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Finely balanced

The second test of The Ashes is on a knife edge after another absorbing day’s cricket, with England pushing for a vital win and Australia digging in to save the draw.

England decided to bat on for another 41 minutes in the morning, racking up a monstrous 620-5 and giving the Aussies a target of 375 to not lose by an innings. They then gave as good as they got, playing aggressively with the bat and taking on England’s bowlers, and it looked as though they were going to walk away satisfied with their day’s work. That was until Kevin Pietersen, of all people, dismissed Michael Clarke in the final over of the day, which may have tipped the test in England’s favour. Graeme Swann was certainly appreciative of Pietersen’s wicket.

‘He's a class act with the bat and he came up trumps with what could be a vital wicket,’ said Swan. ‘We're in the better position. It worked perfectly this morning and things went well for two-thirds of the day. We scored 60 quick runs and started well with the ball, taking three wickets for 100 runs.

‘But Australia are resilient and their two best players of spin (Clarke and Hussey) made it difficult in the last session.’

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