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Monday, August 15, 2005

Eng Australia - 3rd test - another nailbiter

If you thought that the second Ashes test match at Edgbaston was one of the best seen in recent history, you will have to think again. The recently concluded 3rd test match at Old Trafford probably equalled the previous test match, if not bettered it. In a test match, where England held the trump card right from Day 1, the last day's play was probably the most intriguing seen in recent times.

England had set Australia a mammoth score of 433 to win in the final innings - in reply, Australia saw off the last 30 minutes of play on the 4th day without any damage and ended up on 25 for no loss. Day 5 began in the most dramatic fashion - Langer fell in the very second over of the day and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day. England kept on applying relentless pressure on Australia by taking wickets at regular intervals. But the Aussies managed to stand firm, thanks mainly to a brilliant and courageous 160 from their captain Ricky Ponting. Surely, this innings must rank as one of his very best. Pointing was the 9th man out and when he was out, England must have felt that they had already won the game. There were 24 balls to be bowled and the last pair was at the crease and one of the batsman was McGrath ! Surely, any team must have fancied a chance to wrap up the game. What followed was a tense 4 overs in which the Aussies - Brett Lee and McGrath played sensibly - left the balls outside, defended the balls on the bat and did not do anything silly. Of course, England tried all they could without any luck. In the end, the match ended in a pulsating draw and it was remarkable to see the Aussies celebrating the draw. This has given them the breathing space that they need before the last 2 tests come up. The series is interestingly poised at 1-1 and it remains to be seen which of the 2 sides emerges the stronger amongst them when they cross swords once again in the 4th test at Trent Bridge.

Cheers !

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