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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Images: Pietersen strike lifts England hopes in Adelaide

Images: Pietersen strike lifts England hopes in Adelaide

Last updated on: December 6, 2010 15:50 IST

KP shines with the ball

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Kevin Pietersen took the key wicket of Michael Clarke with the last ball on Monday to leave Australia 137 runs behind England with a day to play in the second Ashes Test.

-Scoreboard

Clarke and Mike Hussey (44 not out) had fought a desperate rearguard action for the hosts, who ended the fourth day 238-4, after England took three top-order wickets in Australia's second innings. The tourists declared on 620-5 with a first-innings lead of 375.

Pietersen completed his career-best innings of 227 in the morning and was giving the specialist bowlers some rest as the day drew to a close when he made another crucial intervention by having Clarke caught for 80.

"It's a massive bonus for us," said England spinner Graeme Swann, who took two wickets.

"Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration and who better to deliver it than KP.

"We love KP, especially when he's got a double century and gets their best player of spin out," he added.


Image: Kevin Pietersen celebrates after picking up Michael Clarke during the second Ashes Test in Adelaide
Photographs: Reuters
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'Just want to apologise for not walking off the ground'

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Clarke initially walked when Alastair Cook took the catch but returned to his crease when the umpire failed to give him out. England requested a TV review and he was walking again when the pictures clearly showed the ball hit the face of his bat.

"Just want to apologise for not walking off the ground tonight when I hit the ball. I was just so disappointed, my emotions got best of me," Clarke posted on his Twitter page.

England declared their first innings for the third highest Test tally at the Adelaide Oval after adding 69 runs to their tally in nine overs of morning play.

Pietersen had added 14 for the fourth-highest Test score at the Adelaide Oval when left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty finally got some reward for his efforts with Simon Katich taking the catch at slip.

Ian Bell 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.


Image: England players wait for the umpire's decision during the second Ashes Test in Adelaide

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Ponting fails again

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

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

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting survived 21 minutes before getting a thick edge to the 19th ball he faced with Paul Collingwood taking a good catch at first slip.

Ponting reacted with disbelief to his dismissal for nine runs, an improvement on the golden duck he made in the first innings but not the way he wanted to celebrate his 150th Test.

Watson survived a while longer before being deceived by a quick delivery from Steve Finn and he too was caught in the slips for 57, England skipper Andrew Strauss taking the catch.


Image: Graeme Swann celebrates after picking up Ricky Ponting during the second Ashes Test in Adelaide

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'Kick in the guts'

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Clarke had seemed out of sorts in his previous innings in the series but finally looked to have found his groove and brought up his half century with a four down to third man.

The 29-year-old benefited from a television review when he was given caught out on 67 but pictures showed the ball had missed his bat.

He was not so fortunate on the last ball of the day."It was a bit of a kick in the guts to lose that last one," said Hussey.

"He's pretty distraught, it was a real sombre way to finish the day for us," he added.

Rain stopped play for just under an hour in the third session and more is forecast for the final day of the test but Hussey said the Australians could not rely on the weather.

"A couple hours of rain will help our cause but we've got try and hang in there as long as we can," he said.

"Certainly, if we can draw the match, England will see that as a loss and that will be driving us," he added.


Image: Michael Clarke plays a shot

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