Ashes Diary: Tait turns his back on full five days – and so it seems do Aussie crowds

The mood is grim in Australia. After the euphoria of day three, day four proved what Englishmen hoped and Australians feared: the home attack will struggle to bowl England out this summer without the aid of freakish good luck or sloppiness from the visitors. If only the Aussies had a gun-fast bowler to call on who could turn England over.

Oh wait a minute, they do. Anyone remember Shaun Tait? Bowls 90mph, slingy action, was supposed to be the next Jeff Thomson? Played the last two matches of the 2005 Ashes (and dropped Kevin Pietersen on the boundary at The Oval)? What happened to him? Well, he's injured – but even if he wasn't, Englishmen could rest easy. He's not interested in the longer form of the game. He was at the Adelaide Oval earlier this month as England took on his native South Australia but only as a spectator. Tait should be fit again in the new year but there's no chance of seeing him in a potentially crucial fifth Test at Sydney. "The longer form is well and truly gone now for me," he said.

And Tait's not the only Australian to have turned his back on the five-day game. Yesterday's crowd at The Gabba was remarkably skimpy after the sell-outs of the first three days – even the official attendance of 21,677 looked a touch on the high side. Aussies, of course, have never been keen on watching their boys get beaten – so these might not be the last empty seats we see this series.

Strauss on the bounce

Mitchell Johnson has not had the best of Test matches – to put it kindly – so Andrew Strauss could easily have twisted the knife when asked about the Aussie paceman's rash pre-series comments about targeting the England captain with bouncers. But he didn't. "I always think it's not something you want to talk about, the opposition, too much. It's important we respect all their bowlers and we'll continue to do that," Strauss said. Walking the walk but not talking the talk; taking notes, Mitch?

Totally freaked out @TheAshes

Not everyone is quite so thrilled about the Ashes. Take one young lady in Westfield, Massachusetts, whose Twitter address is @TheAshes and who has been bombarded with cricket-related tweets over the past few days. Well, her patience has run out: "I AM NOT A FREAKING CRICKET MATCH!!! That means you @matywilson @zandertrego @thesummats @ atonyboffey @faz1988 and MORE," she tweet-bellowed over the weekend. A later request for her "to put the kettle on" during a drinks break is unlikely to have improved her mood.

Army drives Watson just 'a bit' barmy

No wonder the England boys like the Barmy Army. Not only do they provide constant support no matter how badly England are playing, but they appear to have succeeded in winding up Shane Watson, the England team's least favourite Australian. After a long day toiling in the field as Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook piled on the runs, Watson was asked if the English supporters' group had added to Australia's frustrations. "I don't really think it has an impact," he said, before adding: "It's a bit annoying, to be honest." That'll be music to Jimmy Anderson's ears.

Gower's 'squealing' recalls a gut feeling

If Sunday was agony for Australia, David Gower can sympathise. Those hardy cricket lovers who stayed up to watch the action on Sky will have heard the former England captain yelping in pain at the end of one of his commentary stints. The reason? Nasser Hussain had put a chair on his foot. "Gower hobbles away," Mike Atherton laughed, and the fun wasn't over. Ian Botham later accused his former team-mate of "squealing like a pig". Beefy would know, since it was at this ground during the 1982-83 Ashes that some cheeky Aussie fans released a pig with "Botham" scribbled on its gut.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine