Allan Border is not happy. The legendarily grumpy former captain of Australia has discovered the problem with the current side: they're too chummy with the Poms. "There just doesn't seem to be a spark or any aggro," he grumbled. "There was a bit of laughing and banter going on with Kevin Pietersen and I thought to myself, 'This isn't good'.
"We are not playing like Australia should be playing. We lacked spark to back the bowlers up."
Border, of course, led Australia to a thumping 4-0 victory in the 1989 Ashes, having decided after defeat in 1986-87 that it was time to get mean. Given that it was his captaincy that kick-started Australia's 15-year dominance of world cricket, he might have a point.
But what can England expect if Australia heed Border's advice? Jack Russell was the England wicketkeeper during that '89 Ashes and remembers only too well how the Aussies refused to socialise. "They never spoke to us: the only person who ever spoke to me as I passed him going down the steps at Lord's was Terry Alderman, who said, 'All right Jack' under his breath so nobody could hear it. As an ex-team-mate of mine [at Gloucestershire], he acknowledged that I was there but he still went straight past.
"They never socialised: if we had have done I would have found out that Merv Hughes is just a big softie. Half of the time he was trying to kill me! It would have made things a lot easier – so maybe Border was right.
"When I got my hundred [at Old Trafford], Border shook my hand. I was surprised as they weren't speaking to us. I thought that was a great thing to do. It was a great moment."
So watch out, England: Doug Bollinger might soon be giving you the cold shoulder.
Even locals are in Botham camp
Ian Botham's latest bout of fisticuffs with Ian Chappell may have pleased Allan Border but, strangely enough, a lot of Aussies seem to be sympathising with the Englishman. Below the online report on The Sydney Daily Telegraph's website, the locals who have commented are mostly siding with Sir Beefy. Take "expat aussie of california/formally central coast": "I'm a proud Aussie but even I'd like to see Botham knock Chappell's block off!" Strewth.
Warne not in money
The "bring back Shane Warne" campaign is gathering momentum. There's now even a website devoted to convincing the former King of Spin to re-don his baggy green and vanquish the Poms. At the time of writing, http://bringbackwarne.com had collected a relatively measly A$446 (at the current exchange rate, about £446 I believe) to hand over to Warnie. I think you'll have to do a bit better than that, boys.
Broad's side still better than Australia's
Twitter has been alive with, well, tweeting since England completed their thumping victory in Adelaide in the early hours of yesterday morning. Shane Warne, as ever, had something to say ("It's so nice to hear from all my wonderful English friends that I have made over the last 20 years!!! And all at once, why?? Oh Xmas time") but the prize for tweet of the day must go to @AndyPattinsonOz, who turned Stuart Broad's misfortune into a high quality sledge: "Stuart Broad is going home with a bad side... not sure where the Australian team will sleep though, he's only got a two-bed flat." Arf.
Baggy-green demise breaks boy's heart
Heart-wrenching stuff in the Melbourne Herald Sun, where a 12-year-old called James has written an article lamenting Australia's plight and suggesting ways they might turn it around. "I have loved the game of cricket for as long as I can remember," he writes. "I have lived my entire life knowing that Australia wins at cricket. They just do." I hate to break it to you, James, but...Reuse content