England 425 (Strauss 161) & 311-6 (Prior 61)
Australia 215 (Hussey 51, Anderson 4-55)
Second Test, Lord's, day three: stumps
England laboured to bowl Australia out for 215 on day three at Lord's but decided against enforcing the follow-on, instead closing on 311 for six in their second innings, a lead of 521.
No team has ever chased down more than 418 to win a Test match and there are still two days of play remainnig at Lord's.
An over-reliance on bowling short to Nathan Hauritz (24) and Peter Siddle (35) did England no favours and offered the two batsmen the chance to score runs, most of them coming to the unmanned third man boundary, Stuart Broad especially culpable of leaking runs.
Siddle proved that he is a capable player, much in the mould of England's James Anderson, when he drove straight down the ground but the majority of the runs came through the gulley.
A couple of edges dropped short of Paul Collingwood at third slip and it took the introduction of Graham Onions to get the ball pitched up and that soon saw Hauritz nicking to Onions' Durham team-mate, who took a sharp catch at head height.
Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus, left unbeaten on six, frustrated England some more until Onions had Siddle caught at first slip by captain Andrew Strauss via a loose drive. Australia had failed to avoid the follow-on target, but that proved to be irrelevant as Strauss opted to bat again, which posed a question about why he didn't use Andrew Flintoff at all in the morning.
Strauss's attentions then turned to batting as he and Alastair Cook got England's second innings off to a steady start, Cook feasting on some consistently bad bowling from Mitchell Johnson to crack two boundaries early on.
Hilfenhaus was much better but Cook was confident enough to flay him over square cover when the Tasmanian overpitched outside off stump and even the introduction of Siddle failed to stem the flow of runs, the two left-handers bringing up their half-century partnership in just ten overs.
The afternoon session got underway with a frantic half-hour period which saw both men dismissed for 32 by Hauritz and Australia could have had Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara dismissed as well.
The off-spinner, still not fully recovered from the finger injury he picked up on day one, had Cook trapped in front playing back and Strauss snaffled at slip by Michael Clarke as he drove at a ball that pitched in the rough.
Pietersen was almost run out as he wandered out of his crease after a leg before appeal from Hilfenhaus and Bopara was dropped on nine, Siddle the bowler and on both occasions, Ponting was the fielder in question.
With neither men in any sort of form, and Pietersen struggling with an Achilles injury, runs came slowly after that but that was also due to much tighter bowling from Siddle, Hilfenhaus and to a degree Johnson.
Bopara survived a late scare when he pulled Johnson to Hauriz at mid-on but the catch was deemed not to have but he perished soon after the break when he chipped Hauritz to Simon Katich at short leg having made 27.
Pietersen showed some of his usual flamboyance and finished with five fours before he edged Siddle to Haddin, who took a sharp catch and from there on, England accelerated and Matthew Prior lit up the home of cricket with a dashing 37-ball half-century.
He swept and drove magnificently in making 61 in 42 deliveries before a direct hit from deep point by Marcus North saw him short of his ground but the momentum was continued by Paul Collingwood (54) and Andrew Flintoff (30 not out).
Collingwood scored his third half-century of the series before a thin edge offered Haddin another catch and Siddle another wicket. Broad made his way to the crease to start his innings to be greeted by the rest of the players leaving the pitch as rain brought about an early end to an entertaining day's play.
© Cricket World 2009