5-0 well on the cards

The script writer for S.K. Warne continues to pen an action blockbuster, with his hero not only top scoring for Australia, but also claiming a vital wicket to set up what appears to be an historic 5-0 scoreline.

The only one that appears capable of upsetting King Warne is county team-mate Kevin Pietersen who finished the third day 29 not out.

Unfortunately with England 114-5, even the mercurial talents of Pietersen look unlikely to stop Australia sending her retirees off in style.

Things looked promising early on day three for England, with Mike Hussey failing to add to his overnight score falling to a catch at the wicket from the bowling of James Anderson.

The bowling at this stage was of high quality with Australia finding it hard to score, and Anderson in particular bowling very well. Almost as suddenly the home team launched a counter attack, this was momentarily halted when Monty Panesar ripped one through the defence of Andrew Symonds, bowling the big Queenslander two short of his fifty.

Warne then strode to the crease hitting Panesar for a boundary and a six off the first two balls he faced. Warne then appeared to edge the next ball to the keeper but was given not out.

This sparked a verbal battle between Warne and Paul Collingwood, with Warne questioning the MBE awarded to Collingwood after the 2005 Ashes series.

The umpires completed a poor day by giving Adam Gilchrist out caught at slip for 62. Having created a reputation for ‘walking’ Gilchrist looked shocked at the decision after he stood his ground.

So Australia went to lunch 325-7, after what was possibly the best session of the entire series.

After the resumption Warne continued to swing and found an able ally in Stuart Clark, but just as the crowd started to believe that Shane Warne would score that elusive Test ton, Clark was dismissed and Warne had to be content with his 71 as top score for the innings.

England were batting before tea chasing a first innings deficit of 102 and were in trouble early with Brett Lee claiming the wicket of Alastair Cook for just four. Shortly after Lee struck Andrew Strauss a sicking blow with a brutish bouncer. England went to tea at 43-1.

The felled opener bravely batted on but was later taken to hospital for x-rays after he was dismissed lbw by Stuart Clark for a gritty 24.

Lee then claimed Ian Bell for 28 who had looked in fine touch, at one stage hitting Lee for three consecutive boundaries.

Collingwood came to the crease and the Australians seemed to lift and after a torrid time he fell to Clark after a grand catch from Matthew Hayden in the gully.

Warne then struck a huge blow by dismissing a careless Andrew Flintoff, stumped for just seven, when he failed to keep part of his foot grounded behind the crease.

So day four all depends on Pietersen, if he falls early or runs out of partners, Australia looked set to equal the 5-0 record set by Warwick Armstrong’s team back in 1920/21.

England 291
Andrew Flintoff 89, Ian Bell 71
Stuart Clark 3-62, Glenn McGrath 3-67, Shane Warne 3-75

Australia 393
Shane Warne 71, Adam Gilchrist 62
James Anderson 3-98, Steve Harmison 2-80

England 114-5
Kevin Pietesen 29*, Monty Panesar 0*
Stuart Clark 2-29, Brett Lee 2-34

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