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England in dire straits

Tourists turn the screw after North makes third Test ton

Australia celebrate Strauss' scalp

Australia celebrate Strauss' scalp

Fourth npower Test Match
Headingley Carnegie - Day Two
England 102 (P M Siddle 5-21) & 82-5 v Australia 445 (M J North 110, M J Clarke 93, R T Ponting 78, S R Watson 51, S C J Broad 6-91)

England endured another day to forget at Headingley as Australia moved within touching distance of a victory in the fourth Ashes Test that would square the series at 1-1.

The hosts closed day two on 82-5 in their second innings, still 261 runs behind, having lost five wickets for 23 runs in a dramatic closing half-hour.

Marcus North's third Test century had helped Australia claim a commanding 343-run first innings lead before they were bowled out for 445.


The tourists had seized the initiative by skittling England for just 102 on the first day and resumed on 196-4, with the opportunity of ramming home their advantage in pursuit of a series-levelling victory.

North's 110 powered Australia to 445 all out and, despite a half-century stand for the opening wicket, England look in danger of suffering a three-day defeat.

Stuart Broad did run through the tail on the way to career-best figures of 6-91, one of few positives to so far come out of the match for the home side.

Sadly none of England's bowlers had been so deadly in a dire opening session that saw Michael Clarke and North cash in on some poor fayre to extend their fifth-wicket stand to 152.

Clarke (93), who passed a late fitness test on an abdominal injury to play in the match, produced a typically stylish contribution and was within sight of his third hundred of the series when England finally made a breakthrough.

A full delivery from Graham Onions (2-80) trapped the right-hander right in front and umpire Asad Rauf duly obliged with the fourth lbw verdict of the innings - although England's muted celebrations told their own story as Australia, on 303-5, already held a lead of 201.

Brad Haddin survived through to lunch but fell soon after the interval when he spooned an attempted hook off Harmison (2-98) straight up in the air to depart for 14.

Johnson and North put on 70 for the seventh wicket before Broad struck with consecutive deliveries to finally raise the spirits of a packed crowd.

Johnson (27) holed out to Bopara on the leg-side boundary and Peter Siddle was cleaned up for a golden duck by one that hit the top of off-stump.

North, however, went to his century with a huge six off Graeme Swann, the spinner having failed to make any impression after waiting until the 60th over for his first bowl.

Stuart Clark (32) hammered three sixes while adding 46 in just nine overs for the ninth wicket, before his fun was ended when he dragged onto his stumps to give Broad a fifth wicket.

The Nottinghamshire seamer finished things off on the stroke of tea by having North, whose 206-ball knock contained 13 fours and a six, held in the deep.

Lost cause

Needing a miracle of Headingley '81 proportions, England did at least make a positive start in their bid to save what already seemed to be a lost cause.

A 58-run opening stand suggested there would be no repeat of the disaster of day one - only for things to change with the dismissal of Andrew Strauss.

Ben Hilfenhaus trapped the England captain leg before and then repeated the trick to Ravi Bopara with the very next delivery of the match.

Johnson produced a hostile spell before the close that saw him remove Ian Bell (three), Paul Collingwood (four) and Alastair Cook, who had looked composed in reaching 30.

It could have been even worse had North not spoilt his day by dropping Matt Prior off what proved to be the final ball. Had the chance been held at third slip England may well have had to bat for an extra half-hour, facing the prospect of suffering a humiliating defeat inside of two days.

It looks to have merely delayed the inevitable, however.