Australia kept alive faint hopes of still winning this 2nd test with superb knocks from Vice-Captain Michael Clarke(125 no) and Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin(80 no) in an unbeaten partnership of 185. The World record winning target is now 209 runs away and knowing the Aussies they will fancy their chances of making it.
When the two came together things didn’t look too clever, at 128 for 5 the Aussies didn’t look like making it to the close of day 4, never mind winning it. However the two knuckled down and up until the arrival of the new ball never looked in trouble, making a mockery of what had gone on before them.
England looked set to bat on this morning until the rain arrived, the delay to play was minimal – only 15 minutes – but was enough to convince Strauss the time was right to declare with cloud cover over Lord’s.
They then got off to the start they were looking for with Flintoff getting Katich caught by Pietersen, replays showed that Flintoff’s foot was over the line though and umpire Rudi Koertzen had missed it, Katich can count himself unlucky.
The theme of dodgy umpiring continued as Phil Hughes was caught off Flintoff at slip by a forward diving Andrew Strauss. As Hughes walked, Ponting ordered him to stand his ground. After consulting with square leg umpire Billy Doctrove, Koertzen put the finger up sending Hughes on his way.
When Nathan Hauritz held a low catch to dismiss Bopara the previous day the umpires referred it to the TV replay which proved inconclusive, leading to a reprieve for Bopara. If the same luxary had been afforded to Hughes he would also have been given not out as there certainly wasn’t enough evidence to suggest the ball had been taken cleanly.
Ponting then dragged one onto his stumps off Broad, before Hussey was also given out caught at slip to a ball that replays show he probably didn’t hit. After Marcus North was clean bowled by Swann for 6, Australia were in real trouble at 128 for 5.
Then came the partnership from Clarke and Haddin that is sure to lead to a sleepless night for Andrew Strauss, what he wouldn’t give for an early wicket on the 5th day to get into the tail and calm the nerves, don’t remind him that next man in Mitchell Johnson has a test hundred to his name.
It will still take a remarkable effort from here for an Aussie victory and England are still expected to win, England know the Aussies won’t lie down though and need to be on the mark from ball one on Monday to get the job completed.
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