Pietersen superb at both ends

2010-12-07 00:00

ADELAIDE — Kevin Pietersen took centre stage at both ends of the fourth day of the second Ashes Test yesterday by following a career-best batting performance with a key Australian wicket.

Pietersen added the final flourish to a magisterial double hundred in the morning sun before he was dismissed for 227 as England accumulated a huge first inning total of 620 for five declared. He then returned in the gloaming to remove vice-captain Michael Clarke with the last ball of the day for 80.

Australia go into the final day on 238 for four with their last two recognised batsmen at the crease and 137 needed to make England bat again.

Their main hope of forcing a draw is the weather, with heavy storms forecast. Rain stopped play for just under an hour in the third session yesterday.

Graeme Swann, the world’s top-ranked spinner, took two wickets, including Ricky Ponting for nine, following the Australian captain’s golden duck in the first innings.

Pietersen then accounted for Clarke with his part-time off-spin.

“It’s a massive bonus for us,” Swann said. “Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration and who better to deliver it than KP?

“We love KP, especially when he’s got a double century and gets their best player of spin out.”

Mike Hussey and Clarke fought a desperate rearguard action for the hosts throughout the latter part of the rain-disrupted third session and the pair looked set to resume their partnership on the final day until Pietersen came on to bowl.

Clarke, who had made a solid 80, initially walked when Alastair Cook took the catch at short-leg, but returned to his crease when the umpire failed to give him out.

England requested a review and, to the delight of the massed ranks of the “Barmy Army” on the grass bank under the scoreboard, Clarke was walking again when the pictures clearly showed the ball hit the face of his bat.

“Just want to apologise for not walking off the ground tonight when I hit the ball. I was just so disappointed, my emotions got best of me,” Clarke posted on his Twitter page.

Hussey, who will resume on 44 not out alongside Marcus North in the morning, said it had been a big psychological blow for a team already reeling after being outplayed for four days.

“It was a bit of a kick in the guts to lose that last one,” said Hussey. “[Clarke’s] pretty distraught, it was a real sombre way to finish the day for us.”

England added 69 runs in nine overs in the morning session with Ian Bell hitting a sublime six on his way to 68 not out and Matt Prior adding an unbeaten 27 after being saved from an lbw dismissal by a television review.

England’s total was the third highest Test tally at the Adelaide Oval and their second best Ashes total in Australia.

Shane Watson and Simon Katich steered Australia safely through to lunch before off-spinner Swann struck after the break.

Katich (43), who had hobbled throughout his innings because of an Achilles heel injury and who now is a major doubt for the third Test in Perth, got a faint outside edge that wicketkeeper Matt Prior snaffled.

Ponting, playing in his 150th Test, lasted just 21 minutes before getting a thick edge to Paul Collingwood at first slip.

After Watson’s departure, caught by England skipper Andrew Strauss off Steven Finn for 57, Australia’s hopes were in the hands of Clarke, Hussey, North, Brad Haddin and the weather.

“A couple of hours of rain will help our cause, but we’ve got to try and hang in there as long as we can,” said Hussey.

“Certainly, if we can draw the match, England will see that as a loss and that will be driving us.”

 

 

Scoreboard at the close of play on the fourth day

Australia won the toss and chose to bat

 

Australia first innings 245 (M. Hussey 93, B. Haddin 56,

S. Watson 51; J. Anderson (4-51)

 

England first innings (overnight 551-4)

A. Strauss b Bollinger 1

A. Cook c Haddin b Harris 148

J. Trott c Clarke b Harris 78

K. Pietersen c Katich b Doherty 227

P. Collingwood lbw Watson 42

I. Bell not out 68

M. Prior not out 27

Extras (lb-13, w-8, b-8) 29

Total (for five wickets declared, 152 overs) 620

Fall of wicket: 1-3 2-176 3-351 4-452 5-568

Did not bat: S. Broad, G. Swann, J. Anderson, S. Finn.

Bowling: Harris 29-5-84-2 (w-1), Bollinger 29-1-130-1

(w-6), Siddle 30-3-121-0 (w-1), Watson 19-7-44-1, Doherty 27-3-158-1, North 18-0-62-0

 

Australia second innings

S. Watson c Strauss b Finn 57

S. Katich c Prior b Swann 43

R. Ponting c Collingwood b Swann 9

M. Clarke c Cook b Pietersen 80

M. Hussey not out 44

M. North not out 0

Extras (1b-1, b-1) 5

Total (for four wickets, 79.2 overs) 238

Fall of wickets: 1-84 2-98 3-134 4-238

To bat: B. Haddin, R. Harris, X. Doherty, P. Siddle, D. Bollinger

Bowling (to date): Anderson 15-3-70-0, Broad 11-3-32-0,

Swann 34-10-72-2, Finn 14-2-41-1, Pietersen 1.2-0-5-1

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