January 3, 2003

Aussies in need of Waugh hero

SYDNEY, Jan 3 AAP - If ever there was a more perfect time for Steve Waugh to score a match-saving century, this was it.

With speculation rife over whether the Australian Test captain would continue his international career beyond the fifth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Waugh needed to turn on some heroics after the home side made a horror start in its bid to overhaul England's impressive first innings total.

Chasing the visitors' 362, Australia was in dire trouble at 3-67 at tea on day two.

Waugh was not out nine and Damien Martyn was unbeaten on four.

Andrew Caddick proved the destroyer for England, trapping Australian opener Matthew Hayden lbw with a full toss for just 15 in the sixth over of the innings.

In his next over, Caddick had Ricky Ponting caught behind by Alec Stewart for seven and the Australians looked well and truly rattled.

When Justin Langer (25) skied a Caddick delivery to Matthew Hoggard running around from backward square leg, Waugh strode onto the ground to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

Earlier, Stewart had put on a gallant innings of 71, despite being diagnosed yesterday with chicken pox, to build on England's impressive showing on day one.

Legspinner Stuart MacGill struck with two wickets and a run out after lunch on day two to clean up the England tail, leaving John Crawley the not out batsman on 35.

Steve Harmison (four) was the last man dismissed when Crawley nudged a MacGill delivery towards Langer, who fired the ball back to the non-striker's end where MacGill removed the bails.

But it was Andy Bichel who made the crucial breakthrough today when he bowled Stewart.

Bichel then squeezed in the wicket of Richard Dawson shortly before lunch, caught behind by Adam Gilchrist.

The Queenslander was the pick of the Australian bowlers with 3-86 from 21 overs while Brett Lee took 2-97 from 31 overs and MacGill 2-106 from 44.

Jason Gillespie and Waugh claimed one wicket apiece.

Mark Butcher top scored for the tourists with 124 yesterday, sharing a 166-run partnership with captain Nasser Hussain (75).