1. The John Buchanan miasma. This should be the cinch;
2. By scheduling the opener in Cardiff, England essentially and inadvertently opted for an away match and lost the home advantage;
3. Keeping with his form book, Andrew Flintoff is destined to miss the bus to the ground on the most crucial day of the series;
4. By placing Matt Prior behind the stumps, England has made the prior announcement that they are taking Caught Behind and Stumping out of the equation. While this is very chivalrous of them, England’s bowling does not look good enough to get 20 Australian wickets sans these two crucial modes of dismissals,
5. Kevin Peter Pietersen, Order of the British Empire (OBE), would deliberately under-perform, fearing another Ashes triumph would invariably incur a similar mile-long obnoxious title which no 21st century man in his senses would fancy;
6. Cricket Australia’s threat of bringing back Buchanan, in case of an Ashes loss, ringing in ears, Ricky Ponting and his men would settle for nothing less than a win;
7. Leaving no stone unturned in their preparation, Australia had no less than F1 driver Mark Webber telling them how to run faster between wickets. Sadly, neither Lewis Hamilton nor Jenson Button displayed as much patriotism and bothered to turn up at the Poms practice.
Pix: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport