Sport on TV: No need for spin doctor when Warne turns to sledging

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The Independent Online

I missed the fall of Kevin Pietersen, of course, detained by a Newsnight report on the apocalyptic state of health care in Sierra Leone. After that, it was difficult to get too depressed about the fifth Test, but I found myself wanting the rest of the wickets to fall in true England fashion - with indecent haste - to put us out of our misery.

The sentimentalist in me wanted Shane Warne to bag them but that would have required England sticking around for a bit. He was more in evidence on day three with his roistering 71. "It's not been a blemish-free innings but it's been entertaining," enthused David Gower on Sky.

As the bottle-blond little beauty hit another four to reach 66, he began a bit of reverse-sledging. "There's chat out there," Gower observed, "and it's good chat. Shane Warne is reminding Paul Collingwood that he got an MBE for making seven runs at the Oval." David Lloyd was agog.

"An incredible passage of play, this is," he said. "He's asking for guard, taking guard and sledging Collingwood like you've never heard - and he's the batter!"

A raised finger, by the way, for Ian Botham, who misses no opportunity to bully and browbeat his Sky colleague, Nasser Hussain. There must be a bit of previous that's been festering inside Botham for years. Better to stick to the cricket and leave his animus outside the ground. Bottom marks, as well, for Sky Sports News, which for some bizarre reason declines to mention the cricket at all during play. A rolling sports news channel that completely ignores the biggest story of the day? What's that all about?

Adding to the disappointment induced by events Down Under is the absence of any sports-related excuse to watch Celebrity Big Brother unless you count Danielle Lloyd, Teddy Sheringham's squeeze.

Apart from being stripped of her Miss Great Britain title last year (because Sheringham was one of the judges), she's best known for her appearance for the WAGS on Test the Nation. Asked: "Who was Winston Churchill: a rapper, US President, the PM or King?" she stumped up: "Wasn't he the first black president of America? There's a statue of him near me - that's black."

Still, she does serve some purpose in this crazy old world of ours. Shortly after she'd entered the house, Jermaine Jackson asked her what she did. She thought for a moment. "I'm a model," she concluded. He asked her if she was also a singer. "I can't sing," she said. "I definitely can't sing. I look after my boyfriend, who can do nothing." Except earn about 30 grand a week playing football, she might have mentioned.