Clarke spearheads Aussie counter-attack

Published: Monday, July 20, 2009, 9:20 [IST]
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Clarke spearheads Aussie counter-attack

London: Michael Clarke scored an unbeaten century on Monday as Australia fought a dogged battle to save the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

Australia were 313/5 when bad light forced an early close on the fourth day of the Lords Test on Monday. Haddin, who gave a good support to Clarke is unbeaten on 80.

Aussies still need 209 runs to achieve record Test victory on the final day of the Test.

The highest winning total in Test history is West Indies' 418 for seven against Australia in St John's, Antigua, six years ago. England have not won an Ashes Test at Lord's since 1934.

Clarke reached his century in 159 balls, his first fifty coming in 58 but his second in 101 as Clarke concentrated hard.

It had looked Sunday as if England might wrap up victory with more than a day to spare as they reduced Australia to 128 for five.

But they encountered more than three hours of stylish resistance from the sixth-wicket pair, especially Clarke, who made 83 in Cardiff and 91 in the Lord's Ashes Test four years ago.

England took the new ball as soon as it became available after 80 overs with Australia 287 for five on a still-good batting pitch.

James Anderson and Andrew Flintoff both went close but the Lancashire duo were denied a breakthrough.

England, after captain Andrew Strauss declared on their overnight score of 311 for six, had the rub of the green with umpiring decisions.

Flintoff, who before this match said he would retire from Tests at the end of the Ashes, struck twice to reduce Australia to 34 for two before lunch.

But controversy surrounded both wickets, with umpire Rudi Koertzen, standing in his 100th Test, missing a no-ball in the lead-up to Simon Katich's exit and then giving Phillip Hughes out to a disputed slip catch by Strauss.

Replays showed the fast bowler had overstepped the crease, an action which should have seen South Africa's Koertzen call no-ball and so cancel out the wicket.

Ashes-holders Australia then saw Hughes, their other left-handed opener, on 17 edge Flintoff to first slip Strauss.

The 20-year-old started to walk off but was told to stay by Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who on Saturday had seen England's Ravi Bopara reprieved after the umpires referred a low catch to TV umpire Nigel Llong.

But this time around Koertzen, after asking West Indies' Billy Doctrove if the ball had carried, gave the decision without calling for Llong's assistance.

There was no debate when Ponting played on to paceman Stuart Broad for 38.

It was all a far cry from Cardiff where Ponting made a majestic 150 and Australia were only denied victory by a last-wicket stand between tailenders Anderson and the now dropped Monty Panesar.


Swann then got in on the act with two wickets for two runs in 19 balls.

He removed left-hander Michael Hussey with the aid of Paul Collingwood's sharp slip catch.

Hussey was given out by Doctrove although replays suggested the ball may have missed the outside edge, although Swann's dismissal of Marcus North, bowled between bat and pad, was far more conclusive.

One concern for England, which could have consequences for the rest of the series, was that star batsman Pietersen, who has been troubled by an Achilles injury, spent much of Sunday off the field.


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