Sun, Jul 24, 2005 - Page 24 News List

Australia generates 314-run lead over England at stumps

AP , LONDON

Michael Clarke scored 91 to steer Australia to a 314-run lead over England at stumps on day two of the first Ashes test at Lord's on Friday.

He shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 155 with Damien Martyn, who scored 65 as the touring side went to the close of play at 279-7 in its second innings.

The not out batsman was Simon Katich on 10 after Shane Warne was dismissed on the last ball of the day, caught by Ashley Giles off the bowling of Steve Harmison for two.

Clarke hit 15 fours on the way to his score, which came off just 106 balls.

The Australian enjoyed some good fortune late in the second session when, on 21 and with Australia at 139-3, he hit a Simon Jones delivery straight to Kevin Pietersen, who spilled the catch at extra cover. It was the third time in the match that Pietersen had dropped a solid chance.

"That's part of cricket," Pietersen said. "Everybody's going to drop catches, no one's gone through a career and not dropped a catch, I don't think."

Clarke was finally out when he was bowled by Matthew Hoggard late in the final session.

Martyn, who passed 4,000 test runs during his knock, followed on the next ball when he was trapped leg-before-wicket by Harmison.

Adam Gilchrist was then bowled by Andrew Flintoff for 10.

After a frenetic first day, in which 17 wickets fell, the host team was bowled out for 155 during the morning session Friday in reply to Australia's first-innings 190.

Clarke acknowledged that the game was far from over, but believed Australia was in a comfortable position.

"Hopefully we can make 350-plus and bowl similar to the first innings and I think we'll have enough," Clarke said. "I'm a little bit disappointed the way I got out. I think frustration set in and I played a shot that I'd like to take back but it's not every day you make 91 at Lord's."

Australia built on Glenn McGrath's five-wicket haul from day one, with Shane Warne claiming two wickets and Brett Lee adding another to his overnight tally of two.

England resumed at 92-7, with Pietersen unbeaten on 28.

Hoggard failed to score before Warne had him caught by Hayden at first slip.

Pietersen, making his test debut, hit McGrath for 4, 6 and 4 on consecutive deliveries to bring up his half century.

Pietersen then smashed a six off Warne, but the Australian legspinner ultimately had the batsman caught by Martyn, who took a spectacular diving catch in the deep.

As Pietersen was making his 50, the man he replaced in the England team -- Graham Thorpe -- announced his retirement from international cricket at the age of 35.

Thorpe, one of eight Englishmen to play 100 tests for his country, said he wanted to concentrate on family life.

Harmison was the last man out for England, caught by Martyn off the bowling of Lee for 11, leaving Jones not out on 20.

McGrath, who took his 500th test wicket Thursday, finished with figures of 5-53 from 18 overs, while Lee took 3-47 and Warne 2-19.

The Australian opener had looked comfortable before he attempted a risky single only to be run out by Pietersen, who fired the ball in from cover, leaving the tourists at 18-1.

Ricky Ponting became the eighth Australian to score 7,000 test runs, and the captain looked ready to settle in until Hoggard had him caught at point by substitute fielder James Hildreth.

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