SYDNEY (Reuters) - England stood on the brink of a first Ashes series triumph in Australia for 24 years after dominating the fourth day of the fifth test with both bat and ball on Thursday.
|England's James Anderson (L) celebrates dismissing Australia's Usman Khawaja
(R) during the fifth Ashes test at the Sydney Cricket Ground,
The tourists racked up a record 644 for a first-innings lead of 364 before James Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett wreaked havoc among the shell-shocked Australians and reduced them to 213 for seven in their second innings.
Australia, batting in what now looks a forlorn attempt to save themselves from the humiliation of a third innings defeat in the series, had Steve Smith (24) and Peter Siddle (17) at the crease but still trailed by 151 runs going into the final day.
“It was a fantastic feeling being out there today,” wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who made 118 runs and took four catches, told reporters.
“To get them seven down and in a pretty good position to win tomorrow ... it’s pretty hard to beat.
“The guys with the reverse swing showed their skills magnificently, backed up by the fielding. We just tried to keep things simple and it’s worked well for us.”
England had already ensured they would retain the Ashes by taking a 2-1 lead in the series in Melbourne last week and just
needed just a draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground to seal the series triumph.
Although fine swing bowling was responsible for most of the Australian wickets, the hosts contributed the first with the farcical run out of Shane Watson for 38.
Watson, who had already run out fellow openers Simon Katich and Phillip Hughes this series, was left stranded at the wrong end when Hughes declined a second run.
“It’s just a horrendous situation to be involved in three run outs ... it’s just not good enough,” said Watson, who conceded that the series was now gone.
“Unfortunately we’ve been totally outplayed again ... There’s no doubt that we’ve let ourselves down, but there’s no doubt as well that English have played unbelievably well.”
Hughes lasted a little longer before falling for 13 after getting an edge to a Bresnan delivery following a period of sustained pressure and Prior continued his good day by taking the catch.
The next two wickets to fall were also caught behind by Prior, Anderson getting his 22nd and 23rd victims of the series by tempting Usman Khawaja into a feint edge for 21 and snaring captain Michael Clarke for 41 with an outswinger.
Bresnan returned to have Mike Hussey caught in the gully by Pietersen for 12 before Tremlett got into his aggressive stride and threatened to finish the match by himself.
The tall seamer tempted Brad Haddin (30) to attempt a hook but instead he found a top edge that Prior claimed for his sixth catch of the match.
Mitchell Johnson, who went for 4-168 in England’s innings, was next in but he lasted just one ball as Tremlett clean bowled him to move to set up a hat-trick delivery that Siddle blocked.
Scenting victory and with the Barmy Army in full voice, England claimed the extra half an hour they are allowed to try and force a result but Smith and Siddle held on to at least send the test into the full five days.
“I’ve always felt I wanted to go at home in front of English fans and that felt like home today,” said Paul Collingwood, who had announced his retirement from tests at the start of the day. “Hopefully we can finish them off pretty quickly tomorrow.”
England had added 156 runs to their overnight tally before the Australians finally winkled them out just after lunch, but not before they had bettered the previous record of 636-8 declared the 1928-29 tourists achieved at the same ground.
Prior clinched his fourth test century with a confident drive through the covers for a boundary and let out a huge roar before racing over to acknowledge the England fans.
Bresnan (35) put on 102 for the eighth wicket with Prior, who made his 118 off 130 balls with 11 fours and one six before Ben Hilfenhaus had him out caught behind by Haddin.
Graeme Swann (36 not out) and Chris Tremlett took 20 runs off Johnson’s 36th over and the English had a leisurely lunch before finally being dismissed when Hilfenhaus had Tremlett caught behind for 12.
Collingwood to quit tests after Ashes
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Paul Collingwood is to quit test cricket after the fifth Ashes encounter, the England batsman said on Thursday, going out on a high after helping to retain the famous urn in Australia for the first time in 24 years.
The 34-year-old will continue as captain of England’s world champion Twenty20 team and in the one-day team, which will contest the World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh starting next month.
Collingwood has scored 4,259 runs with 10 centuries at an average of 40.56 and taken 17 wickets in 68 matches since his test debut against Sri Lanka in December 2003 but has struggled with the bat on the current tour.
Averaging just 15.54 over his last 10 tests and 13.83 in the ongoing Ashes series, the popular right-hander said it was time to give younger players a chance.
“Representing England at test level has always been a dream of mine and I’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed some amazing highs throughout my test career,” Collingwood said in an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) news release.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve always given my all for the England test team but I feel that this is the right time to leave test cricket having reached some very special achievements, none more satisfying that retaining the Ashes in Australia.
“Clearly I still feel I have a huge amount to offer England in terms of limited overs cricket and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue leading the Twenty20 squad and playing a significant role in England’s ODI team.”
Although his performances with the bat have been sub-par in the series, Collingwood has taken some key catches with his athletic fielding and he bowled out Australian danger man Mike Hussey on Tuesday.
Former England captain Andrew Flintoff had called for him to be dropped for the fifth test and Collingwood conceded he needed to score some runs to extend his test career.
What looks like being his final test innings was another disappointment, however, with a rash charge down the wicket to send a miscued shot ballooning into the hands of Ben Hilfenhaus for just 13 runs.
An honest, dogged determination had previously characterised his batting, not least when he ground out his career best 206 against Australia at Adelaide on the ill-fated 2006-07 Ashes Tour, which England lost 5-0.
His place in the cricketing history books is assured, however, not for his test career but as the first England captain to win a global one-day tournament at the third Twenty20 World Cup in West Indies last year.
“Paul Collingwood has made an outstanding contribution to the England test team,” said Hugh Morris, managing director of England Cricket.
“His performances have been admired and recognised by his team mates and England supporters over many years and his tireless commitment in the test match arena will be something he will always be remembered for.”