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Collingwood, Pietersen lead England’s fightback in the series

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England continued their Ashes fight back which they had shown in the second innings of the opening Test Match at the Gabba. In the second Test at the Adelaide Oval, they came out of a tricky 45 for 2 to end the first day’s play at a good looking 266 for 3. Paul Collingwood registered his second consecutive 90, this time he has the opportunity to score his third Test Match century as he is unbeaten on 98. With him is the big man, Kevin Pietersen who showed superb consistency coming up with 60 not out.

It was a perfect strip to bat on and Andrew Flintoff had absolutely no hesitation in batting first. Both sides remained unchanged. An opening spell from Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath who had that injury scare coming into this match was negotiated by Strauss and Cook. But the partnership was broken by the first change of the day, Stuart Clark who was flicked carelessly to short mid wicket by Strauss. In no time, Clark produced a gem of a delivery that forced Cook to nick it behind leaving England at a dicey 45 for 2 on a good batting wicket.

One drop batsman Ian Bell along with Paul Collingwood applied themselves to do the repair work which they did with success. The pair took their side to lunch at 58 for 2 and after lunch the partnership became stronger. Ian Bell worked hard to get to his fifty, his ninth one in his career off 142 balls. The Aussies couldn’t get a single wicket in the post lunch session. It was only after the Tea Break they got the breakthrough. Ian Bell was bounced out by Brett Lee in the 62nd over with the right hander’s miscued pull shot going high up in the air for the bowler himself to get under it. The third wicket pair added 113 runs with Bell getting dismissed for 60.

New man in was Kevin Pietersen who came good for England for the second consecutive time in this series. He had scored 92 in the second innings of the Gabba Test. Pietersen combined with Collingwood to keep the bowlers at bay and the run rate picked up because of the shots that were played with ease. Shane Warne had a long spell but he couldn’t break the pair and Australia had to even use the left arm spin of Michael Clarke for a change which didn’t yield any results. The last throw of the dice was when the second new ball was taken which was played with utmost comfort by both the batsmen.

The penultimate ball of the final over of the day’s play was a big moment for both sides. It was a bouncer bowled by Brett Lee which bounced like a tennis ball. Pietersen’s eyes lit up as he went for the big pull only to get an ugly mishit. However the batsman didn’t pay price for his bad shot selection as Glenn McGrath at mid on was too tired to run backwards to his left to convert that catch which could have shifted the balance in Australia’s favour. It’s a big day for England tomorrow, if they have to get into a winning position, then the only way is to consolidate and use this platform to get a big first innings score. At close of play, Paul Collingwood remained on 98 having faced 200 balls. Pietersen had played freely getting his 60 from 96 balls with 5 fours and a six off Warne over long off.

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