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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 June, 2005, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Brilliant Pietersen sinks Aussies
NatWest Series, Bristol: Australia 252-9 lost to England 253-7 by three wickets
England hero Kevin Pietersen
I thought the boys played brilliant cricket today
Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen stole the show to guide England home by three wickets as Australia were dealt a second NatWest Series defeat in two days.

Australia, humiliated by Bangladesh on Saturday, set England 253 to win in Bristol and looked on top when reducing them to 160-6 in the 38th over.

But Pietersen took over with 91 not out off 65 balls, including four sixes, to secure victory with 15 balls left.

Steve Harmison (5-33) earlier took his first one-day five-wicket haul.

The Durham spearhead took four early wickets - including three in four balls - before capping a great display with the scalp of Mike Hussey, whose 84 was a personal best.

Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting won the toss and chose to bat first for the second day in a row.

A six each off Jon Lewis aside, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden were watchful early overs, with the first boundary coming in the 10th over.

While Lewis was removed after three overs, fellow opener Darren Gough was economical in his 150th one-day appearance.

The veteran went for under four-an-over, but it was at the other end that the carnage took place.

Harmison's assault on the Aussie top-order began with Gilchrist edging behind, and it sparked the kind of panic that gripped the team so spectacularly in the Twenty20 loss last week.

Ponting, lbw for one on Saturday, went the same way first ball and was utterly out-thought by Harmison, who speared a yorker at his pads.

Mike Hussey
Hussey played a fine knock to keep Australia's score ticking over

Damien Martyn saw off the hat-trick ball but slashed mindlessly at the next and top-edged down Pietersen's throat at third man.

It got worse for Australia, and in the 16th over they were 63-4 when Paul Collingwood pulled off one of the great point catches, plucking Hayden's cut out of thin air high with his right hand.

In the space of a few balls England had stolen the initiative, but without a genuine fifth bowler Australia's fifth wicket rebuilt the innings with a 105-run stand.

Hussey cut, drove, pushed, prodded and reverse-swept Australia back from the brink, gaining great support from Michael Clarke in the process.

Clarke brought up the 50-stand by hooking Vaughan for six, and the pair made hay in the middle overs - even Vikram Solanki was given a first bowl in international cricket.

Hussey passed 50 with a four off Lewis, after which Collingwood reprieved his Durham team-mate by spilling a far easier chance than the one he pouched to remove Hayden.

Steve Harmison
Harmison kept Australia under the cosh with some fine bowling

The breakthrough came next over, however, when Clarke played an inside edge off Lewis onto his stumps for 45 to reduce Australia to 168-5.

The loss did nothing to quell Hussey or his new partner - Shane Watson joined in with a six off Lewis - and the pair added 52 in 53 balls.

But the return of Harmison sparked England back to life, and one ball after he bowled Hussey with a gorgeous slower ball Flintoff returned to dismiss Watson the same way.

It took the oomph out of Australia's late-innings surge, and Australia's total, just four greater than against Bangladesh, needed strong defending but their new-ball attack was off-colour early.

There were 11 balls in Gillespie's first over - which included four leg-side wides - but Glenn McGrath soon found his range to bowl Marcus Trescothick, with a delightful inswinging yorker, and Andrew Strauss.

The strikes had the hosts 42-2 and brought Paul Collingwood to the crease for only his sixth appearance at number four.

Jason Gillespie
Gillespie had a day to forget, returning 0-66

Collingwood, a middle-order finisher by definition, was uneasy so high in the order and his scratchy 14 was over when he chopped the expensive Michael Kasprowicz onto his stumps.

Vaughan aside - who battled hard for 57 off 92 balls - England made little headway in the middle overs on a pitch getting slower by the over.

Watson was effective with good variation but Brad Hogg was more incisive, removing Andrew Flintoff (caught for 18), Vaughan (lbw) and Geraint Jones (caught for two) to reduce England to 160-6.

But a fine direct hit by Gilchrist to remove Solanki aside, the rest of the game was about one man - Pietersen.

He punished balls, good and bad, to all parts, and scored most runs in one Kasprowicz over which went for 18 runs.

He then pulverised the disappointing Gillespie in the 47th over - hitting a six and a four over mid-wicket - to put the issue beyond doubt.

This was an improved effort from Australia, but again they were no match for England, who recorded a third straight win over them in all forms of the game.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: England's match-winner Kevin Pietersen


Interview: Australia captain Ricky Ponting


Interview: England captain Michael Vaughan




VOTE RESULTS
How should England's Test selectors react to Pietersen's one-day heroics?
Pick him and drop Thorpe
36%
Pick him and drop Bell
40%
Leave him out for time being
24%
44441 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed



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