England romp home with innings win

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Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 11:42 [IST]
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England romp home with innings win

On the final day of the second Ashes Test, it took England under 20 overs and 66 runs to bowl out Australia and snatch their first win in the series by an innings and 71 runs. England off-spinner Graeme Swann was the destroyer-in-chief, taking five scalps in Australia's second innings and wrapping up the match for his side, while Kevin Pietersen won a richly deserved Man of the Match award for his phenomenal 227 runs in England's first innings which helped the visitors reach the commanding total of 620/5 declared.

At the start of the match's fifth day, Australia had its work cut out. The hosts had to bat out the day in order to force a draw. But England had other plans. In just the 7th over of the day (over no. 85 of Australia's second innings), Steven Finn had a fighting Michael Hussey caught by James Anderson for 52 when he top-edged the ball to mid on. Australia were in distress at 261/5.

Brad Haddin immediately countered the English charge by smacking Anderson for two consecutive fours in the next over. But Haddin's time at the crease was short-lived. He was caught behind off the same bowler for 12 in the 91st over. Unfortunately for Ryan Harris, he completed a pair by getting trapped plumb in front by Anderson in the very next ball!

England had a stranglehold on the Australians who were floundering at 286/7. In the following over, the tourists moved one step closer to victory when Swann bowled Marcus North for 22 and Australia had lost three wickets on the same score. Surely the end was near. Xavier Doherty struck a four off Swann in retaliation, but when Swann returned in the 95th, he bowled the batsmen for 5. The scent of victory was overpowering for England with Australia at 295/8.

Bollinger tried to put up a last stand with Peter Siddle, but the latter soon ran out of steam and Swann bowled him in the 100th over to wrap up the Aussie innings for 304 and take England to a well-deserved innings victory. The visitors now go up 1-0 in the five match series, leaving Australia a mountain to climb if they want to entertain any hopes of regaining the Ashes.

Looking back over the match, a despondent and pensive Ricky Ponting said, "We got off to a shambolic start to the Test match, and it was always going to be hard to fight back from there. We needed to make a big score in the first innings and 245 was never going to be enough. We also put down a few crucial catches in the field. It's just those little things which are literally slipping through our hands at the moment. We've got to go away and do some soul-searching. England have kept us under real pressure, and we've got to find a way to cope with that."


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