Paul Collingwood’s magnificent 74 gave England a hard hard fought draw. 20/2 going into the final day, England needed to bat out the day. With one session to go, England only had three wickets left, and when Collingwood fell with 11.3 overs remaining, it was left to James Anderson and Monty Panesar to save the game. Australia – gutted with the draw in a game that they dominated from start to finish.
England started the day needing to attack. Captain Andrew Strauss dropping a quick single into the covers showing their intent.
Kevin Pietersen was nearly caught out by Ben Hilfenhaus delivery, choosing to leave alone a fairly straight delivery that nipped back in. Fortunately enough for England the ball wasn’t going on to hit the stumps.
He wasn’t out of the action for long, Hilfenhaus again, driving a ball in the air through the covers. But the following delivery knocked Pietersen’s off stump out of the ground, it was merely a straight ball – Pietersen squared up, falling for 8.
Spinner Nathan Hauritz found sizeable turn on the 5th day pitch. A short wide ball got the treatment from Andrew Strauss, but the following ball – a ball that bounced a fraction higher than the previous delivery – Strauss getting a thin snick to keeper Brad Haddin – Australia were rapturous – England in ever-deepening trouble at 46/4.
Hauritz was causing England all sorts of problems. Paul Collingwood had an inside edge onto his pad, the ball popped up – but fell just short of Simon Katich in at short leg. The following delivery Collingwood edged one down, after clipping his pads the ball rolled towards the stumps, the batsman got his foot on top of the ball just before it hit.
Prior and Collingwood stood together for a while, but the stand was unlikely to last – and it didn’t. Prior miss cutting Hauritz – the ball looping up – Michael Clarke taking the catch in the slips. England starring defeat in the face at 70/5.
Ricky Ponting chose to open up after lunch with two seamers. Ben Hilfenhaus was getting the ball two swing just a fraction, Flintoff was flashing, and a edge flew past 2nd slip for 4. Flintoff and Collingwood’s 50 partnership came up off 111 balls, still a long way to go.
And a long way to go it was, Flintoff edging Mitchell Johnson to Ricky Ponting, who took the ball into his hands just before it hit the ground.
Johnson had Broad in trouble straight away, a full-ish ball hit Broad in front of leg stump – the umpire gave it not out – Hawkeye suggested the ball would have hit the outside half of leg stump.
Australia reverted to spin, Hauritz and Marcus North as England battened down the hatches. Broad’s obduracy didn’t last for long, Hauritz angling the ball back in, Broad went back – the ball skidded on and struck him on the knee roll in front of middle stump England were 159/7. Broad showing the mistake of going back to a spinner on this surface.
Collingwood bought up his half century in 167 balls. Peter Siddle got into the new batsman striking him three times on the fingers and arms in a fantastic exhibition of short pitch bowling.
The short stuff from Siddle to Swann continued after the tea interval, the Australian hitting the England spinner on the helmet – the ball running away for two leg byes.
England ground the Australians down, Swann and Collingwood passing their 50 partnership. With 20 overs left in the match – England were 24 runs behind.
With 19 overs to go, Swann went to put a ball that didn’t bounce as much as he was anticipating, pinned in front by Hilfenhaus, for a well fought 31 from 63.
Hauritz then had a shout for LBW/Caught. Ricky Ponting to a superb catch in a short leg, but agonisingly for Australia – the LBW was outside the line – and the ball didn’t hit the bat.
In the following over, Anderson got one that reared on him, there was hesitation, Collingwood got a third of the way down the pitch, Anderson – rightly – sent him back, Collingwood would have been gone with a direct hit.
Siddle finally removed Collingwood – cut the ball at Michael Hussey in the gully, juggling the ball – Hussey took it at the second attempt – 74 runs from 245 deliveries – England 6 runs behind, 1 wicket left with 11.3 overs remaining.
It was left to Anderson and Monty Panesar. And in a nail-biting finish for everyone, the two ball-by-ball batted out the time. Got ahead of the Australia score, and when the time was up Ricky Ponting shook hands with Jimmy Anderson and the game was drawn. The fans rejoiced, England had save the game.