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Its reversing at about 95mph

Ashley Giles, England's answer to Shane Warne, talks about emotions during the final moments of one of the most tense test matches in recent cricketing history.

As we lost wickets I was thinking: "This can't be happening to us, we don't deserve this."

We have dominated the series since losing the first Test at Lord's and we were half an hour away from Australia retaining the Ashes and Ricky Ponting waving a stump in celebration on the pavilion balcony.

You never have a right to win a game, no matter how much you have dominated it, not when you have someone as talented as Shane Warne spinning the ball at you in the fourth innings and Brett Lee reverse swinging it at 95mph.

In the coach's room I tried to knuckle down, to plan ahead. I tried to assess how Lee and Warne were going to try to get me out.
I crossed when Jonah was out, so Hoggy came out to face Lee for the first ball of the next over.

"Come on, let's you and me get it done," he said, with a bit of a smile.

"It's reversing at about 95mph," I told him. I thought it was best that he knew.

I have played with Hoggy for about six years and I have never seen him drive a seam bowler through extra cover. It was quite extraordinary.

Read this rather interesting insight into the atmosphere in the pavilion and on the pitch here.

Also, Mike Brearley, arguably the most astute cricket captain ever, explains how England have out-aussied the Aussies themselves.

Two teams, two mentalities. Australia seemed to approach this Test in a state of exaggerated intensity, with the hyped-up camaraderie of a revivalist spiritual meeting. A piece of good fielding by Shaun Tait at wide mid-on, and Michael Clarke runs from cover to pat him on the back; a dropped catch by Matthew Hayden and he's swamped by team-mates full of commiseration and encouragement. One half-expected a resounding and prayerful rendition of Psalm 23.
When Geraint Jones came in to bat, Ponting placed a sweeper on the cover boundary before he had scored a run (and he got off the mark with a squirted single in that direction). To Flintoff, before he had scored 40, Mike Kasprowicz was bowling with no attacking fielders at all.

How does such an approach make the batsman feel? Flintoff must have been encouraged to believe that Australia regard him as no end of a batsman (which of course he is) and this must not only help his confidence no end, but also enable him to cruise along without having to take risks. At the same time, the bowler must think his captain has not much regard for him if he can't give him a single attacking fielder. He must also wonder how on earth he might get a wicket, except by waiting for a mistake.

When Tony Greig was captain of England, he almost always kept two slips for the quicker bowlers, however otherwise defensive he might have been. After all, the basic line is off stump or just outside, and the bedrock of one's strategy is to find an outside edge. This, of course, also applies if the aim is to swing the ball in for a leg-before decision or to bowl someone, for being able to pose such a threat gives the bowler his best chance of inducing a slip catch with the ball that goes the other way, or stays straight.

Some great insights into the thinking man's sport. Read it here.

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