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December 6, 2010
It used to be that England's batsmen saw Shane Warne in their sleep, and he continues to stalk Kevin Pietersen in retirement. Pietersen was facing up to Doug Bollinger when he looked at the sightscreen and saw a huge sponsorship picture of Warne with a chicken burger. The backdrop hadn't been turned white in time and Pietersen pulled away just as Bollinger was in his delivery stride. Bollinger let the ball go slowly and Pietersen picked it up with his bat, patting the bowler on the back while pointing out one of the ground's old burghers.
Mine, yours ... oops
The final embarrassment of Australia's fielding came when Matt Prior top-edged a sweep off Xavier Doherty and it went towards Marcus North at deep square leg. Adelaide has small square boundaries so the ball was also close to Ricky Ponting at midwicket. Both men ran towards the catch but just as they were nearing the take they spotted each other and stopped. As they looked at each other the ball plopped in between them. It was North's catch but he deferred to his captain, and the two were still discussing the miss as they walked off the field after the declaration.
Doherty's pyrrhic victory
Though no-one has quite admitted it in as many words, Doherty's selection was almost entirely influenced by Pietersen's woeful recent record against left-arm spin. And what do you know, in the fourth over of the fourth day, X only went and got his man, as Pietersen aimed a wild swipe across the line and toe-ended a simple chance to slip. Unfortunately, by that stage, KP had already larruped him through midwicket to go to his highest Test score of 227, and having scored 10 fours and a six from the 60 balls he received from Doherty, there was only one winner in that particular battle of wits.
Bells on his toes
Ian Bell was England's most fluent batsman on the opening day of the series at Brisbane, where his unrecognisably confident 76 was like a dose of Xanax for a previously jittery dressing-room. He's had to wait for more than 1000 runs to get another chance in the middle, but when it arose, his fluency was once again something to behold. He went dancing out of his crease to spin and seam alike, and eased eight fours and a six in his unbeaten 68, including a sweetly timed loft down the ground that was as effortless as Pietersen's earlier assaults had been violent. On the evidence of the series so far, he's not going to get a whole lot of opportunities to bat. But neither is he in a mood to miss out when they come.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo and Peter English is Australasian editorFeeds: Andrew Miller
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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