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   Sunday, 5 January, 2003, 10:27 GMT
Patience will reward England
Jonathan Agnew

England are on the threshold of a memorable victory having comprehensively outplayed Australia for the majority of this match.

For Steve Waugh's team, the rapidly evaporating dream of taking the series with a five-nil whitewash appears too hard to take.

It is to be hoped Australia behave with a little more dignity and respect should they lose

Matthew Hayden was summoned to the referee's room after play to explain how a window in the Australian dressing room came to be smashed shortly after his dismissal.

And, unusually, nobody from the home camp appeared at the close-of-play press conference.

They would do well to reflect on Nasser Hussain's honest and gracious behaviour following the overwhelming defeats he has suffered at their hands throughout this summer.

Hayden might have been disappointed with the lbw decision that went against him: it was borderline, nothing more.

Matthew Hoggard celebrates the dismissal of Matthew Hayden
Hayden was dumbfounded at his dismissal

Justin Langer's was far worse - the ball pitched well outside the line of leg stump - and Michael Vaughan also received a dreadful decision when his magnificent innings was cut short at 183.

One day he will reach his double century and then someone will pay!

This match has been a triumph for England, but there is still the small matter of seven wickets to claim.

Caddick and Hoggard both looked threatening on the deteriorating surface, but Harmison was dreadfully inaccurate once again.

There is the touch of Devon Malcolm about Harmison in that he does not really seem sure where the ball will go.

Accuracy can still be developed through hard work and although Malcolm remained a scattergun throughout his international career, there is no reason why Harmison should not become more reliable.

England fans could finally have something to celebrate
England fans could finally have something to celebrate

Because their resources are limited, England need to make inroads quickly on the fifth morning.

It seems inconceivable that Australia can score the 361 more runs they need to win - even though they have Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist still to bat.

However, the Australians can still frustrate England who will be throwing everything into the morning session.

They need to guard against becoming panic-stricken if wickets do not fall, and do nothing more than depend on the basics of bowling straight and catching well.

If enough deliveries land in the right place, England will win the game but tension will run high if the partnership between Bichel and Martyn remains unbroken after lunch.

All the reports from the Test match

Day five

Day four

Day three

Day two

Day one

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See also:

03 Jan 03 | The Ashes
21 Nov 02 | The Ashes
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