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Jonathan Agnew column

Swann celebrates his brilliant dismissal of Ponting
Swann celebrates his brilliant dismissal of Ponting

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

In spite of the time lost to rain, only England can win this Test.

The pitch is slow, but the occasional ball is bouncing more than the batsmen expect.

Swing has been the key so far, but it has been missing throughout Australia's second innings so Graeme Swann might be crucial as England press for their second victory.

Indeed, his dismissal of Ricky Ponting for five with a classic piece of off-spin bowling will have boosted his confidence no end.

It was at Edgbaston in 2005 that England discovered the need to attack Australia, and the batsmen repeated the treatment again after lunch on the fourth day when the bowlers were put to the sword.

Stuart Broad played some majestic shots while rattling up his fourth Test fifty and enjoyed some cracking nose-to-nose encounters with Johnson

Matt Prior and Andrew Flintoff were in irrepressible form, cheered on by a boisterous and partisan crowd and helped by a blunder by Ricky Ponting.

Having bowled Ben Hilfenhaus to the point of exhaustion from the City End, Ponting had the option of recalling the under-bowled Mitchell Johnson but instead opted for Shane Watson.

Looking anything but fit, Watson bowled three overs of gentle rubbish which was punished for 23 runs and got Flintoff going.

Nathan Hauritz replaced him and was hit for a towering six - it was the start of the onslaught that produced 157 runs in just 32 overs between lunch and tea.

Flintoff's 74 came from 79 balls and Prior's 41 from 59. Flintoff, whose batting played a key role in the famous victory here four years ago, seemed destined for his first first-class hundred since his century at Trent Bridge in that series.

It really was there for the taking until he tried to ignore a delivery from the off-spinner, Hauritz which leapt out of the rough, struck Flintoff's glove and lobbed to slip.

The momentum remained with England after the break when Graeme Swann slogged 24 from 19 balls and Ponting then knew he had lost control of the game.

Stuart Broad played some majestic shots while rattling up his fourth Test fifty and enjoyed some cracking nose-to-nose encounters with Johnson as England rapidly built their lead.

James Anderson and Flintoff gave it their all with the new ball and Anderson beat the bat a number of times without finding the edge, but Simon Katich did not look comfortable.

Graham Onions replaced Flintoff, and Katich quickly edged him to Prior to get England on their way.

Next over, Swann tossed up a ball outside Ponting's off stump which the Australian captain tried to push/drive to mid off.

Opened up, the ball spun between his bat and pad, hit middle and leg and Edgbaston erupted.



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see also
England set up chance of victory
02 Aug 09 |  England
Flintoff eyes Edgbaston victory
03 Aug 09 |  England
England v Australia photos
02 Aug 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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