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Ponting run out opens door for England

At stumps, Australia were 188-4 with Michael Hussey at 37 and Andrew Symonds at 22 on day 2 of the last Ashes Test.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2007 00:29 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Ricky Ponting's suicidal run out provided England with an unexpected opportunity to get back into the fifth Ashes cricket Test before a late Australian consolidation at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

England, 4-0 down and facing a rare series whitewash, are defending what appeared a below-par 291 in their first innings. Australia were 118 for two when the Australian captain attempted a risky single off left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.

Ponting, cruising along without threat from the English bowlers, was caught out of his ground by a throw from James Anderson, fielding at mid-off.

Australia's big batting threat, with two centuries and 576 runs in the series, was well out of his ground and was sent on his way by the video umpire for 45 to give the tourists a crack at Australia's middle-order.

There were further repercussions for Australia when No.5 Michael Clarke was caught behind to give a recharged Steve Harmison his second wicket, which put pressure on the incoming Andrew Symonds, after a 70-minute rain delay, to re-state his Test credentials following his 156 in last week's Melbourne Test.

At stumps, Australia had stabilised to be 188 for four and trailed England by 103 runs with the consistent Mike Hussey on 37 off 98 balls and Symonds on 22 from 34 balls.

Australia lost both openers -- Justin Langer for 26 and Matthew Hayden for 33 -- before tea.

Langer followed up his three dropped catches in his 105th and final Test with a short stay before he gloved a leg-side catch off Anderson to wicketkeeper Chris Read.

Earlier, England had lost their last six wickets for 57 off 18 overs to be dismissed for 291 shortly before lunch.

Skipper Andrew Flintoff fought a lone vigil for 89 as the England tail crumbled around him after the side resumed at 234 for four.

It was Flintoff's best return of an undistinguished batting series coming in 195 minutes and including 11 boundaries and a six.

The skids were put under England inside the first hour, when they lost 3-13 in three overs.

Australia's pacemen Brett Lee (3-75), Glenn McGrath (3-67) and Stuart Clark (3-62) shared nine wickets, with leg-spinner Shane Warne (1-69) claiming the last scalp of Monty Panesar for a duck.

Lee claimed two wickets in two balls and McGrath, playing in his 124th and last Test match, captured his third wicket of the innings in the first hour's play.

Collingwood was put down by Langer at third slip off Lee when he was on his overnight score of 25.

Then on 27, Collingwood was squared up by McGrath and gave an outside edge to Adam Gilchrist to expose the brittle English tail.

Read survived a confident leg before wicket appeal before he was out next ball to Lee for two, giving Gilchrist his fourth catch.

Sajid Mahmood was out next ball, popping an easy catch off the shoulder of the bat to Hayden in the gully to put Lee on a hat-trick. But Lee's hat-trick attempt was wide of off-stump, not obliging Harmison to play a shot.

Harmison lasted 24 balls before he was lbw to Clark for two and Flintoff's second half-century of the series ended when he played extravagantly outside off-stump and was caught by Gilchrist, his fifth catch, off Clark.

Panesar, who was also dropped by the butter-fingered Langer, became Warne's only wicket of the innings in his farewell Test match when he was lbw attempting to sweep, terminating England's innings.

It was also Warne's 1,000th wicket in Test and one-day cricket combined -- 707 Test and 293 one-day international wickets. Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan heads the list of international wicket-takers with 1,104.

First Published: Jan 03, 2007 11:44 IST