The Test Match Special ‘The List’

1 The Ashes: a blitz of Test matches kicks off on Wednesday.

The tourists take a 1-0 lead into the final two Tests in Australia, with the hosts enjoying supremacy in domestic cricket with a dominant Sheffield Shield performance.

2 With elections looming in Spain – under Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sanchez – Twitter should fire up an emotional cocktail of spirits and carbohydrates: Seville, De Corniglia, La Rioja, Aveda, Irn Bru, Fernet Branca.

3 The T20 International cricket series between England and Australia is arguably the most important in many years, with England aiming to regain the Ashes in Perth in December.

Cricket’s slow burn is heating up as heps online in the run-up to the first game at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Friday, featuring in this week’s The T List.

Here’s a chunk of what’s been written this week:

‘Cricket remains a bloody hard slog’

By Chris Baggott

With the Ashes looming, England must send out a positive message to Australia’s players and general public before they go to work-hard Australia on Tuesday.

But the very prospect of Aussies strolling the streets after victories at Southampton, Hove and Cardiff, the story of Worcestershire tailender Daryl Mitchell, and of Bledisloe Cup defeats by both England and New Zealand, will still have burns in their eyes.

Choking and exposure to extreme sunlight, have you ever experienced two things in particular that you wish would never happen again?

Here’s a clue: when Michael Clarke played for Surrey three summers ago, he became alarmed by the temperature in the evening and penned this missive for The Guardian in response to his first night in the County Ground.

‘Root is always a class act’

By David Garner

A good number of commentators rued Joe Root’s failure on debut for England in Australia in 2009. How wrong they were.

Despite complaints, Root, at the age of 20, went on to play in every Ashes series for the next three years, which included scoring a century in England’s drawn series at home to Australia in 2011.

By Matthew Brown

‘Jonny’s no longer just a blond Surrey stalwart’

By Chris Baldwin

In nine years as a professional cricketer at Surrey, Ian Bell has not had the sort of consistency which earned him international honours.

That, however, has been put into context as he returned to the team for England’s summer international programme after a prolonged absence, after recovering from a bad back injury.

Bell’s progress in recent seasons has been impressive. He is now focusing on the leadership role he carried on as skipper of England Lions in South Africa.

‘World Cup ticket prices sound about right’

By Chris Birch

From £78 to £201 and up? According to TicketWeb – the UK’s largest ticket reseller – the cheapest standard seating for the third Test at Edgbaston could be for between £90 and £112.

That seems about right – though there are more spots available for £115 and £127 and up.

An early view that England could have won the game but for Jonny Bairstow’s miss…

…along with the messages of the new season from the tournament leader Alastair Cook and Ballance

‘England were punished for a silly and idiotic decision’

By Bob Willis

England might have been guilty of youthful and muddled error, but they were penalised for a silly and idiotic decision.

One of the other contributing factors was the decision to bat Jonny Bairstow at six. That was definitely the wrong thing to do, although it was a very green pitch.

‘Clarke swears a lot more than he claims’

By Dominic Cork

Mike Hussey holds the record for Australia’s best Test innings: 260 and 35 not out in England at Trent Bridge in 2006.

It’s the sort of record Clarke has not had an answer for. He racked up 766 runs this series, average of 78.88, at a strike rate of 144.

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