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Monday, December 06, 2010

227 runs + 1 ball confirm Pietersen as Player of the Match: T2D4

Australia 245 & 4/238 (79.2 ov, M Clarke 80, S Watson 57) trail England 5/620 dec (152 ov, K Pietersen 227, A Cook 146, I Bell 68*) by 137 runs with 6 second inns wickets in hand.

England batted on this morning and declared with a lead of 375. Kevin Pietersen continued as he'd batted the day before and was eventually dismissed by the hapless Xavier Doherty for 227/308b (1x6, 33x4). This was an innings of tremendous class.

Australia's second innings started reasonably well despite Simon Katich's achilles heel problem which restricted his running between the wickets. 0/78 at lunch and a forecast of rain gave Australian supporters hope that a draw might not be out of the question.

But no. Graeme Swann struck twice, getting Katich caught behind for a valiant 43/85b (6x4) and Ricky Ponting, who'd started assertively, taken well at slip by Paul Collingwood. 2/98.

Michael Clarke joined Shane Watson and looked relatively comfortable, even though Swann was turning the ball. But it was Watson who fell for another score - 57/141b (10x4)- which, worthy though it was, disappointed because it seemed, yet again, that he'd laid the foundation of a much larger one.

Mike Hussey also looked solid when he joined Clarke. The forecast rain came in the form of a brief downpour which, unlike the previous day, didn't stop play for the day.

The players came back and the lights came on. Andrew Strauss opted, wisely given the deteriorating light, not to use his quicker bowlers (the new ball was available for one over) but turned to Kevin Pietersen. This proved to be a masterstroke as Pietersen had Clarke caught at short leg off the second ball of his second over.

Clarke's 80/139b (11x4) was his best innings for some time (he'd struggled in India and in this series so far). He first walked then, seeing that the umpire hadn't actually given him out, waited for the England players to obtain a review which confirmed his own initial reaction. Until then it seemed Australia had a fair to middling chance of saving the match. That may still happen, but it will require substantial interference from the weather, which, most unusually for Adelaide at this time of the year, may actually happen if the forecast isn't too wde of the mark.

But England deserve to win.


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