Ashes: Last ball drama keeps England in hunt in Adelaide

By Will Turner
kevin pietersen
(Photo: Dees Chinniah)

kevin pietersen

Kevin Pietersen struck with the final ball of the day to keep England on target for victory in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

Michael Clarke was caught at short leg as Australia ended 137 runs behind England with six wickets remaining.

England declared during the morning session on 620-5—a lead of 375—with Pietersen out for 226 and Ian Bell unbeaten on 68.

Shane Watson (57) and Michael Clarke (80) were the main causes of frustration as they pushed for the illusive victory.

With no overnight declaration Pietersen and Bell set about a quick extension of the first-innings lead. England’s double centurion surpassed his highest Test score before edging Xavier Doherty to slip.

Bell and Matt Prior then kept up the charge with a quick-fire 52-run partnership from just 34 balls as England passed 600 for only the second time since World War Two.

Strauss called his men in with a 375-run lead, Bell 68 not out and Prior unbeaten on 27 with England closing on 620-5.

But Australia began well in response, scoring at over five runs an over despite some seam movement from both James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

The 50 partnership was soon reached and Graeme Swann was soon introduced and immediate found good spin out of the growing rough areas. However, the Australia pair remained unbeaten at the lunch break.

Soon after the restart Swann got the crucial breakthrough as sharp spin away from Simon Katich took his edge.

Ricky Ponting was soon in the thick of it, lunging with hard hands to a rejuvenated Swann. The Australia skipper appeared to have settled after a tough start but straight after sweeping Swann for four he edged to Paul Collingwood who grabbed a good low catch.

Watson brought up his 50 with a delightful on drive but he was unable kick on from here as Steven Finn forced the Australia opener into gifting Strauss a catch at slip.

Swann continually challenged Clarke who battled to his 50 alongside Michael Hussey who kept up his fine form to end the day unbeaten on 44.

It appeared that there would be no further breakthrough until Pietersen was thrown the ball for two overs. With the last ball of the day Pietersen found spin out of the rough which ballooned off the thigh of Clarke via an inside edge. It was a timely lift for the tourists as Australia ended the day on 238-4.

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