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KP puts England on road to victory

cricket Updated: Dec 07, 2010 02:23 IST
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Kevin Pietersen took the key wicket of Michael Clarke with the last ball on Monday to leave Australia 137 runs behind England with a day to play in the second Ashes Test.

Clarke and Mike Hussey (44 not out) had fought a desperate rearguard action for the hosts, who ended the fourth day 238-4, after England took three top-order wickets in Australia's second innings. The tourists declared on 620-5 with a first-innings lead of 375.

Pietersen completed his career-best innings of 227 in the morning and was giving the specialist bowlers some rest as the day drew to a close when he made another crucial intervention by having Clarke caught for 80.

"It's a massive bonus for us," said England spinner Graeme Swann, who took two wickets. "Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration and who better to deliver it than KP.

"We love KP, especially when he's got a double century and gets their best player of spin out."

Clarke initially walked when Alastair Cook took the catch but returned to his crease when the umpire failed to give him out. England requested a TV review and he was walking again when the pictures clearly showed the ball hit the face of his bat.

England declared their first innings for the third highest test tally at the Adelaide Oval after adding 69 runs to their tally in nine overs of morning play.

Pietersen had added 14 for the fourth-highest test score at the Adelaide Oval when left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty finally got some reward for his efforts with Simon Katich taking the catch at slip.

Ian Bell put on 27 runs —including a sublime six — to reach his 25th half century and finish on 68 not out, while Matt Prior made an unbeaten 27 after being saved from an lbw dismissal by a TV review.

Australia openers Katich and Shane Watson then dug in to steer their side safely to lunch but Swann struck soon after the break.

Katich, who had hobbled through his innings because of an Achilles heel injury, got a faint outside edge from a Swann delivery and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting survived 21 minutes before getting a thick edge to the 19th ball he faced with Paul Collingwood taking a good catch at first slip.

Ponting reacted with disbelief to his dismissal for nine runs, an improvement on the golden duck he made in the first innings but not the way he wanted to celebrate his 150th test.

Watson survived a while longer before being deceived by a quick delivery from Steve Finn and he too was caught in the slips for 57.

England spinner Graeme Swann said he had bowled "like a 12-year-old" in the first Ashes test but was still happy to take on the responsibility of finishing Australia off on the last day of the second test.

Swann took 2-72 on a spinning wicket at the Adelaide Oval on Monday. "That's my job as a spinner, if you're the only spinner in the team, on the last day it comes down to you to bowl from one end and take as many wickets as you can," he said. Scoreboard