Cow Corner

  • Sky’s Hot Spot gaffe costs Trott his wicket

    England were left to rue a tough lbw decision against Jonathan Trott - and Sky's own Ashes coverage was responsible for costing him his wicket.

    Trott was given out leg-before wicket after a successful review from Australia. Mitchell Starc's delivery was clearly going on to hit the stumps, but there appeared to be a chance that he had got a faint inside-edge with the bat before it hit him on the pads.

    Hot Spot - which uses infra-red cameras to sense and measure heat, thereby establishing whether the ball has made contact with the edge of the bat - did not show anything front-on, but television

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  • Even England fans were upset when Ashton Agar fell for 98

    Ashton Agar had cricket fans agape with a stupendous innings of 98 on his debut - from number 11 - at the age of just 19.

    He broke record after record, finally eclipsing Tino Best's 95, the previous best from number 11.

    As the final landmark approached, even England fans found themselves willing him on. As journalist Kevin Mitchell put it:

    "If anyone doesn't want Agar the Orrible to get a hundred, he or she is bloodless. That said, 100 is quite enough, young man"

    But just as he hooked the ball towards the boundary for his century, he was caught by Graeme Swann in the deep.

    Twitter let out a

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  • Cricketing lexicon: ‘The next hour is crucial’

    In a semi-regular feature during this Ashes series we will be bringing you some terms you may hear bandied about in commentary and explaining their uses.

    Term: ‘The next/first hour is crucial’

    When it’s actually applicable: Almost always

    Why that’s true: When play began this morning, for example, the next hour was obviously hugely important. Negotiate it safely, and Australia have the rest of the day in sunny conditions on a flat pitch with England a bowler down to build a lead. If England strike early, it’s them who might be able to bat through the afternoon and evening sessions and turn the

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  • The Premier League of cricket contests

    There’s an advert on television at the moment for the Co-Operative supermarket. Against the sounds of Christmassy feel-good tune It’s the most wonderful time of the year they show roasting summer days, barbeques and good times (all made better by some delicious and affordable food and drink).

    Cow Corner rather likes that ad – because when an Ashes series approaches you do find yourself counting down the days (there’s a little Mike Gatting-inspired pie in every window of Cowers’ Ashes advent calendar). You wonder what history will be written, who will emerge with their reputations enhanced or

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  • England are sure of themselves. Very, very sure of themselves. The players are brimming with confidence, the coaches have reason behind their expectation and the fans are already considering the scoreline of the series rather than the result.

    'I'm going for 3-1'; '4-1 for me'; 'It will be a whitewash!'; 'The Aussies won't win a match against us all year'. The certainty with which England supporters are predicting a comfortable win over Australia in the Ashes series that gets underway at Trent Bridge on Wednesday is startling, but understandable.

    England, ranked comfortably above Australia in

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  • England v Australia: Predicted Ashes line-ups compared

    The eagerly-anticipated first Ashes Test between England and Australia gets underway at Trent Bridge on Wednesday, and one team is considerably more settled than the other.

    It is often said that cricket is a team game made up of individual contests: between bat and ball, opposite numbers and one-on-one battles. The scrutiny of the two respective line-ups is always relentless and this series is no different.

    England's team is fairly settled under the composed captaincy of the talismanic Alastair Cook with only a choice of three pacemen from the five in the 13-man squad to be made by the

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  • England's cricketers are going into bat for one of their principal cheerleaders, after it emerged 'Billy the Trumpet' is set to be banned from playing in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

    Kevin Pietersen described the apparent decision as a "DISGRACE", after Matt Prior had made it clear he and his team-mates all want to hear trumpeter Billy Cooper - a mainstay of England's support home and away as part of the 'Barmy Army' - to be allowed to play in Nottingham.

    His appropriate bursts of tune have accompanied England Test campaigns all over the world in recent years, notably during the

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  • Hampshire are launching an internal inquiry amid claims that one of their players went into Sainsbury's in Ashford naked and tried to buy a bottle of vodka.

    The team's second XI were in Kent for a Twenty20 match against their county rivals, and according to a report had spent the night drinking in a nearby hotel in Kent before the game.

    This culminated in one player, the Kent Messenger newspaper reports, being dared to streak through the supermarket at 04:20 in the morning.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the player was not served the alcohol, and asked to leave the premises. Police were called to

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  • Morgan under pressure

    Eoin Morgan’s revelation that he broke a finger during the Champions Trophy campaign and now needs an operation has saved the England selectors an awkward conversation.

    Morgan suffered the injury during the Champions Trophy semi-final against South Africa on June 19 and though he played in the final against India, the pain proved too much during Tuesday’s first T20 against New Zealand at the Oval.

    "It's looking like an operation to try and get it pinned and ready as soon as possible," Morgan said.

    "It can be as short as two to three [weeks out] and then ongoing from there. Obviously it will

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  • Innovative McCullum brings fun back to T20

    The first of the two Twenty20 internationals between England and New Zealand at the Oval had been scheduled for just two days after the Champions Trophy final.

    The matches promised to be the most pointless and anti-climactic games ever to grace the international calendar.

    England’s eyes would be looking ahead to the main event of the summer, the Ashes, while New Zealand would be desperate to get home after almost two months away on tour.

    The thing is, no-one told the players, or the capacity crowd at the Oval, as New Zealand won a thrilling first T20 match by five runs.

    This England set-up had

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