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Monday, July 20, 2009

Clarke - Haddin partnership raises hopes of Aust win: Ashes 09 T2 D4

England 425 and 6/311 dec v Australia 215 and 5/313 (86 ov, M Clarke 125*, B Haddin 80*) Australia require another 209 runs with 5 wickets remaining . Ashes 09 T2 D4 at Lord's.

Thanks to Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin's unfinished 6th wicket partnership of 185 the second Test has gone into the fifth day and Australia against all expectations (and the run of the play) is still in with a chance. A slender chance yes, and one which I didn't expect to emerge from a disastrous Australian top order batting performance. Not to mention some poor umpiring: it beggars belief that a top international umpire could fail to pick up the palpable no ball with which Andrew Flintoff dismissed Simon Katich.

The stylish Clarke 125* (198b/ 13 x4) and the ebullient (and occasionally flashy) Haddin 80* (126b/10x4) batted superbly. They have set up another day's (or night's in these parts) mandatory viewing.

The key question is "can Australia win from here?" I don't think so: even if the pitch remains true it's asking a lot for the remaining batters to scrap (or, in Clarke's case, stroke) their
team to victory. But if they get within 100 runs that will show that the team is capable of landing a heavy punch on England.

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