The English cricket squad are the verge of a history victory to retain the Ashes for the first time in 24 years. England had bowled out Australia for 98 and finished the day on 157 – 0 at stumps on day one! Then had a bad start to day two with Andrew Strauss’ and Alistair Cook’s wickets falling early in the morning session. The next wicket didn’t fall until half way through the afternoon session, Kevin Pietersen being caught LBW on 51, two further wickets fell before tea, under fire Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell both went cheaply, Collingwood for his tenth score of 10 or under in the last twelve innings, not what we expect from Mr. Dependable! England were 304 – 5 at the tea interval and looking shaky. The Englishmen survived the remainder of the day without further loss while adding a further 140 runs to the tally, an overnight lead of 346 runs! On day three, to cut a long story short; England were bowled out before lunch for a total of 513, a massive first innings lead of 415. Jonathan Trott was star of the England innings hitting an unbeaten 168, Graeme Swann added a useful 22 to prolong the innings. Australia came out fighting in their second innings after lunch, whacking the England bowlers around the park, 50 runs came up in just 10 overs but then it went all pear shaped, Hughes being run out to make it 53 – 1. Australia made it to tea without further loss but the run-rate had suffered, 95 – 1 at tea! Only four more runs were added before Watson’s wicket fell for 54. Ponting was the next domino to fall for just 20 runs. The next wicket is a golden wicket for Bresnan, the scalp of in-form Hussey is a big one, Australia 104 – 4. Swann gets in on the wicket action claiming the wicket of Clark for 13 runs, Australia now on the ropes; 134 -5. England claimed another wicket before the end of the play to leave Australia trailing by 246 runs at stumps on day three. I really don’t see Australia coming back at this point with only tail-enders remaining, I say it’ll be over by lunch; that’s if the Australian squad even turn up at the MCG, OK so I am gloating a little but retaining the Ashes on Australian soil has only happened once before in the time I have been following cricket!
Sir Roy Gardner has resigned as Plymouth Argyle chairman after board members removed his second in charge, executive director Keith Todd without consulting him. Former chairman Paul Stapleton has been put in temporary charge of the club. Personally I would rather see Stapleton stay on as chairman as he successfully guided Plymouth to a solid footing in the Championship after Dan Macaulay almost ran the club into the ground. I’m personally happy that Gardner has gone; he has been off on other non-Argyle related business while the club has been going down the pan. He talked a good game but failed to deliver on all counts, challenging for the premiership? a 46,000 seat stadium? and a stable team? was he talking about a different club? What do we have? relegated to league one; no new stadium and a bunch of overpaid, underperforming players with one or two exceptions and those players are likely to be sold to keep the club afloat. Not to mention two HMRC winding up orders in a twelve month period! I really hope that Paul Stapleton, who is a true green unlike Gardner and Todd; can turn it around and I hope that manager Peter Reid stays and we can hang onto players like Bradley Wright-Phillips and Craig Noone! Plymouth have come off the back of two good wins and I hope that continues tonight against Notts County assuming the pitch isn’t frozen like the previous two fixtures that were postponed! Take a read of Matt Slater’s take on the Argyle debacle!
I have to say it’s great to hear rival team supporters, even bitter rival, Exeter City fans speaking out in support of Plymouth Argyle and wishing us the best of luck in the clubs fight for survival!