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Peter English in Cardiff
July 9, 2009
Australia are still attempting to bust the ghosts of four years ago while England hope their 2005 triumph will continue to inspire them after their impressive advantage was reduced on the second day in Cardiff. Andrew Flintoff gathered his team-mates in the dressing room once Australia had reached 249 for 1 to remind them of what happened at The Oval in the days before they lifted the urn for the first time in 16 years.
Back then, with England on the verge of sealing the series, Flintoff took 5 for 78 as Australia slid from 264 for 1 to 367 all out, eliminating the visitors' chances of victory. The memory of the stirring campaign lingers in both squads.
"As Fred said when we got in the changing room, for those who didn't play at The Oval in 2005, it was a very similar situation," offspinner Graeme Swann said. "From being absolutely nowhere, it only takes one good spell to bring us right back into the game. That's what we're thinking."
England started the day by stealing 99 runs to post 435, but their only success came when Flintoff ran through Phillip Hughes on 36. After that Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich fought over the centuries they hope will help erase the nightmares of their previous Test experience in England.
Both men were part of the 2-1 defeat after they entered the contest thinking victory was the only possible result. "For those of us who have been through what happened four years ago, it hurt," Katich said. "You can't forget that hurt, there are a few of us who are keen to make amends for that tour. We want to turn it around from last time."
Michael Clarke and Brett Lee are the other survivors from that trip following the massive changes in the squad. Australia have lost six formidable players since 2006, ranging from Shane Warne to Adam Gilchrist, and their replacements are busy learning about the history of the rivalry. "For those of us that did experience it we were bitterly disappointed with how we played in that series," Katich said.
Katich's unbeaten 104 and Ponting's 100 not out - he brought up the milestone in the final over of the day - cut Australia's deficit to 186. "We've got to start well again in the morning, the momentum can swing quickly," Katich said. "It was a good day, but there's still a lot of work to be done."