Australia hold frenetic England; McGrath ruled out

Edgbaston, August 4:

England were all out for 407 on the first day of the second Ashes Test after some frenetic batting throughout. Marcus Trescothick, Kevin Pie-tersen and Andrew Flintoff all hit half-centuries and there was even a good partnership for the last wicket. But Shane Warne (4-116) and Michael Kasprowicz (3-80) took the gloss off an entertaining performance. Kasprowicz was playing after a freak injury to Glenn McGrath who injured ankle tendons during warm-up. Just as Australia openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden walked out to the middle to being their reply, with 20 minutes left on the clock, the rain came down.

Trescothick (90) and And-rew Strauss gave England a terrific platform as they hit 132 in the first session for the loss of Strauss for 48. But that rapid scoring rate was surpassed as Flintoff and Pietersen clicked in tandem for the first time this summer to put on 103. Ponting’s decision to bowl first was a peculiar one, particularly given that he did not have his most reliable bowler, McGrath, available.

Trescothick, after getting a life on 32 when edging to gully off a Kasprowicz no-ball, really took to Brett Lee in the final over before lunch. The blond paceman disappeared over point for four and six and was driven for two further boundaries. Australia finally had one reason to celebrate. Warne got a ball to spin to bowl Strauss. Trescothick was out soon after lunch when tamely edging Kasprowicz to the wicketkeeper. Three balls later Ian Bell was also out for six as Adam Gilchrist took his second catch in the same Kasprowicz over. And England had tossed away their early advantage by the time Michael Vaughan (24) pulled Gillespie to fine leg. Pietersen and Flintoff refused to be bowed, however. Flintoff (62) hit five sixes — three off Warne and two off Lee from the boldest of hook shots — before edging Gillespie to Gilchrist.