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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
England pegged back by Warne haul
Fifth Test, The Oval, day one (stumps):
England 319-7 v Australia

Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss showed the way with a superb 129 but Shane Warne's 5-118 meant honours were shared on a gripping first day of the deciding Ashes Test.

England, 131-4 at one point, closed on 319-7 at The Oval thanks in large part to a 143-run fifth-wicket stand between Strauss and Andrew Flintoff (72).

Strauss, whose seventh Test ton included 17 fours, was the first of three evening wickets to fall.

Warne bowled 34 overs in the day and claimed the first four England wickets.

Glenn McGrath returned for Australia after recovering from an elbow injury, while Paul Collingwood replaced the injured Simon Jones for the hosts.

All-rounder Collingwood got the nod ahead of paceman James Anderson, a move made to bolster the batting with England needing only a draw to win the Ashes for the first time in 19 years.

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen is distraught after being clean bowled by Warne for 14

The jam-packed Oval crowd, buzzing with anticipation, cheered England skipper Michael Vaughan as if he had hit a ton when he won the toss for the third time in a row and batted first on a glorious pitch.

Marcus Trescothick settled early nerves with a couple of leg-side fours off Brett Lee, and as England grew in confidence so did the strokeplay.

Aussie captain Ricky Ponting turned to Warne after just 13 overs - at which point as many boundaries had been struck.

Shaun Tait was toothless at the Pavilion End and, inevitably, it was Warne who made the breakthrough when Trescothick edged to Matthew Hayden at slip. It was the 18th over and England already had 82 on the board.

Strauss brought up England's 100 with a lovely cut shot, but Warne, in his last Test on English soil, was again to the fore as Vaughan spooned a simple chance to Michael Clarke at mid-wicket for 11.

Ian Bell then planted his foot in front of the stumps and was trapped lbw for a duck, sending Australia to lunch with more gains than had looked likely at one stage.

Strauss falls to Shane Warne
Katich takes a superb catch to get rid of the excellent Strauss

Australia opened after lunch with Lee and Warne, and England's mindset was to stop the flow of wickets rather than score quickly.

Strauss was not to be budged or bullied, working the ball around the ground and resisting Warne, even when the leg-spinner produced the rarest of rare googlies.

But Warne kept Australia on top when Kevin Pietersen played across the line and was bowled for 14, handing Warne his 32nd wicket of the series and Australia their fourth for 49 runs.

Flintoff was welcomed to the middle by a Lee bouncer that struck him on the shoulder, but the star all-rounder has not been for cowing all series, and he exacted swift revenge with a four through the covers.

Flintoff accelerated after the final interval with three successive fours off Warne, and Strauss clipped Lee to the mid-wicket fence, a shot that awarded him his second ton of the series.

Andrew Strauss
Strauss was in fine touch and played Warne very well

The trademark exultant swish of the bat above his head followed, and Strauss was met with applause which an innings of the highest order merited.

And the shots kept coming. Strauss increasingly used his muscle against Warne and Flintoff showed his quality with a marvellous cover-drive that sent Lee crashing to the fence.

Lee thought he had the breakthrough when Strauss, on 114, flashed outside the off-stump and into Adam Gilchrist's gloves.

Gilchrist and others did not join Lee in his desperate appeal, and umpire Rudi Koertzen turned him down despite an evident outside edge.

Salt was rubbed into Australian wounds next over when Flintoff drove Warne down the ground for six.

But the return of McGrath did for Flintoff, who ran out of room for the cut shot and succeeded only in edging to Warne in the solitary slip position.

Collingwood, playing his first Test in England, eased some of the considerable pressure he was under by timing a Warne slider to the deep mid-wicket fence.

But he was not long for this innings once Tait reversed a fast one onto his toes and trapped him lbw, despite the ball striking him distinctly outside the line of off-stump.

Warne then got his man when Strauss prodded indeterminately and was pouched one-handed on the middle of the pitch by diving silly point fielder Simon Katich.

Australia were then targeting a quick finish to England's innings, but Geraint Jones and Ashley Giles stood tall to keep the Aussie attack at bay.

Interview: Andrew Stauss

Interview: Shane Warne


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