Piers Morgan set to face up to Brett Lee in nets
Piers Morgan - talk-show host, former newspaper editor and cricket tragic - is talking tough as he prepares to take on Brett Lee in the nets.
Morgan, who has played village cricket in Sussex, will on Friday face six balls from the owner of 310 test wickets who was once regarded as the fastest bowler in the world.
It is part of a challenge laid down by Lee after Morgan questioned the courage of England's batsmen in the face of an onslaught from Mitchell Johnson.
Despite former test stars warning Morgan of the pain to come, the 48-year-old was bristling with confidence - or false bravado.
''I've just met 'Binga' and he's giving it plenty of the large one, as I'd expect, I like a bit of sledging. But I said I'm in a bit of two minds - I can't decide whether to whack him over that stand or that one. I think Brett, now that he's physically met me, realises it's a bit more of a challenge than he thought.''
Morgan insists England's batsmen have lacked guts this series against high-class quicks and vowed to show his countrymen the way.
''At least I'd stand there, I wouldn't go home,'' Morgan said on Channel Nine.
''We seemed to have rolled over like a little puppy dog and said, 'take us down.' It's not some tea party where you give up after the first cup doesn't taste right.'' Morgan was earlier about to unload on the visitors' inadequacies when he was cut short by the fall of an England wicket.
SWANN SAYS KP WASN'T THE TARGET
Graeme Swann has reassured Kevin Pietersen the star England batsman was not the subject of his controversial ''up their own backsides'' sledge.
There had been speculation Pietersen was one of the current players who ''have no idea how far up their own backsides they are and it will bite them on the arse one day'', but Swann says that is not so.
''I've spoken to Kev yesterday,'' Swann told the UK's Sky Sports. ''I assured him there was nothing in it aimed towards him. He said, 'I know exactly who you were talking about'.
All the England guys are with me, and they know who grinds my gears around the world in cricket.''
If the barb was not aimed at Kevin Pietersen, then who was Graeme Swann referring to? Shane Warne says Stuart Broad's recent behaviour places him at the top of the list, despite Swann's repeated denials his comments were aimed at any of his former teammates.
''I think the comment was just to put it out there and if anyone felt like they were being a bit of a big head they would feel affected by it,'' Warne said on Channel Nine.
''If they weren't they wouldn't even detect it. For me, I think he was just throwing it out there and I think there are a few England players that are. One is Stuart Broad because you can't hobble around on crutches when the game was on the line [in Perth]. You can't go out there with a moonboot, on crutches, hobble around with a bruised foot and then be running around there in warm-ups this morning, so I reckon it could be aimed at Stuart Broad.''
BILL BOUNCES BACK
Bill Lawry quickly rediscovered his best form in the commentary box. On his first day behind the microphone this series, the veteran caller and former Australian yest captain had a crack at Joe Root for, of all things, not scoring quickly enough. Lawry, who, despite being one of the bravest and finest players of his era, was dubbed as a ''corpse with pads'' for his defensive play, was unhappy with Root's lack of aggression.
Root's strike rate was hovering in the low 30s in the second half of his innings, which Lawry believed was ''far too low for a No 3''. ''He's not rotating the strike, and putting himself under enormous pressure,'' Lawry said.
''If you're going to bat like this against a quality attack, they're going to knock you over.'' Root was out less than four overs later.