Australia in England / Features

England v Australia, 2nd Test, Edgbaston, 3rd day

Warne's magic, and Flintoff's response

Shane Warne once again proved a master at exploiting a wearing wicket

On the ball with S Rajesh and Arun Gopalakrishnan

August 6, 2005

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Shane Warne once again proved a master at exploiting a wearing wicket. In the first innings, with no rough areas outside the right-hander's leg stump, he bowled mostly from over the wicket - he switched to round the wicket for only 11 deliveries. In the second, he changed his line of attack completely, landing 85 out of 139 deliveries outside leg, and going round the wicket for 70 out of 139 balls. It was both an attacking and a defensive ploy - the batsmen scored at less than two an over, and the rough also allowed him to bowl those ripping legbreaks to the right-handers.

For the second time in the match, Australia's nemesis was Andrew Flintoff, who took his total in the game to 141 runs from 148 balls. In the first innings, he was ruthless against all comers; in the second, he cleverly decided to go easy on Warne, who was pitching it outside leg and getting appreciable turn. Warne only went for 15 off the 32 balls he bowled to Flintoff. The others, though, weren't quite as lucky - Brett Lee bowled them fast and furious, and it sped off Flintoff's bat even faster. Lee's head-to-head for the match against Flintoff read: 46 balls, 59 runs. The corresponding numbers against Michael Kasprowicz read: 11 balls, 17 runs.

And when he came back on the field, Flintoff was magnificent with the ball as well, inducing plenty of wicket-taking opportunities. As in the first innings, Steve Harmison had no luck going his way. He bowled superbly, but had to wait till the last ball of the day to get his first wicket of the match. That outstanding slower ball, though, has probably scotched any last residues of hope that Australia might have had of pulling off a win.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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