The Ashes: Peter Siddle leads the charge at The Oval

Andrew Flintoff ignited neither his own farewell nor England’s middle order in his final Test, joining colleagues in throwing away their wickets as Australia forcefully took ascendancy on day one at The Oval on the back of four wickets by Peter Siddle.However, spin is set to play the decisive role in this fifth and deciding Ashes match with the pitch already deteriorating to a point where it resembles a day-four strip, breaking up and losing turf with each bowler’s follow-through.Australia retained their four-man pace attack for the game and do not have a specialist tweaker. Click here for the full scorecardWhile debutant Jonathan Trott proved he is made of stern stuff with 41, England were guilty of gifting their scalps to Australia, rather than losing them to outstanding deliveries to reach 8-307 at stumps.This was Australia’s day, no doubt, but concern will remain of Graeme Swann’s potential impact on their batsmen. The English off spinner hardly injects fear with his efforts thus far this series – six wickets for 409 runs at the horrendous average of 68.16 – but on this deck it is he, and not Flintoff, for whom the stage is set.”If your job in the side is bowling spin, you couldn’t ask for better conditions,” Shane Warne salivated from the commentary box.”What a time to make a name for yourself and put your hand up.”Siddle (4-63 from 18.3 overs) has become the leading wicket-taker of the series with 20 and dismissed Swann with the final ball of the day, caught behind for 18.Every English dismissal except Trott’s came as a result of batting carelessness, prodding too often at wide or probing balls that reached delighted fielders.Trott was run out superbly by a fast-reacting Simon Katich at short leg in one of the finest plays of the series, while Stuart Broad (26 not out) was lucky to see the day out after two near misses off his bat just defeated the clutches of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.Trott jumped forward to a Marcus North delivery that was edged to Katich, who rose and threw down the stumps in a seamless motion as the batsman dived in too late.England’s top scorer Ian Bell, with 72, clipped a Siddle delivery onto his off-stump immediately after tea, giving the Victorian his third wicket.Bell had survived a spirited first spell from Mitchell Johnson, who frightened him so with short deliveries that the batsman – who will age to look like Richard Branson – fended them like a virgin, with eyes closed. Yet he steered the ball without control to safe areas and then proceeded to score deceiving quickly.Johnson (2-69) was costly but bowled a wicked last spell by taking 2-8 in 18 balls including the prized catch of Flintoff, who slashed at a wider ball but gloved it to Haddin to score seven uninspiring runs.Despite the half-centuries by Bell and England captain Andrew Strauss – who had earlier won his fourth toss of the series on a darkly overcast morning in London – the home side failed to take full advantage.The billiard table outfield offered countless boundaries and patience was rewarded but England showed none, losing wickets each time they threatened to produce a meaningful partnership.Paul Collingwood (24) had opened the door for Trott by whipping his bat at a wide delivery from Siddle, edging the ball to gully Michael Hussey. His weakness for wide deliveries was exposed again.Trott took 12 balls to get off the mark as Australia crowded his bat and searched him with bouncers, but received a rousing ovation when he flicked Marcus North for two runs.He showed poise and commendable temperament in his 81-ball innings, far exceeding the best score from predecessor Ravi Bopara in the previous four Tests.Ponting had earlier taken an offensive stance when questioned about Trott, as the two teams approached the match locked at 1-1 – the first time since 1966 the fifth Test is being played to break that deadlock.”I think there’ll be huge pressure on him to tell the truth,’’ Ponting said.”It’s always hard making your debut in a Test match against Australia, let alone being in such a big game, as this one is. We’ve had the chance over the last few days to have a good look at how he plays, we spoke to a few of the Australian guys in the county circuit as well about how he plays and we’ve got some footage from one-day and Twenty20 stuff he’s played earlier this season.”There’s no doubt that middle order, the three they’ve got there in Bell, Trott and Collingwood, will be under some sort of pressure at different times in this game.” smh南京夜网.au
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Ferocious Shamrocks make finals

The Illawarra Rugby Union final five has been decided ahead of this weekend’s season-ending round after Shamrocks romped to a 44-8 trouncing of University in Wednesday night’s deferred match at Ziems Park.Shamrocks’ win assured them of either fourth or fifth spot, while Uni’s sixth straight loss means they can finish no higher than sixth.The Rocks take on wooden spooners Vikings at home tomorrow and will meet Engadine in the minor elimination semi-final the following Saturday.With their season on the line in Wednesday’s clash, a desperate Uni threw everything at their opponents in the opening 20 minutes. Shammies defiantly kept their line intact, even when they were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes.They built a 23-3 half-time lead and snuffed out any hope of a Mallee Bulls comeback with an equally dominant second-half display.”Our defence was the best I’ve ever seen on a rugby field. It was ferocious,” Shamrocks coach Barry Jones said.”Uni had all the ball and territory for the first 20 minutes and kept pressing our line and they couldn’t crack us. I was so proud of the effort the boys put in. From one through to 15, nobody went missing.”If the Rocks dispose of Vikings as expected, they will storm into the finals series with a full head of steam.Since a May 23 home loss to Engadine, they have not been beaten.Jones said there was no reason why his side couldn’t win the premiership. “It’s good to know we’re in and we don’t have to wait until the last round and rely on other teams losing,” he said.”There were some tough times early in the season when we weren’t winning, but the boys turned that around and there’s such a strong bond in the squad. “It’s not like there’s going to be any added pressure because we’ve been playing must-win games for a few months now.” Table: Tech Waratahs 63, Avondale 56, Shoalhaven 52, Engadine 46, Shamrocks 44, University 36, Kiama 28, Camden 19, Vikings 11
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Driver hits brakes as
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mouse finds trousers

BERLIN – A mouse was blamed for a two-car accident in southern Germany after it crawled up a motorist’s trousers. As the rodent squirmed up his inside thigh, the driver slammed on the brakes, causing a rear-end collision with a car driven by a female motorist.

When the woman got out to give him a piece of her mind, the man opened his trousers and hauled out the wriggling mouse, according to a police spokesman.

Superheroes battle

for the last burger

LONDON – Their fictional counterparts might be tireless battlers for truth and justice, but when three British men dressed as Spiderman, Superman and Batman came to blows the reason was far more prosaic – a shortage of burgers.

Police were called to the superhero bust-up after the three men in fancy dress traded punches in front of a fast food van in Canterbury, southern England.

It was believed the fight began early on Christmas Day because of a shortage of food at the van.

A 23-year-old man suffered facial injuries but declined to press charges, Kent Police said.

Rebel army to sign

Ugandan ceasefire

KAMPALA – Uganda’s Government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army are to sign a landmark total ceasefire today, opening the way for an end to a bloody 18-year insurgency, negotiators said.

The LRA, whose only stated aim is to rule the east African country by the biblical Ten Commandments, has rampaged through the north of Uganda, attacking civilians, kidnapping children and forcing 1.6 million people to flee to refugee camps.

Both sides expressed hope the ceasefire would bring an end to the war after talks at Kitgum district.

Victorian push for

code for dance raves

MELBOURNE – Dance party operators in Victoria have been urged to adopt a new code of practice aimed at making raves safer.

The Victorian Government yesterday released what it says is Australia’s most comprehensive code of practice for running safer dance parties.

The code is voluntary and is not enforceable.

State Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Daniel Andrews, said the code was a collaborative effort of the State Government, police, Metropolitan Ambulance Service, the entertainment community and other interested groups.

“I think this code of practice stands apart on the basis that we’ve had a really positive partnership from a whole range of different stakeholders,” Mr Andrews said. “We are confident that it will be taken up by a whole range of large and small events.”

He said the code was an effective tool for making events safer and covered a whole range of issues including fire safety, emergency services, checklists and risk management strategies.

The code includes guidelines on how many toilets to have on site, the use of strobe lights, the supply of free or cheap cold water, ensuring there was adequate shade and shelter, and allocating chill-out zones.

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Most read Mercury stories online

Darius Boyd’s bizarre interview; a Dapto wrestler with a love of crumbed fish; and a man’s unfortnate run in with a metal fence. These are among the most viewed stories on illawarramercury南京夜网.au in the past week.Each Friday we will re-visit the top 10 stories of the week, as clicked on by you, our readers: 1 – Wayne Bennet apologises for Darius Boyd interviewSt George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett took the unusual step of apologising to journalists following Darius Boyd’s performance at a press conference. 2 – The Dapto wrestler behind TVs new cult hero Iron Jay A wrestler with signature moves, including the Benny Splash and No Refunds, has emerged as Dapto’s newest cult hero after appearing on national TV ads for crispy battered fish. 3 – Biker dead, another injured in Royal National Park carnagePolice urged motorcyclists to take care when travelling through the Royal National Park and along Lawrence Hargrave Dr following the death of one man and serious injury of another. 4 – Man’s leg impaled on fenceGraphic pictures show how a Wollongong university student was impaled on a steel fence in the city’s CBD on Thursday night. 5 – BLOG: The knives have come out for the Dragons So Darius Boyd didn’t want to talk to the media. Whoop-de-doo, says Glen Humphries. 6 – Tourists fly to Sydney in Canada, not Australia When Dutchman Joannes Rutten and his grandson boarded a Sydney-bound flight last week, they were looking forward to a few weeks’ rest and relaxation Down Under. Instead they were left scratching their heads when their plane touched down on an island off the north-eastern coast of Canada. 7 – Wollongong mother, daughters out on the street Housing NSW will force a Wollongong mother and her daughters on to the street today to provide accommodation for elderly people. 8 – Worker thought body was dumped asbestos A Gujarat mines employee has told how he made the gruesome discovery of a body at Mt Ousley after initially mistaking it for a load of dumped asbestos. 9 – World’s biggest waterslide stunt a fake?A video on YouTube apparently showing a man riding down a waterslide, launching off a ramp and landing in a tiny paddling pool has become an online hit. But is it a fake? 10 – Sand artist a YouTube hit after winning Ukraine’s Got Talent First there was Susan Boyle. Now Kseniya Simonova has become an internet phenomenon after taking out the top prize on the television talent contest Ukraine’s Got Talent
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Warning over biblical frauds
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JERUSALEM – Experts advised world museums to re-examine their Bible-era relics after Israel indicted four collectors and dealers on charges of forging some of the most important artefacts of recent decades. The indictments labelled as fakes perhaps the two biggest biblical discoveries in the Holy Land – the purported burial box of Jesus’s brother James and a stone tablet with written instructions by King Yoash on maintenance work at the Jewish Temple – and many other “finds”.

The forgers “were trying to change history”, said Shuka Dorfman, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The forgery ring had been operating for more than 20 years, Mr Dorfman said.

Princess will marry commoner

TOKYO – Japanese Princess Sayako’s engagement to a Tokyo city bureaucrat, a commoner, became official yesterday with an announcement by Japan’s Imperial Household Agency.

Japan had eagerly awaited word of the engagement between Sayako, 35, the only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and Yoshiki Kuroda, 39.

The wedding would probably take place in the latter half of next year, newspapers said.

North Korean defections up

SEOUL – Some 1890 North Koreans have defected to South Korea this year, nearly 50 per cent more than in 2003, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said yesterday.

The defections in 2004 included some 480 North Koreans who arrived in South Korea in August in two plane loads in an operation shrouded in secrecy.

In 2001, 583 people fled the North, increasing to 1139 in 2002 and 1281 last year.

Laser beams worrying pilots

WASHINGTON – The pilots of six jets flying into US airports have noticed mysterious laser beams while attempting to land, CNN reported yesterday.

Authorities said terrorist groups have shown an interest in using laser beams to try to bring down airliners. Six commercial airliners have experienced the laser beams in the past four days, said a Government official.

All the flights landed safely.

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