Sackcloth and the Ashes

Australia need to beat Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 Cup today otherwise they're out of the tournament.

"We'll have two weeks in Leicester if we have an early exit here - that won't be good for anybody," joked captain Ricky Ponting. This presumably refers to them arriving somewhat earlier at the location of their first Ashes warm-up match than they wanted to, rather than to the Australian Cricket Board choosing the city as the place most suited to a public session of wearing sackcloths and ashes?

I was also about to note that Ponting is wrong - the presence of the Aussie team for a fortnight would surely be good for the hostelry owners of Ratae Corieltauvorum - but Andrew Symonds has been sent home for having a couple of pints too many, so perhaps the cricketers are trying to shake off a national stereotype. If so, whatever will they do in Leicester for a fortnight? See how many of them can fit into a pair of Daniel Lambert's trousers?

BREAKING NEWS POSTSCRIPT - Australia lost to Sri Lanka, so their Leicestrian nightmare has come upon them. The Leicester tourism website can't offer them much solace; they regard the top 5 attractions in the city as: 1) the 2009 Special Olympics (not due to start till July 25th); 2) the Highcross (a pleasant but unremarkable shopping centre): 3) the Curve theatre (currently showing The Full Monty); 4) the Leicester Tigers rugby team (their season has finished); and 5) some hotels (no, I don't know how they can be regarded as more exciting as Daniel Lambert's trousers either, but what do I know?).

I guess the deflated Antipodeans will have to spend most of their time enjoying option no. 5, unless The Full Monty turns out to be an in-depth analysis of how to play Mr Panesar's spin bowling.