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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ashes: Pietersen strikes to put Australia on the ropes

Ashes: Pietersen strikes to put Australia on the ropes

Last updated on: December 06, 2010 13:44 IST

-Scoreboard

England's Kevin Pietersen took the key wicket of Michael Clarke with the last ball of the fourth day of the second Ashes Test on Monday to reduce Australia to 238-4, still trailing the tourists by 137 runs.

Clarke, who made 80, and Mike Hussey (44 not out) had fought a desperate rearguard action after England declared on 620-5 with a first-innings lead of 375 in the morning.

England took three Australian wickets after lunch and the Adelaide rain provided only an hour of respite for the hosts as they looked to the skies to help them avoid an innings defeat.

Pietersen, who had completed his career-best innings of 227 in the morning, was giving the specialist bowlers some rest as the day drew to a close when he made another crucial intervention.

Clarke initially walked when Alastair Cook took the catch but returned to his crease as the decision was reviewed by television pictures. He was walking again when they clearly showed the ball hit the face of his bat.

England had declared their first innings for the third highest Test tally at the Adelaide Oval after nine overs of morning play.

In only 40 minutes, the tourists added 69 runs to their overnight total although the Australians did finally manage to capture the wicket of Pietersen.

Kevin PietersenThe 30-year-old had just posted the fourth-highest test score in Adelaide when left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty finally got some reward for his efforts with Simon Katich taking the catch at slip.

Ian Bell also put on 27 runs -- including a sublime six -- to reach his 25th half century and finish on 68 not out, while Matt Prior made an unbeaten 27 after being saved from an leg-before-wicket dismissal by a television review.

Australia openers Katich and Shane Watson had dug in to steer their side safely to lunch but England spinner Graeme Swann struck soon after the break.

Katich, who had hobbled through his innings because of an Achilles heel injury, was the first to go, getting a faint outside edge from a Swann delivery and being caught behind by wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Strauss had declared England's first innings after his team had added 69 runs to their overnight total on a sun-baked pitch in the morning.

Kevin Pietersen was dismissed for 227 -- his highest Test score -- after adding 14 runs to his tally.

England are hoping to win an Ashes series in Australia for the first time in 24 years.

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