Not only are England getting thrashed in the Ashes, they’re also losing the war of words with Australia.
For the uninitiated, a vital part of cricket culture is ‘sledging’ - the act of taking the piss out of the opposition on the field, in the hope of gaining the upper hand.
The Australians are masters of this dark art and are currently shaking up the English team by threatening to break their arms. It’s not exactly vintage sledging, but the following examples from past Ashes tests, most certainly are.
25. Ian Chappell to Derek Underwood
England slow left-arm bowler Derek Underwood was hit on the hand while batting. Ian Chappell surprised Underwood with his concern.
Chappell: “How’s the hand, which one was it?”
Underwood: “It was my right.”
Chappell: “That’s a shame. We were aiming for the left.”
24. Ian Botham to Rodney Hogg
As Rodney Hogg bowled to Ian Botham he lost his balance and fell at the England player's feet.
Botham: "I know you think I'm great Hoggy, but no need to get down on your knees."
23. Glenn McGrath to Michael Atherton
Australia’s Glenn McGrath tried out an old Australian classic on England captain Michael Atherton, who fell for it hook, line and sinker
McGrath: "Athers, it would help if you got rid of the shit at the end of your bat."
Atherton looks at the bottom of his bat.
McGrath: "No, No, the other end."
22. Craig McDermott to Phil Tufnell
Phil Tufnell had just bowled out Craig McDermott and was looking pleased with himself. McDermott did not let the feeling last long.
McDermott: "You've got to bat on this in a minute, Tuffers. Hospital food suit you?"
21. Michael Vaughan to Ricky Ponting
The England captain Michael Vaughan arrived at the wicket to a volley of abuse from his Aussie counterpart Ricky Ponting, who he quickly put in his place.
Vaughan: “Get back to the slips, Ponting. Who do you think you are, Steve Waugh?”
20. Ian Healey to Nasser Hussain
England skipper Nasser Hussain was at the crease. Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Ian Healy discussed fielding tactics.
Waugh (to Ponting): “Field at silly point. I want you right under his nose.
Healy: “That could be anywhere inside a three-mile radius.”
19. Nasser Hussain to Justin Langer
Hussain didn’t mind being sledged by the legendary figures of Australian cricket, but he wasn’t going to take abuse from the likes of Justin Langer.
Hussain: "I don't mind this lot chirping at me but you're just the bus driver."
18. Australian fan to Phil Tufnell
It’s not just the Australian players that love abusing English cricketers. Even the Aussie fans like to get in on the gag.
Aussie fan: "Oi Tuffers, lend us your brain, I'm trying to build an idiot."
17. English fan to Matthew Hayden
English cricket fans aren’t above this sort of thing either, as one proved when abusing Matthew Hayden over his cricket skills shortly after the Aussie opener had released a cook book.
English fan: “You’re shit Hayden, and so is your chicken casserole.”
16. Merv Hughes to Graham Gooch
Hughes had sent several fast deliveries whistling past Graham Gooch, before dispatching the following verbal knockout punch.
Hughes: “I’ll get you a fucking piano you Pommie poofta. Let’s see if you can play that.”
15. Robin Smith to Merv Hughes
England’s Robin Smith demonstrates to Merv Hughes the dangers of sledging just before you’re about to bowl to someone.
Hughes: "You can't fucking bat."
Smith hits Hughes for four.
Smith: "Hey Merv, we make a fine pair. I can't fucking bat and you can't fucking bowl."
14. Dennis Lillee to Mike Gatting
There’s no easier target for a joke than a fat man, as Dennis Lillee proved with the former England captain Mike Gatting.
Lillee: "Hell, Gatt, move out of the way, I can't see the stumps."
13. Derek Randall to Dennis Lillee
Derek Randall proves that the English are the kings of self-effacement, having been hit on the head with a bouncer, bowled by Dennis Lillee.
Randall: "No good hitting me there, mate, nothing to damage."
12. Australian fan to Bob Willis
Former England bowler Bob Willis is 6ft 5” tall, which explains the following remark to him from an Australian spectator.
Aussie fan: "Oi, Willis, I didn't know they could stack shit that high."
11. David Steele to Rodney Marsh
David Steele made a successful prediction to Rodney Marsh in what was to prove a glorious series for the new England batsman.
Steele: "Take a good look at this arse of mine, you'll see plenty of it this summer."
10. Bill Woodfull to Douglas Jardine
In the infamous ‘Bodyline’ series, prim and proper England captain Douglas Jardine complained to Australian captain Bill Woodfull, having just been sworn at.
Jardine: "Your slip just swore at me."
Woodfull: "All right, which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?"
9. Phil Tufnell to The Umpire
An angry Phil Tufnell took his frustration out on the umpire after his appeal against Dean Jones was turned down.
Tufnell: “Are you bloody blind?”
Umpire: “I beg your pardon?”
Tufnell: “Are you fucking deaf as well?”
8. Tim Zoehrer to Phil Edmonds
Australia’s Tim Zoehrer lost his patience at the constant abuse coming his way from Phil Edmonds - husband to a famous author.
Zoehrer: "At least I have an identity. You're just Frances Edmonds' husband."
7. Robin Smith to Merv Hughes II
Smith got the better of his nemesis Merv Hughes once again.
Hughes: "It's four years since I bowled to you and you haven't improved"
Smith hits Hughes for four.
Smith: "Neither have you."
6. Merv Hughes to Graeme Hick
England batsman Graeme Hick never fulfilled his talent at international level and Hughes was quick to put the boot in during one innings.
Hughes: "Mate, if you just turn the bat over you'll find the instructions on the other side."
5. Michael Atherton to Ian Healey
Michael Atherton had the perfect reply for Ian Healy when accused of cheating.
Healey: "You're a fucking cheat."
Atherton: "When in Rome dear boy..."
4. David Hookes to Tony Greig
Tony Greig was a South African playing for England, which meant that he was always on shaky ground when sledging others, as the Australia youngster David Hookes proved.
Greig: "When are your balls going to drop sonny?"
Hookes: "I don’t know, but at least I’m playing cricket for my own country."
3. Shane Warne to Paul Collingwood
It wasn’t particularly witty but this rant from Shane Warne to Paul Collingwood does quite brutally expose the truth of England’s overreaction at winning the 2005 Ashes.
Warne: “You’ve got an MBE, right? For scoring seven at The Oval? You’re an embarrassment.”
2. Ian Botham to Rodney Marsh
As Ian Botham prepared to bat, Aussie wicket keeper Rodney Marsh decided to put him off and was metaphorically smashed out of the ground.
Marsh: "So how's your wife and my kids?"
Botham: "The wife's fine - the kids are retarded."
1. James Ormond to Mark Waugh
The little known England bowler James Ormond was preparing to bowl to Mark Waugh - one of the legendary Waugh brothers.
Waugh: "Fuck me, look who it is. Mate, what are you doing out here? There's no way you're good enough to play for England."
Ormond: "Maybe not, but at least I'm the best player in my family".