Ashes 2009: Clarke And Haddin Launch Fightback

Ashes 2009: Clarke Keeps Australian Hopes Alive
Ashes 2009: Clarke Keeps Australian Hopes Alive
©Action Images / Scott Heavey Livepic
Ashes 2009: Clarke Keeps Australian Hopes Alive
Ashes 2009: England Declare And Remove Openers
©Action Images / Scott Heavey Livepic

England 425 (Strauss 161) & 311-6  dec. (Prior 61) v
Australia 215 & 313-5 (Clarke 125no, Haddin 80no)

Second Test, Lord's, day four: stumps

An unbroken 185-run partnership between Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin frustrated England as they pushed for victory on day four of the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

Clarke, unbeaten on 125, and Haddin, not out on 80, came together with the score on 128 for five and advanced Australia's score to 313 for five when they took the offer of bad light late in the day.

Australia were set 522 to win after England declared on their overnight score of 311 for six.

At lunch, the Australians had lost openers Simon Katich (6) and Phillip Hughes (17) and they lost three more wickets after the first break as England sensed an early win.

England came out after the delay looking hungry to end a record of never having beaten Australia at Lord's since 1934 and they didn't have to wait long for the first wicket.

Katich drove one ball fluently through the covers for a boundary but trying a repeat he failed to keep the ball down and skewed Andrew Flintoff to Kevin Pietersen in the gully.

Hughes was again severely tested by some short bowling and shortly after he was dropped at second slip by Flintoff to deny his new ball partner James Anderson a wicket, soon after, Flintoff induced an edge which was taken by Andrew Strauss at first slip.

Hughes and Strauss were happy that the ball had carried but Ricky Ponting was less so, urging Hughes to hand on befoe umpires Rudi Koertzen and Billy Doctrove decided that the catch was good. Replays suggested that had it gone upstairs to the third umpire, he may have had to give it not out.

As for Katich, it was clear from replays that Flintoff had bowled a no ball and although Ponting survived a rap on the fingers from Anderson, he grew in confidence, striking some typically dismissive boundaries through the leg side.

If the first two dismissals were controversial, there was no doubt about the third, Ponting's stumps being disturbed as he tried to cut Stuart Broad, playing on to give the bowler his 50th Test success. The captain had made 38, falling just seven minutes into the session.

Michael Hussey and Clarke began to rebuild, Clarke unleashing a series of stunning shots through the off side that belied the precarious position Australia found themselves in and that position got worse when Hussey was given out caught at slip for 27 and Marcus North was bowled for six, on both occasions off-spinner Graeme Swann the man doing the bowling.

Hussey also had reason to be disappointed as replays showed he had not hit the ball, his bat hitting the ground making enough sound to convince the umpire that it was out.

The Umpire Decision Review System cannot come quickly enough for Australia but there was nothing to review about North's dismissal, deceived by a quicker, straighter delivery that crashed into his stumps.

Clarke reached a stroke-filled half-century in just 58 balls, never looking anything less than comfortable and assured despite some consistently hostile bowling from Flintoff.

Clarke and Haddin then dominated the afternoon session as nothing the England bowlers tried got them another breakthrough. Clarke continued to drive the fast men with style and precision and used his feet to negate the threat of Swann while Haddin, just as Ponting did earlier in the day, he grew in confidence and by the end of the day was matching Clarke stroke for stroke.

The new ball offered England a chance to regroup, and although a few edges flew past or over the slip cordon, Clarke and Haddin continued their progress.

Clarke reached his 11th Test century, his third in an Ashes Test but first in England and at Lord's, with a clip through the on side.

The series is level 0-0 after England secured a draw with a last-day batting rearguard in Cardiff and Australia will have to either smash the world record for a run chase in Test cricket (418) or bat for two full days to save the game.

England reached 425 in their first innings, Andrew Strauss scoring 161 before bowling Australia out for 215 and deciding against enforcing the follow-on.

© Cricket World 2009