England finally managed to put up a fightback in the Ashes opening Test Match at the Gabba. A superb partnership between Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen was the order of the day, one that got the Barmy Army to sing and dance in the stands. However, the tourists lost two crucial wickets in the last session that minimized their good work early on. Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen had put on a promising 153 runs for the 4th wicket before Collingwood got himself stumped with just four runs short of a century.
With these efforts from Collingwood (96) and Pietersen (92*), England have managed to take the Test Match into the fifth and final day. Defeat is quite inevitable though as they finished the fourth day’s play at 293 for 5 which leaves them just 355 short of the target. Most importantly Kevin Pietersen is left with just Geraint Jones and the lower order batsmen to follow. The Aussies as expected continued batting in the morning session till Justin Langer brought up his 23rd Test hundred. Langer was exactly on 100 from 146 and Ponting on 60 when the declaration was made with Australia at 202 for 1 leaving the visitors a target of 648.
By the lunch break, England lost Strauss and Bell with 43 on the board. While Strauss once again fell playing the hook, Bell was trapped on his pads by a Warne skidder. The top scorer for England in the first innings, Bell couldn’t even open his account. Strauss was caught by Ryan Broad, a Queensland player substituting for Ricky Ponting who had a back spasm. Stuart Clark was the man who provided the first wicket for Australia, that of Andrew Strauss in the 11th over. Once the post lunch session resumed, there was a semblance of a fight from the young Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen. Cook pulled the fast bowlers with utmost comfort but he couldn’t succeed in preventing himself from getting an inside edge to a big leg break from Warne to be caught bat pad. Cook made an impressive 43 which helped in a 55-run partnership for the fourth wicket. The fight continued as far as England were concerned, with the ball losing its hardness, batting became a lot easier. Collingwood and Pietersen took advantage of that to defy the bowling. They had survived a good spell from McGrath who was getting some nasty movement after getting the ball to hit the wide cracks.
The shots were being played by both Collingwood and Pietersen and their side took lot of heart from their performance in the middle. It proved that England have it in them to comeback in the Ashes, the next Test Match begins on the 1st of December. Pietersen did have a let off when he was on 44 but one does need a lucky break or two when playing a long innings. KP had got a bottom edge playing a cut shot to Warne which was taken by Gilchrist which Umpire Steve Bucknor didn’t pick up at all. All was well for England until Collingwood who had raced away to 96 with 12 fours and 2 sixes jumped out of his crease to smash Warne for a hit that would get him to three figures. The turn of Warne was enough to beat Collingwood and present Gilchrist an easy stumping. Skipper Flintoff didn’t last long and was dismissed playing a bad pull shot off Warne which he had miscued to mid on. KP along with Geraint Jones saw the remaining part of the play without any further loss of wickets.