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Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 19:27 UK

Jonathan Agnew column

Michael Clarke makes his way back to the pavilion as England celebrate
Michael Clarke makes his way back to the pavilion as England celebrate

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

A day of tremendous cut and thrust ended with Australia on the rack, still needing 70 runs to avoid the follow-on.

That after they had begun so emphatically by taking three of the last four England wickets for just 14 runs, before James Anderson and Graham Onions put on a record last-wicket stand of 47.

The difference was that the ball moved around under cloudy skies. England would have been disappointed at losing Andrew Strauss, playing no stroke to just the second ball of the day, but it did swing in to him to rattle his off stump, and England’s bowlers knew it.

So they came out, charged up and determined to make life as difficult for the Australians as possible in the short session of play before lunch. Andrew Flintoff was given the new ball, and he ran in like a man possessed, but it was Anderson who, on the back of his unlikely 29, claimed the wickets.


The first was Phillip Hughes for four, the New South Wales left-hander gloving a short ball aimed at his ribs down the leg side. This is now looking to be a serious vulnerability.

In came Ricky Ponting, who made only two before aiming to clip Anderson through midwicket. The ball hit his pad and Anderson immediately appealed for lbw. The ball, meanwhile, travelled low to Strauss at first slip who claimed the catch.

The umpires referred and called for replay. All the third umpire can currently determine and rule upon is whether the catch was taken cleanly. He will have seen that Ponting's bat had not made contact with the ball, but with the toe of his boot. That was the sound that Rudi Koertzen heard and a very disgruntled Ponting had no option but to return to the dressing room.

It was unsatisfactory, of course, and one finds it difficult to argue against the use of technology to eliminate errors like that. It is the system that the ICC is bringing in that I object to.

Simon Katich and Mike Hussey battled away during the afternoon, adding 93 before Katich became the first of four batsmen to fall to the pull shot. He was brilliantly caught on the long leg boundary by Broad who induced Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson to make similar misjudgements.

It was not easy to bat under the floodlights, and the Australians had the more awkward of the conditions, but it was poor shot selection that accounts for their poor position.

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see also
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The Ashes: head-to-head
04 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
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Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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