Cricket / Third Test: Australian names on Lloyd's list: ICC referee warns overly voluble tourists for going over the top as England threaten to go under once again and Gooch prepares to go

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WE RESUME this morning with a fierce contest in prospect - not for the third Test match, which is disappearing down the same plughole as the first two, but for the title of the world's thinnest book: England Ashes Triumphs 1987-1993 and The Australian Guide to Cricketing Etiquette.

There is just the suspicion that the reason an Australian's moustache is denser than a Queensland rain forest is to deliver cheery messages to the opposition without any evidence of lip movement. It is even safer to say that the three most unlikely phrases to emanate from this jungle are: 'good morning, batsman, nice to see you'; 'quite right, umpire, that was an unforgivably frivolous appeal' and 'bad luck, old boy, jolly well played'.

It is, therefore, no greater a surprise to find England in a familiar position this morning - with Graham Gooch alone on the ramparts - than it is to discover that the Australians have been shown the yellow card by the match referee for the kind of deportment that once prompted the Bow Street umpires to issue a new ball with a chain and leg iron attached.

Clive Lloyd, the ICC's duly appointed magistrate, had already been perusing evidence of sledging during England's first innings on Thursday, when two more incidents were added to the charge sheet on Saturday.

First, Michael Atherton's decision to demand stronger evidence than the word of Ian Healy that he had been the victim of a fair catch resulted in a close quarter torrent of abuse in which, it is not unreasonable to speculate, the only two words containing more than one syllable were 'pommy' and 'bastard'.

Second, under the category known by cricketers as the 'toys coming out of the pram', Shane Warne's rejected lbw appeal against Mark Lathwell made the immediate fall-out area resemble Santa's grotto on Christmas Eve. Lloyd, whose own credentials for the ICC judiciary include presiding over some of the nastiest fast bowling ever seen in Test cricket, decided to issue a warning rather than a fine, and in the words of a TCCB spokesman, the Australians have been invited to 'cool it'.

Yesterday, their tour manager, Des Rundle, was adopting a Dexterian- like stance, claiming to be 'unaware' of any errors of propriety his team might have made. However, the inkling that allegations of an uncomplimentary nature appear to be taking a little time to filter through to Rundle on this tour date back to the match at Hove in May, when Allan Border was reported to have requested a TV interviewer to go forth and procreate, and Rundle replied that as he had not read about this in the Daily Telegraph, it could not have happened.

All of this confirms the suspicion that there are two things separating England and Australia in this series, the first being talent and the second aggression. As for the latter, evidence that this is a deliberate tactic first surfaced here in 1989, when David Gower, the then England captain, said that the atmosphere was 'as unpleasant as anyone could recall' and that Border, a good mate, had told him after the series: 'I was prepared to be as ruthless as it takes to stuff you.'

However, deliberate tactic though it might be, there is further evidence that this sort of behaviour also has its origins in upbringing. Gower is firmly of the view that the closest thing in sport to a human doormat is an Australian umpire, and more than one has either given up the job or considered seeking employment offering less chance of abuse, such as a tax inspector or a traffic warden.

As for the Atherton incident, the catch behind off Hughes was so low down that even Border defended the batsman's decision to refer it to arbitration - which, incidentally, caused such initial confusion that Roy Palmer, at square leg, began to reach for his walkie-talkie before realising that the third umpire is not empowered to adjudicate on catches. However, Hughes and most of the other Australians did not require any radio devices to convey their own opinion to Atherton, who would probably have had to retire hurt with a perforated eardrum in any case.

It may be, of course, that the words Palmer had in mind when he reached for the walkie-talkie were 'Beam me up, Scotty'. He had earlier been on the receiving end when he declined to give Lathwell out (a correct decision on TV evidence) and both incidents highlighted one of the most laughable developments in the modern game.

Cricketers the world over, and not just Australians, have long since decided to leave everything up to the umpire by not walking, yet when they receive a decision that does not fit in with their own views, they behave like spoiled brats. It is too pathetic for words.

On the evidence of this match, Martin McCague might have finally cleared up all remaining doubts as to whether he should be wearing the lion or the kangaroo by instructing his four victims to 'eff off to the pavilion, yer Pommy . . . er, sorry, Aussie bastard'. However, while McCague did not appear to indulge in some of the salty language he employs in the County Championship, his unbridled aggression is a familiar sight on behalf of Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield, a competition in which he has made 11 appearances.

McCague, through no fault of his own, has slipped through qualification regulations based less around Somerset and Andy Caddick than Somerset House and England's undignified attempts to locate an Irish granny on the birth certificate of anyone with any ability. Even so, McCague, who has speed, heart and stamina, has been the one real bonus of this match and can already be inked in for the Caribbean this winter.

There was even a moment on Saturday when the smelling salts were in danger of being passed around for an England first-innings lead, although this eventually turned into the customary deficit, and England resume this morning - effectively 70 for 4 - on a pitch that is now offering considerable assistance to Warne and Tim May.

If England can squeeze out a lead of 200, they are not without hope, but they have only one spinner, unless you count Atherton's leg breaks (Test record, one wicket for 282, taken with a full toss). As usual, it probably boils down to Gooch, who has made it known that if England lose this match (thereby conceding the Ashes only halfway through the series) he will fall on his sword. The odds are that Lord Ted, having informed us after last week that 'Graham is the only man for the job', will shortly be consulting his horror-scope for a vacant, rather than a juxta, position.

Third Cornhill Test Scoreboard

(England won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings 321 (R A Smith 86, N Hussain 71; M G Hughes 5-92).

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

(Overnight Friday: 262 for 5)

D C Boon b McCague. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101

(263 min, 177 balls, 17 fours)

B P Julian c Stewart b Ilott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

(18 min, 14 balls)

* A R Border c Smith b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

(176 min, 129 balls, 7 fours)

M G Hughes b Ilott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

(33 min, 19 balls, 2 fours)

S K Warne not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

(106 min, 70 balls, 5 fours)

T B A May lbw McCague. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

(11 min, 7 balls)

Extras (b4 lb8 w4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Total (473 min, 108.3 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . .373

Fall: 1-55 (Taylor), 2-74 (Slater), 3-197 (M Waugh),

4-239 (S Waugh), 5-250 (Healy), 6-262 (Julian),

7-284 (Boon), 8-311 (Hughes), 9-356 (Border), 10-373 (May).

Bowling: McCague 32.3-5-121-4 (11-2-26-1, 5-0-33-0, 14-3-42-2, 2.3-0-20-1); Ilott 34-8-108-3 (w1) (7-1-35-0,6-0-28-0,16-3-39-3,5-4-6-0); Such 20-7-51-2 (8-3-14-0,8-2-28-1, 1-1-0-0, 3-1-9-1); Caddick 22-5-81-1 (nb1) (7-0-43-1, 4-0-23-0, 11-5-15-0).

Progress (Third day): 300: 350 min, 80.2 overs. Lunch: 324-8 (Border 28, Warne 1) 92 overs. 350: 456 min, 105 overs. New ball: 372-9, 108 overs. Innings closed: 2.53pm.

ENGLAND - Second Innings

M N Lathwell lbw b Warne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

(122 min, 90 balls, 3 fours)

M A Atherton c Healy b Hughes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

(28 min, 26 balls, 1 four)

R A Smith c Healy b Warne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50

(79 min, 71 balls, 9 fours)

] A J Stewart lbw b Hughes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

(30 min, 30 balls, 1 four)

* G A Gooch not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

(35 min, 26 balls, 2 fours)

A R Caddick not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(17 min, 15 balls)

Extras (b8 lb4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Total (for 4, 159 min, 43 overs). . . . . . . . . . . .122

Fall: 1-11 (Atherton), 2-100 (Smith), 3-109 (Lathwell), 4-117 (Stewart).

Bowling: Hughes 11-5-25-2 (8-3-21-1, 3-2-4-1); Julian 6-2-11-0 (one spell); May 12-1-41-0 (4-0-25-0,8-1-16-0); Warne 13-6-30-2 (2-0-14-0, 11-6-16-2); S Waugh 1-0-3-0 (one spell).

Progress: Tea: 11-1 (Lathwell 3, Smith 0). 50: 70 min, 17.5 overs. 100: 108 min, 29.4 overs.

Smith's 50: 78 min, 69 balls, 9 fours.

Umpires: B J Meyer, R Palmer, B Dudleston.

Match Referee: C H Lloyd.

(Photograph omitted)

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