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Australia lead in the Ashes by 2-0

Shane Warne provoked an English collapse which allowed Australia to rush to a six-wicket win in the second cricket Test at Adelaide.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 19:39 IST
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Shane Warne provoked an English collapse which allowed Australia to rush to a six-wicket win in the second cricket Test on Tuesday and an imposing 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

Warne took four for 49 as England slumped from 59 for one overnight to be all out for 129, leaving Australia to score 168 in 36 overs on a crumbling pitch to win the match and move within a Test win of recovering the Ashes.

England's last nine wickets fell for 60 runs as it surrendered advantages it labored for in winning the toss, scoring 551 for six and dismissing Australia for 513 for a 38-run first innings lead.

Australia lost four wickets, including Ricky Ponting's for 49, before reaching its winning target but passed the mark with 3.3 to spare. Michael Hussey made 61, his 50 from 54 balls, and Michael Clarke 21 to carry Australia home in front of an Adelaide Oval crowd which swelled to 30,000 when news of Australia's chase spread through the city.

"It's been a remarkable few days," said Australian captain Ponting, voted Man of the Match.

"I've been involved in some great matches but they all go out the window today as far as I'm concerned. That's the best Test win I've ever been involved with."

The turnaround in England's fortunes between the first innings and the second was historic in its proportions. No team in history has declared for a higher score in its first innings and gone on to lose a match. Only two have posted a higher total batting first and failed to avoid defeat.

The Adelaide pitch, maligned for its bias towards batsmen after allowing 1,123 runs and 17 wickets over the first four days, finally turned Tuesday and made batting precarious.

Warne, who took one for 167 in England's first innings, sensed the change and set about sewing anxiety, then panic among the England batsmen.

"I think we all thought if we get two or three in a row we might just put them under pressure," Warne said.

"I think we wanted to get a few of them out, and actually bowl them out, whether it took us all day to do that. We just wanted to let them know that, hang on, we're still about here. We still believe we can get you out.

"To go two up in the series is a huge effort from our guys." Brett Lee supported Warne, snaring the wickets of Andrew Flintoff and Geraint Jones, and Glenn McGrath entered the attack late in the innings to remove tailenders Steve Harmison and James Anderson.

Warne pointed England down the road to defeat on Tuesday, weakening their hold on the Ashes, when he controversially dismissed opener Andrew Strauss, then wreaked havoc among an unsteady middle order.

He dismissed in quick succession Strauss, Kevin Petersen, Ashley Giles and Matthew Hoggard and he had a hand in the run out of Ian Bell which, collectively, plunged England to 108 for eight and kindled the spark of an Australian victory.

Gritty Paul Collingwood was the only recognised batsman to stand stoically against Australia, batting 198 minutes for an unbeaten 22 to consume time and reduce the overs left to the hosts to score the winning runs.

Harmison (8) stuck around for 26 minutes and Anderson (1) in partnerships with Collingwood for the last two wickets which were insubstantial in terms of runs scored but critical for the time they absorbed.

England's fielding, in defending its slender target, was almost as egregious at its batting, and it allowed Clarke to score seven from a single shot, three runs and four overthrows, to hasten Australia's victory.

The winning runs came at 6:42 p.m., with a single by Hussey off Anderson.

England now faces a massive task to restore some balance in the series in the third Test which starts at Perth on December 14, 2006.

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 12:31 IST