Sun, Sep 11, 2005 - Page 24 News List

Rain gives England chance to regroup against Australia

AFP , LONDON

Rain, rather than England's bowlers, proved the major frustration for Australia on the third day of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval in London yesterday.

At lunch Australia were 157 without loss in reply to England's first innings 373, a deficit of 216, with Justin Langer 91 not out and Matthew Hayden unbeaten on 60 after only 14 overs were possible in the session.

England, 2-1 up in the series, need only to avoid defeat to break Australia's 16-year grip on the Ashes in a match the tourists had to win to level the series at 2-2 and continue to deny England the prize they'd craved for so long.

Australia resumed on 112 without loss, 261 behind, having gone off for bad light immediately after tea on Friday, a decision Langer justified on the grounds that had they lost a wicket the new batsman would have been coming out in difficult conditions.

Langer, having seen leg-spin great Shane Warne take six for 122 in England's first innings, added there was plenty of time for Australia to win the match.

He began Saturday on 75 not out with Hayden 32 not out as the left-handed pair shared their 14th century partnership.

It was their first in 21 Test innings since putting on 137 in the first innings of November's second Test against New Zealand in Adelaide.

In overcast condtions Langer survived a huge lbw shout from Matthew Hoggard off the first ball of the day when he missed the Yorkshireman's inswinger.

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