England v Australia, 5th Test, The Oval, 1st day September 8, 2005

Warne says Australia hold the edge


Warne: "It's probably the best we've bowled on day one in the last couple of games" © Getty Images

Shane Warne believes Australia hold a marginal advantage after his 5 for 118 left England 319 for 7 at the end of the first day of the deciding Test.

"I think we're just slightly ahead," Warne told reporters after stumps. England, as they had done for much of the series, were going well against Australia's quicks before Warne came on in the 14th over and were 82 for 0 when Warne began a spell of four for 16 in 38 balls.

Strauss and Andrew Flintoff (72) then revived the innings with a fifth-wicket stand of 143 in nearly 37 overs before Warne caught Flintoff at slip off Glenn McGrath.

"At one stage when Freddie and Straussy were batting pretty well we were starting to stare down the barrel a little bit but we fought back. It's been a trademark of the series," added Warne. "But it's probably the best we've bowled on day one in the last couple of games. If we keep them to 350 we've probably done pretty well."

Warne, who also said he felt tired and admitted to a slightly sore shoulder after bowling almost double the number of overs of any other bowler, praised Strauss's innings despite having labelled the batsman the "new Daryll", a reference to South Africa batsman Daryll Cullinan whom he dismissed on several occasions.

"He played well, he hung in there and toughed it out. For me, it's hard when you bowl day one because there's not a lot on offer. You need subtle variations and change of pace," added Warne, whose current series haul of 33 wickets is the most by any Australian bowler in a five-match series in England.

Strauss said that his century was would rank near the top of his seven Test hundreds: "In terms of importance it's probably the best I've ever played. Today was a massive day in the context of the series and it was vitally important that at least one of us went on and got a hundred.

He added that England were not disappointed at their close of play position: "It's fairly positive. Being 131 for four, we've come back pretty well."