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Ashes: Flintoff guides England to 234-4; McGrath takes two wickets

Ashes: Flintoff guides England to 234-4; McGrath takes two wickets

Glenn McGrath took two wickets in five balls to give Australia's attack some impetus in his farewell test before Andrew Flintoff revived the England innings with an unbeaten 42 on day one of the fifth Ashes match.
At stumps Tuesday, England was 234 for four after Flintoff won the toss and elected to bat.
The England captain struck five boundaries and a big driven six over long-on off Stuart Clark after coming to the crease when England slipped from 166 for two to 167 for four.
He shared an unbroken 67-run fifth-wicket stand with Paul Collingwood, who was unbeaten on 25 when bad light stopped play seven overs before the scheduled close on a rain-shortened first day.
With only the tailenders to come, the pressure was on Flintoff to produce his biggest innings of the series if England had any hope of avoiding a 5-0 series whitewash by the Australians.
Flintoff was averaging only 22 as England slumped to four consecutive test losses in Australia and had only one 50, a meager return compared with his performances with bat and ball in England's 2-1 series upset in 2005.
He and Collingwood defied the Australian bowling for almost 1 1/2 hours, giving England slight honors on the first day of what will be the final test match for two of cricket's greatest bowlers and 104-test veteran opener Justin Langer.
Shane Warne and McGrath, No. 1 and No. 3 on the list of all-time wicket takers in tests, are quitting test cricket after the Ashes.
McGrath had the only success of the departing Australian trio, who led the hosts onto the field in the morning after the start was delayed 70 minutes by rain.
Australia coach John Buchanan said the match was evenly poised after 80 overs, but the new ball first thing Wednesday could be a turning point.
"We would love to have taken one or two more wickets and England would have possibly liked to have 20-30 more runs, but I thought we bowled pretty well _ there were a number of play and misses, the odd edge here and there," he said. "But at the same stage, England batted reasonably resolutely.
"I thought Glenn bowled exceptionally well again."
Just when Ian Bell (71) and Kevin Pietersen (41) appeared to be getting on top of the Australian attack in a 108-run third-wicket stand, McGrath struck twice in consecutive overs to remove both batsmen.
The veteran paceman saw Pietersen stepping down the wicket at him, pitched one in short and the England No. 4 miscued to mid-wicket, where Mike Hussey took a diving catch.
Bell was out first ball of McGrath's next over, bowled between bat and pad.
McGrath finished with 2-57 from 21 overs, while Brett Lee and Clark took one wicket apiece and Warne went for 59 runs from 19 overs on a pitch that offered little assistance for spin.
The Australians took a wicket in each of the first two sessions, with Lee having Andrew Strauss (29) caught behind and Clark removing Alastair Cook (20) in the same mode from an inside edge without addition to the lunchtime total of 58 for one.
Bell made his fourth half century of the series and 11th overall and said the conditions made batting difficult.
"It was very hard to get on top of them at all and took some real graft out there," Bell said. At times it didn't look too pretty but sometimes you're going to get runs when they don't look great."
He said the pending departures of McGrath, Warne and Langer would not reduce England's resolve to chase a win.
"Obviously that's in the back of your mind but for us as a team this is an important game for England _ we certainly don't want to go down 5-0," he said. "This is game for us that we can take some momentum for the next Ashes. We can take some real positives out of it."
Australia is bidding to be only the second team to sweep a five-test Ashes series, and the first since Warwick Armstrong's side achieved it in 1920-21.


Updated : 2021-10-25 06:28 GMT+08:00