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England eye third Test victory



Latest update : 2009-08-02

England still have a chance of winning the third Ashes Test after taking the prize wicket of Australia captain Ricky Ponting on the fourth day at Edgbaston on Sunday.

AFP - England gave themselves an outside chance of winning the third Ashes Test after capturing the prize wicket of Australia captain Ricky Ponting on the fourth day here at Edgbaston on Sunday.

Australia at stumps were 88 for two in their second innings, needing a further 25 runs on Monday's final day to make England, 1-0 up in the five-Test series, bat again.

Graham Onions, who took four first innings wickets, struck in his third over when an excellent full length delivery had Australia opener Simon Katich edging to wicket-keeper Matthew Prior.

Graeme Swann then produced a classic off-break which beat Ponting's forward defensive push and bowled the batting great for five.

Australia were now 52 for two after England had taken two wickets for five runs in 11 balls.

Andrew Flintoff had earlier put England on top after Saturday's total wash-out had reduced the chances of a win for either side.

His 74, on the ground where he made two valuable fifties in England's nailbiting two-run Ashes win four years ago, was the centrepiece of the home side's 376, which gave them a first innings lead of 113.

At the close, recalled all-rounder Shane Watson, who top-scored with 62 in Australia's first innings 263, was 34 not out and Michael Hussey 18 not out.

"It was a nice to get a few runs. We are an attacking side. If we see it we hit it," said Flintoff.

"If we get a good start on Monday, and get a couple of wickets, we can win."

Flintoff insisted a series of tense exchanges between the two sides on Sunday were firm but fair.

"It's competitive. You can see what it means to both sides, but nothing spilled over."

England, who took nine wickets in under a day on Friday, now needed eight and time to chase a potential target to go 2-0 up with two to play.

They were on the backfoot at 168 for five, 93 runs behind, when Flintoff came to the crease.

But he shared valuable and rapid partnerships of 89 and 52 with Prior and Stuart Broad respectively, with Broad going on to make 55.

All-rounder Flintoff, the bowling hero of England's 115-run second Test win at Lord's and the star of the 2005 Ashes, fell shortly before tea in what he has said will be his final Test series.

Trying to withdraw the bat against off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, he gloved to first slip Michael Clarke.

Australia took the new ball straight after tea but a succession of bold strokes kept the runs coming.

Broad completed his fourth Test fifty off just 62 balls with a forceful pull off Ben Hilfenhaus.

He was last man out when fast bowler Peter Siddle held a caught and bowled chance to finish with figures of three wickets for 89 runs in 21.3 overs.

Hilfenhaus, who before lunch dismissed England captain Andrew Strauss (69) and Paul Collingwood (13), led the attack with four for 109 in 30.

Swing bowler Hilfenhaus said a draw was the best result Australia could hope for on Monday.

"Obviously this morning our plan was to knock them over early and now it's unfortunately back to Plan B and hopefully we can bat the day out."

England were 159 for four at lunch with Ian Bell 46 not out in front of his Warwickshire home crowd.

But having survived several close calls, Bell's luck ran out on 53 when Mitchell Johnson swung a ball back into his pads to have him lbw, with veteran umpire Rudi Koertzen at last ruling in the left-arm quick's favour.

Ponting, with England 201 for five, brought Watson into the attack.

The medium-pacer had starred with the bat but was driven for three fours in seven balls by Flintoff. Watson's three overs cost an expensive 23 runs and helped England regain the initiative.

Prior, who made a brisk fifty at Lord's, succumbed to Siddle when, on 41, he miscued a pull to mid-on having faced 59 balls with six fours.

Flintoff levelled the scores in style with a straight six off Hauritz before sweeping the bowler for his seventh four to take England into the lead and bring up his own fifty in just 53 balls.

Date created : 2009-08-02