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Page last updated at 19:34 GMT, Sunday, 19 July 2009 20:34 UK

Swann confident of Lord's victory

Michael Clarke celebrates scoring a century
Clarke's unbeaten 125 featured 13 boundaries from 198 deliveries

Graeme Swann insists England are still favourites to win the second Test against Australia, despite a fine stand between Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin.

The duo guided the tourists to 313-5, 209 runs adrift of the 522 victory target after a superb unbeaten 185-run fifth-wicket partnership at Lord's.

But Swann said: "They will have to break a world record to beat us.

"We still have a new ball with Andrew Flintoff roaring in at 90mph and James Anderson swinging it at the other end."

After declaring without adding to their overnight total of 311-6, England - who have not beaten Australia in a Test at Lord's since 1934 - reduced the tourists to 128-5, with Marcus North the final wicket to fall as he misjudged a Swann arm ball.

But vice-captain Clarke found excellent support from Haddin to record his 11th Test century, ending the day 125 not out, with the wicketkeeper unbeaten on 80.

Although no team has ever scored more than 500 chasing a fourth-innings target in Test cricket, Australia coach Tim Nielsen believes his team can create history.

"I think the only reason no team has chased 521 before is because the game usually does not move as fast as this game has," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

As far as we were concerned it was absolutely, no question, a catch

Graeme Swann on Phillip Hughes' dismissal

"At some stage in the future a team will chase down 500 - I hope it's us on Monday."

However, Swann believes England's seamers can utilise the overhead conditions to their advantage as they seek the all-important early breakthrough.

"Our bowlers are going to come charging in and do what has happened with the new ball on most days," said Swann, who finished with figures of 2-62.

"Wickets tend to fall in groups, so if we get one then two will be close behind. It wouldn't be an Ashes Test if it wasn't nail-bitingly close."

Three of England's wickets were tinged with controversy after television replays questioned the legitimacy of the dismissals.

Simon Katich appeared to have been caught off a no-ball from Flintoff, while Andrew Strauss looked to have taken a catch on the bounce at first slip to remove Phillip Hughes.

But Swann defended his captain's right to claim the catch.

"Straussy said he caught it and I was stood at third slip about two metres away and I saw it go straight in," he said.

"As far as we were concerned it was absolutely, no question, a catch.

"These days the word of the fielder doesn't stand for much. It's acceptable if the batsman stands his ground, but the umpire (Billy Doctrove) had a clear sight at square leg and gave it out."

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Swann was also involved in the third controversial wicket when Mike Hussey was caught at slip by Paul Collingwood, although replays suggested there was no contact with the bat when the ball spun sharply in the footmarks.

"It was the sound, deviation and that fact it went to slip - and the sheer excitement of getting one past the bat after Cardiff," said the 30-year-old.

"If it didn't hit his edge then unlikely to Huss, who is a good mate of mine, I'm sure he didn't deserve that. But as far as we were concerned it was a legitimate catch."

Nielsen paid tribute to Clarke, whose innings featured 13 boundaries from 198 deliveries.

"Michael talks regularly about if Punter misses out, then he's the one that has to stand up and lead the batting side of things," he added.

"That's his 11th Test match hundred, so he's up into double figures and he was supported very well by Brad.

"He hasn't played a huge amount of Test cricket but he's a good thinker of the game and he showed that by playing a nice, positive support role.

"The big challenge will be tomorrow morning to set us up again and if we get started, we have still got a good chance of winning this game."



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see also
Clarke and Haddin hold up England
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Ponting in the spotlight
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Jonathan Agnew column
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England v Australia day four photos
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England open up huge Lord's lead
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Prior wants huge England effort
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Jonathan Agnew column
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Ashes memories: Lord's
14 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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