|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
September 11, 2005
Matthew Hoggard, whose figures of 4 for 97 helped to secure England an astonishing first-innings lead on the fourth day at The Oval, was understandably delighted with a day that carried England to within touching distance of Ashes glory, but he nonetheless remained cautious as the series entered the final thrilling furlong.
"I don't think we could have asked for a better day," Hoggard told AFP after stumps. "Overhead conditions suited us, we put the ball in the right areas and it was another magnificent performance from Freddie [Flintoff] yet again. It was nice to be able to bowl in tandem with Andrew."
However, Hoggard warned excited England fans: "It's by no means over. We're playing the best in the world and we've got the small person of Mr Warne to contend with who in the first innings was outstanding."
Warne grabbed 6 for 122 in the first innings, and has already added the wicket of Andrew Strauss, with his fourth ball of the second innings. "I don't think the wicket will be any better for batting on facing him. We know we're up for a big fight and we're looking to bat time."
Australia's coach, John Buchanan, singled out Andrew Flintoff for praise, after he bowled unchanged for 18 overs to finish with 5 for 78. "For me great credit goes to Flintoff, who pounded in from one end. He wanted to change the course of our batting innings and I think successfully achieved that."
Buchanan insisted he had no problems with the umpires' interpretation of what constituted bad light. "The umpires have done a fine job. They've set their benchmarks in terms of what's adequate light for facing spin and facing quicks and they make their decisions."
Looking ahead, he added: "Ninety-eight overs may be a little more difficult. We will be trying to take all the wickets we can."
And while identifying Warne as a major figure, Buchanan said Australia's other bowlers had a role to play. "He'll be a key player in tomorrow's game but don't under-rate the Glenn McGraths, the Brett Lees and Shaun Taits. They should provide very good support to Shane."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history
Hundred in a session? Easy peasy for Doug Walters