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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 August 2005, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Rain and Warne ruin England's day
Third Ashes Test, Old Trafford, day three (stumps): England 444 v Australia 264-7

Shane Warne
Warne has never had a Test century - could this be his time?

Shane Warne hit his best score in an Ashes Test after being given two lives by England keeper Geraint Jones as Australia fought back at Old Trafford.

Rain limited play to just 14 overs in two late sessions on day three. And in that time Australia added exactly 50 runs without loss to be 264-7.

Warne hit four boundaries off Ashley Giles and on 78 will now be targeting his first century in his 126th Test.

England's victory aims took a hit, as Australia eased past the follow-on.

They now lead by 180 runs. Having been in a winning position on Friday evening, they must now work hard to prevent the match ending as a draw, or worse an Australian win.

After so much rain early in the day, the players got in eight overs from 1600 BST.

But another shower interrupted play again to leave six overs from 1810 - at which point there was bright sunshine.

Both sides have dropped chances, which makes a difference
England coach Duncan Fletcher

Warne was 45 not out overnight and came up with some big shots against Giles.

He middled one drive that almost cleaned up the bowler and umpire Billy Bowden, while in the last over before the rain returned he hit the spinner over mid-wicket and past mid-off.

The final blow took the Aussies past the follow-on target, but Warne should have been dismissed on 55.

Jones missed a stumping that he will feel he should have taken.

Warne stepped out to a ball that landed in the footholds wide of leg-stump, but Jones was moving in the wrong direction and was in a poor position to take the catch.

From the other end, Michael Vaughan opted for two overs of Simon Jones and two from Andrew Flintoff.

Both seam bowlers tried to cramp Warne for room, forcing him to play all his attacking shots off Giles.

In the final segment of play, Warne was dropped by Jones on 68 from a a thin edge that went straight to the Kent gloveman off Flintoff.

Ashley Giles
Ashley Giles reacts to the missed stumping off his bowling

Although he would have been affected by the sun in his eyes, it was not much of an excuse.

And there was further pain for England when Warne drove yet another boundary off Giles.

All the time, Jason Gillespie was giving Warne superb support with a dogged seven not out off 54 balls.

Before play began, Australia were granted four extra runs after a scorer spotted an error by umpire Steve Bucknor on Friday.

He should have signalled four when a Jones beamer deflected off the wicket-keeper and reached the fence, but failed to do so.

Play on Sunday evening can go on until 1900 but cannot start earlier than 1030 on either of the remaining two days.

Interview: England coach Duncan Fletcher


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