Second Ashes Test, Lord's (day three, stumps): England 425 and 311-6 v Australia 215 Match scorecard
Prior hit nine boundaries in a sparkling innings
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at Lord's
England put themselves in a powerful position after three days of the second Ashes Test at Lord's as they reached 311-6 in their second innings to lead Australia by 521 runs.
After bowling out Australia for 215, they held a 210-run lead but opted against enforcing the follow-on - and put the tourists' bowlers to task again.
Following a sterile session between lunch and tea when England added just 73, Matt Prior's sparkling 61 off just 42 balls turned a turgid innings into a run spree.
We must not be complacent - Prior
The Aussies will need to shatter the previous record for a fourth-innings chase when England declare their innings - an event that will surely come early on day four as the hosts seek to secure the lead in the five-match series.
Most of the damage had been done on Friday, when Australia crashed to 156-8 in reply to England's 425.
The excellent James Anderson was unable to add to his four-wicket haul, leaving Graham Onions to mop up the tail, which he did after Peter Siddle (35) and Nathan Hauritz (24) had added 44 for the ninth wicket, all but four of those runs coming on Saturday.
Stuart Broad disappointed from the Pavilion End, but two edges fell frustratingly a metre short of Paul Collingwood at third slip when Anderson was bowling.
England's irritation ended as soon as he was replaced by Onions - a third edge heading in Collingwood's direction was smoothly held to end Hauritz's stay at the crease.
Ponting missed a straightforward slip catch off Ravi Bopara
Nevertheless, the follow-on was a tantalising 30 runs away when Siddle was joined by last man Ben Hilfenhaus, and three more Siddle boundaries off Broad brought the deficit down even more.
But it was Onions' morning. He intelligently probed away in the channel outside off-stump and finally, in his third over, picked up the last wicket when Siddle sliced a drive to Andrew Strauss at first slip.
Strauss now had to decide whether to let his bowlers loose again, or strap on his pads. He made the more cautious choice of batting and that immediately took the tension out of the game.
In some of the most placid conditions of the match, Strauss and Alastair Cook laid into Mitchell Johnson, whose three dreadful overs were hit for 17 - and we did not see him again until the final hour of the second session.
Hilfenhaus was more accurate, but Cook had the confidence to go after him with some bold off-drives and at lunch England had rattled up 57-0 to lead by 267.
Hauritz bowled a terrific spell after lunch, however, to remove both of England's openers for 32. Cook, playing around his front pad, was lbw for the third time in succession and Strauss nicked a lovely off-break to slip.
Reckoning his spinner would be less effective against the right-handers, Ponting now teamed Siddle and Hilfenhaus together and could have had England four down for under 100.
But when Kevin Pietersen, on 20, went walkabout following a big lbw appeal off Hilfenhaus, Ponting himself - from second slip - missed a golden opportunity to run him out, rushing his shy at the stumps.
Then Ravi Bopara, having made just nine, saw Ponting drop his edge off Siddle - the easiest slip catch imaginable - and the crowd guffawed at the error in a way that Lord's crowds of previous vintages would never have done.
But as Bopara and Ponting searched for form, the run-scoring dried up, and there was a fallow period of 11 overs without a boundary before Pietersen square-cut the tiring Hilfenhaus to the cover-point fence.
Bopara now played a horrid pull off Johnson, in the last over before tea, that almost carried to Hauritz at mid-on. The fielder claimed a catch, but it did not look a clean one to the naked eye and the decision was referred before the appeal was rightly rejected.
Ponting and Pietersen had a friendly discussion about the incident and soon afterwards the players took tea, with England on 130-2, leading by a very healthy 340, despite some very scratchy form shown by the two batsmen at the crease.
Early in the long final session, Bopara cover-drove Hauritz sweetly for four, but in the spinner's next over he was surprised by a slower, straighter delivery and pushed the ball meekly to short-leg. He had made 27 from 93 balls, with just 13 scoring shots.
Pietersen now tried to impose himself, driving Siddle for two boundaries, but his painful 101-ball innings was ended on 44 when an inside-edge off the same bowler was caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
England's number four had looked badly hampered by his Achilles problem, and a number of runs went begging because he was struggling to run between wickets.
But any danger that Australia might end up with an attractive target vanished when Collingwood and Prior added 86 from 73 balls.
Australia will do whatever it takes - Hauritz
Hitting plenty of boundaries, they also scampered twos, threes and an all-run four, the scoring rate rapidly improved.
Prior was particularly impressive, with some booming drives off the seamers and some sweeps off Hauritz that were timed and placed to perfection.
He fairly raced to his half-century and was unlucky to get out when he did, a victim of a brilliant bit of fielding from Marcus North, who ran him out with a direct hit from the deep.
Flintoff sauntered out to play his final Test innings at Lord's and was given a rapturous welcome. With no pressure on him at all, he smacked the bowling about merrily, adding 51 off 48 balls with Collingwood until Siddle took Australia's sixth wicket.
But just moments after Collingwood had edged to Haddin, the rain came down and the final 10.4 overs of the day went unbowled, with Flintoff unbeaten on 30.
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