Australia’s lead over England continued during the third day of the first Ashes test. A 143 run partnership between Michael Clarke And Marcus North pushed Australia well ahead of England’s total, before Michael Clarke fell in a short spell before the close of play under floodlights.
Stuart Broad opened the bowling on day 3, the fourth ball in particular bursting through the surface, Katich may have left it well alone, but the signs were there that the pitch had some spice to offer. England turned to spin in the overs before the new ball, but with little success so England captain Andrew Strauss took the new ball with no hesitation.
England were hyped, James Anderson had Ricky Ponting edge one short, and another one wide, of Kevin Pietersen in the gully. But it was Katich who was first to fall, Anderson swinging a full ball that Katich simply missed, Billy Doctrove did the rest, and England had ended the 239 run partnership, Katich falling for 122.
Ponting kept the score crusing along, but it wasn’t long before Anderson had his second wicket, Michael Hussey flaying at a ball that didn’t swing – edging the Lancashire seamer through to wicket keeper Matt Prior. Strauss then turned to spin, in the form of Monty Panesar – with immediate reward. Ponting – who’d just reached the 150 mark in his previous over – went back to a ball that turned, and chopped onto his stumps.
The teams entered lunch 348/4, England much the happier side in the first session, still with 87 runs in hand, and more importantly, a ball that was doing things.
The lean spell stopped after lunch, Australia’s Michael Clarke and Marcus North settled in. For the second afternoon session in a row England’s spinners struggled with their length with Michael Clarke’s excellent footwork dominating proceedings.
Strauss’ options grew thin, turning to medium pacer Paul Collingwood as Clarke and North turned the screw on England. Australia reached the England 1st innings total with just 4 wickets down. Both players made half centuries as Australia made 458/4 at tea.
A short burst after tea, then the rain came. The players were off for two hours before returning at 6:15pm – under floodlights.
England finally got their much needed wicket as Michael Clarke could only flick a short ball from Stuart Broad to Matt Prior, falling for 83 – Clarke still doesn’t have a 100 in England. A much needed wicket for both England and Broad. Play stopped at 10 minutes to 7 – the umpires offer the batsman bad light – Australia ending the day 479/5, well ahead of England with two days to go.
With the prospect of rain on tomorrow, its seems that there are only two results possible, an Australia win and a draw. The forecasts suggest that the rain will come in early on in the afternoon, Australia will look too try and force home the advantage quickly in the morning session, before getting England in and taking what they can from the rest of day 4 and day 5.
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