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Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 18:18 UK

Aussies defy England to earn draw

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston (day five):
England 376 drew with Australia 263 & 375-5
Match scorecard

By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at Edgbaston

Michael Clarke
Clarke won the man-of-the-match award after scoring the only century

England were forced to settle for a draw at the rain-hit Edgbaston Test and will move on to Headingley on Friday with a 1-0 lead.

Michael Clarke (103 not out) and Marcus North (96) came together before lunch with Australia in a precarious position, four wickets down in their second innings and only 48 runs ahead.

But after Shane Watson (53) and Michael Hussey (64) had been dismissed in the morning session, Clarke and North put on 185 for the fifth wicket in 50 overs to shut the door firmly on England's victory bid.

The match ended with Australia, who resisted the temptation to have a crack at England's batsmen, leading by 262 on 375-5 when the captains agreed on an early draw at 1750 BST, with 13.4 overs remaining in the day.

OLIVER BRETT'S BLOG
Oliver Brett

Clarke, with his second century of the series, again proved the biggest obstacle for England to shift - and whereas at Lord's he was finally dismissed, here he was undefeated for 192 balls and 283 minutes, in which he hit 14 fours.

He had two massive bits of luck in the 90s as he tortuously moved towards his century, Stuart Broad shaving his stumps with a ball that failed to dislodge the bails and Ravi Bopara having him caught at gully on 96, but off a no-ball.

With Australia 88-2 overnight, still trailing by 25 runs, the fans came expectantly in their thousands - and made it the first ever sell-out for the final day of a Test match in Birmingham.

After most of Thursday and the whole of Saturday had been lost to rain, there were no interruptions on Monday - but England's bowlers were not at their very best.

Andrew Flintoff
As ever Flintoff gave a wholehearted performance but went wicketless

Australia batted well, there was little swing on offer, and the wicket played pretty flat.

Watson was 34 and Hussey 18 when play started, and Andrew Flintoff bowled brilliantly early on at the left-handed Hussey, without any luck.

The deficit had been wiped out when Flintoff beat Hussey's outside edge for the fifth time in the day, and when the left-hander cut the disappointing Graeme Swann for four Australia nudged into the lead.

Flintoff had mostly been bowling at Hussey all morning, but now had Watson in his sights, and struck the right-hander flush on an unprotected forearm. Bravely, Watson played out the rest of a testing over impeccably.

Strauss upbeat despite stalemate

On the hour mark, the all-rounder moved to his second half-century of the match by flogging a full-toss off Swann through the covers for four.

Finally James Anderson, England's outstanding bowler of the series, was permitted to have a bowl and struck in his first over - a hint of outswing, a thin edge from Watson, and an easy catch for Matt Prior.

Hussey continued to play well, hitting a short ball from Swann through the on-side for his 10th four, taking him to his fifty.

With England seeking further inspiration, Broad was given a ball that was 50 overs old for his first bowl of the innings. He began with a half-volley driven to the extra-cover fence for four by Hussey.

But he was much better in his second over, and the first ball from round the wicket was sent down in the perfect channel outside Hussey's off-stump and just caught the edge.

606: DEBATE
The Eternal Optimist

At lunch Australia were 172-4, ahead by 59, and Clarke and North - batting with the sun on their backs soon after the interval - made smooth progress after the interval to give their team further daylight.

Things quickly became fairly desperate for England, and Andrew Strauss asked Bopara to come into the attack with the score 219-4.

His second ball, an indifferent short-pitched delivery, was smashed by Clarke - on 38 at that point - to Strauss at short midwicket. But the skipper floored a tough chance, and one sensed the game was slipping away.

Though Swann was starting to find some rhythm, Clarke swept him cleverly in front of square for four to move into the 40s and North was also finding his range well.

England took the second new ball, but the atmosphere became very subdued as both batsmen reached their fifties and when tea came on 293-4, with Clarke 73 and North 64, it had been clear for some time that there could be no positive result.

Ponting takes the positives forward

Furthermore, Australia led by 180, so if another day had been available England might have been under pressure.

Swann came under attack from North after the interval, with Broad bowling well at the other end. The partnership stretched past 150, with Australia now cruising beyond 300.

The fun for the batsmen really started with Bopara's second spell, in which North struck three successive boundaries to reach 95. But he finally fell to a stunning catch in the gully by Anderson as Broad picked up a deserved second wicket.

The game would have ended earlier had not Clarke made such painful progress through the 90s, but he finally got to his century with a pull shot off Bopara and the players could concentrate on the fourth Test at Headingley.



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see also
Strauss frustrated by stalemate
03 Aug 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
03 Aug 09 |  England
England v Australia photos
03 Aug 09 |  Cricket
England set up chance of victory
02 Aug 09 |  England
Anderson haul puts England on top
31 Jul 09 |  England
England toil after weather delay
30 Jul 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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