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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

World XI lose early wickets in quest of 355

World XI 190 and 25 for 2 need 330 more runs to beat Australia 345 and 199 (Hayden 77, Ponting 54, Harmison 3-41, Flintoff 3-48, Muralitharan 3-55)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

After their marquee names picked up the last nine Australian wickets for just 47 runs, the World XI's pursuit of an improbable 355 for victory floundered in the gloom at the SCG. Glenn McGrath had already sent Graeme Smith packing, and Stuart MacGill had seen to Virender Sehwag - top-scorer in the first innings - by the time bad light forced the players off for the third and final time with the World XI needing a further 330 to win. And despite a spirited counterattack from their bowlers in the afternoon, it was hard to escape the thought that Matthew Hayden's splendid 77 and Ricky Ponting's doughty 54 had already put Australia in an impregnable position.

It was 107 years ago that Joe Darling scripted a magnificent 160 as Australia eased to a six-wicket win against England while pursuing 275. Since then, no team had managed more in a successful chase at Sydney, and with the pitch affording the spinners extravagant turn, it needed an against-all-odds effort from Smith and his boys to prevent Australia wrapping up the Super Test inside four days.

Smith didn't stay long to lead the resistance, with McGrath conjuring up a stunning fifth-ball yorker that knocked out the off stump. But with spin clearly the chosen weapon, Shane Warne was thrown the ball after just two overs. The beginning may not have been auspicious - Sehwag thumped a full toss into the stands at square leg - but with plumes of dust being kicked up off the rough patches, Ponting's gambit was soon justified by MacGill.

Sehwag perished while going for the flamboyant, as is his wont, and though Rahul Dravid played a couple of superb strokes through midwicket, there was no mistaking the sense of relief when he and Brian Lara trudged off to regroup for another day.

There was little hint of the drama to come in a morning session briefly interrupted by bad light. On a surface that kept the bowlers interested without being the distant cousin of a Cambodian minefield, Hayden and Ponting were alternately cautious and aggressive, working the ball cleverly into the gaps and cashing in on the hit-me balls.

And for all their mastery of the spin-bowling craft, Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori couldn't make a dent. Hayden struggled at times with the Murali doosra, but his travails were no more eye-catching than those of Mark Boucher behind the stumps. In 45 balls faced from the slow men this morning, Hayden chiselled out 31 runs, employing both the sweep and the drive to great effect, and Ponting was also anxious to ensure no reprise of the first innings when his dominance over the World XI bowlers only translated into an attractive cameo.

Hayden's attempt to script a hundred in each innings was thwarted only by a superb piece of bowling from Stephen Harmison, and the slower delivery that crashed into off stump was the equal of that which had flummoxed Michael Clarke at Edgbaston during the recent Ashes series. Clarke departed in similar fashion here as well, though no change of pace or drastic movement was to blame as he played all across one that angled in to clip leg stump.

The slide continued unabated after lunch with Andrew Flintoff and Murali to the fore. Flintoff made the decisive breakthrough, nabbing Ponting with a peach of a delivery, and Murali tightened the screw by tormenting Simon Katich - Boucher put down a stumping chance in a four-ball spell where no one except Murali seemed to know which way the ball would fizz off the pitch - and then dismissing him.

With the adrenaline pumping, Adam Gilchrist was next to fall under Murali's magical spell and when Flintoff induced a flustered chip from Warne, Australia had lost six for 25 either side of tea. By then, Flintoff was bowling an impeccable line and length outside off stump, and it was a well-directed bouncer at Shane Watson's body that gave him his seventh victim of the Test, and the 150th of a career that is well and truly in top gear after a stuttering start.

An 80-minute delay followed but on resumption, it took Murali and Harmison only 15 balls to complete the afternoon's wrecking-ball routine. Unfortunately for the World XI, Australia possess - in the shape of McGrath and Warne - the greatest demolition men of the modern era, and barring a Darling-like century from Dravid or Lara, defeat appears a near certainty for the best of the rest, against a team that are in no mood to relinquish their position as kings of the castle.

How they were out

Australia

Matthew Hayden b Harmison 77 (152 for 2)
Having pulled the previously delivery for four, Hayden was too early into the stroke against a beautifully disguised slower delivery. Off stump knocked back

Michael Clarke b Harmison 5 (160 for 3)
Ball crashed into the leg stump after Clarke attempt to play through midwicket to a delivery that was angling in

Ricky Ponting c Boucher b Flintoff 54 (167 for 4)
Subtle movement off the seam did for Ponting, who could only manage a thin edge when Flintoff pitches one in the corridor outside off stump.

Simon Katich c and b Muralitharan 2 (167 for 5)
Flummoxed by three earlier Murali specials, Katich lunged at an offbreak, which flew off the leading edge back to the bowler. Fine low catch.

Adam Gilchrist c Kallis b Muralitharan 1 (170 for 6)
Appeared in two minds about whether to play it or leave it, and a hesitant defensive bat only resulted in the edge through to slip.

Shane Warne c Dravid b Flintoff 7 (177 for 7)
Shuffled across and chipped it straight to the man stationed at short midwicket.

Shane Watson c Boucher b Flintoff 10 (192 for 8)
Well-directed bouncer that tempted the hook. Top edge behind the stumps.

Glenn McGrath c Smith b Muralitharan 2 (195 for 9)
Ambitious attempt to sweep lobs straight to the fielder at short fine leg.

Brett Lee c Muralitharan b Harmison 5 (199 all out)
Has a big heave and Murali take a fine catch running to his right from deep mid-on.

World XI

Graeme Smith b McGrath 0 (0 for 1)
Played down the wrong line to a yorker that pitched in line with off stump.

Virender Sehwag c Gilchrist b MacGill 7 (18 for 2)
Opted for the kitchen-sink approach against a wide delivery, but managed only a faint under-edge.