|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Player:||MS Panesar, JM Anderson, AJ Strauss, GP Swann, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2009|
DateLine: 12th July 2009
There was a lot of talk about the two teams inability to deliver a good Ashes script without some of the big artists. But all that talk was proven farce by some great bowling to start off from a depleted and underestimated Australian bowling attack and then exceptional and terrific display of grit and determination by Paul Collingwood, very ably supported by the English tail. Finally in a pretty justified manner England drew the game after a nerve wrecking last couple of hours.
Collingwood had spoken earlier about application from the batsmen to save the game and he showed just that. For someone who leads this side in the shortest format of the game, batting for a period of six hours were for most part he had to just defend and leave the ball had to be difficult, but he proved a tough nut to crack and stood like a wall between Australia and victory.
The English tail including that of Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Monty Panesar amongst themselves knocked away more than double the deliveries faced by the top four of the batting order and made sure Australia do not run away with a lead to the second Test at Lords.
Earlier in the morning after the game resumed with England two down and 220 runs still needed to be scored by them to make Australia bat again, Pietersen fell to a shocker of a shot. In fact there wasn't a shot offered by him to a straight one which hardly did anything in the air or off the pitch. It seemed the altercation that Pietersen had with the Aussie players during nets in the morning was still riding high on his mind and the right-hander was under pressure because of that.
He looked patchy during his brief stay at the crease this morning, edging Johnson short of second slip and also once drove uppishly past extra cover to suggest a man not at one with his game. The Aussies though had nothing to complain because this was the kind of opening they needed and Hilfenhaus and mates were visibly elated at KP's fall.
Then Nathan Hauritz, probably the most written off spinner in the last decade or so, claimed two wickets on the final morning at Cardiff. His scalps included that of Andrew Strauss and Mattt Prior and the wickets then left England staring at deafeat floundering on 102 for 5 at the time of lunch.
England batsmen had only themselves to blame for the fall of wickets. Though Hauritz garnered great spin and bowled in good areas, some of the shot selection raised plenty of questions. Strauss tried to cut one which was too close to the body and only managed to edge one to Haddin and then Prior played a further poor shot knicking one to Michael Clarke at first slip. The ball bounced off the rough and the wicketkeeper batsman tried to cut it and was decieved by the extra bounce.
The two batsman who entered the lunch break were Paul Collingwood and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. Though Paul Collingwood also had problems against Hauritz but unlike his team-mates he managed to survive through grit and determination. Post lunch also the two played for a good 50 minutes before being separated. Flintoff though looked in trouble always since saving a game via batting did not look like his cup of tea. He finally prodded forward meekly and weakly to one from Johnson which held its line and the edge just carried to Ponting, low at second slip.
England lower middle-order though did not give up. In came Stuart Broad and played 47 deliveries for his 14, adding 32 with Collingwood. He then fell plumb-in-front to Hauritz who looked a much improved bowler and the best spinner on view in the game, on a crumbled track.
The resistance though continued in the form of Graeme Swann. The off-spinner took blows on his body but did not give an inch. In fact in one hostile over by Peter Siddle, he was hit thrice, including blows on his wrist and elbow. An altercation followed between the batsman and the bowler where both did not give the other any advantage.
The resistance continued even after the new ball was taken. It hardly made any difference as the duo raised the 50-run stand in 98 balls. Finally what the new ball and Aussie bowlers failed to, Swann helped them in doing. He tried to pull short delivery from Hilfenhaus but the ball did not rise as much as he would have preferred. He was caught right in front of his stumps and the umpire had no problem in raising his finger.
Then Collingwood and James Anderson thwarted the inevitable for another seven overs but the first mistake made by Paul Collingwood proved to be his nemesis. After a monumental 245 balls and almost six hours on the pitch the right-hander tried to force one from Siddle off the back foot, but could only edge it high to Hussey at gully who juggled once but took a good one over his head. But England's last wicket pair of Mony Panesar and Anderson made sure Collingwood's effort don't go for a waste. The duo batted in an astounding display of batsmanship padding and batting away the last 11 overs, salvaging England the much needed draw.