Hoaxer and Hussain have the last laugh

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The Independent Online

Karl Power, from Droylsden, the man who hoaxed Manchester United by joining a team photograph in Munich wearing the authentic match kit, amused this stadium too yesterday, no mean feat as England had just stumbled to l67 for 2, facing an Australian total of 447.

As the England captain, Nasser Hussain, walked out, at No 4, Power appeared several yards behind him, to all intent another England batsman. Was he a runner?

Power mimed it perfectly, as a batsman coming out in error, recalled by a mobile phone, and was applauded back into the dressing-room by a laughing policeman. He received a rougher reception from the stewards. As, no doubt, a tabloid will explain today: England were in need of a laugh.

The Union Jack, flown upside down is recognised as a signal of distress in maritime circles. Those citizens of Cardigan Road were correctly reflecting England's plight when they flew the flag from the balcony overlooking the ground on Thursday.

Australia had then scored 288 runs off 66 overs. Yesterday the patriots got it right again, the Union flag correctly reversed as Yorkshire's Darren Gough tore through Australia's tail, a graphic demonstration of a native son doing the right thing at the right time in the right place.

England's Darren became "ower" Darren again.

Once England batted again the euphoria was dampened. The consolation must be that the much-examined pitch has not, so far, behaved too badly and Mark Butcher and the captain gritted it out for more than two hours. We may be hearing Elgar next from Cardigan Road.

Gough said he was "chuffed to bits'' with his tally of five wickets: "It's not easy bowling at these guys and we've not had the conditions to suit us this summer. This pitch hasn't helped the seam but there's uneven bounce. We have to hope the overhead conditions here don't help their seamers tomorrow.''

And the hoaxer? "I was on the balcony and I thought it was hilarious. At first I thought it was Ramps, and Nasser had got the order wrong – until he took off his helmet.''

Australia's centurion Damien Martyn, who was pleased with his second century of the series, did immediately what all Aussies do – worry about his place in the team: "We're all conscious that Steve Waugh is absent but will be coming back. I am in his No 5 spot now and I just hope this innings will help keep me in the side.''

Martyn had high praise for the Butcher-Hussain England partnership: "They did well. The pitch is up and down and the guys got hit on the gloves and the shoulder of the bat, but they stuck it out. Goughie bowled well. He got the just desserts for all the hard work he put in.''

As for prankster Power, who revealed he had gained access by hiding for 10 minutes in a toilet. "Then my mobile rang and by the time I got to the field Nasser was already at the wicket.'' There are, it seems, more hoaxes to come. Watch your favourite red top.

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