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Kevin Pietersen puts England in commanding position

Alistair Cook (left) takes the catch as Kevin Pietersen (right) celebrates
Cook took a great catch off Pietersen to remove Clarke

Graeme Swann was full of praise for Kevin Pietersen's all-round performance as England continued to dominate the second Ashes Test against Australia.

Pietersen hit his highest Test score of 227 and removed Michael Clarke with the last ball of day four as Australia closed on 238-4, still 137 runs behind.

Swann told BBC Sport: "He's a class act with the bat and he came up trumps with what could be a vital wicket."

Clarke later apologised for not walking after he was caught at short leg.

Part-time off-spinner Pietersen was given two overs at the end of the day to try and break the 104-run fourth-wicket partnership between Clarke and Michael Hussey.

And in the final over, Pietersen produced a sharply-turning delivery that Clarke pushed, via his thigh pad, over Alastair Cook, who took a decent diving catch over his shoulder.

England in box seat - Swann

The batsman, who had scored 80, was initially given not out and he refused to walk, but England ordered a review which confirmed he had hit the ball.

Moments later, Clarke wrote on Twitter: "Just want to apologise for not walking off the ground tonight when I hit the ball. I was just so disappointed, my emotions got best of me."

The wicket leaves England firmly in control of the match, although the threat of rain on the final day could ruin their hopes of taking a one-nil lead in the best of five Test series and Swann knows they will have to be at their best on the final day if they are to win the match.

"We're in the better position," Swann added.

"It worked perfectly this morning and things went well for two-thirds of the day. We scored 60 quick runs and started well with the ball, taking three wickets for 100 runs.

TOM FORDYCE'S BLOG

"But Australia are resilient and their two best players of spin [Clarke and Hussey] made it difficult in the last session."

Hussey, who scored 195 in the first Test at Brisbane and is averaging 166 in the series, remains unbeaten on 44 and, aside from the weather, he could prove to be England's biggest problem on Tuesday.

"I'd be lying if I said I loved it, but it's certainly rewarding to come in in a pressure situation and get your team into a position to win the match or save the match," he said.

"It gives you a lot of satisfaction. I wish I could come out like [Don] Bradman and smash them everywhere, but unfortunately the game doesn't work that way."

Hussey, who put on 104 for the fourth wicket with Clarke, revealed that Australia's vice-captain was distraught after his dismissal.

"It was a real sombre way for us to finish the day because we fought pretty hard and it would have been nice to go in three-down, and it would have really capped off a great day because he played awesome cricket," he stated.

"He played like the Michael Clarke we have loved watching play over the last few years, so it was great for him to play that way, it was just disappointing he couldn't play through to the end of the day.

"We've certainly been outplayed, no question, but if we can get away with 0-0 it will be a great result for us.

"But we've got a bit of hard work to do, maybe a bit of luck and hopefully some weather to help us along the way."

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia have confirmed that opener Simon Katich has had a scan on his injured Achilles tendon injury, although the result would not be announced until Tuesday.

Hussey, who had offered to open in place of Katich, who was in obvious pain during his knock of 43, added: "I'm not exactly sure on the extent of the injury but it doesn't look too good.

"We're just hoping for the best, hopefully it doesn't show up too much on the scan and he can recover pretty quickly."

Katich's fellow Australia opener Shane Watson, who contributed 57 before he edged a Steven Finn delivery to Andrew Strauss at slip, said he was working hard to try and convert his good starts into big centuries.

The 29-year-old has reached 50 on 11 occasions in 41 Test innings, but has only gone on to score 100 twice.

"It's frustrating," he said. "But I've got to continue to develop because I feel like I'm batting well but not totally capitalising."



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see also
England chase victory in Adelaide
06 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Second Ashes Test in photos
06 Dec 10 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
06 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Justin Langer's key moments
06 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Pietersen gives England huge lead
05 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Cook ton puts England in command
04 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England dominate in Adelaide Test
03 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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