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Tony Bishop

Love in the afternoon session: Ashes liaisons that left their mark

Winning the Ashes, or a crucial game within it, leaves an imprint on the emotions – almost as strong as being in love in some cases. Tony Bishop finds the two corresponding in four tales of longing – and belonging – that take him from the Oval to a Curry's shopfront via the former Yugoslavia and the New Forest. Love is indeed a many splendored thing. Complex and metaphysical with ever- shifting depth and dimension. A simple word that can cover such a range of emotion. I love my family; I have been in love many times; I am in love with my partner now. I love wine, the Blues and Bob Dylan; I love Watford; I love Middlesex. And I love the Ashes.

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So this is bromance: how Warner gave game away about Aussie-Pommie rivalry

When he called for all-out war against England in the Ashes build-up, the Australia vice-captain was revealing something about their attitude to Poms that nobody could have anticipated, argues Nigel Henderson. So now we know the truth. "Arsewipe" was a term of endearment. "Mental disintegration" was a minor wind-up meant to be no more psychologically damaging than a game of marbles.

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Paul Howarth

The summer of '05: like a trick of the memory

It was the best of times. When England regained the Ashes after 16 long years of pain, Paul Howarth was working his way up at an advertising agency. Sometimes he actually went into the office. Mostly, though, cricket was uppermost in his mind. You could be forgiven for thinking nothing else existed in the summer of 2005. Work, school, shopping, emptying one's bowels, spending time with loved ones, hobbying, looking for a misplaced biro (how many have we had in this house?). All of these things must've happened. It's just that I can't remember any of them.

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Brett Mckay

Beware the Usman Khawaja enigma, my English friends…

All of the talk is about the damage Smith and Warner might do to the English attack, but pour a little sunshine on to the Aussie pitches, mix with a Kookaburra ball, and a certain left-handed No 3 has the ingredients he needs to make the tourists suffer, says Brett McKay. Usman Khawaja: Gower, Harvey and Mark Waugh rolled into one – in Australia. Death, taxes, and an early-season Usman Khawaja run spree.

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Jofra who? Guerilla Cricket's Youth Wing on their Ashes XIs. Bloody millenials

Give me your Ashes teams, said @guerillahendo. Starting XIs for Brisbane, squad players and reasons. 150 words max. Back they came, at first a trickle, then a flow, then a veritable flood. Some were short, pithy, to the point; others were longer, more rounded; a few had their own books and were available on Amazon. These are the thoughts of the Guerilla Cricket Youth Wing. And yes, with curious votes for YJB to open, three wicketkeepers, and a quite frankly unhealthy passion for Gary Ballance, you may think they were born yesterday.

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Urning a place on the plane: the Guerilla Cricket Ashes selections (part one)

Give me your Ashes teams, said @guerillahendo. Starting XIs for Brisbane, squad players and reasons. 150 words max. Back they came, at first a trickle, then a flow, then a veritable flood. Some were short, pithy, to the point; others were longer, more rounded; a few had their own books and were available on Amazon. There was strange manlove for Liam Plunkett, bizarre left-field votes for Cookie's Essex mates Dan Lawrence and James Foster. And then there was Cockers; Cockers is as Cockers does – and he does freeform. Read down to see who you agree with and who you believe, passionately, to be a raving lunatic.

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Will Cockerell

Memoirs of a Saffers Junkie

Has there been a more consistently absorbing Test Match rivalry over the past 40 years to match the struggles of England versus South Africa? Will Cockerell believes not, as he reminisces on some epic affairs since the end of apartheid. 1994 It's almost impossible to describe the euphoria of the opening days of the Lord's Test of 1994 and our renewed acquaintance with a fabled foe. The weather was perfect and it was nostalgic to see Cap'n Kepler, he of Ashes' '85 ilk, grind out an emotional ton on an evenly poised 1st day. After that, the mother of all shellackings, with England dire and Atherton getting his hands dirty; too dirty as it turned out. An wild and apoplectic Jon Agnew called for skipper's head, which many felt was "a bit much".

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Scott Rutherford

Guerillas in the midst of special Test match revolution

"They're not as funny as they think they are," sniffed Stephen Brenkley, the cricket correspondent of the now partially defunct Independent, in 2012, hoping perhaps, by damning with faint praise, to halt the Test Match Sofa bandwagon that was hurtling down the slope from the Pavilion End and threatening to deliver some unwelcome chin music to the cricket Establishment. It was true, though, they weren't as funny as they thought they were. Very few people are. But they were funny. And, worryingly for that Establishment, they were also knowledgeable, insightful, could generally ball-by-ball with the best of them and could turn their hands to a variety of subjects that you wouldn't expect to hear on a cricket commentary.

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Andy Ward

Series review: Ashes 2015

The 2015 Ashes series was the third in two years due to a schedule rearrangement designed to help England's World Cup campaign the next winter (lol). If the clashes of 2005 and 2009 will be remembered as vibrant contests of punching and counter-punching, this was more like two drunks whaling on each other at closing time. England of course won 3-2 in the end, keeping the Aussies without a series win on these shores since 2001. The two matches they won were by 405 runs, Steve Smith helping himself to a double hundred at Lords, and an innings & 46 in the dead rubber at the Oval. England won by 169 runs in Cardiff, 8 wickets on their lucky ground of Edgbaston, and decisively by an innings & 78 at Trent Bridge.

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Gary Naylor

Series review: SA v ENG 2015/2016

England's four half-centurions in the First Test vs South Africa in 2015-16 provide a contrast in how the cricketing Gods dispense their favours: Nick Compton and James Taylor won't play international cricket again; Joe Root is the new Test captain and Jonny Bairstow has rewritten the record books for wicketkeeper-batsmen. None of that was clear when their contributions with the bat and Man of the Match, Moeen Ali's seven wickets, got England off to a winning start against a strong South Africa team playing in home conditions.

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