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Ashes: Bell, Pietersen guide England to 149-2

Ashes: Bell, Pietersen guide England to 149-2

Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen defied the Australian attack for almost the entire middle session in a 91-run partnership Tuesday, giving England a positive start to its bid to avoid a 5-0 Ashes series loss.
Bell was unbeaten on 58, his 11th test half century and fourth of the series, and guided England to 149 for two at tea on day one of the fifth test.
Pietersen was not out on 36, making much more of his elevation to No. 4 in the batting order than he did in the fourth test loss at Melbourne last week, when he was dismissed for one in the second innings.
He was resorting to unorthodox methods to put the Australian pacemen off their line and rhythm, including charging down the wicket on occasions to the quicks.
It worked in the 40th over, when legspinner Shane Warne was introduced to the attack after Glenn McGrath's eight-over spell failed to produce a wicket. Andrew Symonds was brought on to bowl medium pace in tandem with Warne soon after.
The Australians took a wicket in each of the first two sessions, with Brett Lee having Andrew Strauss (29) caught behind and Stuart Clark removing Alastair Cook (20) in the same mode without addition to the lunchtime total of 58 for one.
McGrath created chances in the morning session, having a loud shout for lbw against Strauss declined and a chance put down off the England opener at third slip, with Justin Langer getting two hands onto a thick edge before putting it down.
In his final test, he beat the edge of the bat after lunch in an unchanged eight-over spell but so far has not added to his fast bowling world record of 557 test wickets.
England skipper Andrew Flintoff won the toss and elected to bat, the tourists not wanting to bat last on the Sydney Cricket Ground against Warne, who bowled seven overs for 21 without much assistance from the pitch in his final test match.
Australia leads 4-0 and is aiming to be only the second team to sweep a five-test Ashes series, the first since Warwick Armstrong's side achieved it in 1920-21.
It was a mixed day for Australia's trio of soon-to-be retirees.
McGrath and Warne went wicketless and Justin Langer put down a catch.
With a combined 374 test caps between them, the three led the Australian team onto the SCG after rain delayed the start of play by 70 minutes.
Warne and McGrath, with a combined 1,263 wickets and ranked No. 1 and No. 3 on the all-time list of wicket takers, and 104-test opening batsman Langer are retiring from test cricket after this match.
Warne had his home-ground farewell at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last week, taking a five-wicket haul in the first innings and becoming the first bowler to surpass the 700 test wicket milestone.
McGrath is playing his last test at his home ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The test is John Buchanan's last as Australia coach. Like McGrath, he's planning to quit international cricket after the limited-overs World Cup in the West Indies in March.
Buchanan started his tenure with 15 consecutive test victories from 1999-2001 and could finish with 12 straight wins if Australia sweeps the Ashes.
England replaced injured paceman Matthew Hoggard with James Anderson in the only change to either side from the fourth test.


Updated : 2021-10-17 23:59 GMT+08:00