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The Ashes 2010 2nd Test, Day 4: England Edges Closer To Victory In 2nd Ashes Test

By on December 6, 2010

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…

Kevin Pietersen struck crucial blows with bat and ball against Australia on Monday as England seized control of the second Ashes test.

After scoring a career-high 227 in England’s first innings of 620 for five declared, Pietersen dismissed Michael Clarke for 80 in the last over to seriously dent Australia’s resistance and leave the hosts hoping that forecast rain Tuesday will wash out the fifth and final day.

Australia was 238-4 at stumps on day four, still 137 adrift with three sessions remaining.

Clarke and Mike Hussey (44 not out) put on 104 for the fourth wicket before the Australian vice-captain pushed a ball from part-time spinner Pietersen to Alastair Cook at short leg. The umpire initially rejected England’s appeals but the decision was successfully challenged in a fitting finish to a brilliant day for Pietersen.

His double century helped England to a 375-run first innings lead and exposed even more concerns for Australia’s misfiring bowling attack _ which has taken only six wickets at a cost of more than 1,100 in England’s last two innings.

“Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration and who else but KP to come on and give you it,” said England spinner Graeme Swann, who took two wickets in the middle session. “It’s a massive bonus for us. It was tough going for us in the last session, their two best players against spin at crease, both playing well.

“I’m so glad KP got that one in the last over. Clarke is their best player of spin and to get him out like that was magic _ sometimes a bit of inspiration just works in your favor.”

Hussey, who will need to forge long partnerships with Marcus North or Brad Haddin to salvage the match, said losing Clarke in the last over was a blow.

“It was a really somber way to finish the day for us because we fought pretty hard,” Hussey said. “It was a bit of a kick in the guts to lose that one in the last over but we’re still in there fighting.

“Sometimes when someone is having a great game it’s not a bad move to give them a chance with the ball and they can pull off something special like today.”

Before Pietersen’s breakthrough, despite pressure from Swann _ who bowled 34 straight overs from the Cathedral End _ and Steven Finn, England had rarely troubled the Australian fourth-wicket pair before or after the 57-minute postponement for bad light and heavy rain in the third session.

Earlier, Simon Katich (43), Ricky Ponting (9) and Shane Watson (57) fell during the middle session to leave Australia three-down at tea.

The Australia openers had survived unscathed until lunch before Swann struck twice shortly after the resumption.

He had Katich caught behind to a ball moving away from the left-hander. Ponting played positively hitting Swann for two boundaries before he was deceived by a top-spinning delivery and edged to Paul Collingwood at slip.

Stuart Broad dropped a tough caught-and-bowled chance from Watson after the ball was driven back at him. Shortly afterward the fast bowler left the field with a strained stomach muscle and did not bowl for the rest of day four. Swann said Broad had been checked out by team medical staff and was OK.

Watson didn’t last much longer before he nicked Finn to Andrew Strauss at slip. Finn was England’s most dangerous paceman, and particularly troubled Hussey with reverse swinging deliveries.

“In an ideal world we probably would have them eight or nine down but it’s not an ideal world and we’re facing a very resilient Australian team,” Swann said. “We’re confident. We’ve played some very good cricket since day four in Brisbane, we’ve been a very good side. If we can turn up tomorrow and continue in that vein then I think we are in the box seat.”

Hussey said Australia hadn’t conceded defeat just yet.

“We’ve got a lot of hard work to do but certainly if we can draw the match I think England will see that as a loss,” said Hussey. “That’s something that’s going to drive us on.”

England started Monday at 551-4 and added 69 runs in 41 minutes before Strauss declared, electing not to push to surpass its highest ever total batting in Australia: 636 all out scored in Sydney in 1928.

Ian Bell ended the innings on 68 not out, Prior scored 27 off just 21 deliveries.

Source: Yahoo Cricket

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