Ashes 5th Test England v Australia Day 4

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England 332 and 373 for 9 dec beat Australia 160 and 348 (Hussey 121, Ponting 66, Swann 4-120) by 197 runs

Sport_P68_Ashes_585_604699aOn the fourth day of the deciding test England reclaimed the Ashes with resounding 197-run win over Australia.

England started the forth day of the fifth test seeking to break the back of the Australian batting line up if not completely bury it. Australia on the other hand, resuming at 0-80, sought to knuckle down and edge slowly towards the mammoth 546 that England had set it to win. It was England, however, who got off to the better start.

Strauss opened up attackingly with Broad and Swan and in just the third over of the day Swan dismissed Katich lbw for 43. Playing for the big spinning off-break, Katich shouldered arms to one that went on with the arm and was hit straight in front.

The very next over Shane Watson was also on his way, lbw for 40, after Broad managed to bring one back sharply off the seam. With Watson stuck on the crease Asad Rauf did not hesitate in raising his finger. The

With the newly arrived Ponting and Hussey at the crease and Swan and Broad brimming with confidence, Strauss surrounding the bat with fielders.

The story within the story at this stage was that of the fortunes of beleaguered batsman, Mike Hussey. The Australian selectors had chosen to stick with Hussey throughout a disappointing twelve months, in which the number four has gone 28 innings without scoring a century.

There was speculation before the start of the day’s play that selectors’ faith would run out in the event of another failure. However, Hussey survived through to lunch on 31. At the other end Ponting was starting to time the ball well just before the break and finished the first session on 44.

Shortly after the commencement of play Ponting brought up his fifty before offering a sharp chance to Collingwood at slip off the bowling of Swan. The ball flew and struck Collingwood on his boot and ballooned up behind him, however, he was unable to grasp the follow-up chance. Soon after, Hussey too brought up his fifty.

With Australia 217, Hussey pushed Harmison to Flintoff at mid-on and called Ponting through for a single. With Flintoff looking about as quick and agile as a front-row forward, Hussey did not hesitate in calling Ponting through. But beware the man playing his last test. Flintoff gathered the ball and skimmed the ball into the stumps and Ponting was left stranded while Freddie soaked up the applause, arms aloft.

Barely had the crowd had time to sit down after giving Ponting a standing ovation for what will most likely be his last Ashes test in England, when the stumps were again broken and the third umpire was again being called for. This time Michael Clarke was on his way.

Coming down the pitch to Swan, Clark had driven the ball into the boot of Alistair Cook at bat-pad. Clark continued down the pitch as the ball ricocheted to Strauss at slip who then under-armed the ball on to the stumps. Clarke did his best to get back in his crease but was not quick enough and was on his way for a duck.

England should have soon after had Hussey’s wicket too. After being shut out by Hussey for over three hours, Swan finally found the edge of the left-hander’s bat. The ball presented Collingwood at slip with the easiest of catches but he put it down. Collingwood, like everyone else in the ground, must have been wondering what the consequences of the grassed chance would be.

His nerves would have been eased a little however, when Marcus North was soon after stumped when on 10. After hitting Swan for a couple of boundaries, North tried to sweep Swan hard and when he missed Matt Prior did well to get his gloves back down quickly to break the stumps. With his weight on his outstretched leg North was unable to react quickly enough to get his left toe behind the crease. Umpire Bowden chose not to refer the decision to the third umpire, instead raising his crooked finger without delay.

Australia went to the tea break at 5-265. After the resumption of play Hussey notched up a defiant hundred, which will more than likely keep his position safe for the time being. Haddin and Hussey then pushed the score past 300 before Haddin decided to try and hit Swan over the fence but only succeeded in holding out to Strauss at deep mid-wicket for 34. With England into the Australian tail, it was only a matter of time before the urn was back in English hands.

Mitchell Johnson arrived at the crease and soon departed without troubling the scorers. Trying to force Harmison off the back foot, he nicked one to second slip, giving Collingwood an opportunity to make up for his earlier mistakes. Moving sharply to his right, Collingwood to a good sharp catch.

Siddell was the next out, ballooning a leading edge to Flintoff at mid-off and when Stuart Clark fended the very next ball to Alastair Cook at bat-pad Harmison was on a hat-trick.

The last wicket to fall was that of Hussey, caught by Cook at bat-pad off the bowling of Swan for 121 – the determined off-spinner finally getting his man. The England players were euphoric, the Aussies were all out for 348 and England for the second time in 4 years had won back the Ashes on home soil.

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