As Australia's cricketers finally show some fight, one man who was never slow to square up may be hanging up his gloves for good.
Andrew Symonds had a limited impact on Ashes cricket – his century at the MCG four years ago notwithstanding – but Australia could have used his character on a number of occasions in this series. But "Roy" is not even interested in playing for Queensland, his native state, any more.
"Andrew is living in north Queensland and is in the process of purchasing a farm," said the Queensland Cricket CEO, Graham Dixon. "He was pretty up-front with us that he was moving in a direction that didn't involve playing cricket again for Queensland.
"We told him that he goes into this phase of his life with our blessings and best wishes. He doesn't owe Queensland Cricket anything and we have been privileged to enjoy the benefit of his skills and his passion for Queensland during his career. Our door is always open to him and I am sure he will continue to keep close ties with us."
Atherton wary of angering Beefy
Speaking of fights, the aftermath of the Botham-Chappell stramash rumbles on, at least in the Sky commentary box. Michael Atherton was on duty on the second day when he remarked to Nasser Hussain that Ian Chappell thought Ian Bell should bat at No 3. "Speaks a lot of sense, Mr Chappell," Atherton continued. "A lot of people in this box agree." Clearly not everyone since Atherton dropped the matter there, presumably for fear of Beefy retribution.
Paying out prematurely
Sounds like it's not just the English who have been prematurely celebrating the end of the Ashes. One Aussie bookmaker decided to pay out on an England win at the end of the first day of this current Test, presumably in the belief the resultant coverage would be well worth the possibility of being wrong. "Unfortunately for Australian cricket fans the writing is on the wall and we can't see the Aussies coming back from here," Sportsbet.com.au's chief executive, Matthew Tripp, said. "We'd be paying out soon enough anyway so punters may as well have their cash now in time for Christmas."
Consolation cake for broader Broad
England could have badly done with Stuart Broad on the second day (with bat and ball) but the injury the Nottinghamshire seamer sustained at Adelaide meant he was confined to the Test Match Special box. Broad is a combative chap and he surely would have thrived in the, er, fiery atmosphere that has characterised this match so far. However, as he has discovered, there are significant consolations to his enforced absence – chief among them, cakes. "The famous TMS cakes starting to arrive," he tweeted yesterday. "That gym session earlier might prove worthless..."
Whisky is bad mix with Waugh
An advert for a well-known whisky manufacturer currently running on Australian TV features a shot of Steve Waugh looking tearfully at his Baggy Green cap as the man himself provides the voiceover: "The media said I should throw this old thing away... but we've been through too much together." Cue inspiring music. What that has to do with whisky, I'm not sure, but at least it's better than the efforts of an Aussie beer manufacturer four years ago, who had a fat Englishman cowering on a bar stall because there was a glass of beer on the floor nearby that was – get this – "served so cold it's a Pom's worst nightmare".