|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Player:||KP Pietersen, G Onions, MJ Prior, MG Johnson, RT Ponting|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2009|
DateLine: 18th July 2009
England continued their domination of the Lord's Test as they by the end of third day were leading by 521 runs and looked in complete control of the game. Another rollicking batting display which saw the home team scale up 311 in a mere 71 overs, again at more than 4 runs per over after something similar in the first innings, badly exposed the shortcomings of the Australian bowling attack.
Measured performances with the bat by Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara after another good opening stand by Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook built the foundation of a good total and then aggressive, swashbuckling batting from Matt Prior, Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff made sure England finish day Three on a high and don't squander even an inch to the Aussies.
Earlier in the day, England closed the Aussie innings 210 runs short of their score. This though did not happen instantly as Nathan Hauritz and Peter Siddle seemed to have learned something from their English counterparts. They added 44 runs for the ninth wicket and ironically this was the second highest partnership in the entire Aussie innings.
It was Hauritz who first flashed at Onions' third delivery of the day and was caught by Paul Collingwood at third slip for 24. He till then had showed immense courage considering he was batting with a dislocated finger on his right hand. His discomfort was clearly visible as he withdrew his hand from the bat shortly after making contact, but even with pain held firm for 47 balls and 67 minutes.
Then Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus took Australia within 10 runs of the follow-on target, before Siddle was scalped by Onions for 35. Onions finished the innings with figures of 3 for 41 from 11 overs including 2 for 9 on Saturday. In total, Australia added 59 runs from 14 overs on the third morning.
England then started their run chase looking in a hurry. They accelerated to 57 for no wicket by lunch and already had a lead of 267 runs. Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, contined their good form after the historic first-innings partnership. They hardly had any problems in the 13 overs before lunch and were again helped by Mitchell Johnson who with his erratic ways looked the third best bowler in the three men Aussie seam attack, though being ranked third in the world currently. His spell in the hour before lunch read an unimpressive 3-0-17-0.
Post lunch Australia could have done a lot better had they made use of all the chances that come their way. It started off as they would have liked. Nathan Hauritz struck twice in the distance of 13 overs to remove both openers Strauss and Cook.
Cook fell to an excellent full delivery which turned just enough on the batsmen as his head fell over and the ball looked to hit the middle-and-leg. Strauss fell victim to a classical offspinner delivery. Hauritz sorted his line and started flighting the ball much closer to the off stump. This drew the England skipper into a drive and the ball took the edge and Michael Clarke made no mistake at first slip.
Then three events happened which could have changed the course of the game. First within a span of five deliveries the Aussie skipper gave away two chances that could have dismissed both the batsmen at the crease. Ponting missed a simple run-out chance of Kevin Pietersen standing at second slip. In the next over, it can be guessed that the missed chance was running high on his mind and he dropped a further easy chance of Bopara off the bowling of Peter Siddle.
Two wickets in two overs could well have brought Australia back in the game but such was their luck than even when Hauritz claimed a catch off Ravi Bopara at mid-on, Koertzen referred to the third umpire and Nigel Llong, found replays to be inconclusive and Bopara was let-off. Ponting had no qualms in showing his displeasure as he addressed the umpire, and then Pietersen personally after the verdict.
The afternoon session also thus belonged to the hosts as despite the loss of two quick wickets after lunch the Englishmen compiled 73 runs in 27 overs without any further damage. But one thing that the Aussies could manage was that they stopped the free flow of runs and courtesy this even an otherwise swashbuckling Pietersen managed only 28 not out from 73 deliveries at tea, while Bopara could get only 19 from 78 balls.
The last session also started off on a similar note to that of the second. Bopara (27) fell sooner as Hauritz decieved him by bowling three wide deliveries and then getting the fourth one a little closer to the body. Cramped for room, the right-hander could only glove it into short-leg's hands. Then Pietersen finally got out after a uncharacteristic patient stay at the crease. He went behind one which was short and outside off and got a thick inside edge which went to Haddin who took a very fine diving catch to his right.
In walked Matt Prior and quashed away all the thoughts of an Aussie comeback. He played like a man on a mission smashing Australian bowlers to all corners of the park. He was especially harsh on Hauritz. The right-hander made up for his failure in the first innings and smashed a 42 ball 61 studded with nine hits to the fence. His wicket needed something special and Marcus North provided just that. A magnificent throw from the ouftield by North after Prior drove one out to deep point and hared back for a second did him in. His wicket brought Andrew Flintoff on to the crease for what would be his last Test knock at the Mecca of cricket.
By now the plan was clear to throw the bat at whatever comes across. Fred started to bang Johnson for boundaries as the lead now scaled past the 500 mark. Boundaries and two's kept on coming as Australia seemed to resign at their fate. Then bad light and rain forced the players to walk away as umpires called it a day with England comfortably placed in the game.