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Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Sunday, 2 August 2009 11:27 UK

England v Australia 3rd Test day four as it happened

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston, day four:

By Tom Fordyce


e-mail (with 'For Tom Fordyce' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)

1930: CLOSE Aus 88-2
Watson on strike. Anderson angles two in - defended with straight blade; big in-dipper pushed nervously to mid-on. Lifter over the top of Watson's lid; away-dipper that beats the batsman and then a full bunger that raises Watson's ire. Smashing day again, and we'll go to the final day with all sorts of possibilities. Australia are 25 behind with eight wickets in hand. It's beautifully poised...

1925: Aus 88-2
This could be Swann's final twirl of the day. He's making Hussey play, varying his pace and loop, two slips waiting for any nibble. Chirp of all sorts round the bat, but Hussey hangs tight.

From Oliver in Afghanistan, TMS inbox: "Taking 5 minutes off before a long night of planning stuff for the war. Exciting bit of cricket doing wonders for morale - long may it continue (lots of Aussies in our higher headquarters). If the forecast is bad for tomorrow, we could get the roller out here, as it doesn't look like rain for about 5 months."

1922: Aus 88-2
Single dabbed and scampered by Watson from Anderson - 87 for Australia, the unlucky number. What will happen to Hussey? He plays one off his pads - fine fielding by Bell at midwicket. Stride forward and push to cover. Dab to leg - single, off the Digits of Doom.

1918: Aus 86-2
Probing probing probing from Swann. There's turn, but big strides forward cover it up. Maybe time for four more overs.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Time is England's enemy now. Must winkle out another wicket tonight."

1914: Aus 85-2
Strauss swaps his Onions for a Jimmy as England search for another breakthrough. Nice line across the leftie's bows - and then the one coming back in, winking at Hussey's off peg as it whistles past.

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From Anon, via text on 81111: "Nearly got held at security check at Ciampino Airport when Swanny got that. They didn't look so understanding when I told them it was because of the cricket..."

1914: Aus 85-2
Strauss swaps his Onions for a Jimmy as England search for another breakthrough. Nice line across the leftie's bows - and then the one coming back in, winking at Hussey's off peg as it whistles past.

1909: Aus 85-2
Short leg, leg slip, slip, short midwicket in for Swann as he comes in to Watson. The Aussie pair are now digging in for the night. Maiden; 20 minutes left in the day.

1906: Aus 85-2
Onions, his thin, tapered face twisted in concentration. That's the line - bringing Hussey forward, forcing him to go for the ball. Maiden, and the deficit is 28.

1902: Aus 85-2
Whoops - short and wide from Swann, smacked away for four by a grateful Hussey. An over-corrector follows - full toss, four more straight down the ground. Looks like the ball has landed in a puddle too - the next one squirts right out of Swann's grip and arrives as a chest-high full toss - four more. Manually refresh, if you don't mind.

1857: Aus 71-2
Lovely from Watson, crashing a wider one from Onions backward of point for four and then going onto his front foot to drill a cover drive away for four more. Australia trail by 42.

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From cpfccpd on 606: "Mr Wicket at the crease, c'mon England... great chance now."
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1854: Aus 62-2
Hussey right under the pump out there. Swann is drifting it in and then biting it away, four men close in awaiting any indiscretion. Light still decent out there at the mo.

1851: Aus 61-2
Onions bowling like a dream at the moment. Every ball has to be played, and Hussey hasn't got a clue - he's beaten outside off again and again. Is there another wicket in the air before the close?

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Onions is playing the Richard Ellison role from 1985 to perfection. No histrionics, just high-quality swing bowling."

1846: Aus 61-2
Swanny giving it a real rip now, and the ball is starting to go through the top a touch too. Watson reaches uncertainly and nearly pops a catch into short leg's hands, but he gets to the pitch of a straighter one and clips it away through midwicket for four.

1842: Aus 57-2
Mike Hussey now on a king pair, Onions tearing in - inside edge onto the front pad, the ball loops up.... and Onions is a fingernail away from taking a full-length diving snag. What an atmosphere now.

1838: Aus 52-2
What a ball from Swanny, and what an over - he had Ponting trapped in front for what seemed like a clear lbw, and then lured him forward with an absolute beaut - tossed up, biting and ripping straight through Punter's gate. Edgbaston has gone ripe bananas...

Wicket falls
1836: WICKET Ponting b Swann 5, Aus 52-2

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From sirjames58 on 606: "Aussies score four-an-over tonight, that's the lead gone. Aussies bat for quick runs in the first two sessions. Then England bat. Remember in Jamaica this February, England 51 all out? That's after West Indies only had a 74-run first innings lead."
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1831: Aus 50-1
Katich is furious with himself - the ball didn't do much, but he tried to flick a full one to mid-on and could only get a skinny one behind the timbers. Here comes Ponting - booed to the crease by a few disrespectful boozeroos, and lucky to thick-edge behind point for three as he goes hard outside off. Australia trail by 63, and the game is live and kicking...

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From David in Orsa, via text on 81111: "No way we can lose this Test from here? How long have you been watching England!? Sadly I'm unable to watch, but the beer is cold and the evening Swedish sunshine is warm."

1828: WICKET Katich c Prior b Onions 26, Aus 47-1
Wicket to wicket from Onions, angling across Kati - OUT!

1825: Aus 46-0
Much better line and length from Onions, and there's some shape on that - Watson is lured into a wafter, but he misses the cherry by the width of a stalk. Australia trail by 67.

1820: Aus 45-0
Swann O'Clock, and this could be a smart move from Skipper Strauss. Turn from the off - flicking sound as the ball passes the bat/pad, big appeal - off the padder, says Rudi K.

From Farhat, TMS inbox: "Ok so, at first I was reading this in David livingstone's old house in Zanzibar. Then I went to Mcheza sports bar and their satellite TV was bust. I was reduced to receiving SMS coverage from the British Deputy High Commissioner. I have now returned to my host's house. He is an Aussie who insists on listening to Spanish opera and ignoring this splendid spectacle of weather beating cricket. I am reduced to checking the score on my phone in the kitchen."

1816: Aus 44-0
Will this be Graham Onions? It will - and he nearly strikes straight away, a short surpriser snagging Watson's gloves but just eluding Prior's grasping gloves before racing away for four. Smash - big pull shot on another short one, four more high over midwicket. A slash off the back peg almost yields a edged catch to Swanny at backward point, but a fuller one outside off is then drilled through cover for the third fence-slapper of the over.

1811: Aus 32-0
A man comes in to short midwicket for Anderson now, ready to bowl a little straighter to Katich and try for the ell bee or snagged. The Aussie mam stays tight under his voluminous lid.

1807: Aus 30-0
Fred switching now to round the wicket. Katich gets out of the way of three lifters and then pops one off his hips for a two to deep square leg.

1802: Aus 28-0
Sweet timing again from Katich, although the Anderson radar seems to have gone on the blink - four pushed past point, two tucked off the pads and four more off the hips. England's lead down to 85.

1758: Aus 15-0
That's better from Katich - firm push off the back foot for his first boundary of the day. Fred then straightens him up and nearly has him chipping straight to mid-on again.

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From ShinyDavidHowell on 606"There's almost no way England will lose this Test, surely, but how much time does everyone think they have to bowl Australia out in order to win it? And if it comes to a short run chase tomorrow, should Flintoff open the batting? Yes for me."
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1754: Aus 10-0
How did he miss that? Jimmy slides one across the flailing Katich and then does him the other way with the late in-dipper. A cunning slower one is then lifted just past mid-on. Andrew Strauss stands with hands on head at second slip.

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From Anon, via text on 81111: "Anyone remember Richard Ellison in 1985 ripping out the Aussie top order on the fourth evening? Come on the lads."

1749: Aus 7-0
Fred again, his feet slipping and sliding on the sawdust-filled footholds. Watson jumps and dabs - a brace of singles, and the pressure is right on.

1745: Aus 5-0
Ooohs from the slip cordon as Katich has a feet-rooted slash at one skidding across his bows, and nearly thins through to Stumper Prior. Anderson gathers himself and then bends one in - crashing into the front pad, rabid bellows... no, says Rudi K, and he was on the money - that was missing the top of off.

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From barrymanulow on 606"Do all those earlier posters calling for Broad's head now wish to reconsider their position?"

1741: Aus 5-0
Fred charges in, disguising the ball in his other hand - big swinger down leg, and that'll zip away for four byes. Good menace from the rest, short and brutish, and Watson almost thunks a leading edge straight back to the bowler's cavernous claws.

1735: Aus 0-0
Strauss throws the shiny red to James Anderson, Shane Watson on strike, three slips in. First bends down leg, the next two bang on off stump and defended doughtily. Maiden to start us of with - and an enormous roar as Freddie's named is announced over the PA as the man from the other end.

1731: What a session this could be - 32 overs in theory left in the day, a new Duke cherry to nibble with. What will the next hour and a half bring?

1728: Heads up - manually refresh, won't you?

By Jonathan Stevenson

Wicket falls
1724: WICKET Broad c & b Siddle 55, Eng 376 all out
Broad tries to dish out a similar punishment to Siddle but doesn't quite hit the sweet spot and the Aussie quick takes the return catch above his head. Tommy F's back in the chair now, so it must be wicket o'clock.

That's 50
1721: Eng 375-9
Change of tactic from Broad as he takes a single first up, before Onions is beaten outside off stump by Hilf. He then takes one behind square on the offside, before Broad brings up a fabulous fifty with a majestic pull shot in front of square in-between two fielders on the leg side. Supreme. The final ball is a near-beamer and Broad clatters it over Hilf's head for four more to move on to 55. Lead is 112. I wonder...

From From Rob in Newcastle, TMS inbox: "To Helen in Donny, you could tell your husband that your straighteners are broken and you need to go shopping to get some new ones."

1717: Eng 365-9
Among other things, MJ's got some muscle problems and Peter Siddle comes on in his place to have a crack at Onions. But GO isn't going anywhere, and he comfortably sees out a maiden so Broad can unleash hell at the other end.

1712: Eng 365-9
Hilf to Broad, and the lanky seamer clatters four shots to all parts - for none. He turns down the single every time to keep the strike, smearing the last one through mid-wicket for four and the lead is up over 100. Psychological.

From Helen in Donny, TMS inbox: "In a bit of a dilemma. My boyfriend has got two tickets for the final day at Headingley, and I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to go out and spend some time with friends myself, seeing as he is. So I have booked the day off work, but now I think he thinks that I'm coming with him. How do I tell him?"

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From Chris, a fed-up Aussie in London, via text on 81111: "I had three wishes at the beginning of the year. To win the Ashes, to keep my job and to keep my house. All three now looking doubtful thanks to Flintoff, the recession and my ex."

1708: Eng 361-9
Tommy told me to try not to lose any wickets while he was taking a breather. Hmm, I wonder if he'll blame me for this mini-collapse... Meanwhile, Broad swings wildly at MJ and it flies straight over the keeper for four. You've got to laugh, and MJ does, in fairness. Lead up to 98 now.

Wicket falls
1701: WICKET Anderson c Manou b Hilfenhaus 1, Eng 355-9
Hilf keeps trundling in and the big man gets what he deserves for effort, tempting Jimmy A and getting his man as a feathery snick is pouched by Graham Manou.

1657: Eng 354-8
Jimmy Anderson keeps his record of not getting out for 0 in Test cricket going by nudging a single off his hips. It's his 52nd in a row, and the over ends in truly scintillating style as Broad clatters MJ straight past his head for four. There is more chat, again very close up and personal - MJ is losing the plot a bit here.

Wicket falls
1654: WICKET Swann c North b Johnson 24, Eng 348-8
It's swing time, as Swanny chucks the (Mervyn) kitchen sink at a wide one from MJ and snicks it behind square for four. MJ bungs one halfway down and Swanny chases him up the wicket, they are pretty close when they start conversing in the middle. Swanny then cuts MJ past point for four and just as the crowd chant "Super Mitchell Johnson", he bowls a slower ball that bamboozles Swanny and North snaffles an easy one. Great entertainment.

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From Rick, on the beach at Swanage, via text on 81111: "Just scored a quick fifty. Don't think my Aussie guests fielding are very impressed - especially their five-year-old twins!"

1649: Eng 339-7
Swanny gets in on the act, chopping Hilf down to wide third man for four, before Broad gets lucky, flashing hard and seeing the ball fly through the slip/gully area for another boundary. Two more off his pads and the lead is up to 76.

1645: Eng 328-7
It was like watching a different game when Flintoff was batting - it all feels so subdued right now. Broad tries to break the ball with a fearsome flourish of his willow, but gets absolutely nowhere near it again. He redeems himself by sweetly clipping the last ball off his enormous pads for four through mid-wicket.

1640: Eng 323-7
Ben Hilfenhaus rocks in from the other end and forces a couple of airy, wafty drives, nothingy drives from Broady. Maiden - but it doesn't matter for England if Johnson keeps leaking.

1636: Eng 323-7
MJ strays down legside to Broady twice up - disappointing, because you don't often get to see leftie to leftie in Test cricket. Swanny then goes on the hook, stands and admirers his handiwork and watches the ball loop up and plug about three yards in from the boundary, eventually chugging along for a couple. He then smears MJ gloriously through the covers for four. Poor Johnno.

1631: Australia have taken the new cherry straight after tea and Mitchell Johnson will have first use. Anything could happen.

1630: Well I won't be bringing you a Freddie century, but a Broady half-ton and some Swanny slogs would go down a right treat. I'm with Haydos - anything over 100 and those Aussies will be panicking all over the place. Let's go.

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From JC, M6 Toll, via text on 81111: "So when do we declare? Surely with a lead of 150 it would be virtually impossible to lose? Half an hour bowl before tonight's close?"

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From Harrison, the manliest of men in Southampton, via text on 81111: "Karl, doing the manly thing isn't telling her. The real manly thing is to avoid it at all costs, culminating in selling all your possessions and moving to another country if needs be."

Matthew Hayden on TMS: "Every run that England get from now on adds to the pressure on the Australian batsmen - they do not want England to be getting 100 or 150 runs ahead."

1617: I'd be hard pressed to disagree with Tom - what an anti-climax that was. But a knock of genuine brilliance from Flintoff has given England a cheeky sniff at winning this one, methinks. Whaddya reckon? (PS Refresh, if you can be bothered to find out who's taken over from Mr F for a short spell)

By Tom Fordyce

1610: TEA - Eng 316-7
Hauritz for the session concluder. Single stolen by Broad; short and wide from Nate-Dogg and Swann cracks that happily away off the back peg for four through extra cover. That's tea - 157 runs in the lengthened session for the lost of three wickets, and the lead is now 53. We're well set for a very cheeky evening joust...

From Vindictive Vicky in London, TMS inbox: "RE: Karl in Donny: Come on, girls. We can't let that whistle by without a response. Those two Headingly tickets could easily be ours. Barely visible traces of finely ground chilli pepper in Mr K's underpants that morning should do the trick."

1606: Eng 311-7
Swann to the stumps. The atmosphere's gone as flat as steamrollered pancake after Fred's dismissal, but Johnson wants more - short leg in for the new man, and the inevitable lifters follow. One more before tea.

Wicket falls
1600: WICKET Flintoff c Clarke b Hauritz 74, Eng 309-7
Groans of disbelief and dismay around the ground, and why not - Fred has perished, and in the most anticlimactic manner, caught off the glove at first slip as the ball spat and turned from the rough. Unlucky for Fred - everyone but the 11 Aussies wanted the ton, but it's not going to happen. Today.

From Mark McKeever, TMS inbox: "Even better, apparently Super Fred's now sorted out a full ticket refund for me because of the less than enjoyable train delays. If you can see to a win in this Test for us as well Fred I will actually have your babies."

1558: Eng 305-6
Broad wants a slice of this action - and what a slice this is, a drive back down the ground that's as classy as anything we've seen all match. Merv Hughes there in the stands, wincing under his walrus 'tache.

1554: Eng 301-6
Not a sniff so far for Hauritz, who's been milked like a Friesian out there at the moment. Big cheers as the England 300 comes up, and the runs are rattling along at the merriest of rates.

From Karl in Donny, TMS inbox: "Picked up my 2 x tickets for the last day at Headingley yesterday & for some reason my girlfriend has booked the day off, under some misguided impression she is coming. Any ideas pop pickers? Shall I do the manly thing and tell her she aint coming, or just take the fuse out of her hair straightners the night before?"

1549: Eng 298-6
Time for some Johnson, his hair almost raven blue-black. Fred goes hard at one run across him and angles it away past gully for four to third man. That's his 10th boundary - make that 11, as he crashes Johnson's full one through the covers at a thousand miles an hour. 71 now from 73 balls, and the crowd are loving every single second of it...

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Vintage Freddie today... He's not moving too freely between the wickets but has been batting beautifully."

1545: Eng 290-6
Hauritz twirls - dab from Fred, cunning late sweep from Broaders. Tea still 25 minutes distant.

1541: Eng 287-6
They've got a man out in the deep for the pull, and Siddle tries to feed him it. What does Fred do? Marmalise him in front of square, that's what. Single popped behind point, putting Broad on strike - and then Fresh-Face joins the party, cracking a full toss on leg away for two four and reaching out the other way to smash a drive through cover for four more. Hoopla - slashed again, skinny edge, just shy of the tumbling Manou. Lead to 25.

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From Rob in Guildford, via text on 81111: "Ben from Leeds is lucky. Standing? Luxury! I'm carrying my carriage on my back while pulling the engine. With my teeth. And I've been up since before I went to bed. Come on Freddie. You're all that stands between me and certain death."

1536: Eng 272-6
Gentle tweak from Hauritz - uppish drive from Fred just past point for two, with a clumping to long on for one to follow. Fred to 55; Broad yet to get off the quacker from his eight balls so far.

From Richard Skinner, TMS inbox: "Am on a boat on the River Ouse, moored up by a beautiful church, there's the Waverhill Brass Band playing on the bank, the sun is shining, the beer is cold and Fred is batting. Just need the band to play Jerusalem and life is complete. Do you think Fred would do a shot for me as well please?"

1532: Eng 269-6
A drunkenly bellowed version of God Save The Queen rings around Edgbaston as Stuart Broad fences feebly at a Siddle lifter. Leg-bye and single, and England now lead by six. Quick request to manually refresh to sort out the scoreboard, if your finger has the strength for it.

That's 50
1527: Eng 267-6
Right, says Fred, how's about this? SLAM! A mighty six off Hauritz straight over long-on. WALLOP! A sweep slapped away to deep square leg for four more to bring up a joyously-received half century. England lead...

From Mark McKeever, TMS inbox: "All hail Super Fred - the train's now moving again and even the spoilt demon child has stopped bawling now: Fred's powers really do know no limits."

Wicket falls
1519: WICKET Prior c Hughes 41, Eng 257-6
What a waste that is - adrenalized pull one that's outside off, heaved straight down mid-on's throat. England were accelerating away, but that's slammed the brakes on...

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From Dan, Coventry, via text on 81111: "Peter Siddle shops at Lidl, fa la la la la, la la la la."

1517: Eng 253-5
Watson gets the chop after that profligacy, and Ponting has called for some tweak from Hauritz. Lovely checked drive off the back peg for three from Fred, a single pulled away to leg. The last 50 runs shave come up off just 38 balls; England now just 10 behind.

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From Ben from Leeds, via text on 81111: "Mark, at least you're sitting. I'm standing on a four-hour train journey from Bristol to Leeds. Make it bearable please lads."

1511: Eng 249-5
Spicy from Sid, crashing them halfway down the track. Fred wears one on the shoulder and then takes revenge with a dab round the corner - four fine - a single to leg and then four more, this time to Prior as he pulls round the corner. Ole! Short outside off, cut beautifully through cover for four more. The mood has changed at Edgbaston...

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From AusCricketFan on 606: "Watson's busy donating back all those runs he made with the bat..."
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1505: Eng 236-5
Watson serving it up, and Fred tucking in - four more, cracked between extra cover and mid-off. That's clever batting up next, dabbing behind point into the gap for two more, finding the space on the leg side for one more. Full bunger from Watson - smashed through cover for four more! Watson's gone for 23 off his three overs, the paretnership is up to 68 and the deficit down to 27.

1501: Eng 225-5
Siddle's coming in at pace now - he fancies getting amongst it here, but Fred's got different ideas - drilled off the pads for two, smashed square for four more. "THAT'S FOR YOU, MARK McKEEVER!!!" screams Fred*
* one part of this paragraph may not be true

From Mark McKeever, TMS inbox: "Sat on a train, not moving, over an hour delayed, hungover, deprived of sleep, with a spoilt screaming child sat directly behind me. All my hopes are pinned on Freddie to improve this journey for me... Please Super Fred."

1454: Eng 217-5
Oh, dreamy again from Fred, smashing a full one from Watson back down the ground at missile lick. Single to leg, a checked pull from Prior for two and another dabber to cover. Partnership up to 49; England now trail by 46.

From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "I think James Golbey must be mistaken. There is no Steve O in the otherwise excellent short and witty poem by 19th Australian poet Andrew Barton Paterson 'Why the Jackass Laugh, although the tit for tat between the 'boastful crow' and the 'laughing jack' does indeed reflect many of the features of that between Australia and England. The Jackass wins the argument, based on a subtle analysis of the crows lack of capacity for accurate long distance navigation."

1450: Eng 209-5
Siddle adjusts his white towelling sweatband, polishes the ball furiously and then fizzes them in at Prior - the wide ones stroked away for singles to deep backward point, the tighter ones causing last-gasp dash-downs with a panicked blade.

1445: Eng 205-5
Hello - is it time for some Shane Watson? Yup - and Fred greets him with a musclebound smash down the ground for four - his 500th four in Test cricket. That's woken up the slumberers.

1441: Eng 201-5
Siddle returns to replace Johnson, and he's giving Prior a proper going over here. Beaten outside off, cut in half by an in-diver and poking impotently at another snaker. Leg byes and singles before Prior raises the first cheer for an age with a pushed two through the covers to bring up the England 200.

1436: Eng 197-5
Hilfers is showing 3-85 from his 25 overs so far, and he's not that distant from landing another big fish there - shapey away-dippers to Fred, followed by a nasty yorker that is just squeezed out with the very bottom of the bat.

From James Golbey, TMS inbox: "On the subject of lookalikes has anyone commented on Mitchell "slingshot" Johnson's uncanny likeness to Steve-O of Jackass fame?"

1430: Eng 197-5
Dangerous spell this from Johnson. Another fast in-dipper, just kept out by Fred as he jams the ball down into his Stormtrooper-like pads. Couple of no-balls from Johnson as he strains to slip up a gear.

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From Stuart, Guildford, via text on 81111: "What I don't understand is why if a whole day is lost from rain don't they play an extra day? Surely it would avoid all these boring draws?!"

1425: Eng 193-5
Hilfers pitches up, looking for the late swing and flailing edge, but all he's found there is the middle of Freddie's bat - four, bashed mightily through the covers. There's another, saved with a diver at mid-off by sub fielder Phillip Hughes.

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From mickybobmanutd on 606: "Mitchell Johnson seems to have based his macho stares on those of Derek Zoolander."
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1419: Eng 187-5
Oops - down the leg side from Johnson as he goes slingy again - Manou has a dive at it but can only slow it up on its way fine for three. Onto the pads again, and that's more like it - clipped off the middle for a four that's all timing. Johnson snarls, winds himself up and arrows a rapid one across Prior's bows - edge, just short of the tumbling Manou, and a no-ball to boot.

From Mark, TMS inbox: "Has anyone ever seen Ben Hilfenhaus and Al Gore in the same room at the same time?"

1415: Eng 179-5
Prior, his pink ear-protectors wedged under his lid, covers up with a flourish and then opens the face to angle through point for a dashed double. Dinked away singles, and the pressure remains heavy heavy.

1411: Eng 175-5
Johnson's a man transformed out there. He's found his swing, there's accuracy and there's serious lift too - that one fizzes across the face of new-man Freddie and nearly takes the varnish on the way through.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Holly Flintoff has been giving mum a hard time. I have a feeling her brothers prefer watching dad play."

1406: Eng 175-5
So England are lurching - the ball is swinging fast and late, and even when the drives go through cover there's a sense that it's setting up a nibble a few balls later. England still 88 runs behind.

From Mike in Clapham, TMS inbox: "A mouse just appeared in our living room. We've decided to call it Ponting and the hunt is very much on."

Wicket falls
1402: WICKET Bell lbw Johnson 53, Eng 166-5
He's got him this time, bang in front with the inswinger - Rudi's not going to say no to this one...

1357: Eng 166-4
Oh, Prior - wavy waft outside off, a molecule from a nibble. He goes again at the next one and edges on the bounce to the first of the two gullies. Punter throws his fists at the deck and then comes up with a grin on his chomping chops.

1352: Eng 165-4
Jab off the pads from Prior for a single to midwicket that gets him off the quacker. Patchy blue skies overhead - nothing to create shadows, but at least it's not the dreadful darkness of Saturday.

1348: Eng 165-4
Hilfenhaus to continue, Australia's best bowler in the series so far. Big bend on that, shaping into bell and then away towards first slip, and the batsman leaves it alone before strolling to short leg for a stress-buster.

That's 50
1344: Eng 164-4
Here we go again - Johnson breezing in to Bell, his left arm much higher than before - short and at the hip, and Bell dinks that away fine to go to his half-century. That's his seventh 50 against Australia, although he's never before go on to a ton, and also his best Test score on his home county ground.


Wicket falls
1302: WICKET Collingwood c Ponting b Hilfenhaus 13, Eng 159-4
Dreadful shot two balls before lunch - wide, swinging, and Colly has a slash - edged straight to second slip. They'll take lunch there, and it's been Australia's amended session - England still 104 runs behind...

1258: Eng 159-3
Johnson asks for a short leg for Bell, and Simon Katich obliges under the lid. Ouch - short and fast, well played down by a leaping Bell. Short one on leg, angled straight at pace into Katich's shoulder and just past his flailing hands. Tough, tough snag, but it counts all the same. Time for one more before the break.

From Clive, TMS inbox: "Re P Edant. Pickr - what's that then, some sort of very choosy networking site?"

1254: Eng 159-3
Hilfers canters in - over-pitched out wide, and Colly is on that in a flash to drive through the covers. A ball later he reaches again and this time angles off the edge between gully and third slip for four more. Ponting chomps on his gum with narrow-eyed contemplation. Wide and dipping away again - driven off the edge through point for four more. Not entirely authentic, and Punter scratches his chin with interest.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "A couple of lifeguards in the crowd - J (P) Anderson and S(urf) Broad. Sort of clever, in a way. Johnson so much better than at Lord's."

1250: Eng 147-3
Time for a brief burst of Mitchell Johnson before lunch. Here he comes, left arm over to Bell - oh, big late in-dip, slamming into the exposed front pad - huge appeal.... and another no from Umpire Rudi. He's got that spot on, too - just a skinny inside edge, but an inside edge nonetheless. A short nose-tickler follows, ridden out off his gloves by Bell, but that's a response - dreamy drive through cover to move on to 46. Johnson gives it some lip at the end of his run-up and Bell blinks back unperturbed.

1244: Eng 143-3
Dicey times out there for the England pair. The ball's dipping about, Colly's poking with feet nailed and Bell's already had two lives. Nervous silence from the crowd.

1240: Eng 142-3
Come on Colly - behave - there's 20 minutes till lunch, and you're handing your bat out to dry like that? Siddle snarls and stalks off to find something to kick.

From P. Edant, TMS inbox: "At the sake of being considered a bit pickr, let's hope that professor doesn't teach English. There's a bit of a difference between an ex-patriot and an expatriate..."

1235: Eng 141-3
Big wicket that for the Aussies, and Hilfenhaus has once again been the clear pick. Just enough spit and leap on that one, and it caught Strauss in two minds, not sure whether to upper-cut or withdraw. England still 120 runs behind, and Ponting is sniffing more before the luncheon break here.

Wicket falls
1232: WICKET Strauss c Manou b Hilfenhaus 69, Eng 141-3
Short, fast - pings off the shoulder of Strauss's bat, and that's a straightforward snag behind the timbers. The skipper's gone...

1231: Eng 141-2
Oh, nice again from Bell - big step forward, front elbow high, ball drilled on the drive past a diving cover.

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From eirebilly on 606: "I don't see England going on the charge here. I see them just cruising along and Bell using this opportunity to build some confidence."
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1224: Eng 135-2
Siddle still chewing his own chin off after that Rudi no-show. Salt in the raw wound from Bell, clipping with sweet timing off his padders for a dreamy four.

From Peter Ganesh, TMS inbox: "Re From ex-patriot Professor in Michigan, Exodus 9:18 'Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Edgbaston since the foundation thereof even until now'."

1219: Eng 126-2
We've seen that lbw shout from 18 angles now, and there's a chance it might have gone over the top - just a chance. Double let-off for Belly, you'd have to say. Short from Hilfenhaus and that's a cracking shot from Strauss, pivoting on his back peg to pull away through midwicket for his first four of the day.

1214: Eng 120-2
Hearty roars from the Edgbaston crowd as Bell angles a short one away past point for four. Siddle stalks back to his mark, turns and arrows in a vicious in-dipper - Bell has played all round that, and there's an enormous ell bee shout - oh, not given by Umpire Rudi K, and Ponting does the double tea-pot at second slip. Couldn't manually refresh for me, could you?

1211: Eng 116-2
Gaaghh - edge from Strauss, falling short of Michael Clarke at first slip. Actually played that with nice soft hands. Good line from Hilfers, and England still await their first run of the weekend.

1207: Eng 116-2
First glimpse of the sun for what feels like centuries as Siddle tears in to Bell. Three wide outside off, another two hooping, and Bell leaves alone with twitchy resolve. Maiden maiden.

From ex-patriot Professor in Michigan, TMS inbox: "I'm in the United States here, and woke up at 5am (EST) in order to follow your commentary; yes, I've had my tea, thank you very much. But surely you mean 'downpours of biblical proportions' and not 'biblical downpours'? I'm a professor of New Testament Greek and I can not recall a Scriptural passage which mentions Edgbaston."

1202: Eng 116-2
Two slips and a gully for Skipper Strauss, and there's swingage straight away for Hilfers - bending in to the leftie and getting an inside edge onto the front pad. Whooah - what happened there? Hilfers lost the ball somewhere in his arc, and it disappeared backwards while everyone panicked that their eyes had packed in. Watchful from Strauss as the ball continues to bend like a banana.

1152: Here come the players, the strains of Jerusalem echoing round the rapidly-filling ground. Hilfenhaus to open against Strauss, I'd say...

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett on Twitter: "Australia's bowlers getting quite a lot of swing as they warm up. We've got a fascinating hour coming up."

1140: Definition of a good day at the cricket: smuggling two bottles of Chilean Merlot in an old Vimto bottle into the ground. You know who you are. Definition of a bad day: taking a day off work, smashing out £50 on a return train ticket to Birmingham and then watching it batter down with rain all day while repeatedly having to tell four Brummies that just because you've got bleached hair and an earring it doesn't necessarily mean you're Australian.

1130: I'm not going to mess about - the biblical downpours of Saturday have abated, the groundstaff have mopped like maniacs and the umpires ruminated with positive results - we'll be up and running at midday. Lunch at the usual time - can't interrupt the best-laid tables of man, of course - with tea from 1610-1630, and the evening session extended to two and a half hours should light permit.

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Live Scores - England v Australia


  • England drew with Australia
  • England: 376 (93.3 overs)
  • Australia: 263 & 375-5 (112.2 overs)

Australia 2nd Innings

Player outReason Bowledby Runs
Total for 5 375
Watson c Prior b Anderson 53
Katich c Prior b Onions 26
Ponting b Swann 5
Hussey c Prior b Broad 64
Clarke not out 103
North c Anderson b Broad 96
Manou not out 13
Extras 3nb 2w 4b 6lb 15

see also
England v Australia photos
02 Aug 09 |  Cricket
England set up chance of victory
02 Aug 09 |  England
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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