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  Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 09:59 GMT
Attack-minded Aussies win the day

The forecast is for unsettled weather over the next two days, but it will require more rain than the whole of South Australia has had this year to postpone Australia's victory for long.

In truth, it would be an unfair outcome if rain was to intervene.

Australia are simply too good, and Steve Waugh's men deserve their win.

One or two English tabloids are beginning to get stuck into the tourists.

Mark Butcher
Butcher walked in front of his stumps

But I would much prefer to dwell on the great strengths of the Australians who look to be unbeatable.

They never sit back and wait for things to happen.

Their game is based on attack, seizing the initiative and winning the psychological battle that, increasingly, cricket has become.

In bringing on Andy Bichel to bowl the last over of the third day, Waugh trounced Hussain in this department.

The batsmen remembered Bichel's dismissal of Michael Vaughan in the last over of the opening day which so spectacularly derailed England's first innings.

And Bichel remembered it too.

He came flying in and the delivery prior to the one that cleaned up Hussain came within a whisker of bowling him as well.

After such a long, hot day in the field in which the temperature passed 37 degrees, England were a collapse waiting to happen when Waugh declared with 13 overs to go.

Batting teams have absolutely nothing to win, and everything to lose in that situation.

Andy Bichel
Bichel's late introduction was inspired

And the moment Trescothick was nailed lbw by Gillespie in the second over England were in peril.

Butcher wandered straight in front of his stumps in the next McGrath over.

And things might have been even worse had Lehmann not spilled an offering by Vaughan to short leg.

Some headlines at home are suggesting that England are 'gutless', but the fielders and bowlers battled hard.

The game was already beyond them thanks to their collapse on the second morning.

But they made Ponting and Martyn work for every run in their record partnership of 242.

Back spasm

Caddick left the field with a back spasm which left even more responsibility on the youngsters - and Dawson, in particular.

He claimed his second wicket when Warne drove back a return catch, and Harmison was rewarded for 28 overs of hard work.

However, both Tests have taken a disturbingly similar course.

And on the evidence of what we have seen these last three weeks, I can't see how England will manage a single victory in this series.

All the reports from the Test match

Day four

Day three

Day two

Day one

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