England couldn’t have asked for a better day of Ashes as they piled up the runs throughout the day and towards the fag end of play, picked up a wicket to have Aussies on the backfoot. Justin Langer, the opener in prime form, who had scored a fifty and a century in the Gabba Test fell to Andrew Flintoff whose decision of using the new ball instead of Steve Harmison paid off.
The tourists who were defending the Ashes needed to consolidate their solid overnight position of 266 for 3; they had to see off the second new ball as well which was just about five overs old. The first moment of the day came when Paul Collingwood flicked Brett Lee in the gaps to complete his 3rd Test hundred. It was a proud moment for Collingwood; he had narrowly missed his first Ashes hundred in the previous Test by just four runs. The partnership never ceased to give up their fight against the World’s Best Side. After facing just 149 balls, KP as well got to a hundred, one which he truly deserved, it was his sixth in his sensational career for England. The two lads took the batting side into a commanding position at lunch with no wickets presented to the Kangaroos, the score read 3 for 347 with 71 runs added this morning in 27 overs.
After lunch, both Collingwood and Pietersen not content with their hundreds decided to carry on to make even bigger ones to keep the Australians on the field for a long time and get them mentally drained. Paul Collingwood went onto get to a double century with his second hundred runs coming in 179 balls. He finally fell in the 146th over as he got a nick trying to drive Stuart Clark on the up. It wasn’t before Collingwood had got to 206 with 16 fours and adding up a massive 310 runs for the fourth wicket. A little while later, Kevin Pietersen followed his partner back into the dressing room as he equaled his highest test score of 158, a score which he had made three times! Pietersen was run out while stealing a single off Ricky Ponting at mid on, his knock of 158 had come in 257 balls with 15 fours and a six.
With contributions also coming in from Skipper Freddie (38 not out) and Ashley Giles (27 not out), England got past the 550-run mark to declare its innings. On the bowling front, three Australians scored centuries which includes Shane Warne, the top scorer with 167 runs conceded having bowled a marathon 53 overs taking just the one wicket of Geraint Jones. Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath were the other two centurions with the ball while Stuart Clark had extremely respectable figures of 3 for 75 in 34 overs.
Aussies had nine overs to bat out before the close of play which they did by losing Justin Langer. It was just the second over that Flintoff struck with an away going seamer that was nicked to gully by Pietersen. Hayden and Ponting saw off the remaining overs as Australia finished at 28 for 1 trailing behind by 523 runs. If the Aussies can get anywhere close to England’s total, then the Test Match is likely to head towards a disappointing draw. There’s so much of work to be done by the English bowlers on this flat batting track. Steve Harmison will be required to lift his morale and bowl to his best potential to complement the super efforts of Collingwood and Pietersen.