Ashes 4th Test: Eng target mammoth lead

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Published: Monday, December 27, 2010, 10:56 [IST]
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Ashes 4th Test: Eng target mammoth lead

With England resuming their first inning at 157/0 with a lead of 59, the side was bound to be looking at launching a huge total. But in just the fourth over of the day, Peter Siddle got the opening breakthrough for Australia when he had Alistair Cook caught by Shane Watson at second slip for 82. Captain Andrew Struss also departed soon after when Siddle got him caught by Michael Hussey at backward point. The hosts probably thought at that point that a collapse was on the cards.

But Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen weathered the storm tremendously well. Pietersen hammered Siddle for two back-toback boundaries in the 60th over as England climbed to 188/2. By the 66th over, the batting pair had taken their side past 200 and were looking deadly dangerous.

Aussie captain Ricky Ponting, desperate for another breakthrough, brought on the leg-spinner Steven Smith. But straight away Pietersen attacked him, smacking him for two fours in the 72nd over. England went into lunch with the score at a healthy 226/2 in 76 overs.

Pietersen and Trott were in a destructive mood immediately after the break, slamming Shane Watson's quickies for a boundary each. Trott struck Harris for another four in the 82nd over to bring up England's 250. But 12 runs later and four overs later, Siddle struck by trapping Pietersen in front for 51. England were still on top at 262/3.

The next man to take guard Paul Collingwood, added just 8 to the score before perishing to Mitchell Johnson, who had him caught by Siddle at fine leg. The next batsman Ian Bell, just lasted for 1 run when he top-edged a ball off Johnson that was caught brilliantly by Siddle, again. Australia had succeeded in pegging England back, but the visitors were still at a comfortable 286/5 in 96 overs.

While the wickets were tumbling, Trott kept up his end admirably well and struck a few more fours before England went into tea at strong 304/5 in 101 overs, with the lead at 206. Wicketkeeper Matt Prior was keeping a 65-not-out Trott company with a supportive 12. Australia will certainly be hoping to run though this middle order and open up the tale before hopefully finishing off the innings as soon as possible.


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