Brainless sledging spurs old warrior into action

Long before lunch on the third day of the final Test it was necessary to go through the old routine. Shortly after tea the procedure was required again. This involved the ritual, performed almost daily since 23 November in Brisbane, of checking if there was a different way of saying that England are spineless.

Once more yesterday, they demonstrated their ineptitude at the chief elements of the game, and they added another felony. They were brainless as well as spineless.

In the morning, Australia, from a position of 325 for 8, were allowed to add, much as they liked, 68 runs for the ninth wicket. It was typical that Shane Warne, the twinkle-eyed old warrior himself, should give the knife one final twist.

In the afternoon, England lost five wickets more or less without blinking. They succumbed to uniformly excellent bowling but they succumbed all right, as certainly as females to James Bonds, from Sean Connery to the new bloke.

The idiotic nature of their play, as if to confirm that the Australians are winning in every way imaginable, came during Warne's prolonged cameo of 71. It was his 12th 50 and the sixth-highest of his 199 Test innings. He came in and immediately swept a four and clubbed a six over midwicket from his first two balls.

As he explained: "I was pretty pumped up when I first went out. I'm normally a dreadful starter, so I had a couple of Red Bulls and I was buzzing. Four, six and I thought, 'Here we go'."

In the same over as the initial boundaries, however, he may (or may not) have gloved a delivery from Monty Panesar to wicketkeeper Chris Read. England were convinced, the umpire Aleem Dar was not. The tourists were aggrieved and, with Paul Collingwood to the fore, they let Warne know of their displeasure.

This was a pretty silly tactic. The true art of sledging is knowing when not to speak. Collingwood went in with adenoids virtually on full view. He had done likewise at Adelaide - the insults merely served to energise Warne.

Instead of learning from this, Collingwood decided to repeat the treatment and the upshot was disastrous for the tourists. The ninth-wicket pair added 68 runs and Australia's lead, rather than slender, was 102. England had every reason to be disappointed - again. But in another barnstorming chat to reporters at the close - possibly his last as a player - Warne lent some perspective.

"A lot of people have said that England have played poor cricket this summer," he said. "I don't actually agree with that. I think they have played some excellent cricket at times. But this is as good a cricket as the Australian team have played since I have been playing.

"Our fast bowlers have been excellent and as a group we have bowled exceptionally well. We haven't allowed them to score. I think Australia have been sensational and deserve to be in the position they are in."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home