LITESPORT A draw seems likely. Only one first class game at Edgbaston has ended in a resultthisyear--whenSteveHarmison took 16 Warwickshire wickets for Dur- ham to claim a 10-wicket win. But Rouse said even picking Harmy in the starting eleven tomorrow might not be the answer. He told Cricinfo: Steve is a back-of-a-length bowler. If you bang it in on that, it will dent the surface and come off slowly, and good players -- quality Test players -- have always got time to play. I dont think Steve pitches it up enough... The Australians still have decisions to make on the bowling front. It looks like they will keep faith with out-of-form Mitchell Johnson -- but in 38 Wednesday, 29 July 2009 London Lite FREDDIE FACES Clarke:Rickyisalegendevenifwedo RICKY PONTING will go down as an all-time great even if he leads Australia to a second successive Ashes defeat on English soil, according to his vice-captain, Michael Clarke. Ponting is poised to overtake Allan Border and become his countrys record Test runscorer during the third Ashes Test which starts at Edgbaston tomorrow. The under-fire skipper has piled up 11,150 runs at an average of 56.31 per innings and needs only 25 more to overhaul Border. Clarke said: Ricky is an amazing player, an amazing leader, someone we all look up to. If anyone deserves to overtake Allan Border, it will be Ricky Ponting. He has been a fantastic player for such a long time in all forms of the game, Test and one-day, and in all conditions around the world. For me that is a sign of a great player, having longevity in the game and to score runs or take wickets in all different conditions. The greats have done that, and I definitely see Ricky as one of the greatest players who have ever played this game of cricket. Ponting, 34, made his debut against Sri Lanka in Perth during the 1995-96 series. He said: I know about Allans record. Ive had a rough idea. I must admit I havent thought about it or focused on it at all. Ive got bigger fish to fry than than that right at the moment. Hopefully the record comes. but 25 runs is not what I am after in this game. Im after a big score. I havent BY JAMES GOLDMAN FOR a man who couldnt stand the heat when the Aussies sledged him for looking like American Pie character The Sherminator Ian Bell has taken his life into his hands with that dodgy barnet. When he flashed up on Sky Sports News last night proclaiming he was ready to take his chance by the scruff of the neck, Mrs LiteBetting couldnt help but be distracted by those dazzling highlights and, according to her, Bells (below) use of hair straighteners -- Fred Trueman will be turning in his grave. The Aussies, wounded after their pounding at Lords, wont miss the opportunity to test Bells suspect character and although hes made a mountain of runs for Warwickshire this season, his track record suggests he hasnt got the metal to withstand the barrage of abuse which is headed his way. He averages just 25.10 against the old enemy from ten matches, and in a winning team four years ago, other than two half centuries on a belter at Old Trafford, he failed to make a telling contribution. The fact that his recall coincides with the third Test being staged on his home ground isnt really a cause for comfort either, especially when you consider that four years ago he made 6 and 21 at Edgbaston. Bells tormentor in chief, Shane Warne, has long since departed although hell no doubt be twisting the knife from the Sky commentary box - but Australias array of quicks, and particularly Ben Hilfenhaus, are more than capable of exposing his weakness outside off-stump. RECOMMENDED BET: Sell Ian Bell series runs 185-200 (extrabet. com). BYJAMESGOLDMAN james.goldman@thelondonlite.co.uk LITEBETTING Edgbaston boss Rouse forecasting a pretty grim Test BY NEAL COLLINS Pitching in: Ricky Ponting with former Aussie fast bowler Merv Hughes and selector Jamie Cox at Edgbaston yesterday EDGBASTONgroundsmanSteveRouse has warned struggling Andrew Flintoff his soggy pitch could be a graveyard for bowlers tomorrow. As Englands summer continued to produce inches of rain rather than bak- ing sun, Rouse conceded he can do little but offer a flat and sluggish surface when the crucial third Ashes Test starts in Birmingham at 11am. Flintoffs dodgy knee came through a bowl on the outfield yesterday (above) and Rouse said: Youll get a wet ball. Nobody likes bowling with a wet ball becausetheseamgoessoftanditdoesnt swing, and it will be bloody hard work on the bowlers legs out there because it is heavy. If you bowl 25 overs a day it will feel like bowling 35, thats how heavy it is. Rouse, who prepared thestripforthethrilling England victory over Australia in 2005 just days after a midlands tornado, explained: This time, we havent had any really hot weather to dry it out. If wecouldhavehadanother three days sunshine and wind it probably would have had a bit of pace in it. The outfield is still very, very wet. You only have to look where theyve been training. Theyve cut it to shreds. The weather is looking pretty grim for the next five or six days. On Thursday weve got showers com- ing in from 10, right the way through. Friday is heavy rain from midday. Sat- urdayisshowersallday.Sundayisheavy rain all day. Its going to be very hard work by the sounds of it. 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