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Peter English at Adelaide
December 2, 2006
Australia 1 for 28 (Ponting 11*, Hayden 12*) trail England 6 for 551d (Collingwood 206, Pietersen 158) by 523 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
How they were out - England
How they were out - Australia
It has happened again. Down 1-0 after a first-Test thrashing, England have been revived for the second Ashes series in a row by batting first in the next match. Through brilliant returns from Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen they grabbed the momentum from Australia, posted 6 for 551 and promptly declared in five-star luxury. The series gained further life when Justin Langer edged Andrew Flintoff, who decided to open the bowling, and the home side were 1 for 28 at stumps.
Collingwood clipped a superb 206 and Pietersen backed him up with a sensible 158 as England enjoyed another wildly successful day on a pitch offering nothing encouraging to the fast bowlers. Together they etched themselves into Ashes history with England's highest fourth-wicket stand against Australia, passing the 288 of Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe at Edgbaston in 1997.
Individually they coped well with Australia's persistent tinkering in the field, the attempts at regular containment and Shane Warne and Stuart Clark, the biggest dangers in an ineffective attack. Collingwood closed a 70-year double-century drought for England Down Under when he became the first since Wally Hammond to achieve the milestone. It was an outstanding all-round innings that has sealed his spot at No. 4. Pietersen has been criticised for sitting a spot lower in the order but the move has worked spectacularly in this game.
The top four blunted Australia and then Pietersen and Collingwood were allowed to capitalise, driving their side into a position that was unthinkable for even the most positive England supporter over the past week. They narrowly avoided going three sessions without Australia's hyped attack taking a wicket and the chilly wind that blew between lunch and tea was more biting than Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.
It took an edge from Clark, who was easily the leading fast man with 3 for 75, to end Collingwood's stay of 392 balls and signal the tea break. India have punished Australia at home like this recently, but only occasionally do they allow themselves to be treated so badly in their own conditions.
Adelaide is not Warne's favourite ground and he has never given up as many runs against England as his 1 for 167. Struck for centuries in consecutive innings by opponents who usually shake whenever he flicks his wrist, he has started to look like a 37-year-old instead of a vibrant 20-something. Spin has been great but slow and his first wicket didn't come until his 47th over. He barely acknowledged it.
Age is also telling for McGrath and his left heel. He was on and off the field in the opening session for boot treatment and was belted for three fours by Pietersen in his first over of the morning. Clark was preferred to start proceedings and McGrath was only called for a three-over spell. He delivered 12 in the day, most at a speed in the mid-120s, and the decision to pass himself fit is in the process of back firing.
England have no such concerns thanks to the 310-run partnership between Collingwood and Pietersen that rattled at 3.68 an over. Collingwood's century arrived from his second ball this morning and he was measured in the first session before outscoring Pietersen by 27 runs in the second.
The most spectacular of his 16 fours were lofted drives to bring up his 150 and 200 as he corrected his error on 96 in Brisbane. Warne was the first to watch the ball sail over his head while Michael Clarke was the victim when Collingwood joined Hammond and RE Foster as the only Englishmen to score double-centuries in Australia.
Until his dismissal Collingwood came closest to losing his wicket on 109 when Michael Hussey had a chance at a direct hit and missed. As Collingwood walked following his edge 97 runs later Pietersen ran over to his team-mate to join the loud applause and the Barmy Army sang his name.
Australia had shut down Pietersen by employing Warne around the wicket, sometimes with five men on the legside, but he was happy to let the ball thud into his pads and occasionally used his feet to attack half-volleys. Lee was hammered by Pietersen on a couple of memorable occasions; one thumping straight drive was just out of the bowler's reach and a fine hook shot sped to the short square boundary. However, Lee was convinced Pietersen nicked him on his overnight score of 60, but Steve Bucknor ruled not out and was supported by the technology.
A quick single from Clark brought up Pietersen's second century against Australia and his double-arm raise paid particular attention to his fiancée and Liberty X singer Jessica Taylor, who was standing and smiling in the Sir Edwin Smith stand. A similar attempt at a run caused his downfall when Ponting under-armed sharply from midwicket. By then England's grip on the match was as secure as Pietersen's bear hugs of Collingwood.
Shot of the day
Paul Collingwood's lofted four over the head of Shane Warne to bring up his 150. He tried a similar shot in Brisbane last week and failed, but stayed true to his aggressive instincts and was rewarded.
Highlight of the day
Collingwood again. His double-century was only the fifth by an Englishman in Australia. Wally Hammond scored three, the last in 1936-37, and RE Foster's 287 came in 1903-04.
Partnership of the day
Collingwood and Pietersen gave Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden a target to aim for this summer for the most hugs in a liaison. There was a lot of love on the oval as they produced the highest fourth-wicket partnership for England against Australia.
Surprise of the day
Bored of Pietersen and Warne's battle, the Boony Army tried to start a Mexican Wave in the middle session, but the Barmy Army were gripped by the action and refused to have anything to do with it. How times change.
Wave of the day
Glenn McGrath has never given up as many runs without a wicket as his 107 in this innings, but the performance did not steal all of his humour. When the Barmy Army cheered his century McGrath gave a thumbs up as he walked back to his mark.
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