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Jonathan Agnew column

Ricky Ponting hooks a delivery from Andrew Flintoff
England should take note of Ponting's desire to score large amounts of runs

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Australia's batsmen continued to give their England counterparts an object lesson in the discipline and approach required in Test cricket.

Heads down and attempting nothing stupid, all the batsmen who got in made it count. In comparison, only Monty Panesar in England's innings failed to reach double figures, but no player passed 69.

Ricky Ponting led the way with his chanceless 150. He was dismissed in unlucky circumstances, too, chopping a short ball from Panesar into his stumps.

The look on Ponting's face betrayed his disappointment at having failed to score even more than that - and that's the difference.

The Australians know they are not the team they were, so it is even more important that batsmen do not give it away: England must take note - although we have been here before.

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It did not help England's cause that neither of their spinners, Panesar and Graeme Swann, were at anything like their best and failed to provide control.

Swann was especially disappointing, considering the excellent advances he has made in the last six months, and he simply could not find his length at all. He often started an over with a gentle full toss, and found nothing like the dangerous turn of Paul Collingwood - who bowled his gentle off-cutters.

Panesar did not create much pressure either and with the pitch offering next to nothing for the quick bowlers, the Australian batsmen got stuck in and picked off the runs.

The only failure was Mike Hussey, whose miserable run in Test cricket continues. He scored 150 against the Lions at Worcester, and must have believed that he had turned the corner.

However, a firm-footed swish outside off stump confirmed that his confidence at this level has taken a hit, and he was on his way for three.

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After turning down two plumb lbws so far, umpire Billy Doctrove was finally persuaded to give a positive decision when James Anderson's inswinger hit Simon Katich's boot right in front of his stumps.

It had been a fine innings, underlining the progress Katich has made since moving up the order.

Michael Clarke can count himself unfortunate to be dismissed for 83 when batting under the floodlights, and the umpires offered the light only two overs later.

That little session was a bonus for England, and they would have hoped for more than just one wicket.

Rain is forecast for the fourth day, which is always bitterly disappointing - but England won't complain one bit.

As things stand now, they would snatch the draw with both hands - and then they need to reflect upon and learn from the impressive attitude of the Australians. Mind you, they still have to save the game first.



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see also
Clarke & North make England toil
10 Jul 09 |  England
England v Australia photos day three
10 Jul 09 |  England
Ashes Ten to Tackle
08 Jul 09 |  Funny Old Game
The Ashes: head-to-head
04 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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