Recent articles by Gary Naylor
First Test, day three: the tension rises
Lunch: Australia 213-7. Saturday in Brisbane and the match was as balanced as a fine Coonawarra claret, as England looked to snap the steely partnership of Steven Smith and Shaun Marsh and Australia aimed to bat and bat and bat. To nobody's surprise, Joe Root deployed his 900 or so Test wickets opening bowlers against Smith's captain's average of 70+ with hostilities re-engaged at 165-4. Ten runs had been added without incident when, extraordinarily and inexplicably, Marsh, on 51, lifted an attempted drive off the splice in a gentle arc to a delighted Jimmy Anderson at mid-off. England had one of the two wickets they craved before the new ball became due around the midpoint of the session.
'The blood drained from my face': Waugh, Warne and the changing of the guard
England had won most of the Ashes series in Gary Naylor's young life and he had no reason to think it wouldn't always be that way. Oh but it would, it would, as he recalls here. England, with a little help from the Packer rebels' absence, had won the Ashes five times out of six, with the 1975 defeat overshadowed in my 12-year-old mind by the new fangled World Cup and the 1982-83 loss in Australia not covered by television and, therefore, it possibly didn't actually happen. I was 26 and I hadn't really seen a half decent Australian side.
First Test, day two: Australia roar back, then England respond and we finish where we started
Lunch: England 302 all out. England began the second day of the First Ashes Test on 196-4 with expectations of 300, hopes of 400 and dreams of 500. For 90 miniutes, things stayed that way until... Dawid Malan, batting beautifully having posted a patient and composed half century, ignored the bleedin' obvious leg trap and lifted Mitchell Starc's bouncer to Shaun Marsh, stationed 3/4 back at square leg for EXACTLY that shot.Though Starc earns some credit for flogging lift out of a plasticeney pitch, Malan's shot was wrong in conception (it's what Steven Smith wanted him to do) and in execution (his hands below the ball sending it up, but without the full-blooded commitment to the stroke required to clear the boundary). 56 superb runs accumulated, but a poor dismissal.
First Test, day one: honours even at the end of a compelling day of Ashes cricket
England win the toss and win the session: 59-1 at lunch. At last, after all the off-field sledging, it was time to take the trash talk on to the ground – and, glory be, to play some actual cricket. Joe Root won the toss and, eschewing the Nasser Way, elected to have a bat and send Mark Stoneman's heartrate up to 150. Stoneman's job, of course, was to get that number for a score. There was no movement for the new ball and it looked a good toss to win, but Mitchell Starc found a length outside off stump and Alastair Cook nicked off to Peter Handscomb, one of three wicketkeepers in the Aussie XI, on duty at first slip. Cook's familiar indeterminate footwork early in his innings and a misalignment of head and delivery exacted a full price – 764 runs still to get to match 2010-11.
Help me make it through the night: the twilight world of an Ashes Guerilla
It's been a long time since Gary Naylor felt a throbbing between his legs at 2 o'clock in the morning. But when a Guerilla Cricket all-night Ashes calls, he can't wait to mount his mean machine and fire it up towards Guerilla Towers in south-east London. And he knows, as he sets off, he'll soon be happily operating in "cricket time". The classic way to get off to sleep is to count sheep – so that's imagining white objects moving in repeating patterns on grass with a little gate in the distance, to the accompaniment of numbers ticking over. Which might explain why so many doze at the cricket too – well, that and the lunchtime gin and tonics.
Culture crash: Ashes sayings from the great, good ... and Piers Morgan
It's just a step to the left ... and a blast through extra cover! From Rocky Horror Show writer to Neil Finn, by way of Walt Whitman and the Bard, the Ashes has inspired some great soundbites. Here are a selection of the finest courtesy of Gary Naylor. "Whose batting will make the difference in the series? Whose captaincy will give their side an advantage? Whose media skills will work best? Whose relationship with the coach will prove most effective? Root's Root's Root's Root's".