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Hoggard takes four wickets; Ponting reaches 33rd test hundred

Hoggard takes four wickets; Ponting reaches 33rd test hundred

Ricky Ponting reached his 33rd test century Sunday, persistently interrupted by Matthew Hoggard who took four wickets, as Australia sought parity with England on the third day of the second Ashes cricket test.
Hurried to the crease when Australia was 8 for 1 late Saturday, menaced by England's first innings of 551 for six declared, Ponting survived a scratchy start and a chance on 35 to bat for 353 minutes and to reach 142.
He shared a 192 run fourth-wicket partnership with Michael Hussey, who fell to Hoggard for 91, as Australia reached stumps at 312 for five, 239 runs behind England but only 40 from avoiding the follow on.
Ponting steered Australia away from potential calamity at 65 for three after Hoggard had removed Matthew Hayden for 12 and Damien Martyn for 11 in Sunday's first, eventful hour.
He linked with Hussey for 261 minutes, until the final session of the day and the arrival of the second new ball, before becoming Hoggard's third victim when he edged to wicketkeeper Geraint Jones.
Hussey followed soon after, bowled by Hoggard from the toe of his bat as he attempted to withdraw a tentative defensive prod. Australia was then 286 for five but Michael Clarke reached 30 not out and Adam Gilchrist 13 not out in an partnership which held Australia's hopes for further revival on the fourth day.
Hoggard used accuracy, and an ability to tease some movement from a grudging pitch, to remove four Australian batsmen Sunday and to give England a slight upper hand in a match still dictated by the toss.
He had Hayden caught by Jones at 35 for two and Martyn caught by Ian Bell at 65 for three and he could have had Ponting out when he was only 35 and when Ashley Giles, at deep square leg, dropped a catch from a skied pull shot.
That shot, and a misjudged run which almost saw Ponting run out at the non-strikers' end by Paul Collingwood's throw from midwicket, were Ponting's only errors Sunday. Giles' error, in putting down Ponting when Australia was 78 for three, was far more serious and might be pivotal in the match and series.
Had the catch been taken, Australia would have been under huge pressure with four wickets down, its best batsman out and more than 270 runs needed to avoid the follow on. Instead, Australia was able to bat itself into a position to pass the follow on in the first hour Monday and to attempt to turn pressure onto England.
Ponting was awake to the possibility of declaring behind on the fourth day, to impose on England the ultimate decision about how the match might proceed. One down in the series after their 277-run first test loss at Brisbane, England might feel compelled to press for victory.
"We might do that," Ponting said. "If we lose early wickets in the morning that's probably what we'll have to do.
"We've still got Brett (Lee) and (Shane) Warne to come, who are pretty capable and will be more than capable on that sort of wicket.
"There's not much happening out there for the seamers and there's certainly not much for the spinners either."
The Adelaide pitch has offered little to the bowlers over the first three days and Hoggard has been the only bowler, with four for 76, to prosper.
But the pitch might break up on the last two days and in those conditions Shane Warne, who took one for 167 in England's first innings, becomes more dangerous.
"There'd be a lot there for Shane," Ponting said. "We've seen in the first two days he's spun the ball quite a bit, so that's probably the best chance.
"There hasn't been much variation in the bounce for the quicks and generally here in Adelaide that's what starts to go."
Hoggard was hopeful that England could take some of the initiative in the first hour Monday.
"I don't think the noose is quite tight at the moment," he said. "It's taking a long time to bowl people out.
"We've had 11 wickets now in three days and there's two days left, so I don't think it's going to be a massive disappointment if we don't win from here."


Updated : 2021-10-16 18:04 GMT+08:00