Shamik Das


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rope-a-dope Ricky floors Flintoff

The chance of glory was a million-to-one shot

Adelaide, Second Test, Fifth Day: Australia 513 & 168/4 (Hussey 61*, Ponting 49) beat England 551/6 dec. & 129 (Warne 4-49) by six wickets

Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne hailed as "the best Test ever" Australia's remarkable victory at the Adelaide Oval in one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time.

A whole host of records were shattered as Australia turned round a 38 run 1st innings deficit to win with just 19 balls to spare and claim a crucial 2-0 lead in the series.

England's first innings score of 551 for six was the biggest losing score for a team batting first and declaring in the 130 year history of Test cricket.

The Ashes now appear all but certain to return down under with England needing at the very least to gain parity from two Tests down, something they've never done against Australia.

Ian Bell's calamitous run-out at the hands of Shane Warne

The defining moment of the final day - the moment of madness that precipitated England's dramatic decline - was the needless run out of Ian Bell, followed closely by Shane Warne bowling Kevin Pietersen round his legs for just two.

In all England lost their last nine wickets for a pitiful 60 runs, the middle order collapsing as four wickets (Strauss, Bell, Pietersen and Flintoff) fell for only eight runs.

Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting glory in England's demise    Michael Hussey punches the air to celebrate scoring the winning runs for Australia

Key to the challengers' success was the bowling of Shane Warne - not just his wickets but his economy rate as well - 4-49 from 32 overs. Glen McGrath also proved the doubters wrong, picking up two wickets and going for just 1.5 an over.

Thus the Australians had picked themselves up off the canvas, out-psyched England asking "is that all you've got?" and rolled them over to place one hand firmly on the urn.

Catch the final day's highlights tonight on BBC Two at 11:20pm.

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