There is only one result that looks certain at the Adelaide Oval, a high scoring draw is the only realistic thing that could happen on the final day’s play. A lovely century from Michael Clarke and a timely return to form for Adam Gilchrist, who made fifty ended the slightest chances that England had in driving the result in their favour. All the English bowlers lacked penetration on the flat track with the exception of Matthew Hoggard who put on a lion hearted performance in the last two days to finish with 7 for 109 in 42 overs!
Hoggard was the only bowler who looked to have been getting some kind of response for his bowling. He cleverly mixed his pace and could bowl at 120kmph range and all of a sudden could up that to the 130s. He got the ball to swing, revere swing and cut off the wicket. He picked up three more wickets today but couldn’t stop the Australians in piling up 513 which gave England just the 38-run lead. In their second innings, England looked solid to end the fourth day’s play at 59 for 1 with Strauss on 31 and Bell on 18. Alastair Cook was the man dismissed in the 19 overs that the tourists had to face before close. Cook was dismissed in a similar fashion like in the first innings where he had poked at an away going delivery from Stuart Clark outside his offstump. Apart from Cook’s wicket, there weren’t any alarms with Strauss and Bell batting out comfortably against all the four bowlers used.
It wasn’t a safe position to begin with for the Australians who were still 239 runs behind England when they had resumed the day’s play at 312 for 5. But a 72-run partnership between Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist got close to safety. The pair had taken the homeside from 286 for 5 to 384 for 6 before Adam Gilchrist was caught in the deep slog sweeping Ashley Giles. It was a quickfire 64 from 79 balls from Gilchrist that contained some crisply struck drives and pulls. England could just get the wicket of Gilchrist in the morning session and in the second session they were made to wait and wait due to another partnership from Michael Clarke, this time with Shane Warne. Michael Clarke had enough support to score his 3rd Test Match century as Shane Warne batted sensibly, not the usual hitting game that one associates with him. Just at the stroke of tea, Hoggard brought one sharply to catch Shane Warne in front of the stumps to capture his 7th five-wicket haul. Warne made 43 having faced 108 balls and Australia were in a relaxes position at 502 for 7.
In the last session, Michael Clarke showing some signs of getting a move along perished playing an uppish flick shot off Hoggard. Clarke got a standing ovation for his 124 from 224 balls. Clarke who got into the team only because of an injury to Shane Watson has now created pleasant selection problems for the Australians for the next test match. Hoggard took two more wickets to end up with 7 while Anderson finished the innings by getting an edge from McGrath. The innings folded with 513 on board with 165.3 overs bowled. Like Hoggard, Ashley Giles bowled the major share of the overs in the innings. He bowled 42 overs overall taking just the one wicket. Giles was back to his old defensive ways in bowling round the stumps and outside the legstump of the right handers. The two teams are going through the motions and their minds will be now fixed on the third test which begins on the 14th at Perth.