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   Sunday, 5 January, 2003, 07:49 GMT
Victory in sight for England
Gilchrist and Vaughan
Michael Vaughan's purple patch continued
Final Ashes Test, Sydney. Day four (stumps). England 362 & 452-9d; Australia 363 & 91-3
Australia need 361 more to win

A brave unbeaten 49 from Andy Bichel late on Sunday took the gloss off another fine England performance in the final Ashes Test.

England still have an excellent chance of beating Australia on Monday but an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 66 between Bichel and Damien Martyn has kept them at bay.

Nasser Hussain finally declared the England innings on 452-9, setting Australia what would be a world record winning target, also 452, to win.

England's second innings was underpinned by another memorable innings from Michael Vaughan.

Vaughan finished on 183, and may have hit a double century had umpire Russell Tiffin not unfairly ruled him lbw to Bichel.

Later on, Justin Langer would also have cause to regret an erroneous Tiffin decision when his wicket spelt a slide to 25-3 by Australia.

England lost just one wicket before lunch - Hussain caught behind off Brett Lee for 72 - but four more in the second session as the scoring rate dipped.

The Vaughan-Hussain stand, an England record for the third wicket at Sydney, was worth 189.

When Lee took the second new ball, the wearing pitch suddenly began to misbehave.

A Bichel
Bichel did well with both bat and ball

Balls kept low or leapt right up, and with the second last ball before lunch Lee finally induced an edge from Hussain which just carried to Adam Gilchrist.

The misbehaving pitch saw the ends of Vaughan, Robert Key, John Crawley and Richard Dawson - the wickets shared between the three Aussie seamers.

Hussain kept delaying the declaration, allowing Alec Stewart (38 not out) and Steve Harmison to add an entertaining unbeaten 43 for the final wicket.

That seems to have put the match out of Australia's reach, though with Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist still to bat, the world champions cannot be ruled out.

After Caddick had removed Langer, England earned two further lbw decisions before Bichel and Martyn rescued the home team.

Matthew Hayden fell to a swinging delivery from Matthew Hoggard while Caddick nipped one back to trap Ricky Ponting.


Australia: SR Waugh (capt), JL Langer, ML Hayden, RT Ponting, DR Martyn, ML Love, AC Gilchrist (wkt), SCG MacGill, JN Gillespie, AJ Bichel, B Lee.

England: N Hussain (capt), ME Trescothick , MP Vaughan, MA Butcher, JP Crawley, RWT Key, AJ Stewart (wkt), J Foster (wkt), AR Caddick, MJ Hoggard, SJ Harmison, RKJ Dawson.

Umpires: DL Orchard (SA) & RB Tiffin (Zim)

3rd Umpire: S Taufel

Match referee: Wasim Raja (Pak)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Jonathan Agnew
"England are on the threshold of victory"
 England bowler Andy Caddick
"The pressure is on them"

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