Australians stumped reducing bails to ashes

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The Independent Online

Australia's cricketers had alarm bells ringing after their 4-1 series triumph on Monday. With celebrations in full swing, Steve Waugh and his men, having been denied a request to take the original urn and Ashes back home, taped up the smoke detectors in their dressing-room at The Oval and set about cremating the bails they had salvaged from the final Test.

Unfortunately the bails were made of sterner stuff than the England team and resisted all attempts to reduce them to ashes. And in the attempt the fire alarms went off and the operation was given up in disgust.

Back at their hotel, the Royal Garden in Kensington, Aussie eardrums were again assailed by the sound of fire alarms and they found themselves out on Kensington High Street in pyjamas for more than an hour while the problem – this time nothing to do with them – was sorted out.

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