Ashes / News

Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day

Magical Warne continues to amaze

Peter English at Adelaide

December 5, 2006

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Shane Warne: 'I read the rubbish that Duncan Fletcher said about them playing me well' © Getty Images
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Shane Warne's right shoulder and fingers deserve to be aching after he provided the surge for a spectacular Australia win at Adelaide. Over the first two days Warne gave up his most expensive figures against England, but, buoyed by some Duncan Fletcher barbs, he returned to his most unplayable and worked unchanged for 27 overs through two full sessions.

At 37 there are regular queries about how long he can go on and he showed he is still in a position to pick his departure date. A new generation of England batsmen have been mesmerised like their predecessors on a day when Australia moved within one win of re-gathering the Ashes.

Bowling the morning's first over, Warne was quickly hitting the rough patches and turning the ball at sharper angles than during his 1 for 167 over the first two days. The fielders stayed close and the pressure continued to be applied, although England's batsmen did not help their situation by attempting to avert Warne's gaze.

The hypnotising had began and during the spell he gave up only 19 runs at 0.7 an over while claiming four wickets. Andrew Strauss was sent off without enough thought from Steve Bucknor, but when Ian Bell was run-out by Warne's underarm and Kevin Pietersen was bowled around his legs another Ashes match had snapped in the bowler's fingers.

Removing Pietersen was crucial and the manner in which he did it - the off-stump was clipped after the ball dropped outside leg - was particularly satisfying for Warne, who was punished by his friend's 158 in the first innings. Ashley Giles nicked limply to Matthew Hayden at first slip and Matthew Hoggard inside-edged a wrong'un on to his stumps to complete Warne's haul.

"I read the rubbish that Duncan Fletcher said about them playing me well," Warne said. "It's obviously different on the first two days of a Test when the wicket is pretty flat and Pietersen and Paul Collingwood were playing well. I still feel confident against all their players. When conditions like that suit you, you have to tie up an end and get some wickets."

Ricky Ponting found it impossible to persuade Warne to have a break and he praised the bowler's accuracy as well as his wicket-taking. "You should try to get the ball out of his hands in a situation like that," Ponting said. "He just keeps lifting himself and getting himself up. He wants to bowl to the best players and get them out."

After 85 overs over the past five days Warne felt "knackered". "My shoulder and finger are pretty sore," he said. "But I love being in those situations, I have all through my career. I've found something inside me that keeps me going." England can't wait for whatever it is to stop.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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