Will Hawkes: Fair-weather fans can't bear to watch

Ashes diary
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The Independent Online

There was much talk before this match about how the world record for a Test crowd was about to be broken. It wasn't – indeed the crowd was smaller than for the first day in 2006 – but upwards of 85,000 is still a pretty decent turn-out. The most impressive thing about that first-day crowd, though, was the speed with which they exited the ground as Australia crumbled. "It looks like the stadium has been evacuated!" crowed David Lloyd on Sky. Some Aussie fans did stick around, though, and both of them deserve a lot of credit for that.

Press in a flap at fallen phoenix

The spirit went out of the Australian press after the first day faster than air from a burst balloon. "Ten reasons why Australia is woeful!" read the headline in the Melbourne Herald Sun by a list of the dismissed Australian batsmen, while the more upmarket Age had "Their Christmases all come at once" above a piece by Greg Baum. "Of the phoenix that was Australia in Perth, only ashes remain," he wrote. "The namesake trophy – once Australia's pride and joy – is again England's to parade as it sees fit."

Warne set to join MCG's legends XI

Four years ago the Herald Sun featured a golden-crowned Shane Warne on their front page with the headline "King of the G". That status will be reflected in a new statue outside the MCG next year alongside those of, among others, Sir Donald Bradman and Dennis Lillee. "Shane's playing record is unparalleled and he will sit comfortably alongside the 10 sporting greats already outside the MCG," said MCC president David Meiklejohn. Shame it's inside the MCG that the hosts really need him.

Could the mascot have done better?

As the camera panned along the faces of the Australian team during the national anthems, it looked like they were a man down. Where was Michael Clarke? Just then, though, the not-that-tall mascot in front of him moved and we could see that Australia's deputy was actually there. Unfortunately for Clarke and Australia, it was to get a good deal more humiliating than that.