Flintoff. The noise here is deafening. Breezy, cloudy - vitriolic, quite hostile atmosphere. Edgbaston is a cauldron of noise in the Ashes

1.1

Flintoff to Katich, no run, left alone outside off

1.2

Flintoff to Katich, no run, down the leg side, Katich flicks and misses

1.3

Flintoff to Katich, no run, and he leaves this good-length delivery outside off

1.4

Flintoff to Katich, 1 run, tucked off his hip

1.5

Flintoff to Watson, no run, wide of the off stump and Watson leaves that alone

1.6

Flintoff to Watson, no run, left alone comfortably outside off

End of over 2 (1 run) Australia 3/0
SR Watson    1* (6b)      A Flintoff    1-0-1-0
SM Katich    2* (6b)      JM Anderson    1-0-2-0

To clear up the Graham Manou debut. He came in after the toss at the agreement of England who allowed him to replace Haddin. The team-sheet Strauss was handed at the toss had Haddin's name on it.

2.1

Anderson to Katich, no run, oh good ball! Katich expected that to come back but it shot across his bows

"Poetic justice?" wonders Ask Steven. "It was Haddin who rolled the ball that McGrath stepped on four years ago." Tremendous spot, Steven Lynch.

2.2

Anderson to Katich, no run, slightly fuller and wide enough to be left alone

2.3

Anderson to Katich, no run, too wide and left alone

2.4

Anderson to Katich, 1 run, better. Made him play and Katich plays it well, defending it out to the off side and they pinch a tight single

2.5

Anderson to Watson, no run, wide of the off stump and left alone

2.6

Anderson to Watson, no run, swings wide of the off stump

"Australia have not won an Ashes series in which they have changed their wicketkeeper since 1948," notes Andy Zaltzman, in between buying dentists' cabinets on eBay.

End of over 3 (1 run) Australia 4/0
SR Watson    1* (8b)      JM Anderson    2-0-3-0
SM Katich    3* (10b)      A Flintoff    1-0-1-0

3.1

Flintoff to Katich, no run, too wide from Flintoff and left alone

3.2

Flintoff to Katich, no run, again slanting across Katich but way, way too wide from Flintoff, but disturbingly fast at 92mph

3.3

Flintoff to Katich, no run, down the leg side, Katich walks across to the off stump to reveal the leg stump but it passes by harmlessly

3.4

Flintoff to Katich, no run, bouncer, and a straight one, but comfortably ducked

Flintoff is sporting the makings of a beard, bowling in bright evening sunshine now with three slips, gully and point. And an atmosphere. What an atmosphere

3.5

Flintoff to Katich, no run, short and defended on the leg side

3.6

Flintoff to Katich, no run, yep, too wide again. Flintoff's not quite on the money just yet

End of over 4 (maiden) Australia 4/0
SM Katich    3* (16b)      A Flintoff    2-1-1-0
SR Watson    1* (8b)      JM Anderson    2-0-3-0

4.1

Anderson to Watson, no run, wide of the off stump, swinging wider still

4.2

Anderson to Watson, no run, ooh that's better. Just outside the off stump and Watson shuffles across a touch, both feet pointing down the pitch, and it's defended

4.3

Anderson to Watson, FOUR, shot. Too wide from Anderson - England have bowled much too wide so far - but a fantastic shot from Watson, smashing this on the up behind square for four

4.4

Anderson to Watson, no run, a slightly better length but, again, too wide and Watson's leaving it alone comfortably

4.5

Anderson to Watson, no run, this swings back into the right-handed and tall Watson who is rapped high on the thigh, and possibly even between the thighs. Nasty blow, that, in a manner of speaking

Moving on

4.6

Anderson to Watson, no run, excellent line but a very good defensive on the front foot

End of over 5 (4 runs) Australia 8/0
SR Watson    5* (14b 1x4)      JM Anderson    3-0-7-0
SM Katich    3* (16b)      A Flintoff    2-1-1-0

5.1

Flintoff to Katich, 1 run, on leg stump, crabbily worked around the corner

5.2

Flintoff to Watson, no run, a bouncer and he ducks. Flintoff follows him, eyes him up and they eyeball eachother for three, four, five, six seconds. Brilliant. That's what we're here to see. A reminder to Watson that this is Test cricket

5.3

Flintoff to Watson, no run, defended on the back foot

5.4

Flintoff to Watson, no run, good line outside off and quick. Sharp

We can play until 7.30 today, incidentally. That's BST, obviously

5.5

Flintoff to Watson, FOUR, squirted wide of gully. Flintoff stands, staring, nodding as if to say "what sort of a shot was that?" Well, either way, it went for four perfectly safely. Watson smiles and smirks back

Flintoff is absolutely charged up here. Tearing in, red of face, bristling with anger and aggression. The other ten Englishman look oddly subdued, as though rushed into playing at this late stage of the day

5.6

Flintoff to Watson, no run, 93.6mph and defended on the back foot

End of over 6 (5 runs) Australia 13/0
SR Watson    9* (19b 2x4)      A Flintoff    3-1-6-0
SM Katich    4* (17b)      JM Anderson    3-0-7-0

6.1

Anderson to Katich, 1 run, on the off stump and well played by Katich, dropping it out to the off side

6.2

Anderson to Watson, no run, flung down the leg side. Roobish, that

Short leg moves in

6.3

Anderson to Watson, 1 run, swings back very late into the right-hander! Sheesh, Watson was very late on that. Bat coming down diagonally

6.4

Anderson to Katich, no run, got him, surely! A massive inswinger into his back pad, on middle-and-off - but not given! My word. Katich has survived a deathly close call there!

6.5

Anderson to Katich, no run, and another good nut bending back sharply into the left-handed Katich who is a little late on the defensive

Much better line from Anderson

6.6

Anderson to Katich, no run, wide of the off stump

End of over 7 (2 runs) Australia 15/0
SM Katich    5* (21b)      JM Anderson    4-0-9-0
SR Watson    10* (21b 2x4)      A Flintoff    3-1-6-0

7.1

Flintoff to Watson, 1 run, nudged to leg and Watson runs straight into Flintoff. Who was not going anywhere. He is giving Watson a few words and that was pretty silly running from Watson, given Flintoff's his equal in height and probably a little heavier

7.2

Flintoff to Katich, FOUR, wow. What timing from Katich square of the wicket off the back foot. He has laced that for four - given how wet it was only one hour ago, that has sped for four

7.3

Flintoff to Katich, 1 run, straighter and tucked to leg

7.4

Flintoff to Watson, no run, bouncer wide of the off stump and Watson ducks. Flintoff glares

7.5

Flintoff to Watson, no run, touch too wide

Onions is peeling off his layers, preparing to bowl soon perhaps

7.6

Flintoff to Watson, FOUR, shot, shot, shot. Four! Gorgeous leg-side flick through midwicket, though it was an absolute half-volleying gift from Fred

End of over 8 (10 runs) Australia 25/0
SR Watson    15* (25b 3x4)      A Flintoff    4-1-16-0
SM Katich    10* (23b 1x4)      JM Anderson    4-0-9-0

8.1

Anderson to Katich, no run, testing off-stump line to which Katich goes back and defends with a punch

8.2

Anderson to Katich, 3 runs, neat flick behind square, again shuffling across to the off side but nudging it nicely

The sub is on already. Karl Turner is his name. No idea who's gone off

8.3

Anderson to Watson, 1 run, inswinger, flicked to leg and they scamper a single

8.4

Anderson to Katich, no run, swings back late on Katich, who's shuffling around all over the shop here

8.5

Anderson to Katich, FOUR, bang! Four through point, driving ferociously. This outfield is surprisingly quick

8.6

Anderson to Katich, no run, defended on the back foot

End of over 9 (8 runs) Australia 33/0
SM Katich    17* (28b 2x4)      JM Anderson    5-0-17-0
SR Watson    16* (26b 3x4)      A Flintoff    4-1-16-0

9.1

Flintoff to Watson, no run, so close! Watson goes back to defend, through his legs, and it bounced over the leg stump. Missed it by a centimetre!

9.2

Flintoff to Watson, no run, leaves this wider ball alone outside off

9.3

Flintoff to Watson, no run, good off-cutter but left alone on length

9.4

Flintoff to Watson, no run, flies through to Prior outside off

Steve Rouse and his groundsmen deserve huge praise for getting this pitch and ground in a fit state. They've worked solidly for two days and all through last night, and the pitch is a beauty - great batting track, with plenty of bounce

9.5

Flintoff to Watson, no run, good carry too, left alone

"I wonder," wonders Frank, "whether Manou had time for the formal "capping" ceremony the Aussies like to have where a past player presents the debutant with his baggy green." Probably. Haddin bust it after the toss, so there was still about half-an-hour until play

9.6

Flintoff to Watson, no run, ignored outside off. Too short and wide

End of over 10 (maiden) Australia 33/0
SR Watson    16* (32b 3x4)      A Flintoff    5-2-16-0
SM Katich    17* (28b 2x4)      JM Anderson    5-0-17-0

10.1

Anderson to Katich, FOUR, four more. Katich isn't using his feet at all, but he's timing the pants off everything this evening. Gorgeous straight drive hands him another boundary

10.2

Anderson to Katich, FOUR, a spanking cut shot. An absolute spanking. Dross from Anderson, mind - short, wide and dealt with by the left-hander

10.3

Anderson to Katich, 1 run, on the off stump, Katich defends out to the off side for a single. Ah, top cricket this from Katich. He's giving Watson a superb lesson in opening here

10.4

Anderson to Watson, no run, defended out to the off side

10.5

Anderson to Watson, no run, oh dear, oh dear. Right out of the blue Watson has tried to smash Anderson into the street. Anderson gives him a word, and quite right too. You can't be doing that on your debut as a Test opener for goodness' sake. No manners at all

10.6

Anderson to Watson, 1 run, left alone outside off

End of over 11 (10 runs) Australia 43/0
SR Watson    17* (35b 3x4)      JM Anderson    6-0-27-0
SM Katich    26* (31b 4x4)      A Flintoff    5-2-16-0

11.1

Flintoff to Watson, no run, very good line and length. Watson blocks

If you're just joining us, a reminder - Brad Haddin broke his finger 30 minutes before the start of play, at 5pm, and is out of the Test. Manou's in.

11.2

Flintoff to Watson, no run, left alone outside off

11.3

Flintoff to Watson, no run, defended on the back foot

11.4

Flintoff to Watson, no run, decent leave outside off

11.5

Flintoff to Watson, 3 runs, heavy drive. Watson just leans on it, but he's such a big, ugly bloke it fairly races down the hill. He has frightening power, Watson

11.6

Flintoff to Katich, no run, not far away. A flick down the leg side, and he misses

End of over 12 (3 runs) Australia 46/0
SM Katich    26* (32b 4x4)      A Flintoff    6-2-19-0
SR Watson    20* (40b 3x4)      JM Anderson    6-0-27-0

Onions into the attack

12.1

Onions to Watson, no run, good start, just outside off and defended

12.2

Onions to Watson, FOUR, oh shot, shot Watson! Off-driven beautifully down the ground

Fifty up from 74 balls

12.3

Onions to Watson, no run, big shout as Watson's trapped on the front foot, pad first, and Onions roars a massive appeal. Outside the line, just, I think. By a whisker!

12.4

Onions to Watson, FOUR, four. Only fractionally short and pulled massively for four. This is one good surface, I'm here to tell you!

12.5

Onions to Watson, no run, defended on the back foot

12.6

Onions to Watson, no run, blocked off the back foot

End of over 13 (8 runs) Australia 54/0
SR Watson    28* (46b 5x4)      G Onions    1-0-8-0
SM Katich    26* (32b 4x4)      A Flintoff    6-2-19-0

Here's Broad

Steven Lynch of Ask Steve fame usually knows everything. But he's finally been stumped. "Has anyone found a precedent for Test team being changed after the toss? I can't think of one ..." Drop us a note if you can think of any.

13.1

Broad to Katich, no run, cuts back into Katich. Good start

13.2

Broad to Katich, FOUR, worked through the leg-side. And I say worked, because that's all it was, yet it races for four. Katich has found some sublime form here today, and it's notable just how swift the turf is - in spite of all the moisture

13.3

Broad to Katich, FOUR, another one. Identical shot! A leg-stump half-volley dealt with beautifully

Problems for Strauss. Big, big problems

13.4

Broad to Katich, no run, swings back into Katich on the off stump. Better line

"Watson the first genuine all-rounder to open the batting for Aus in an Ashes Test since Charles Kelleway?" wonders Andy Zaltzman. "I'm going to take some medication." The Bugle tomorrow will be interesting listening...

13.5

Broad to Katich, no run, horrible smash outside off, a smash-and-a-miss! Loose stroke

13.6

Broad to Katich, no run, good line and this strikes Katich on the pads but it's going way over the top

That'll be drinks, ladies and gentlemen, and time for the Melbourne maestro himself, Brydon Coverdale, to guide you through the next hour or so.

End of over 14 (8 runs) Australia 62/0
SM Katich    34* (38b 6x4)      SCJ Broad    1-0-8-0
SR Watson    28* (46b 5x4)      G Onions    1-0-8-0

Thanks Willo. And a special hello to all my fellow Australians who have stayed up until all hours to finally see some action. It's 3am in the eastern states, incidentally.

14.1

Onions to Watson, no run, went for a ambitious pull, bottom edge into his pads onto the off side

14.2

Onions to Watson, no run, left alone outside off stump

14.3

Onions to Watson, no run, pushed defensively to cover

14.4

Onions to Watson, no run, Onions gets a bit of movement away from Watson, who defends

14.5

Onions to Watson, no run, driven back down the pitch

14.6

Onions to Watson, 1 run, a bit straighter this time and Watson works a single to leg

End of over 15 (1 run) Australia 63/0
SR Watson    29* (52b 5x4)      G Onions    2-0-9-0
SM Katich    34* (38b 6x4)      SCJ Broad    1-0-8-0

15.1

Broad to Watson, no run, tries to tempt Watson outside off, shaping away a touch, the batsman lets it go

15.2

Broad to Watson, no run, cut away rather clunkily behind point

15.3

Broad to Watson, no run, punched away to cover, again the timing isn't there on this shot

15.4

Broad to Watson, no run, straighter now, and a driveable length, Watson gets a bit of a thickish edge on that attempted straight drive, it runs away to cover

15.5

Broad to Watson, no run, left alone outside off

15.6

Broad to Watson, no run, this one swings down leg side, Watson can't get anything on it

End of over 16 (maiden) Australia 63/0
SR Watson    29* (58b 5x4)      SCJ Broad    2-1-8-0
SM Katich    34* (38b 6x4)      G Onions    2-0-9-0

16.1

Onions to Katich, no run, nudged away defensively to cover

16.2

Onions to Katich, FOUR, on the pads and that's a lovely clip through midwicket from Katich, who has been timing the ball nicely, and it just reaches the boundary

16.3

Onions to Katich, 1 leg bye, Katich shuffles across, as he likes to do, and works one behind square

16.4

Onions to Watson, no run, super delivery! That's pitching on off, moving away a fraction and luring Watson into a prod, it sails past the outside edge

16.5

Onions to Watson, FOUR, crashing straight drive! Too full from Onions and Watson slammed that into the ground so hard that it sounded like a gunshot, and it was so straight that Aleem Dar had to duck to avoid a blow to the head

16.6

Onions to Watson, FOUR, and a really strong pull to follow up, Onions overcorrects and pitches too short, Watson is quickly onto a pull that flies through square leg and beats the man in the deep, this outfield is admirably quick

End of over 17 (13 runs) Australia 76/0
SR Watson    37* (61b 7x4)      G Onions    3-0-21-0
SM Katich    38* (41b 7x4)      SCJ Broad    2-1-8-0

17.1

Broad to Katich, no run, fullish and swinging in to the pads, Katich clips wide of mid-on but Cook moves swiftly to make the save

17.2

Broad to Katich, FOUR, and another boundary! Katich plays this one off the back foot and crunches a drive through cover, well placed

17.3

Broad to Katich, FOUR, another boundary, but this one was a stroke of luck for Katich. He drives and a thick edge sails just wide of Flintoff at second slip, that could so easily have been catchable

17.4

Broad to Katich, no run, fullish again, Katich drives back down the pitch and Broad fields

17.5

Broad to Katich, no run, pushed away to cover this time

17.6

Broad to Katich, no run, pushed back down the pitch for no run

Andrew in Canada points out, quite rightly that Manou is just the fifth keeper to play a Test for Australia since Ian Healy debuted 21 years ago - Healy, Emery, Gilchrist, Haddin and Manou. And another Andrew asks who would have taken the gloves if Haddin had broken a finger during the Test. I'd say Mike Hussey - he was a keeper as a junior player and performed the role in a tour match last year

End of over 18 (8 runs) Australia 84/0
SM Katich    46* (47b 9x4)      SCJ Broad    3-1-16-0
SR Watson    37* (61b 7x4)      G Onions    3-0-21-0

Time for some spin. Swann has a slip, bat pad and a deep mid-on

18.1

Swann to Watson, no run, pushed away defensively

18.2

Swann to Watson, no run, ooh, that's a close lbw shout. Watson sweeps and is struck in front, Aleem Dar says no. I wonder if there was an inside edge? Must've been a close one

18.3

Swann to Watson, no run, can't get this one away

18.4

Swann to Watson, no run, cuts to point, not much spin yet

18.5

Swann to Watson, 1 run, sweeps a single this time

18.6

Swann to Katich, OUT, and Swann strikes in his first over! Around the wicket to Katich, who misses a ball that goes on with the arm, he's struck in line and Aleem Dar says that's lbw.

SM Katich lbw b Swann 46 (83m 48b 9x4 0x6) SR: 95.83

So ends a thoroughly entertaining opening stand. Here's Ricky Ponting.

End of over 19 (1 run) Australia 85/1
     GP Swann    1-0-1-1
SR Watson    38* (66b 7x4)      SCJ Broad    3-1-16-0

Hawkeye says Katich's lbw was hitting middle and leg near the top

19.1

Broad to Watson, no run, pushed away defensively

19.2

Broad to Watson, no run, left alone outside off

19.3

Broad to Watson, no run, oh, Watson drives at this one and it just beats the edge, that wasn't far away

19.4

Broad to Watson, no run, nudged back down the pitch

19.5

Broad to Watson, 1 run, punched away through cover and Ponting is now on strike for the first time

19.6

Broad to Ponting, no run, outside off and Ponting leaves it alone

Jon Hungin, ESPN's allround production genius and general legend, is in our Bangalore office. Or, to be exact, sat with colleagues, on the floor, drinking rum and following the cricket with the lads from Bangalore. Deena, Jerry, Viju and Raju are living it utterly large. Hello, one and all.

End of over 20 (1 run) Australia 86/1
RT Ponting    0* (1b)      SCJ Broad    4-1-17-0
SR Watson    39* (71b 7x4)      GP Swann    1-0-1-1

20.1

Swann to Watson, no run, oops, Ponting has to put his skates on here to get back at the non-strikers end after Watson clips to midwicket and turns a single down, a good call in the end

20.2

Swann to Watson, 1 run, worked away behind square for a single

20.3

Swann to Ponting, 1 run, some turn there for Swann, Ponting clips it behind square to get off the mark

20.4

Swann to Watson, no run, defended safely outside off

Andrew McGlashan pipes up: "The question is, was Jon Hungin on the floor before or after the rum?"

20.5

Swann to Watson, no run, left alone outside off this time

20.6

Swann to Watson, 1 run, turns in to a middle-stump line, Watson works it behind square leg again

End of over 21 (3 runs) Australia 89/1
SR Watson    41* (76b 7x4)      GP Swann    2-0-4-1
RT Ponting    1* (2b)      SCJ Broad    4-1-17-0

21.1

Broad to Watson, no run, a bit of shape away from Watson, who lets it go

21.2

Broad to Watson, FOUR, that's a lovely cut shot, Watson has placed that one nicely just forward of gully and it races away

21.3

Broad to Watson, 1 run, that is a cracking pull for a single, Watson looked to positively murder that ball, but Bopara at deep midwicket makes an outstanding diving save to keep it to one

21.4

Broad to Ponting, no run, ah, there's an inside edge from Ponting, who hasn't quite got his eye in yet

21.5

Broad to Ponting, no run, left alone outside off

21.6

Broad to Ponting, no run, howzat? Not out, says Koertzen. There was some definite inswing there and Ponting is struck outside the line

End of over 22 (5 runs) Australia 94/1
RT Ponting    1* (5b)      SCJ Broad    5-1-22-0
SR Watson    46* (79b 8x4)      GP Swann    2-0-4-1

And we'll now have the son of Ander bowling to the son of Wat.

22.1

Anderson to Watson, no run, pushed away defensively to cover

22.2

Anderson to Watson, 1 run, cut straight down into the turf, they get through for a single

22.3

Anderson to Ponting, no run, angling in to Ponting, that's how you want to bowl to him early, but Ponting lunges forward to defend

22.4

Anderson to Ponting, no run, swings this one away, Ponting lets it go

22.5

Anderson to Ponting, no run, good bounce and carry from Anderson, who moves it away from Ponting and it's left alone

22.6

Anderson to Ponting, no run, another big step forward and out to off from Ponting, who blocks it away

End of over 23 (1 run) Australia 95/1
RT Ponting    1* (9b)      JM Anderson    7-0-28-0
SR Watson    47* (81b 8x4)      SCJ Broad    5-1-22-0

23.1

Broad to Watson, 2 runs, straight ball, Watson simply pushes it to midwicket and they scamper through for two, how they had time to get a double there I don't know

23.2

Broad to Watson, no run, punched defensively to cover

23.3

Broad to Watson, no run, no shot offered to a ball that shapes away

23.4

Broad to Watson, no run, left alone outside off again

23.5

Broad to Watson, no run, good shape away once again, Watson lets it sail by

23.6

Broad to Watson, no run, good length, Watson defends off the back foot

End of over 24 (2 runs) Australia 97/1
SR Watson    49* (87b 8x4)      SCJ Broad    6-1-24-0
RT Ponting    1* (9b)      JM Anderson    7-0-28-0

24.1

Anderson to Ponting, FOUR, crunching back-foot cut through cover-point there, Ponting was given width and was quickly onto it

And that's 20,000 first-class runs for Ponting. Well played old chap

24.2

Anderson to Ponting, no run, lunges forward to defend this one

24.3

Anderson to Ponting, 1 run, groans from England as Ponting drives at this one and gets a thick inside edge between the stumps and his body

24.4

Anderson to Watson, no run, pushes to off and thinks of a single for the half-century, but then roars a 'no!", sensibly

24.5

Anderson to Watson, 2 runs, and there's the half-century for Watson with a clip off his pads to mid-on and a misfield lets them get through for a couple

Well played Shane Watson, he's certainly answering those of us who questioned whether it was wise for him to open. It's his second Test half-century, the first having come at Mohali last year

24.6

Anderson to Watson, no run, defended to off

End of over 25 (7 runs) Australia 104/1
SR Watson    51* (90b 8x4)      JM Anderson    8-0-35-0
RT Ponting    6* (12b 1x4)      SCJ Broad    6-1-24-0

Have a yabba-dabba-doo time, a dabba-doo time...

25.1

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, a hint of inswing and Ponting defends

25.2

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, good bounce from Flintoff, Ponting lets it go outside off

25.3

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, no shot offered outside off again

25.4

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, 89.5mph or 144kph there from Flintoff, Ponting lets it go

25.5

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, Flintoff really bending his back here, that bounces a lot and Ponting lets it go

25.6

Flintoff to Ponting, FOUR, well placed by Ponting here, Flintoff tries for the yorker but it's a fraction too full and he drives it wide of mid-on

End of over 26 (4 runs) Australia 108/1
RT Ponting    10* (18b 2x4)      A Flintoff    7-2-23-0
SR Watson    51* (90b 8x4)      JM Anderson    8-0-35-0

26.1

Anderson to Watson, FOUR, shouts of 'catch' here as Watson cuts hard, it wasn't very wide of gully at all there, but would have required something magical from Swann to reach it all the same

26.2

Anderson to Watson, no run, guided down into the ground this time to gully

26.3

Anderson to Watson, no run, again Watson angles the bat and guides it to gully

26.4

Anderson to Watson, no run, Anderson continues to probe outside off, Watson bunts it to cover

26.5

Anderson to Watson, FOUR, clipped off his hips nicely to fine-leg for a boundary, that ball was just a bit too straight

26.6

Anderson to Watson, no run, driven back down to mid-off

End of over 27 (8 runs) Australia 116/1
SR Watson    59* (96b 10x4)      JM Anderson    9-0-43-0
RT Ponting    10* (18b 2x4)      A Flintoff    7-2-23-0

27.1

Flintoff to Ponting, 1 run, a touch straight this time, Ponting works a single to midwicket

27.2

Flintoff to Watson, 1 run, on the pads again, Watson clips through square leg

27.3

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, left alone outside off stump this time

27.4

Flintoff to Ponting, 1 run, Ponting swivels a pull around to fine leg

27.5

Flintoff to Watson, no run, defended straight back down the pitch

27.6

Flintoff to Watson, no run, good bounce and carry again, Watson leaves it outside off

And here's Will Luke to take you through the rest of the day

End of over 28 (3 runs) Australia 119/1
SR Watson    60* (99b 10x4)      A Flintoff    8-2-26-0
RT Ponting    12* (21b 2x4)      JM Anderson    9-0-43-0

Hello. Look: photos.

28.1

Anderson to Ponting, no run, just a tad wide. Ergo, left alone

28.2

Anderson to Ponting, no run, well wide and swinging wider still

28.3

Anderson to Ponting, 1 run, terrific surprise straighter ball shaping back into Ponting but he plays it well enough, nurdling to leg and getting right forward on the front foot

Ponting's determination and confidence - guts, too - in getting onto the front foot is one of his hallmarks. Even against someone like Flintoff

28.4

Anderson to Watson, no run, shuffles back to defend, albeit with both feet pointing down the pitch

28.5

Anderson to Watson, no run, good carry - it's fairly flying through at the moment

One final hello to the backroom staff of Deena, Jerry, Viju and Raju - the unsung heroes of Cricinfo - who are being forced to drink lager with Jon Hungin. Well done everybody.

28.6

Anderson to Watson, 1 run, nudged to leg

End of over 29 (2 runs) Australia 121/1
SR Watson    61* (102b 10x4)      JM Anderson    10-0-45-0
RT Ponting    13* (24b 2x4)      A Flintoff    8-2-26-0

Here's Flintoff, in bright, Brummie sunshine

29.1

Flintoff to Watson, no run, bouncer down the leg side

29.2

Flintoff to Watson, no run, too wide and left alone

29.3

Flintoff to Watson, 1 run, dropped out to the off side for a quick single

29.4

Flintoff to Ponting, FOUR, edged, or steered, past gully - played all along the ground. Sheesh, runs really have flown today

29.5

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, ooh and that could've flown into gully's hands - again Ponting lunged forward massively, as he does, but it's always dangerous against someone of Flintoff's height. Fell short of gully

29.6

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, and Ponting isn't made to play, left alone outside off, and that's stumps on the first day

Played, Australia. Just the one wicket to fall and they've flown to 126 for 1. That we managed to get 30 overs of play was a surprise and a great testament to the hard work and dedication of Steve Rouse and his groundsmen. Brilliant effort. And, as a result, the ECB's insurers won't have to pay back any of the fans for loss of play (25 overs is the minimum). Most stayed until the end, and witnessed a gutsy yet attractive display by Shane Watson who reached fifty in his first attempt as a Test opener, and played very well indeed. Keep an eye on the Bulletin and join me, Will Luke, along with Brydon Coverdale tomorrow from about 10.30am. Until then, then.

End of over 30 (5 runs) Australia 126/1
RT Ponting    17* (27b 3x4)      A Flintoff    9-2-31-0
SR Watson    62* (105b 10x4)      JM Anderson    10-0-45-0

Now then, now then, now. Then. Here's Graham Onions who so far hasn't been quite on the money, either at Lord's or yesterday, but he's opening the bowling this morning. Two slips and a gully

Here come the players. If you've not heard the news, Sir Bobby Robson has died aged 76. Massive cricket fan he was.

Coverdale, or Covered-in-Ale as he is not known, spake forth the following. "Merv Hughes is playing his half-selector, half-commentator role again. He says it's wrong to assume Phil Hughes has been sacrificed because of Mitchell Johnson's poor form."

"Phil Hughes was under immense pressure, especially from Flintoff," Hughes says. "The English bowlers seemed to have his measure, Watson was picked primarily as a batsman who could do the job and his bowling was a bonus. We just felt the change needed to be made."

Ricky Ponting needs eight more to pass Allan Border's Test run-gathering record of 11,174 runs. And on a similar line, Marcus Trescothick is on the verge of becoming the first man in county cricket this year to reach 1000 runs. And if he does it, he'll have been the slowest man ever to reach the milestone, which says a lot about modern-day cricket. Hick (and Bradman and others) did it before May, 21 years ago...

We'll announce the winner of yesterday's limerick competition a little later, who will receive a copy of Patrick Kidd's Best of Enemies. Thanks for the hundreds of entries, and the high percentage of unprintable, libel-bordering ones too. They were a welcome distraction from the rain, not to mention an insight into your opinions of Andrew Flintoff. More on that later.

10.30am With bristling intent and joie de vivre, it's a very good morning to you all and welcome to the second day from Edgbaston. It's the same award-winning pairing of me, Will Luke, along with Melbourne's Brydon Coverdale, stoically working through the night and consuming vats of coffee as a consequence. Well done him and, indeed, well done everyone.

With immediacy comes Andrew Miller, one of our three at the ground, who says there are "still plenty of clouds around, but feels much brighter today." That's the first bit of good news. "Should be the best day of the Test if the forecasters are right."

30.1

Onions to Watson, OUT, got him first ball! Cut back sharply on Watson who was a little late on this good, quick and straight delivery and that's out!

SR Watson lbw b Onions 62 (130m 106b 10x4 0x6) SR: 58.49

What a noise. The roof's come off! What a fillip that is for Strauss, opting for Onions

30.2

Onions to Hussey, OUT, he's bowled him! He's bowled him! Hussey has left a straight one and his off stump is pegged back! What a disastrous start for Australia

MEK Hussey b Onions 0 (1m 1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

What an incredible start for England, for Onions - for the crowd. That was a horrendous leave by Hussey to nothing more than a straight ball. Suffice to say, the noise is quite unbelievable; Edgbaston is a cauldron for the opposition at the best of times, but the atmosphere here this morning - and the crowd still haven't all found their seats - is absolutely electric.

Onions on a hat-trick - Gough was the last man to take a hat-trick in the Ashes. Clarke to face. The crowd clap, the crowd roar. Clarke takes a moment. Here comes Onions

30.3

Onions to Clarke, no run, that wasn't far away at all! A quick bouncer, misdirected down the leg side, and Clarke wasn't far away from gloving that

"Sorry, am I still watching a highlights package of a previous Test here?" says Brydon. "This can't have happened within two minutes, surely?"

30.4

Onions to Clarke, no run, ooh, a ripper! That's a brute, cutting back and bouncing - significant bounce for Onions in this over. And it's moving around off the seam

30.5

Onions to Clarke, no run, nicely played out on the front foot to point, but that's a very good line and length

"I bowl reasonably close to the stumps so I've a good habit of getting bowleds and lbws," Onions told Cricinfo on Wednesday. He's got a point.

30.6

Onions to Clarke, 1 run, and that's flicked to leg but he was late on it

The crowd stand to applaud Onions as though he has single-handedly let England into a world war, then beat everyone with his own fists. Honestly, the noise and atmosphere is quite something to behold.

End of over 31 (1 run) Australia 127/3
MJ Clarke    1* (4b)      G Onions    4-0-22-2
RT Ponting    17* (27b 3x4)      A Flintoff    9-2-31-0

What a time for Flintoff to come in! Here he is, several days beard growth, and the crowd are right behind him

31.1

Flintoff to Clarke, 1 wide, a bouncer, but a very short one. The crowd all cry "ooh," and Clarke probably did too, and it's wided on length

31.1

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, a touch too wide of the off stump and left alone

31.2

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, good length but again wide enough for Clarke to leave alone

Flintoff bowled too wide of the off stump yesterday, too

31.3

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, a stray down the leg side

Three slips and a gully lie in wait. A short-leg lurks under the lid

31.4

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, left alone outside off. No movement for Flintoff who, at the moment at least, looks a bit stiff

31.5

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, comfortably left alone

31.6

Flintoff to Clarke, FOUR, inside edge down the leg side. Clarke, understandably nervous about getting forward to Flintoff, especially nervous given the two shock wickets that have brought him to the crease, flicked it very late and past the keeper

End of over 32 (5 runs) Australia 132/3
MJ Clarke    5* (10b 1x4)      A Flintoff    10-2-36-0
RT Ponting    17* (27b 3x4)      G Onions    4-0-22-2

Onions. Second over. Can he match his first? 2 for 22 from four. Short-leg's under the lid - Bell, it is. An excellent short-legger. Ponting's first ball of the day

32.1

Onions to Ponting, 1 run, excellent line on middle stump and Ponting walks across his stumps and flicks to mid-on. Onions throws his hands up in the air in anguish, but that's such a Ponting shot

32.2

Onions to Clarke, 1 run, another very good line on off stump, just straightening a touch, but well played by Clarke and well run, a single to cover

Ponting needs seven to beat Allan Border's record

32.3

Onions to Ponting, FOUR, outside edge for four! Ponting came lunging forward, as he has done all his career, though he did open the face

32.4

Onions to Ponting, no run, very straight, Ponting tries to work it to leg but is rapped high on the thigh, or possibly the midriff

Line is the key for Onions. Once he nails that, his length is naturally full

32.5

Onions to Ponting, 1 run, solid, confident, aggressive drive to Broad at mid-off

32.6

Onions to Clarke, no run, wide and left alone outside off

End of over 33 (7 runs) Australia 139/3
MJ Clarke    6* (12b 1x4)      G Onions    5-0-29-2
RT Ponting    23* (31b 4x4)      A Flintoff    10-2-36-0

33.1

Flintoff to Ponting, 3 runs, Ponting flicks past short-leg and only by a whisker. An absolute whisker! But Ponting becomes Australia's leading run-scorer in Test matches and he acknowledges the warm applause from a grateful and knowledgeable Birmingham crowd. A wonderful moment for him and the crowd

33.2

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, bouncer. He ducks. The crowd roar.

Here's a list of the highest run-scorers in Tests.

33.3

Flintoff to Clarke, FOUR, he reached for that, Clarke, but his off-side play this summer has been quite majestic. Four to him, and though he played it a long way from his body, such was the timing that it shot to the extra-cover boundary

33.4

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, short delivery, Clarke hops back and defends

I'm going to stick my neck out here and suggest Flintoff's some way short of absolute match fitness. Not that he's ever truly match fit, no bowler is, but he looks short of his best and tired.

33.5

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, fuller delivery that's left alone

33.6

Flintoff to Clarke, 2 runs, elegant flick off his pads

End of over 34 (9 runs) Australia 148/3
MJ Clarke    12* (17b 2x4)      A Flintoff    11-2-45-0
RT Ponting    26* (32b 4x4)      G Onions    5-0-29-2

34.1

Onions to Ponting, 2 runs, hurries Ponting onto a pull who plays it with one hand off the bat. A mis-pull, if you like, and fortunately it lands safely at midwicket

34.2

Onions to Ponting, no run, ideal line and length. Ponting's forward, offering an ideal defensive too

34.3

Onions to Ponting, no run, nice and full and stroked out to cover

34.4

Onions to Ponting, 3 runs, walks across his stumps to work this through midwicket. Ponting lively today, keen to keep the board ticking. And so it is

"Opening up with Shane Watson is like putting cucumber in your fruit salad," insists Nick Harrison. "Technically it is a fruit and therefore merits its place in there. But it still leaves a strange taste in your mouth." Except cucumber is mostly tasteless.

34.5

Onions to Clarke, no run, on middle-and-off, Clarke - slightly squared up, both feet pointing down the pitch - defends

34.6

Onions to Clarke, no run, fast leg-cutter with nice carry to Prior. Shoulders arms

End of over 35 (5 runs) Australia 153/3
MJ Clarke    12* (19b 2x4)      G Onions    6-0-34-2
RT Ponting    31* (36b 4x4)      A Flintoff    11-2-45-0

35.1

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, much too wide. Flintoff's radar is on the blink

35.2

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, that's better, shaping in on Ponting's off stump and he defends solidly, though it almost took the splice of his bat...as it often does with Flintoff given his height

35.3

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, on the back foot, this time, Ponting's giving a lesson in orthodoxy of defence. Which, in isolation, is fascinating to watch; the plays within plays is what drew me to Test cricket in the first place

35.4

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, left alone outside off

35.5

Flintoff to Ponting, no run, very good line and defended to Bell at point. Very solidly defended, too

35.6

Flintoff to Ponting, 2 runs, cuts back late on Ponting who turns his wrists elegantly, and very late, to steal two to fine leg

End of over 36 (2 runs) Australia 155/3
RT Ponting    33* (42b 4x4)      A Flintoff    12-2-47-0
MJ Clarke    12* (19b 2x4)      G Onions    6-0-34-2

36.1

Onions to Clarke, no run, the yorker. The first of the day. And dealt with comfortably by Clarke

36.2

Onions to Clarke, no run, another leg-cutter but it's too wide

Photos have landed

36.3

Onions to Clarke, no run, wide and left alone. Leg-cutter. Or leg-cudder, as Richie would say

36.4

Onions to Clarke, no run, well bowled again, Onions just finding one to straighten on Clarke. Almost a fast legbreak, that, and very nearly squares Clarke up fatally

36.5

Onions to Clarke, no run, another leg-cutter but wide of the off stump

36.6

Onions to Clarke, no run, on the off stump and defended

End of over 37 (maiden) Australia 155/3
MJ Clarke    12* (25b 2x4)      G Onions    7-1-34-2
RT Ponting    33* (42b 4x4)      A Flintoff    12-2-47-0

37.1

Flintoff to Ponting, FOUR, Flintoff altered his delivery, sending it down with a double-whirl of the arm, but Ponting's played that beautifully through midwicket for four. Too straight

37.2

Flintoff to Ponting, 1 run, punched out to cover and Ponting calls for a single, and this'll be out if Bell hits. Well out. Close! But home

37.3

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, short of a length and blocked out to the off side

37.4

Flintoff to Clarke, 2 runs, short of a length and punched out to the off side for a single

37.5

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, no, too wide

UK readers: video highlights.

37.6

Flintoff to Clarke, 1 no ball, ooh that is desperately close to both bowling him and trapping him leg-before but it's a no-ball. Off-cutter...and the no-ball saves Clarke there

37.6

Flintoff to Clarke, no run, flashed to point

End of over 38 (8 runs) Australia 163/3
MJ Clarke    14* (30b 2x4)      A Flintoff    13-2-55-0
RT Ponting    38* (44b 5x4)      G Onions    7-1-34-2

38.1

Onions to Ponting, no run, straight delivery and good pace, too. Ponting turns it to leg on the back foot

38.2

Onions to Ponting, no run, bouncer down the leg side

Anderson's warming up, doing some stretching and generally getting himself ready. One more for Flintoff, perhaps

38.3

Onions to Ponting, OUT, got him! He's out! A quick bouncer, Ponting went for a hook and got a thin edge through to Prior. Onions has bowled so, so well this morning

RT Ponting c †Prior b Onions 38 (88m 47b 5x4 0x6) SR: 80.85

Marcus North. Now then. Onions has his tail up with three slips and a gully lying in wait

This has to be my best spell of the series. It's certainly my most economical so far. Ponting really was motoring and looking to take England on - that wicket, well, it's significant and timely for the home side.

38.4

Onions to North, 1 bye, cuts back on North a touch - significant movement after it passed North, and that beats Prior too

38.5

Onions to Clarke, no run, ooh very well bowled on the off stump. Clarke defends, well back in his crease

38.6

Onions to Clarke, no run, fantastic delivery! Clarke's lucky to still be alive there. Outswinger, one of the few deliveries this morning that has swung prodigiously, and that beats Clarke's fishy waft

End of over 39 (1 run, wicket maiden) Australia 164/4
MJ Clarke    14* (32b 2x4)      G Onions    8-2-34-3
MJ North    0* (1b)      A Flintoff    13-2-55-0

James Anderson into the attack

39.1

Anderson to North, no run, starts with a loosener wide of North's off stump

39.2

Anderson to North, no run, short of a length, North pats it off the back foot

39.3

Anderson to North, no run, on middle-and off and swinging away from him

Just setting him up here to swing it back into North

39.4

Anderson to North, no run, angled across the left-hander who leaves well alone

39.5

Anderson to North, no run, this does shape back into North, but down the leg side

39.6

Anderson to North, no run, ignored outside off

End of over 40 (maiden) Australia 164/4
MJ North    0* (7b)      JM Anderson    11-1-45-0
MJ Clarke    14* (32b 2x4)      G Onions    8-2-34-3

40.1

Onions to Clarke, FOUR, shot! He's so good off his legs, and clips it powerfully and elegantly through midwicket. Superb stroke!

40.2

Onions to Clarke, no run, swings away from the right-hander

40.3

Onions to Clarke, no run, short of a length and outside off, Clarke punches it to cover. High front elbow, and as orthodox as you could wish to see

40.4

Onions to Clarke, no run, cuts back sharply and England let out a noise that could probably be heard in London. London in Canada. Beautiful off-cutter which cut back sharp and that is so, so close! Looked to me like it was taking out middle-and-leg

40.5

Onions to Clarke, no run, just outside off, Clarke doesn't know whether to leave it or play at it

40.6

Onions to Clarke, no run, swings back very, very late indeed on the right-hander. This is excellent control, as much as anything, from Onions

End of over 41 (4 runs) Australia 168/4
MJ Clarke    18* (38b 3x4)      G Onions    9-2-38-3
MJ North    0* (7b)      JM Anderson    11-1-45-0

Australia have lost 3 for 42 this morning, in eleven overs thus far. Thanks for your company; if you've anything interesting to say, do write in. Last over before drinks

41.1

Anderson to North, no run, well wide - too wide

41.2

Anderson to North, no run, oh well bowled! That bent back markedly, prodigiously on the left-hander! Huge swing for Anderson

The last couple of overs has seen the ball bend like a banana. Fascinating few overs coming up. Fascinating cricket in all

41.3

Anderson to North, no run, that's wide and doesn't swing and is left alone

41.4

Anderson to North, no run, wide of the off stump and it holds its line

"Just reading that Merv Hughes was saying publicly that Hughes was worked over by Flintoff in particular," says Pete. Not our Pete English, mind. Another Pete. "A selector saying that on air is disgraceful." Merv's still a leg end, though.

41.5

Anderson to North, no run, again this doesn't swing. Wide of the off stump

41.6

Anderson to North, no run, defended on the back foot

End of over 42 (maiden) Australia 168/4
MJ North    0* (13b)      JM Anderson    12-2-45-0
MJ Clarke    18* (38b 3x4)      G Onions    9-2-38-3

Drinks out in the middle. I'm off to find a winner for yesterday's limerick competition and, in the meantime, here's Brydon. Thanks to Will Luke, the man with two first names.

42.1

Onions to Clarke, no run, straight ball from Onions, Clarke defends with a straight bat

42.2

Onions to Clarke, no run, leans forward and pushes to cover-point

42.3

Onions to Clarke, 1 run, angled in to the pads, Clarke clips it through midwicket

42.4

Onions to North, no run, on the hips, North can't get it away for a single

North played a rash shot at Lord's after struggling to get off the mark and was bowled ... let's see if he stays calm this time

42.5

Onions to North, 1 run, he does indeed, works this one off his hips behind square to get off the mark after 15 balls and 23 minutes

42.6

Onions to Clarke, no run, hmm, some curvy inswing there, but it still ended up outside off and Clarke could leave it

End of over 43 (2 runs) Australia 170/4
MJ Clarke    19* (42b 3x4)      G Onions    10-2-40-3
MJ North    1* (15b)      JM Anderson    12-2-45-0

43.1

Anderson to North, no run, swinging in to North here, right on off stump and he defends

43.2

Anderson to North, no run, solid in defence again, another good ball on off stump

43.3

Anderson to North, no run, nice line again, swinging back in but a touch outside off and North leaves

43.4

Anderson to North, no run, angled wider across North this time, he leaves it

43.5

Anderson to North, 1 leg bye, swinging down leg this time, North gets pad on it and gets a leg-bye

43.6

Anderson to Clarke, no run, a hint of outswing, Clarke drives to cover and it's well fielded

End of over 44 (1 run, maiden) Australia 171/4
MJ Clarke    19* (43b 3x4)      JM Anderson    13-3-45-0
MJ North    1* (20b)      G Onions    10-2-40-3

44.1

Onions to North, no run, swinging in to North's middle stump, he drives confidently but straight to mid-on

44.2

Onions to North, no run, another punchy drive, this time straight to cover

44.3

Onions to North, no run, oops, well bowled but not well played, swinging back in and North seems to leave it to crash into his thigh, half thinking about playing a shot at the same time

44.4

Onions to North, no run, driven back down the pitch

44.5

Onions to North, no run, outside off and prodded back down the pitch - or should that be the wicket, as Steve Rouse described the 'pitch' as jelly-like the other day, and says he was referring to the outfield as opposed to the playing strip

44.6

Onions to North, 3 runs, swivels a pull nicely through midwicket here to pick up three runs

End of over 45 (3 runs) Australia 174/4
MJ North    4* (26b)      G Onions    11-2-43-3
MJ Clarke    19* (43b 3x4)      JM Anderson    13-3-45-0

45.1

Anderson to North, 1 run, swinging in again, North clips it comfortably through the leg side

45.2

Anderson to Clarke, 1 run, on line this time, Clarke flicks it through square leg wristily

45.3

Anderson to North, no run, angled bat here from North, who defends to off

45.4

Anderson to North, FOUR, lovely cover drive, angled across North and it didn't swing, so the batsman punched it superbly between cover and mid-off

45.5

Anderson to North, no run, better ball, pulls the length back a touch and gets it to straighten on line, North defends

45.6

Anderson to North, no run, no shot offered to ball that drifts away from the left-hander

End of over 46 (6 runs) Australia 180/4
MJ North    9* (31b 1x4)      JM Anderson    14-3-51-0
MJ Clarke    20* (44b 3x4)      G Onions    11-2-43-3

46.1

Onions to Clarke, no run, strays down leg side, Clarke can't get bat on it

I wonder if Onions may be starting to tire just a little

46.2

Onions to Clarke, no run, good length, seams back in to Clarke, who defends

46.3

Onions to Clarke, no run, dropped! Oh dear, that's bad cricket from batsman and fielder. A good outswinger from Onions, Clarke shapes to leave but is too slow and the ball runs off the face of the bat straight to second slip, where Flintoff grasses a pretty straightforward chance

46.4

Onions to Clarke, no run, down leg side now, Clarke doesn't get anything on it

46.5

Onions to Clarke, 3 runs, nice pull there from Clarke, he just turned this one from off stump through midwicket and it was well reeled in by Bell on the boundary

46.6

Onions to North, 1 leg bye, swinging down leg, North gets a thick bit of pad on that and it runs fine

End of over 47 (4 runs) Australia 184/4
MJ North    9* (32b 1x4)      G Onions    12-2-46-3
MJ Clarke    23* (49b 3x4)      JM Anderson    14-3-51-0

Well, that could have so easily been a fourth for Onions this session. It really did come straight at Flintoff, at just below chest height, and he really didn't react quick enough

47.1

Anderson to North, no run, left alone outside off

47.2

Anderson to North, no run, nice bit of outswing to the left-hander there, left alone

47.3

Anderson to North, no run, Anderson pushes this one far too wide across North, who isn't even slightly interested in playing at that

47.4

Anderson to North, no run, straighter, but still outside off, and North lets it go

47.5

Anderson to North, no run, pushed across again and North leaves

47.6

Anderson to North, no run, a similar line and again North doesn't have to play

So that's a maiden, but Anderson didn't make North play a single delivery

End of over 48 (maiden) Australia 184/4
MJ North    9* (38b 1x4)      JM Anderson    15-4-51-0
MJ Clarke    23* (49b 3x4)      G Onions    12-2-46-3

Broad relieves Onions.

48.1

Broad to Clarke, 2 runs, starts with a fullish outswinger that Clarke drives square for a couple

48.2

Broad to Clarke, FOUR, really good cover drive this, it's an outswinger right on that drivable length and Clark punches between cover and mid-off

48.3

Broad to Clarke, no run, straight-bat defence this time

48.4

Broad to Clarke, 1 leg bye, clipped off his pads this time, and in fact it's a leg-bye

48.5

Broad to North, no run, better line, on off stump, North defends

48.6

Broad to North, 1 run, on the pads and North clips to deep square leg

Congratulations to Steve Fox who has won our Andrew Flintoff limerick competition. A book is winging its way to him for his entry, below. Here are some of the entries we received

There once was a man named Flintoff, 'Oft injured, he rarely had the splint off, But ten overs at Lord's, Went through 'Stralia like swords And with five wickets in hand he did sprint off

End of over 49 (8 runs) Australia 192/4
MJ North    10* (40b 1x4)      SCJ Broad    7-1-31-0
MJ Clarke    29* (53b 4x4)      JM Anderson    15-4-51-0

49.1

Anderson to North, no run, outside off, North defends

49.2

Anderson to North, 1 run, good running, North drops it into the off side and they take off quickly, both men are safely home

49.3

Anderson to Clarke, no run, swinging down leg here, Clarke can't work it off his hips

49.4

Anderson to Clarke, OUT, oh he's got him! A huge inswinger here, curves late and strikes Clarke on middle and leg, Rudi Koertzen lifts the finger

MJ Clarke lbw b Anderson 29 (94m 55b 4x4 0x6) SR: 52.72

So here is the debutant wicketkeeper Graham Manou. A handy lower-order batsman who made a couple of centuries for South Australia last season and is coming off a half-century in the tour game against Northamptonshire

49.5

Anderson to Manou, no run, left alone outside off for his first ball

49.6

Anderson to Manou, FOUR, and Manou gets off the mark in Tests with a leg-glance off his hips for four

Hawkeye shows Clarke's lbw as slipping down leg. It was big, big swing, and he was on the front foot.

End of over 50 (5 runs) Australia 197/5
GA Manou    4* (2b 1x4)      JM Anderson    16-4-56-1
MJ North    11* (42b 1x4)      SCJ Broad    7-1-31-0
Overs 1-50  | Overs 51-100
Series Results
England v Australia at The Oval - Aug 20-23, 2009
England won by 197 runs
England v Australia at Leeds - Aug 7-9, 2009
Australia won by an innings and 80 runs
England v Australia at Birmingham - Jul 30-Aug 3, 2009
Match drawn
England v Australia at Lord's - Jul 16-20, 2009
England won by 115 runs
England v Australia at Cardiff - Jul 8-12, 2009
Match drawn
More results »

Match Coverage

Photos

Aug 3, 2009

Graham Manou checks out his injured hand with the team physio Alex Kountouris, England v Australia, 3rd Test, Edgbaston, 5th day, August 3, 2009

Graham Manou checks out his injured hand with the team physio Alex Kountouris

© AFP

Aug 3, 2009

Ricky Ponting congratulates Michael Clarke after the draw, England v Australia, 3rd Test, Edgbaston, 5th day, August 3, 2009

Ricky Ponting congratulates Michael Clarke after the draw

© PA Photos

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