Will Hawkes: 'It's particularly cold in the UK...' Nice weather for sledging

The View From The Sofa: The Ashes, Sky Sports 1

Cricket a gentleman's game? Don't make me laugh. This third Ashes Test was an orgy of bitching and abuse. Mitchell Johnson said Jimmy Anderson smelt; Anderson called Johnson a big silly; Peter Siddle sneered at Matt Prior's beard and Prior stuck out his tongue at the entire Australia team. It was pretty nasty stuff, all told.

Needless to say, the Sky commentary team revelled in it. David Lloyd audibly bristles with excitement every time there's a bit of "chirp" (that's cricket language for being rude) and he and Shane Warne enjoyed a long discussion about sledging late on the third day as the home side closed in on victory. Warnie, of course, is a past master at one of cricket's darkest arts and he gave Lloyd the lowdown on just how to get under a rival's skin.

"You've got to pick the right person," he said. "We used to have a go at [Sachin] Tendulkar but when he got his 10th century in a row against us we realised it wasn't working. But there are some people it works against, eh Nas?"

Nasser Hussain, who we can only presume was sitting in the back of the box, did not respond. But Warne was not finished. "Allan Border taught me something important," he said. "If you are playing badly, pick a fight with someone. I would look at someone and say, 'Who are you looking at?' That worked."

Kevin Pietersen, Warne reckoned, was not the sort of fellow that it paid to sledge because it would only inspire him. Fortunately for the Aussies, they didn't need to. Seconds after picking a new bat, Pietersen edged to slip and England's hopes of an unlikely win shrank.

Warne, buoyed by England's unravelling innings, chose this moment to sledge a whole country. "It has been particularly cold in the UK," he said. "Nice to be out here in the sunshine, eh Bumble?" Lloyd admirably refused to join in. "You've got to look at the positives of that: no spiders, no crocodiles, no snakes."

The way England were playing there might as well have been snakes in the pitch. The only respite for the poor viewer came with the regular advert breaks which, it being Christmas, included an inordinate number of impressively bizarre perfume ads among the promotional efforts for lager and moronic Sky panel shows.

You'd imagine Ian Botham was a decent sledger in his time, but he appears to take the view that Hussain is far too easy a target. When the former Essex man said that he had seen Botham on TV the previous evening, Sir Beef asked him why he hadn't gone out for dinner with his wife and kids. "To save on expenses," boasted Hussain.

If Hussain is a little tight, then the Aussies were far from stingy with their affections. The congratulatory bum slap is a regular occurrence in cricket these days, but Siddle took it a little further when he appeared to fondle Ben Hilfenhaus's privates after the latter pulled off a nifty bit of fielding. Seconds later, Ricky Ponting was caught picking his nose on screen. "He'll be a relieved man," observed Botham.

By the end the Aussies knew they had it in the bag. Johnson signed a spectator's arm ("He's never going to have a wash again, that lad," said Bumble) and then Paul Collingwood provided potty-mouthed lip-readers with the shot of the Test after getting himself out. "What a day!" enthused Lloyd. The night watchman Anderson, abused all the way back to the pavilion by the hosts, probably didn't agree. Roll on Melbourne.

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments