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Eng in command on day one
LONDON, JUL 16 (Agencies):
Published on 16 Jul. 2009 11:19 PM IST
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Australia’s hopes of salvaging something from the opening day of the second Ashes Test improved dramatically as they dismissed Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood in quick succession after tea. Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook had posted the best opening partnership for England in an Ashes fixture at Lord’s, as England reached 255-2 at tea. Cook fell five short of his hundred but Strauss, continuing his excellent record at the ground, went on to reach his 18th Test century from 178 balls. Australia began to gain a foothold in the game when Cook and then Ravi Bopara fell in quick succession before tea. Pietersen never looked entirely comfortable at the crease as Ben Hilfenhaus continued to probe with swing and seam. However, it was the introduction of Peter Siddle shortly after tea that led to his dismissal as Pietersen, who had made 32 from 42 balls, pushed at a delivery that swung away to give Brad Haddin a low catch behind the stumps. Collingwood only lasted a 36 balls as he attempted to come down the pitch to Michael Clake, the part-time spinner, but only succeeded in giving Siddle a comfortable catch at mid-on to leave England on 302-4 and in danger of throwing away much of their hard work. Bopara, batting at No 3, had begun sweetly before Hilfenhaus out-thought him by following a series of outswingers with a ball shaping back. For much of the day runs had flowed at more than four an over with concern etched on the face of Ricky Ponting. Mitchell Johnson, Australia’s leading bowler, was the biggest culprit leaking boundaries at an alarming rate. To add to Australia’s woes, Nathan Hauritz was taken to hospital with a dislocated middle finger sustained in dropping a return chance from Strauss when the England captain was on 52. Hauritz, the only specialist spin bowler in the tour party, could only watch from the dressing room balcony on his return. It summed up the pattern of the first day when Brad Haddin had earlier dropped Strauss off a no ball from Ben Hilfenhaus - Australia were committing errors two at a time. Indeed, Cook may have been surprised when Mitchell Johnson managed to bowl one straight to secure his 100th Test wicket with an easy lbw decision. England had won the toss and elected to bat after Andrew Flintoff and Pietersen had been declared fit to play. Flintoff, who will retire from Test cricket at the end of the series, had been doubtful after reporting discomfort in his right knee during the first Test in Cardiff. Pietersen will also take his place in the side after receiving an injection in his troublesome Achilles tendon. The recovery of both men has England allowed to make only one change to the side that drew the first Test, with Graham Onions preferred to Steve Harmison in place of left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who batted for 40 minutes to save the match on Sunday evening. Australia were unchanged from the side that came within a single wicket of victory in the first Test of the series.

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