England take control over Australia on Day II

Edgbaston, August 5:

England had a tremendous second day in the Edgbaston Test against Australia to give themselves a clear advantage. Ashley Giles and Andrew Flintoff were the stars as the Aussies were bowled out for 308 in reply to England’s 407. England then had time to start their second innings and at stumps were 25-1 to lead by 124 runs overall. Justin Langer top-scored with 82 for the Aussies while Ricky Ponting hit 61 before becoming the first victim for a pumped-up Giles. Langer had been hit twice early on by Steve Harmison deliveries — the Durham man bowled accurately and ferociously with the new ball. But most importantly for England, they had a wicket with the seventh ball of the day when Matthew Hayden played a half-hearted drive to Hoggard’s first delivery. The ball was just short of half-volley length and was only a loosener but Andrew Strauss took an easy catch. Moments later, Ponting could have been run out. Kevin Pietersen swooped athletically into the covers but just failed to throw the stumps.

Hoggard lapsed into some leg-side deliveries and no-balls, and Ponting and Langer were soon moving smoothly. Harmison caused more problems and frequently beat the bat. But eventually he had to be replaced and when Simon Jones over-pitched to Ponting, the Aussie skipper latched on. He eagerly rifled three driven boundaries off consecutive balls to reach his fifty from 51 balls faced. The next wicket came in unexpected fashion. Ponting completely mis-hit his gentle sweep off Ashley Giles and Vaughan got an easy catch. Vaughan was in action again in the last over before the interval as Damien Martyn dabbed into the leg-side and the England skipper threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end. The middle session was dominated by a stand of 76 between Clarke and Langer. The re-introduction of Giles brought the wicket as Clarke was deceived by an arm ball. After tea, Langer and Adam Gilchrist began building a partnership which threatened to wrest the advantage away from England. But with the stand worth 54, Langer was defeated by a Simon Jones yorker. No 8 to 11 fell for single figures. The lower order demise left Gilchrist high and dry on 49 runs and England’s openers had seven overs to face. Warne bowled Strauss with a ball that turned massively from outside off stump.