Second Ashes Test, Lord's (day four, close): England 425 & 311-6 dec v Australia 215 & 313-5 Match scorecard
Haddin and Clarke frustrated England's bowlers with an intelligent partnership
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at Lord's
A superb unbroken stand of 185 between Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin kept England frustrated as the home side chased victory in the second Ashes Test.
Andrew Strauss' men seemed poised to go 1-0 up against Australia with a day to spare when Marcus North was bowled by Graeme Swann in the first hour of the afternoon session on Sunday.
At that stage, England needed just five further wickets to win. But Clarke (125 not out) batted for four-and-a-quarter hours and Haddin (80 not out) for more than three.
And when the last 11 overs were lost to bad light, Australia were 313-5, needing another 209 to pull off what would be an extraordinary victory.
We have the momentum - Swann
Following a short, heavy shower just before the scheduled start, play was delayed by 15 minutes. Strauss declared England's innings on their overnight 311-6 which left an astronomic target of 522 for Australia to chase down.
Two debatable wickets for Andrew Flintoff in the first 10 overs left Australia in dreadful shape and England confidently scenting further success.
First, Simon Katich felt for a ball he might have ignored outside off stump and edged to Kevin Pietersen, one of two gullys posted. But replays later showed that Flintoff had marginally overstepped the crease - so umpire Rudi Koertzen should have called no-ball.
Phillip Hughes was uncharacteristically dropped by Flintoff at second slip off the immaculate James Anderson, but he failed to make England pay.
Flintoff, in the middle of a furious spell of 2-9 in seven overs, pitched another ball in the perfect area for testing a left-hander's defences, and the edge travelled low to Strauss at first slip.
Ponting's dismissal for 38 sparked huge scenes of celebrations
Strauss claimed the catch, Hughes lingered at the crease and was told by Ponting to stay where he was. Now, standing umpire Koertzen asked his counterpart at square-leg, Billy Doctrove, whether the edge had carried - and the West Indian said yes it had.
In the circumstances, Koertzen could no longer refer the appeal to the third umpire, though if he had done Jeremy Lloyds would have seen pictures that were inconclusive as to whether the catch was a fair one or not. In such an event, Hughes would have probably been reprieved.
From 34-2, Ponting and Michael Hussey did their best to weather the storm, though neither man ever looked particularly secure. Even when the support seamers, Graham Onions and Stuart Broad, came on, the batsmen were frequently beaten or hit on the pads.
Lunch came with Australia 76-2 from 22 overs, and Ponting departed early in a cold, dank afternoon session. Trying to thump Broad off the back foot through the covers he succeeded only in chopping on to his stumps.
Broad celebrated maniacally, the Lord's crowd - though slightly depleted by those on late lunches - simultaneously roared its approval and despite the leaden, ominous skies the odds seemed to favour an England win with a day to spare.
We have a real chance - Nielsen
That impression only intensified when Hussey and Marcus North both fell to Swann in the space of six overs, though Hussey did not appear to nick the ball that was sharply taken by Paul Collingwood at slip.
North was comprehensively bowled through the gate. Nevertheless, Australia would have been entitled to feel hard done by given that three of their first four dismissals were shrouded in controversy.
The rest of the day belonged entirely to the tourists.
Clarke, who had come in at the fall of Ponting's wicket, was the only Australian batsman who played with a degree of comfort from the start. Though he was about two inches away from being bowled by Broad's first ball, he subsequently raced along with some fine drives through the off side.
Flintoff produced another aggressive spell from the Pavilion End and was unlucky not to remove Haddin in an over in which the Aussie wicketkeeper almost gloved to Matt Prior and then edged through the vacant third slip area.
Clarke's 58-ball half century finally gave the Australian fans something to cheer and suddenly England were searching for wickets when before they had fallen into their lap.
By tea, the score was 178-5 and as the final session started both batsmen made patient, serene progress. As England counted down the overs to the second new ball, Swann and Collingwood - neither looking likely to create a breakthrough - were the men entrusted with the bowling.
One ball after Haddin had cut Swann for a single to reach 50, Clarke - whose second 50 had occupied 101 deliveries - flicked the spinner through midwicket for his 11th Test ton.
Finally, as the floodlights flickered into action, the second new ball was taken just before 1800 BST with 18 overs left in the day.
But there was no immediate reward for Anderson and Flintoff, though a couple of edges off each batsman flew tantalisingly just out of reach.
Monday, which will begin with the new ball only six overs old, will be a tense occasion for both teams. The draw looks out of the equation, but although the odds still favour an England win, nothing will be taken for granted.
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