Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 4th day December 6, 2010

Clarke fights, then falls, as England eye victory

79

Australia 245 and 4 for 238 (Clarke 80, Watson 57) trail England 5 for 620 dec (Pietersen 227, Cook 148, Trott 78, Bell 68*) by 137 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kevin Pietersen gave England every chance of victory in Adelaide with his career-best 227, but it's his bowling that might have made the biggest difference. Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey gave Australia a fighting chance of escaping with a draw to head to the third Test in Perth still 0-0, but the loss of Clarke to the last delivery on the fourth day gave England a major boost amid the gloomy conditions.

Clarke had 80, and was threatening to stand between England and victory, until he inside-edged onto his pad and the ball looped over the shoulder of the short leg Alastair Cook, who took a good catch. Adding to the late drama, the umpire Tony Hill called the appeal not out, but England asked for a review and Clarke was found guilty of putting bat on ball, to hand Pietersen his first Test wicket since 2008.

It was exactly what Australia didn't need, after Clarke and Hussey put together a promising 104-run partnership. Instead of two established men walking out in the morning, the under-pressure Marcus North will join Hussey, who was on 44, with the new ball due at the end of the over Pietersen will complete with four more deliveries. And if that wasn't pressure enough for North, there is a chance of morning showers, which could mean cloud cover and swing.

Australia will be hoping the showers turn into heavier rain, and there is the chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. The battle will be ensuring they last that long, with only Brad Haddin and a long tail to follow Hussey and North, who will resume with Australia still 137 runs behind, at 4 for 238, searching for a draw that would feel like a win.

It remains to be seen whether Andrew Strauss will rue his decision to bat into the fourth morning, despite already holding a 300-plus lead. He might have been questioning that call while Hussey and Clarke were together, batting solidly either side of a heavy downpour late in the afternoon. Clarke seemed to have shaken off his poor touch and his bad back, looking comfortable against pace and spin.

And it wasn't easy against Graeme Swann, who created the most problems for Australia. He removed Simon Katich and claimed the big wicket of Ricky Ponting, before Steven Finn chipped in by dismissing Shane Watson for another solid half-century that promised to be more. Swann was finding sharp spin from the rough and his drift and flight caused a few headaches for the Australian batsmen.

Several times, inside edges didn't quite fly to hand for the cluster of fielders surrounding the bat, and Clarke was given out caught at slip on 67 only to have the decision reversed on review; the ball had spun past his bat and lobbed up off his pad. Generally, though, Clarke handled Swann well, using his feet to smother the spin and driving hard through gaps on both sides of the wicket.

Importantly, all the Australian batsmen played positively, refusing to simply bat for time and allow England to dictate the flow. Clarke struck 11 boundaries and Hussey, who continued his excellent series, slammed Swann over midwicket for six late in the day, ensuring that any bad balls were put away, as they would be in happier circumstances.

The only batsman who really struggled was Ponting, who was mesmerised by Swann and couldn't get off the mark until his 13th delivery. Despite punishing Swann with a vicious cut for four and a powerful sweep to the boundary, Ponting was eliminated by Swann on 9 when he played for the offspinner and edged a straighter ball low to Paul Collingwood at first slip.

Swann had already ended the 84-run opening partnership when Katich tried to defend and was caught behind off a thin edge for 43. Katich had hobbled his way through the innings with an Achilles tendon injury that severely hampered his running between wickets, and although his hard work was valuable, there is every chance the Australians will need to look for another opener for the third Test in Perth if his problem persists.

The man who threatened to be Australia's anchor was Watson, who batted confidently with his usual aggression and well-timed drives, but once again he failed to convert a strong start. Watson has passed fifty on 15 occasions in Test cricket but only twice have those half-centuries turned into hundreds, and if ever Australia needed triple figures from him, it was this time.

It was the patience of Finn, who peppered away consistently just outside off stump, that did for Watson when he edged to first slip for 57. The inability of Australia's batsmen to capitalise on their starts was all the more frustrating for them given the monstrous scores racked up by England's batsmen, led by Pietersen with his double-century.

Pietersen added 14 to his overnight score but it was enough to beat his previous Test best of 226, which he made against West Indies at Headingley in 2007. He eventually fell caught by Katich at slip, when he misjudged a slog sweep, and it was a consolation wicket for Xavier Doherty, who finished with 1 for 158 and looked nowhere near as threatening as Swann.

England's batsmen scored their runs briskly after Strauss decided against declaring overnight, and in nine overs they pushed the total up by 69 before Strauss called a halt to the innings. Ian Bell had moved on to an unbeaten 68 and Matt Prior was on 27, which guided England to 5 for 620 - their highest Test innings total in 20 years and their fifth-best of all time against Australia.

The visitors would be sorely disappointed if that effort doesn't turn into a win. They'll want a lift from James Anderson, who didn't bowl at his best, while a stomach strain could keep Stuart Broad from playing much of a part on the final day. England can only hope the weather doesn't play any role either.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zac_Linderman on December 7, 2010, 1:23 GMT

    so, ah, juliencahn...i marked your words, they were wrong.

  • Hodra99 on December 7, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    With Katich out for the next test, Hughes will come in. Team for Perth should now be: Hughes, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, M Hussey, D Hussey, Haddin, Hauritz, Johnson, Harris, Siddle 12th Bollinger. There's still 3 tests to go, and the game can change...If however the ashes are lost after Perth (I hope not!) then the Aussies should consider planning for the future, and get some games into some of the younger guys (namely Smith, Khawaja, Copeland) and see what they have got.

  • MinusZero on December 6, 2010, 23:39 GMT

    I hope North falls early to make the decision beyond doubt for the selectors. I think that no matter his score, they need to drop him. Australia can't afford to have a sometimes good batsman in their side. C'mon England. Put them to the sword.

  • juliencahn on December 6, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    Stupid stupid stupid. . . .why bat on with a lead of over 300. . . .specially in the knowledge that there's plenty of dodgey weather around. . . . .Strauss will rue that decision. . . mark my words!

  • RJHB on December 6, 2010, 22:50 GMT

    Rain update: it didn't. Sun's out. We're boned!

  • on December 6, 2010, 21:45 GMT

    You have to love seeing the aussies tormented like this, it is bringing out their true colours. I don't believe batsmen should be required to walk, but when you take the stance that aussies such as Ponting, Gilchrist and Clarke have taken in the past when others haven't walked and then you don't, it looks really, really bad!!! Also, I heard the aussies laid a complaint about sledging from Anderson. Really??? Sledging has always been associated with Aus cricket!!! Aus team are coming across as bad losers! I also think its becoming more and more obvious that Ponting is a poor captain. I believe he always has been but its was easy to look good when he had the best players in the world in his team.

  • Hutty86 on December 6, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    The bitterness remains from Indian fans. It's not Australia's fault you guys had a faultless batting line-up for 10 years and did nothing

  • on December 6, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    Crikey! Was it Pieterson's birthday?

    btw: As an Aussie, I think the obvious fall of Australia is for the good of the game. There are now five teams all jostling around that makes for much more interesting matches.

  • Stevo_ on December 6, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    @Sulfikkarali "Bye bye all aussies fans.. your time is over. Tomorrow the match will end before lunch, England will wn for an Innings & 100 odd runs. And by this Ashes the long dominence of Australians will come to an end.."

    Hey mate, I'll still be an Aussie fan, win, lose or draw. Aussie cricket has been through worse then this and we came out of it the dominant team for a decade. Don't think you'll find many fair weather Aussie fans, such as the Indians (who go and burn effigies of players!)

  • miketurney on December 6, 2010, 20:41 GMT

    whatever happens in this test i cant see the Aussies getting 20 wickets . they will have to bring Johnson back in the next test as he's the only bowler who could unsettle the batsmen . Harris looks good but has had to shoulder too much work (especially with his injury record) , he should be used in 4 over 90mph bursts. the problem the Aussies have is they have played all the England top order into form.Bell has looked the best of the lot and should get a century soon unless England keep getting 500 from the top five in the order,. What do you Aussies think? Smith in for Doherty and bring back Johnson/Hilfenhaus? Aussies need someone to stem the runs as its looked like the middle of a 50 over match at times

  • Zac_Linderman on December 7, 2010, 1:23 GMT

    so, ah, juliencahn...i marked your words, they were wrong.

  • Hodra99 on December 7, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    With Katich out for the next test, Hughes will come in. Team for Perth should now be: Hughes, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, M Hussey, D Hussey, Haddin, Hauritz, Johnson, Harris, Siddle 12th Bollinger. There's still 3 tests to go, and the game can change...If however the ashes are lost after Perth (I hope not!) then the Aussies should consider planning for the future, and get some games into some of the younger guys (namely Smith, Khawaja, Copeland) and see what they have got.

  • MinusZero on December 6, 2010, 23:39 GMT

    I hope North falls early to make the decision beyond doubt for the selectors. I think that no matter his score, they need to drop him. Australia can't afford to have a sometimes good batsman in their side. C'mon England. Put them to the sword.

  • juliencahn on December 6, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    Stupid stupid stupid. . . .why bat on with a lead of over 300. . . .specially in the knowledge that there's plenty of dodgey weather around. . . . .Strauss will rue that decision. . . mark my words!

  • RJHB on December 6, 2010, 22:50 GMT

    Rain update: it didn't. Sun's out. We're boned!

  • on December 6, 2010, 21:45 GMT

    You have to love seeing the aussies tormented like this, it is bringing out their true colours. I don't believe batsmen should be required to walk, but when you take the stance that aussies such as Ponting, Gilchrist and Clarke have taken in the past when others haven't walked and then you don't, it looks really, really bad!!! Also, I heard the aussies laid a complaint about sledging from Anderson. Really??? Sledging has always been associated with Aus cricket!!! Aus team are coming across as bad losers! I also think its becoming more and more obvious that Ponting is a poor captain. I believe he always has been but its was easy to look good when he had the best players in the world in his team.

  • Hutty86 on December 6, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    The bitterness remains from Indian fans. It's not Australia's fault you guys had a faultless batting line-up for 10 years and did nothing

  • on December 6, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    Crikey! Was it Pieterson's birthday?

    btw: As an Aussie, I think the obvious fall of Australia is for the good of the game. There are now five teams all jostling around that makes for much more interesting matches.

  • Stevo_ on December 6, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    @Sulfikkarali "Bye bye all aussies fans.. your time is over. Tomorrow the match will end before lunch, England will wn for an Innings & 100 odd runs. And by this Ashes the long dominence of Australians will come to an end.."

    Hey mate, I'll still be an Aussie fan, win, lose or draw. Aussie cricket has been through worse then this and we came out of it the dominant team for a decade. Don't think you'll find many fair weather Aussie fans, such as the Indians (who go and burn effigies of players!)

  • miketurney on December 6, 2010, 20:41 GMT

    whatever happens in this test i cant see the Aussies getting 20 wickets . they will have to bring Johnson back in the next test as he's the only bowler who could unsettle the batsmen . Harris looks good but has had to shoulder too much work (especially with his injury record) , he should be used in 4 over 90mph bursts. the problem the Aussies have is they have played all the England top order into form.Bell has looked the best of the lot and should get a century soon unless England keep getting 500 from the top five in the order,. What do you Aussies think? Smith in for Doherty and bring back Johnson/Hilfenhaus? Aussies need someone to stem the runs as its looked like the middle of a 50 over match at times

  • vbtrained on December 6, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    i think aus may recover this test and ends up with draw if strauss uses his part time bowlers than full time..........english men should take early wickets and try all out within 137 runs............

  • on December 6, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    The problem with the Aussies is that their captain is not leading from front. Its high time that the Aussies forget Ponting era. Ponting is simply doing the team damage than good. He is simply giving the team a bad image. If his arrogance had been backed by performance, it would have been much better. English are giving just the right medicine the Aussies need at their own backyard. The Aussies will be finding it hard to hold their sleding down their throat. What kind of mess they created in CWG, would they tolerate it had it been Indians who created such mess in their country and after being caught red-handed they came up with lame excuses. The Aussies should learn to play the game gracefully. I think its a plague spreading from their captain. Australia needs a new leadership and a new attitude. Are the selectors afraid of Ponting, it seems so. He is 37, he is not peforming, then what stops the selectors from kicking him out of the team.

  • manifantasticcheema on December 6, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    Come On Guys!! just bet on Draw,,Australian Spirit is just too good for the POMs to overcome.. It is going to be a draw,,ofcourse weather will definitely play its part and then in Perth ..it is going to be all different ball game.. Aussies need bouncy fast and furious track I think to put some fear of God in the hearts of POMS and Harris, Mitch and Bollinger are the right guys to retain for Perth!! any way tomorrow is going to be Draw.. Mr cricket is still Mr cricket you know!

  • phoenixsteve on December 6, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    Hey Guys (esp Bhalerao) give the Aussies a break! They might be about to fall from grace as the best in the World, but please remember what they've done to raise test cricket standards. They were the best team for at least a decade, they play hard and swagger too but there has never been scandle suuch as match and spot fixing with these guys..... they have always been proud and talented ambassadors for the sport. To an extent the current England success is thanks to England adapting and learning Aussie Rules Cricket! You shouldn't kick a dog when it's down and that goes double for a Kangaroo. I hope England can pull off a win as predicted; but spare a thought for this great cricketing nation...... COME ON ENGLAND!

  • on December 6, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    best of luck england.. aus are down and out..

  • on December 6, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Marcio, I take my hat off to your blind patriotism. Well done mate, the reason Cardiff 2k9 was a victory for England was because it wasn't rain which saved them. The reason for the draw was pathetic captaincy (as usual) by Puncture and not the exchange of gloves as you said here. You've got confused with Manchester 2k5 where McGrath and Lee used the time wasting tactic. The reason why that is never discussed is probably coz the Poms don't crib half as much as the Aussies. Anyways Australia can win only if the opposition plays badly, but Test matches allow teams to come back, so its really difficult to see them winning one :-)

  • on December 6, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    @Bhalerao very well said.

  • on December 6, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    i am praying no heavy rain tomarrow coz iam so desperate to see the win of peterson ad england tomarrow...hopefully we will get hussay out early ....and haddin....and thats it ..aussie are done than...poor ponting ....he only got 9....

  • sunny1307 on December 6, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    its gonna be an early start tomorrow.....don't lose more than 1 wkt in the opening session else it will be all over before tea......try to bat out until tea and by then aussies will be leading by 110-120 which england will need in 30 overs from which rain will take take care of 20 overs......which leaves a target of 110 from 10 overs which is not possible.........all hopes on hussey and haddin.......north will depart early tomorrow.........

  • dozbo on December 6, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    England are the better team, plain and simple. The aussies won't win a game this series unless they can find a strike bowler and a genuine spinner. England have a strike bowler and genuine spinner in graeme swann and he will win the game for us tomorrow. SWANNNNY

  • mensan on December 6, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    The match result will be become clear by lunch tomorrow, whether a win for ENG or a draw. It will be hard work for ENG bowlers.

  • on December 6, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    The aussies will still dominate once they regain der form oncein a while deis situation comes let them rebuils and then watch der dominance

  • Divinetouch on December 6, 2010, 14:35 GMT

    Let Ponting believe Clarke.

  • UtpalKhardenavis on December 6, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    Ricky Ponting has again displayed his lack of ability to handle quality spin bowlers. He may play agrresive shots against spin bowlers successfully but when it comes to survive against quality spin attack for a substantial amount of time he generally doesn't manage it. The difference between the quality of spin attack of Australia and England is certainly one of the important factors here 'cause Doherty even struggles to maintain his line and length and can easily be handled by English players while Swann is a threat to Australia particularly on spin-friendly pitches. Yet I feel there is a chance that Australia may save the test considering Rain factor and the Hussey-Haddin pair's ablity.

  • Sulfikkarali on December 6, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    Bye bye all aussies fans.. your time is over. Tomorrow the match will end before lunch, England will wn for an Innings & 100 odd runs. And by this Ashes the long dominence of Australians will come to an end..

  • VIKRAMLOVESDADA on December 6, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    once again nice day for england aussie has worries over ponting . swann superb .kp has got the break through nice work

  • Christy1268 on December 6, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    Amazing that the Poms have got into such a strong psychological postion to threaten Oz in Oz with a victory that is plausible in the Ist session with a full day remaining - Oz cud well be the new Windies (glorious past and a poor present... )

  • hraghava on December 6, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Not the first time Clarke has failed to walk when obviously out; remember Sydney 2008, Australian 2nd innings? He got away with it then, as did Australia with their behavior (and India has made them pay ... twice now).... But I digress. Fascinating battle awaits tomorrow - Swann v Hussey. May the best man win. Why did Huss have to wait 10 years & 15000+ first class runs to get a test match berth?

  • sunnymachoo on December 6, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    England is all over Australia in this Ashes!!!

  • sudharshan3105 on December 6, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    @Runster1 ... If it provides you any consolation, Clarke DID walk! Read the description of Wickets: "Pietersen to Clarke, OUT, 84.3 kph, Pietersen has the breakthrough! Huge wicket! It spun in sharply from outside off and Clarke got into a tangle as he tried to turn this to leg. It came via a thick inside edge on to the thigh and ballooned to Cook at short leg. Clarke set off until he realised there was no decision made by the umpire, England had to review straight away and it proved the significant inside edge".

  • SnowSnake on December 6, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    Ponting, please retire after this match. Or learn to ball fast.

  • Bhalerao on December 6, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    I have been one of the greatest fans of Australian Cricket since late seventies and admired them particularly when Steve Waugh took reigns of the team. They conquered everything at stake in the international cricketing arena during this period. They were invincible. But with the success, the attitude of the aussie players went haywire. They started showing arrogance, adamancy and strong-headedness. They belittled every other cricketing team in the world and undermined their sporting spirits. They started losing respect all over the world because of their bad temperament and behaviour. More so, after Ricky became the captain of the side. And they had to pay a price sooner than later. I am delighted that they are now being plummeted, pulverized, hammered and humiliated by England in the on-going Ashes series. I would be willing to see them in the same or worse situation against even Bangladesh and Ireland teams in near future. For the good the game, they must be brought down to earth.

  • cricket_fan10 on December 6, 2010, 13:26 GMT

    what a test match this has been and looks like this may go to wire just like cardiff in last series ..

  • Okakaboka on December 6, 2010, 13:26 GMT

    Well lets hope the selectors (thickus plankus) swing the axe, get rid of the dead wood and put some youth into the team. Katich is injured, Axe North, Clarke, Haddin, Doherty, harris or Siddle, Bollinger if he isn't fit, and maybe even Ponting. Bring in new blood under the leadership of Cameron White with a two year plan. Now all that is left is the following: "Ready....Here we go! Hooyaaahhaa whali magusimba yayayaumbaggoga Hooooyyahaaah....muliwhaisimba...What??? You don't know what I'm doing? It is a rain dance. Now it will bucket down tomorrow and we'll still be square in the series.....even though we got our big butt kicked. After all, we want to give young players an even playing field and not have to wear a deficiet caused by grandpas army.

  • nair_ottappalam on December 6, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Although England is fully in the driver's seat, chances of Australia saving defeat are still there as long as Hussey & Haddin are in the middle. No much expectations from North or the tail-enders. In any case I predict a clear victory for England in the Ashes since MCG and SCG will surely assist Swann and Perth will assist the English seamers better.

  • on December 6, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    I will back the Strauss' decision not to declare overnight. What if it does not rain tommorow (though their is possibility)? If Strauss had declared overnight then we would have a lead of (137 - 75) at the moment which is nothing against Clarke and hussy.

  • shri619 on December 6, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    if there is rain then it is difficult for england to win the match. but they only need 2 session's. any body from aus what's the weather forcast for tommoraw's play

  • on December 6, 2010, 12:21 GMT

    go England! go!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • crictreasure on December 6, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    Only rain can give aussies a shelter on the final day Pray for rain kangaroos !!!

  • Herbet on December 6, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    This is exactly what it used to be like in reverse. England would toil away for 2 days, Australia would rack up a massive score and the pitch would look a belter. Then all of a sudden England would go in to bat and McGrath would be pinging it all over the show off the seam and Warne would be spinning it round corners. I'm actually glad for all those years of unsmiling humiliation dealt out by Steve Waugh, Matt Hayden and the likes. It makes this all the sweeter!

  • At..... on December 6, 2010, 12:13 GMT

    Dont worry Pup u r non the less. Congrats for his great inning. Still Aussies hav a lot of hopes about remaing guys.

  • nawazkhan1 on December 6, 2010, 12:07 GMT

    Sorry instead of writting save this match I wrote win this match in my last comment

  • on December 6, 2010, 11:56 GMT

    Well as much as it hurts to see the aussie team getting flogged, this is the only way to get changes. Im not happy and havent been for a while with the australian selectors. Cant believe doherty was picked in the test squad. I hope north fails as i believe a khawaja or smith needs to be blooded. I like smith as a cricketer. He is entertaining with bat, he is steady with ball and a livewire in the field. O'keefe looks the goods allround. Hopefully Phil hughes is back to form with a good 80 odd last week. Harris did a good job but that performance is that of a 3rd or 4th seamer. I dont rate siddle despite his hatrick. Aussies need to bring in a trent copeland and when fit a josh hazelwood. We need to find a strike bowler or two. I could see cam boyce developing into a very good leggie, he can spin the ball alot and when ive watched him he has pretty decent control. I hope warnie is working with him.

  • on December 6, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    this reminds me of the Border years, every summer fighting for a draw vs the Windies, but who would have thought the poms could be doing it to the aussies this century?

  • on December 6, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    Perhaps austrailia might not take the match seriously and even one of the batsmen might not play to get a rest to play in a county match, and give away the victory to England.

  • on December 6, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    Days are going harder and harder for Ponting...........Ponting is following Tendulkar in both (Most Test runs & Most Centuries in Test) ...........may be its really tough for Ponting to surpass Tendulkar.

  • Guernica on December 6, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    The match may still end up as a draw, but I think Strauss got the declaration spot on. The only possible scenario I can see where he might have regretted it is if he had got Aus 230 for 8 or 9 tonight and it then rained all day tomorrow. Looking at what actually happened, if Strauss had declared overnight, Aus would have nearly have wiped out the 300 lead by now so Eng would have had to bat again. And you can bet that the runs would not have come as quickly or easily in a 4th innings chase as they did this morning. I'm so glad that we have Strauss as captain and none of these pundits.

  • Rabbitohrod on December 6, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    I cannot believe that shot by Clarke. The last over of the day, all you want to do is survive. All he had to do is let the bloody thing go or let it hit him, get the bloody bat out of the way!!! This reflects how we are playing these days. England are doing an Australia on Australia.

  • avis1001 on December 6, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    Mr. Punter, Do you still say Australia NEVER plays for draw, as you used to say every time?

  • Marcio on December 6, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    @croneyes your comments are way off the mark. All batsmen applied themselves admirably today, and Pieterson's wicket was clearly a fluke - he hasn't got a wicket in 2 1/2 years. That's the way it goes sometimes, and rotten fortune should not be confused with being "toothless". Do you really think that Pieterson is a better bowler than the Australian bowlers (including Doherty, despite his obvious limitations)? In fact I take my hat off the the Aussie batsmen. Conditions were very tricky today, and they could have folded for far less. The 4th day pitch cannot be compared to the pitch of 48 hours ago. The loss of the 3 wickets in the 1st couple of overs of the match has allowed England to dominate the match completely. Within an hour of the start the conditions had become very batsman friendly, and stayed that way for 2 days. Not taking anything away from Eng, but they were at the crease at the ideal times.

  • Marcio on December 6, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    @Robert Gogerly you have a very short and selective memory. Maybe you have forgotten, or wish to forget more likely,that the first test of the last Ashes series, where England got smashed the whole way, but miraculously hung on a for a draw, thanks largely to the last wicket batsmen suddenly needing to change their gloves 15 times in the last hour, when they were heading for a 300 run defeat. If it wasn't for that dodgy sportsmanship, Australia would have won and would still have the Ashes. So, what was that about a draw feeling like win? At any rate, this game was over in the first 2 overs. That won't happen again, I predict, so better get ready for a real challenge in the next game.

  • on December 6, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    Clarke is not a noble sportsmen as someone called him. You only have to remember his behavious a few years ago against India to prove what he really is like. He is cunning in the sense he likes to people the impression he is "noble" what better way that to apologize.

  • boooonnie on December 6, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    Hey Big Joe Denley we ant- England brigade are still here mate. But we are smart enough to know that when we are beat to best shut up and take it on the chin. And btw anyone who thinks this is the worse aust cricket team ever and thinks its strange for aust to get beaten obviously wasnt around in the 1980's. I was - this is nothing compared to those dark days!

  • elephasMaximus on December 6, 2010, 10:52 GMT

    So....what are you 'made of' skipper?

  • Australia17594 on December 6, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    OF course a draw will feel like a win... At the rate australia started australia should of been out on 9 runs so yeh. Food for Thought...

  • StarveTheLizard on December 6, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    North will probablyfail. He is that kind of guy. His spin won't be required for the next match either. Will he be dropped? Probably not.

  • on December 6, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    Very sad to see the score card of Australia. It is usually their opposition in tantrums. But I am really happy for Pietersen for his 200+ score. If anybody has had a point to prove in this series, then Pietersen was the first in that list. Unlike the last tour, both the teams are fighting to win the urn. Good signs.

  • Big_Joe_Denly on December 6, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    Where are the usual legions of the anti-England brigade??

  • CricketingStargazer on December 6, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    With an early wicket and a long first session it is not impossible that the match won't make it to lunch. Right now, Australia are so poor that it is threatening to devalue the England performance.

  • rkhalil on December 6, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    Mike Hussey will be the Only threat for England.

  • Herbet on December 6, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    2 gritty batsmen (any of Hussey/North/Haddin) and 4 rabbits away from a 1-0 lead. Seen as 2 of those batsemn are left handed and Swann is turning it sharply I fancy our chances.

  • on December 6, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    620 for 5 declared against 245 and 238 for 4.....and a draw will feel like a win? The only thing likely to prevent an English victory is rain! So a draw will be like getting out of jail thanks to the weather. Looks like minds are getting addled when suggesting a draw will feel like a win! The tables have been turned, the pendulum has swung, all is right with the world. Such is life, such is cricket.

  • ravi_hari on December 6, 2010, 9:31 GMT

    A fascinating battle in store for day 5. A test for the Aussie nerve. Can they save the test match. Will this be the turn around they are seraching for. Will this test bring back the Aussie will power and dominance. A loss here would mean the doomsday for Aussies and especially Ponting. The skipper has not only failed as a batsman in both the innings, his captaincy also failed to restrict the English onslaught. I am sure Ponting will be praying for rain. But the likes of Hussey, North and Haddin are capable of handling the situation and should do it. North has played well in the second innings and under pressure. He can produce one more big score and save the day for the Aussies. Otherwise, we will see another couple of changes for the third test. For England this is the best opportunity and under Strauss they seem the more likely team to succeed. Breathtaking stuff. Let us enjoy the day 5 and hope for good cricket and just end. Hari Ravi

  • croneyes on December 6, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    Once again Clarke promises so much and then fails to deliver. Fancy getting out to Pietersen in the last over of the day? Although I must say for a part time tweaker he was turning the ball about 2 yards more than X Doherty. Still a reckless shot in the scheme of things and demonstrates what a soft underbelly this team has. Honestly the selectors must accept responsibility for the Doherty debacle and but more so for the selection of the injured Katich and Bollinger. It has been a long time since I can recall such a 'toothless' Aussie team. The other aspect of this contest which stands out is the difference in the quality of the bowling. Yesterday the commentators were lambasting the benign pitch and how little movement and turn the Australian bowlers were extracting. Today you'd swear it was a different wicket with Swann, Pietersen, Anderson and Finn creating all sorts of problems for our batsmen and beating the bat regularly. Rain tomorrow is about our only hope. RIP Aus ckt.

  • Runster1 on December 6, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    pity clarke didnt walk. i understand that his team was in a dire position but i always thought pup was a noble sportsman. Still like him.....but just didnt think the review was in need for a person like pup; only for punter i wud have thought

  • c-h-i-n-u on December 6, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    after dismissal of michel clarke on last ball of day 4 now england has good chance of going 1 step forward in the series by beating aus in 2nd test

  • FIPL on December 6, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    Australia is in all kind of trouble... it's going to be 1-0 lead for England

  • on December 6, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    Lovely report, Brydon Coverdale. I really get a feel of the day from you.

  • volkswagon on December 6, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    Strauss has been too conservative so far in this series, should have declared yesterday or at least overnight, he is waiting for the win rather than forcing it, its not like England could loose as of lunch yesterday! Poms are playing well but not going for it, at least a strong Aussie side would just go for death or glory, if this is a draw, hang your head Stauss. C'mon rain..

  • nawazkhan1 on December 6, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    Hussey wicket will be crucial & I personally think that Marcus North will perform well in the 2nd innings, so if Hussey plays 20 more overs australia will win this one with ease.

  • on December 6, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    aussie r losing the plot at crucial moments of the day clarke wicket was huge at the end for england with north out of the form haddin and hussey r crucial for auss chance tommr to hve ny hopes of atleast batting until tea session

  • Biixx on December 6, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    Ha! All you non-believers about Clarke - if we had it most of the Aussie's way, he wouldnt be in the side. So glad he had a good knock, and despite falling in the end, staged a great fight. Good on him, and long may it continue.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on December 6, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    If Hussey, North & Hadden can follow Poms, or rain intervenes Aussie can escape with a draw which is a morale victory for them because Poms played much better in the both tests but the series is still 0-0. But it is still a very difficult task for Aussies to win at least 1 test and make other 2 drawn given that Aussie do not have a bowling attack that can take 20 very strong poms wickets.

  • on December 6, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    This is absolutely brilliant, the Aussies dominance for God knows how many years has come to an end. Got so used to seeing the aussies winning all the time it got boring, now theres finally change. Even if the Aussies somehow pull off a miracle and win the Ashes, it's clear that they are no longer dominant as they were in the mid to late 1990's and early to mid 2000's. Like the "Bring Back Buck" quote, Aussie cricket fans might be thinking along the lines of "Bring Back Warne", "Bring Back McGrath", "Bring Back Hayden", "Bring Back Gilchrist" and to an extreme extent "Bring Back Bradman".

  • on December 6, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    I can't see how Strauss declared too late. If Aussies only needed 300, there was every chance they would improve on their first innings by batting defensively. That would mean all they need is 70 more runs now. Then England would have to bat again and with the weather issues, would there be the time? Now the Aussies still need over a hundred runs giving the England bowlers a better chance of an innings victory and perhaps the most practical expectation knowing the weather....

  • pakwellwisher on December 6, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    Another draw in the offing provided australia bat sensibly and some nice showers should enable them to stave off defeat.

  • on December 6, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    Have been following Ashes series from 1946 when England under Hammond toured Australia. Except for brief interludes, Aussies have been arrogantly ruling the roost with great players like Bradman, Barnes, Morris, Hasset, Harvey, Miller, Lindwall,Benaud, , Oneill, Mcdermott, LIlle, Thomson, Border, Taylor. Waugh Brothers, Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting, Mcgrath and the inimitable Warnie. Now the rule of the empire is coming to an end and Australia will end up way down in ICC rankings.

    Oh what joy! There will be many who share my happiness.

    Mohan Ram

  • aby_prasad on December 6, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Good report!, I said it ytday, ill say again. IF England dont win this test, this could be a dramatic moment in this series. Australia , like the report says, would feel they won. But more importantly, like i said ytday, England would feel they lost something.Trust me, its all in the mind, the moment ur confidence rises or drops, that is what determines a winning side, not superhuman talent!..meaning the most talented sides sometimes dont win...the most determined and positive does! Dramatic day tomorrow. (there could be a third side other than England and Australia who might have the main say tomorrow..............RAIN!)...hey punter,think u can call some of ur indian friends? we got some magicians who can guarantee rain :P

  • asillypoint on December 6, 2010, 8:08 GMT

    I just don't get it. Why were Australia finding it so difficult to take wickets? Still can't see them taking 20 wickets in a match. At least everyone knows KP remains vulnerable to the left arm spinner (after 227 runs). Does anyone have any idea where the selectors look next?

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  • asillypoint on December 6, 2010, 8:08 GMT

    I just don't get it. Why were Australia finding it so difficult to take wickets? Still can't see them taking 20 wickets in a match. At least everyone knows KP remains vulnerable to the left arm spinner (after 227 runs). Does anyone have any idea where the selectors look next?

  • aby_prasad on December 6, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Good report!, I said it ytday, ill say again. IF England dont win this test, this could be a dramatic moment in this series. Australia , like the report says, would feel they won. But more importantly, like i said ytday, England would feel they lost something.Trust me, its all in the mind, the moment ur confidence rises or drops, that is what determines a winning side, not superhuman talent!..meaning the most talented sides sometimes dont win...the most determined and positive does! Dramatic day tomorrow. (there could be a third side other than England and Australia who might have the main say tomorrow..............RAIN!)...hey punter,think u can call some of ur indian friends? we got some magicians who can guarantee rain :P

  • on December 6, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    Have been following Ashes series from 1946 when England under Hammond toured Australia. Except for brief interludes, Aussies have been arrogantly ruling the roost with great players like Bradman, Barnes, Morris, Hasset, Harvey, Miller, Lindwall,Benaud, , Oneill, Mcdermott, LIlle, Thomson, Border, Taylor. Waugh Brothers, Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting, Mcgrath and the inimitable Warnie. Now the rule of the empire is coming to an end and Australia will end up way down in ICC rankings.

    Oh what joy! There will be many who share my happiness.

    Mohan Ram

  • pakwellwisher on December 6, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    Another draw in the offing provided australia bat sensibly and some nice showers should enable them to stave off defeat.

  • on December 6, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    I can't see how Strauss declared too late. If Aussies only needed 300, there was every chance they would improve on their first innings by batting defensively. That would mean all they need is 70 more runs now. Then England would have to bat again and with the weather issues, would there be the time? Now the Aussies still need over a hundred runs giving the England bowlers a better chance of an innings victory and perhaps the most practical expectation knowing the weather....

  • on December 6, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    This is absolutely brilliant, the Aussies dominance for God knows how many years has come to an end. Got so used to seeing the aussies winning all the time it got boring, now theres finally change. Even if the Aussies somehow pull off a miracle and win the Ashes, it's clear that they are no longer dominant as they were in the mid to late 1990's and early to mid 2000's. Like the "Bring Back Buck" quote, Aussie cricket fans might be thinking along the lines of "Bring Back Warne", "Bring Back McGrath", "Bring Back Hayden", "Bring Back Gilchrist" and to an extreme extent "Bring Back Bradman".

  • LALITHKURUWITA on December 6, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    If Hussey, North & Hadden can follow Poms, or rain intervenes Aussie can escape with a draw which is a morale victory for them because Poms played much better in the both tests but the series is still 0-0. But it is still a very difficult task for Aussies to win at least 1 test and make other 2 drawn given that Aussie do not have a bowling attack that can take 20 very strong poms wickets.

  • Biixx on December 6, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    Ha! All you non-believers about Clarke - if we had it most of the Aussie's way, he wouldnt be in the side. So glad he had a good knock, and despite falling in the end, staged a great fight. Good on him, and long may it continue.

  • on December 6, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    aussie r losing the plot at crucial moments of the day clarke wicket was huge at the end for england with north out of the form haddin and hussey r crucial for auss chance tommr to hve ny hopes of atleast batting until tea session

  • nawazkhan1 on December 6, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    Hussey wicket will be crucial & I personally think that Marcus North will perform well in the 2nd innings, so if Hussey plays 20 more overs australia will win this one with ease.