The Ashes – Third Test, Final Day:
Australia 263 (Watson 62, Anderson 5-80, Onions 4-58) and 375 for 5 (Watson 53, Hussey 64, Clarke 103*, North 96) drew with England 376 (Strauss 69, Bell 53, Flintoff 74, Broad 55, Hilfenhaus 4-109)
The ‘day of the series’ began with Onions and Flintoff bowling to the overnight pair of Watson and Hussey. Hussey got a painful knock from Freddie between his thighs, but batted on freely. The duo were inseparable when Onions was replaced by Swann. Shortly Australia went into the lead. Anderson came into the attack, and Watson fell to a faint edge just after reaching his half century. He had played admirably with Hussey, who also reached his 50 the very next ball. Clarke joined Hussey, and Hussey played some of his trademark drives, signs of his regaining form.
But Broad came into the attack, and had Hussey caught behind in his second over of the day, the Australian stalwart departed for 64. England began to sniff chances of a victory but Clarke and North staved them off till lunch, Australia were 59 ahead and the match poised for a draw. If only the rains had not poured on Saturday! Clarke and North played out the second session, getting some useful batting practice ahead of the next test.
It seemed that the Aussies are playing for a draw, England bowled so well on Friday but rain on Saturday has kept the game out of their reach. I don’t see Ponting making a declaration and making a match out of it post tea. At tea, Australia were well set for a decent total at 4 for 293, with Clarke on 73 and North on 64. The English bowling has been largely ineffective this session with very few signs of the swing we were expecting this morning.
And that’s the way it continued as Clarke surpassed Strauss as the leading run scorer in the series with a glorioud century full of sweet cover drives we have come to expect. As for North, he fell just short of his century as Stuart Broad claimed his second victim. Billed as potentially the “day of the series”, in actual fact it was one of the most comfortable days the Aussies have had on tour. With Headingly a moment away it’s hard to imagine which side will take the most out of this game.
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