Australia 238 for 4:
Aussie setback as Clarke falls
Australia suffered a massive blow with the loss of key batsman
Michael Clarke in the final over Monday to leave them facing an uphill
battle to salvage the second Test against England at the Adelaide Oval.
Clarke looked on track to go to stumps leading a fighting vanguard
only to fall to a catch close to the wicket off part-time spinner Kevin
Pietersen with four balls left of the fourth day.
Clarke had appeared to have recaptured his best form after cheap
dismissals in Brisbane and the Adelaide first innings before he was out
At stumps, Australia, chasing 375 runs to save the Test, were 238 for
four with Mike Hussey the not out batsman on 44.
The Australian vice-captain went to the crease under pressure
following scores of nine and two and his team needing him to produce a
long match-saving innings against dominant England, who are chasing
their first Adelaide win since 1995.
Rain might yet help Australia’s rearguard after a storm suspended
play for an hour after tea with more bad weather forecast for Tuesday’s
final day. Top-rated spinner Graeme Swann proved the major threat with
his sharp turn out of the rough and captured the key wickets of Simon
Katich and Ricky Ponting.
Katich’s painful resistance ended in the 30th over, when he pushed
forward to Swann and got a touch for wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
The stoic left-hander battled a painful Achilles injury and hobbled
for his 43 off 85 balls to help put on 84 for the opening stand.
Swann got Ponting’s prized wicket when the Aussie skipper came
forward and edged to slip, where Paul Collingwood snapped up a great low
It was a huge setback for the Australians, with Ponting lasting only
21 minutes for his nine when occupation was more important than runs.
Opener Shane Watson again failed to go on after a good start when he
nicked Steven Finn to Andrew Strauss at first slip for 57.
England amassed their fifth highest innings in Ashes Tests and their
second best in Australia, only surpassed by a 636 scored in Sydney in
Skipper Strauss finally called a halt to the run onslaught at 620 for
five with Ian Bell unbeaten on 68 and wicketkeeper Matt Prior not out
The tourists lost only the wicket of Pietersen for his Test best
score of 227 in the 40 minutes of free scoring, in which they added 69
off nine overs. Pietersen smashed beleaguered spinner Xavier Doherty’s
first ball of the day through midwicket for four but went for a lusty
swing at the next ball which turned sharply out of the rough to Katich