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The Bulletin by Jenny Thompson
August 27, 2005
Another pulsating day ended with England in control of the third Test, although Australia fought back after being made to follow on shortly before lunch. Indeed, until Ricky Ponting was run out after tea, Australia were looking relatively untroubled, their battle to wipe off a first-innings deficit of 259 aided by the absence of Simon Jones with an ankle injury.
But Ponting was soon followed by Damien Martyn, although Michael Clarke and Simon Katich avoided any further mishaps in the final hour. Australia hadn't followed on for 17 years, but that moment came when Simon Jones finally removed a stubborn Brett Lee to claim his fifth wicket this innings, his fourth of the morning.
Australia started the day in tatters, and they were further shredded by Jones who ripped through them in an action-packed 90 minutes that would give football a run for its money in the excitement stakes, and then some.
But in this game, there was no half-time break for Australia who were relentlessly pursued by an England pack with an ebullient Jones at the helm. With the momentum with them, everything went their way - including Andrew Strauss's wonder catch to remove Adam Gilchrist just as he was starting to fire. Gilchrist was Andrew Flintoff's victim in a morning which otherwise belonged to Jones.
He struck twice in two balls to rock Australia just as they were beginning to hit out, with Gilchrist and Simon Katich launching a daring counterattack in the first half hour, with an array of ambitious shots. Michael Vaughan turned to Jones hoping for some more of his first-over magic. And Jones did not disappoint: with just his second ball he conjured up Simon Katich's wicket, who flashed a loose delivery to one of the two gullies. Shane Warne fell next ball, sending a leading edge to cover after being turned inside out.
Flintoff popped up for a quick cameo, helped by Strauss's ace of a catch. With Gilchrist well set, something special was required to prise him out, and this arrived when he flashed hard to second slip where a diving acrobatic Strauss strained all his sinews and stretched out his left hand to cling on by his fingertips.
Back to the main act and, for his next trick, Jones cleaned up Michael Kasprowicz with one which pitched on middle and swung away. Then came Lee's assault - brief, but battling: he clattered 47 from 44 balls, including three sixes, as he and Shaun Tait put on 43 for the tenth wicket. But Jones had one last trick up his sleeve and he removed Lee at third man. After such a morning of ooh-and-aah inducing magic, England held all the aces.
But a shell-shocked Australia pulled themselves together, with Langer and Hayden grinding out a gritty opening stand of 50, just their second half-century partnership this series. They played patiently and watchfully but after reaching 50 there was little time for celebration when Hayden flashed one off Flintoff - in the first over of a new spell - straight to Ashley Giles at gully. It was the only wicket to fall by tea in a period of consolidation for Australia. Hayden made 26.
Flintoff could have had Langer, too, on 37 when the batsman flashed an edge hard to Strauss at second slip at chest height. But Strauss, who had already taken two decent catches, put down the sitter. It is so often the way.
Langer went on to make 61 and his was a fighting knock, as he withstood a barrage from Steve Harmison in particular, who found swing and a troubling good length. His gutsy innings was played with courage with Australia firmly up against it. Shortly after tea, though, his battling stand came to an end when the ball brushed his glove and found Ian Bell at short leg off Ashley Giles.
Ricky Ponting wasn't for lying down, either, and he batted well with some convincing strokeplay and was in sight of his half-century when, on 48, he fell in the first over of another change in the bowling - although how he was out was not, perhaps, how England would have expected, as Damien Martyn pushed to cover and called for a quick single.
Ponting ran hard from the non-striker's end, but the substitute Gary Pratt - on for the injured Simon Jones who had been taken to hospital - threw down the stumps from a tight angle. A frustrated Ponting stormed off and levelled some choice words at anyone and everyone in earshot.
It was another huge wicket for England and they were to pick up another in Flintoff's next over. Perhaps unsettled by the departure of Ponting, Martyn fished at a loose one outside his offstump and nibbled through to Geraint Jones. A miserable series for Martyn continued - and he can't have been looking forward to facing Ponting in the dressing room after the run out - although he could not complain about this decision. It was a clear edge.
England were looking for just one more wicket before the close to add the icing on a very sweet cake indeed. But it was butterfingers not buttercream that was to mark the last action of the day, when Geraint Jones missed an easy stumping off Michael Clarke with the batsman on 35. Clarke added four more before Australia unblinkingly took the light 20 minutes before the end.
This could prove a costly miss with Australia 37 runs from wiping out their deficit and six wickets still in hand. England know they can never write Australia off, but they will be the happier of the two teams this evening.
Matthew Hayden lbw b Hoggard 7 (20 for 1)
Plumb to an inswinger
Ricky Ponting lbw b S Jones 1 (21 for 2)
Trapped in front, pad before bat
Damien Martyn lbw b Hoggard 1 (22 for 3)
Same again, but hint of an edge
Justin Langer c Bell b Hoggard 27 (58 for 4)
Inside edge, looped to short leg
Michael Clarke lbw b Harmison 36 (99 for 5)
Struck on the back leg, clipping top of stumps
Simon Katich c Strauss b S Jones 45 (157 for 6)
Drove to the wider of two gully fielders
Shane Warne c Bell b S Jones 0 (157 for 7)
Turned inside-out, leading edge to cover
Adam Gilchrist c Strauss b Flintoff 27 (163 for 8)
Flashed hard, second slip dives full stretch to left and lands one-handed catch
Michael Kasprowicz b S Jones 5 (175 for 9)
Played all around one which pitched on middle and swung away, taking off stump
Brett Lee c Bell b S Jones 47 (218)
Holed out at third man
Matthew Hayden c Giles b Flintoff 26 (50 for 1)
Flashed hard to gully
Justin Langer c Bell b Giles 61 (129 for 2)
Gloved one which popped up to short leg
Ricky Ponting run out (sub G Pratt) 48 (155 for 3)
Set off from non-striker's end for tight run which proved too tight - direct shy
Damien Martyn c G Jones b Flintoff 13 (161 for 4)
Played away from his body at one which was rising
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