Ashes Diary: McGrath is sure series will swing back to Aussies

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The Independent Online

His cricketing days may be behind him but Glenn McGrath isn't ready to hang up his sledging boots quite yet. With England having retained the Ashes in Melbourne, McGrath – who, it transpires, was able to enjoy such a long career thanks to the genetic benefit of extremely strong bones – refused to be downbeat when he spoke to reporters at the SCG, predicting an Aussie win and a tied series. "It's been a funny old summer with Australia dominating then England dominating, then Australia dominating. It's just such a topsy-turvy pattern there, it's the way it goes," he said.

"I think England have definitely been the more consistent side with their bowling plans. The way they've bowled in partnerships and batted as well. The challenge is up to our boys. If it follows the same pattern it has all summer then we should dominate this Test match, shouldn't we?"

Usman's parents play straight bat

Usman Khawaja's admirable efforts on day one were punctuated by TV shots of his parents looking tense in the pavilion. Their dignified reaction to Khawaja's untimely fall was all very well but if they want to get on the telly again they might want to spice it up – maybe take a leaf out of Annie Underwood's book, who celebrated every try scored by her sons for England at Twickenham in the early Nineties with what can only be described as complete abandon.

Bradman on song

On the day Australia discovered a young batsman, there was a reminder of the standard by which all Australian cricketers are measured. Sir Donald Bradman's granddaughter Greta sang the Aussie national anthem at the beginning of play and in the process gave Australia easily the best start they have enjoyed in the series.

Barmy for army in a Waugh zone

Among the crowd was @theashes, or Ashley Kerekes. She and her boyfriend sat next to Steve Waugh. "I've been told he's kind of a big deal – he was the captain of Australia for a while,'" she told The Sydney Morning Herald. Kerekes appears to have enjoyed her day at the Test if her twitter feed, where she famously claimed not to be "a freaking cricket match", is anything to go by. "I can see/hear thebarmyarmy quite well from where I'm sitting," she tweeted. "Very entertaining."

Gower a deliciously old-school scoundrel

David Gower gave his Terry-Thomas side full rein before play began on the first day, referring to Michael Clarke's former girlfriend as "the delicious Lara Bingle" as the Sky team previewed the action. David Lloyd, sitting alongside, pulled a face before claiming, rather implausibly, to have never heard of the Aussie model. Michael Atherton, sensibly, kept quiet.