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Ashes: England close in on big triumph

Last updated on: January 6, 2011 15:25 IST

England on verge of series win

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England stood on the brink of a first Ashes series triumph in Australia for 24 years after reducing the hosts to 213 for seven in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day of the fifth test on Thursday.

-Scorecard

Australia, batting to save themselves from the humiliation of a third innings defeat in the series, have Steve Smith (24) and Peter Siddle (17) at the crease but still trail by 151 runs.

England had already ensured they would retain the Ashes by taking a 2-1 lead in the series in Melbourne last week and just needed just a draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground to seal the series triumph.


Image: England players celebrate the dismissal of Mitchell Johnson on Thursday
Photographs: Reuters
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Bresnan, Anderson dent Aus batting

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Anderson got his 22nd and 23rd victims of the series by tempting Usman Khawaja into a feint edge for 21 and snaring captain Michael Clarke for 41 with an outswinger.

Bresnan returned to have Mike Hussey caught in the gully by Pietersen for 12 before Tremlett got into his aggressive stride and threatened to finish the match by himself.

The tall seamer tempted Brad Haddin (30) to attempt a hook but instead he found a top edge that Prior claimed for his sixth catch of the match.

Mitchell Johnson, who went for 4-168 in England's innings, lasted just one ball as Tremlett clean bowled him to move to set up a hat-trick delivery that Siddle blocked.

Scenting victory and with the Barmy Army in full voice, England claimed the extra half an hour they are allowed to try and force a result but Smith and Siddle held on to at least send the test into the full five days.


Image: English players congratulate Chris Tremlett for taking the wicket of Brad Haddin on Thursday

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Watson falls to another run-out

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Earlier, Australia, batting to save themselves from the humiliation of a third innings defeat in the Ashes series, had reached 77-2 at tea on the fourth day of the fifth Test after England scored a record 644 Thursday.

-Ashes 2010 coverage

England's best tally in Australia gave them a first-innings lead of 364 and they claimed the wickets of both openers to leave debutant Usman Khawaja (four not out) and stand-in skipper Michael Clarke (19 not out) battling on, still 287 runs behind.

Shane Watson was the first opener to go for 38 when he was involved in a third run out of the series, an awful mix-up that left him stranded at the wrong end when Phillip Hughes declined a second run.

Watson had already run out Simon Katich and Hughes this series, which Australia trail 2-1 with all hopes of regaining the Ashes gone.



Image: England's Kevin Pietersen (centre) is congratulated by teammates after the run-out of Watson

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Hughes done in by brilliant Bresnan

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While Australia contributed to the fall of the first wicket, the second was all about good bowling, Hughes falling for 13 after he got an edge to a Tim Bresnan delivery following a period of sustained pressure and Matt Prior continuing his good day at the Sydney Cricket Ground by taking the catch.

The tourists had added 156 runs before the Australians finally winkled them out just after lunch, but not before England had bettered the 636 for eight declared the 1928-29 tour party achieved at the same ground.

Prior helped himself to a quick-fire century in just 109 balls and even the tailenders got into the act as Australia's bowlers laboured to little effect.


Image: Andrew Strauss (right) congratulates Tim Bresnan for claiming the wicket of Hughes on Thursday

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Prior notches up fourth Test ton

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Prior was the third England batsman to score a century in the innings after Alastair Cook (189) and Ian Bell (115) and the tourists are now all but assured of winning a series in Australia for the first time since 1986-87.

The 28-year-old clinched his fourth Test century with a confident drive through the covers for a boundary, and he let out a huge roar before racing straight over to acknowledge England's travelling Barmy Army fans.

Prior and Bresnan put on 102 for the eighth wicket, finally separated when Clarke caught the seamer low in the slips off Mitchell Johnson for 35.


Image: England's Matt Prior celebrates his century on Thursday

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England were bundled out just after lunch

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Prior went not long afterwards, having made his 118 off 130 balls with 11 fours and one six, but even then the umpire double checked for a Ben Hilfenhaus no ball before he was confirmed out caught behind by Brad Haddin.

Graeme Swann (36 not out) and Chris Tremlett took 20 runs, including a four and a six from Swann, off Johnson's 36th over and English had a leisurely lunch before finally being dismissed when Hilfenhaus had Tremlett caught behind for 12.


Image: England's Graeme Swann plays a hook shot during the 4th Day's play on Thursday

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