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July 21, 2001
Mark Ramprakash was delighted with his role in the partnership with Mark Butcher on the third day of the Second npower Test at Lord's. But the Surrey batsman also admitted to feelings of frustration that he was unable to convert his promising innings into a century for England.
"It was nice to bat with 'Butch', we kept the singles going," he said. "It was very important to have a partnership and we need a few more. Every batsman that comes to Lord's wants to score a hundred. That was my disappointment today. At this level if you get to 30 or 40 you want to cash in. I'd got in and it was a good opportunity to push on and get a good score for the side.
"We are not too unhappy with the situation. I'm happy for Mark. He was very composed. We've got some batting to come. I think with the ball 50 overs old and the pitch playing pretty well, we'll be looking to build on the score and get a lead."
And on the 20th anniversary of England's most remarkable win over Australia (Headingley 1981 when Botham and Willis combined to snatch victory after England followed on. By strange coincidence Australia's first innings total in this match, 401, is the same as in that game), Ramprakash believes that an England victory is still not out of the question.
"We've seen Australia lose games chasing about 180 at Melbourne and also about 120 at The Oval in 1997," Ramprakash pointed out. "We certainly know they have a history of not scoring those kind of totals.
"It will be interesting to see if uneven bounce does come along, whether the cracks will open up in the pitch. Anything over 150 is something that we would like to see."
Australian hero, Adam Gilchrist, admitted that he'd benefited from some lapses in England's fielding on the way to his 90.
"I certainly had my fair share of chances, and it was one of the more fortunate innings that I've had, but there's nothing I can do about that so I've got to face up to the next ball," he reasoned. "It was disappointing to miss out on a Lord's century, it would have been a nice memory but I was pretty fortunate to get past 13.
"England's bowlers came in and tried really hard. 'Goughy' threw everything at us, he could easily have snapped me up with his first ball. They are showing a lot of aggression but things didn't quite go their way, I guess, with the catching."
Gilchrist was generous in praise of Butcher and Ramprakash, but believed that Australia are still well placed and pointed to Shane Warne as the potential match-winner tomorrow.
"Mark Butcher applied himself well, Mark Ramprakash played well but you've got to expect that in Test cricket. In previous innings, we've had them one for a hundred but we've got through them. They've played well but we've still done enough to be in a strong position. But we've been in these positions before and had a tough battle.
"It's a wicket where if you get yourself in you can play a few shots and the runs will come," Gilchrist continued. "Jason Gillespie has looked threatening all the time, and Brett Lee showed some old form, good pace, good aggression but I guess Shane Warne is going to come into play because he's turning it a lot. There's some good rough there.
"We've built up some good pressure, we haven't really let them get away with anything. We've taken four wickets, and we haven't let them dominate us."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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