Ashes Diary: Jones invokes dad's fighting talk to lift home side

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The Independent Online

Any Englishmen who might have thought this series already over (I'm looking at you, Ronnie Irani) hasn't reckoned with Dean Jones. The Victorian won't actually have a hand in this year's Ashes – he's a bit chunky for that now – but if any of the current mob were thinking of throwing in the towel, then he's got a little bit of advice for them. Or, at least, his old dad has.

"As my father told me so many times: 'Bat time, son, as runs will look after themselves,'" he said. "'And remember, people will always remember what you have done in the last half of your career more than the first half.'

"This is a time when we need some tough old buggers like my dad to steer us in the right direction. I have yet to meet a tougher Australian Test cricketer than Ricky Ponting. He must accept the position we are in, and fight like Allan Border did for us in the '80s.

"It is time we drew a line in the sand and said 'enough is enough'! It is about time we threw some punches that hurt. Let's hope in Perth it will be the start of a new renaissance of Australian cricket." There cannot be an Australian in all of Earl's Court who can read that without an involuntary tear coming to his eye.

Hughes needs a Twitter lesson

Australia's latest potential saviour, Phillip Hughes, may be a fine batsman (even if he can't buy a run at present) but he doesn't seem to have quite got the hang of this modern sport lark. Any cricketer worth his salt is straight onto Twitter to tell you what he had for breakfast but Hughes hasn't updated his account since early September, when he wrote: "Leaving Dubai soon, I loved India and had lunch with Sachin ... he is a true champion bloke." Come on, Phillip, pull your finger out.

MCG running on empty

The Melbourne Cricket Ground – where England are taking on Victoria in front of largely empty stands – is a magnificent sight when full, not that it happens all that often. Indeed, it's never been full for cricket: all the tickets were sold for the first day of the Boxing Day Test four years ago but by the time the Ashes got to Melbourne it was 3-0 to the home side and understandably not every Aussie wanted to watch one-sided cricket (just over 89,000 did, though). The biggest ever crowd at the MCG? That came in 1959, when 130,000 turned up to watch Billy Graham.

Aussie press: we're doomed

Not everyone in Australia is as bullish as Dean Jones. Take Melbourne Age journalist Greg Baum, for example: he writes, in an article headlined "Back to the Dark Ages", that: "Two innings defeats by England, 24 years apart, act as bearings to give Australian cricket a fix on how low its stocks lie. Then as now, the retirement of a clutch of great players – Lillee, Marsh, Chappell – had gutted the team. Then as now, authorities had thought they were ready, but were not. Then as now, momentum had carried it for a couple of years anyway, lulling all."

Still, the economy's going alright, eh Greg?