Ashes Diary: Aussies need to sledge their way back, says Hogg

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The Independent Online

I guess this is what they call back to basics, Aussie-style. The former Baggy Green pace bowler Rodney Hogg believes the home side need more verbals if they're to reclaim the urn. Hogg, who took 10 wickets in an Ashes Test at Perth in 1978, has some advice for the Australian attack: "Pitch it up with the odd bouncer and sledge them at every opportunity," he says. "We don't say a word [at the moment]. Just go back and bowl another delivery on Jonathan Trott's middle stump so he can whip us through leg. It makes me sick. Hate to think how [fellow former fast bowlers] Lenny Pascoe and Merv Hughes must feel."

Swann stuck in the big smoke

Perth is the most isolated city in the world so it's no surprise that the residents are a little quirky. Graeme Swann – not exactly Mr Ordinary himself – was in a cab in the city yesterday when he enquired as to the reason for the volume of roadworks. "It's cos they all smoke marijuana," his driver replied. "I'm just not sure how the language barrier became such an issue there. I sat quietly bemused for the rest of the trip," Swann related on Twitter.

Simpson: india should beware decline and fall

The Ashes is being keenly followed all over the cricket world, but they should be particularly interested in India if the former Australia captain Bobby Simpson is to be believed. He thinks his country's current woes could be replicated over there if they are not careful. "If you go through the history of the game, we've always had a poor period after great teams," he says. "What happens in India when Sachin [Tendulkar] goes, [V V S] Laxman goes and Rahul [Dravid] goes? That's not far away."

Warne on market despite Hurley-burly

Good news, ladies. Shane Warne is still single, despite his reported dalliance with Liz Hurley in London last week. Who says? The gossip columnists at Perth Confidential, that's who. They managed to track Warne down to a restaurant (owned by Dimitri Mascarenhas's dad) on the eve of the third Test match and extracted from him the revelation that thousands of women across the world have been waiting to hear. "The notorious Lothario," they write, "was holding court at a table of 14 burly-looking men, who had won the opportunity to lunch with him. When asked by Perth Confidential if he is single, Warne said 'yes', despite recent snaps of him sharing a passionate kiss with the married UK model in London."