Australia wrap up crushing 277-run

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Australia wrapped up a crushing 277-run victory over England 90 minutes into the fifth and final day of the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba here on Monday.

Glenn McGrath caught Steve Harmison at fine leg off Stuart Clark to end England’s resistance and give the Australians a morale-boosting 1-0 lead over the holders in the five-Test series. Clark finished with 4-72 off 24.1 overs and leg-spinner Shane Warne, who did not take a wicket on the final day, closed with 4-124 off 34 overs.

England’s remote hopes of batting out the final day nosedived in the day’s opening over when Kevin Pietersen was out on the fourth ball to Brett Lee. Pietersen, who buoyed England with his counter-attacking innings, went the same way as his batting partner Paul Collingwood (96) by getting out in the nineties.

Lee took the second new ball for his second delivery and had Pietersen out to a poor shot to Damien Martyn at short mid-wicket, with no addition to his overnight score of 92. Pietersen, who had an absorbing duel with his Hampshire county teammate Shane Warne on Sunday’s fourth day, was upset to be dismissed so softly as he fell to a half-volley from Lee.

He batted for 228 minutes with 14 boundaries and with him went the last remaining recognised batsman in England’s against-the-odds bid to avoid a heavy defeat in the first of the five-Test series.

Wicket-keeper Geraint Jones, selected ahead of Chris Read primarily for his batting, went 30 minutes later when he chopped a Glen McGrath ball on to his stumps for 33 after hitting five fours in his 68-minute stay.

Ashley Giles, also chosen ahead of Monty Panesar for his batting ability, was out at first-hour drinks when he edged Clark to Warne at first slip for 23, leaving the tourists at 346 for eight. Matthew Hoggard followed when he edged Clark to Warne at slip for eight and Harmison was the last man out, hooking to McGrath off Clark.

England had needed to defy history to get anywhere near Australia’s huge lead with their highest successful fourth-innings run chase in an Ashes Test 332 for 7 in Melbourne in 1928.

Australia won toss

Australia 1st inns 602-9 dec (J L Langer 82, R T Ponting 196, M E K Hussey 86, M J Clarke 56, B Lee 43*: A Flintoff 4-99)

England 1st inns 157 (I R Bell 50; G D McGrath 6-50)

Australia 2nd inns 202-1 dec (J L Langer 100*, R T Ponting 60*)

England 2nd inns (overnight 293-5)

A J Strauss c sub (R A Broad) b Clark 11

A N Cook c Hussey b Warne 43

I R Bell lbw b Warne 0

P D Collingwood st Gilchrist b Warne 96

K P Pietersen c Martyn b Lee 92

*A Flintoff c Langer b Warne 16

†G O Jones b McGrath 33

A F Giles c Warne b Clark 23

M J Hoggard c Warne b Clark 8

S J Harmison c McGrath b Clark 13

J M Anderson not out 4

Extras (b8, lb10, w2, nb11) 31

Total (all out, 100.1 overs) 370

Fall: 1-29, 2-36, 3-91, 4-244, 5-271, 6-293, 7-326, 8-346, 9-361

Bowling: Lee 22-1-98-1 (7nb, 1w); McGrath 19-3-53-1 (3nb); Clark 24.1-6-72-4; Warne 34-7-124-4 (1nb, 1w); Hussey 1-0-5-0

Result: Australia won by 277 runs

Series: Australia lead the 5-Test series 1-0

Man of the Match: Ricky Ponting

Umpires: B F Bowden (New Zealand) and S A Bucknor (West Indies). TV umpire: P D Parker. Match referee: J J Crowe (New Zealand)

Forthcoming matches: December 1-5 2nd Test (Adelaide). December 14-18 3rd Test (Perth). December 26-30 4th Test (Melbourne). January 2-6 5th Test (Sydney)
Source:The News

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