Giles holds nerve on England's high-wire

Top-order collapse sets off alarm bells before Collingwood and Jones set up frantic tied finish
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The Independent Online

What this match got, apart from the tautest of finishes, was fast bowling of an extremely high calibre, under constant cloud cover, from both teams. It demonstrated also that Australia are vulnerable and that England will not submit easily. Whether that combination amounts to a realistic prospect that Michael Vaughan's team can recapture the Ashes is another matter, but they will not be cast aside easily. The important point is that they believe they can win, so it does not really matter what anybody else thinks.

It is probable that Australia will have been the more disappointed, and the look on the face of their captain, Ricky Ponting, as it dawned that they had not won the match might have caused subsidence in the newly refurbished Lord's pavilion. Obviously, England would dearly have loved to win, especially after they reduced the old enemy to 196 all out before their allotment of overs was up, with Stephen Harmison bowling like a hurricane and Andrew Flintoff not much behind on the Beaufort Scale.

Perhaps their subsequent feat went beyond victory, however. England had to recover from 33 for 5 in the 10th over as Brett Lee worked up his own head of steam and Glenn McGrath began to show a new generation of English batsmen the power of lift, length and accuracy.

There was some ropey batting and the top orders of both sides were far from models of probity. But England did not crumble when they might have done. None of their top five made double figures, and they were indebted almost completely to the sixth-wicket pair of Paul Collingwood and Geraint Jones.

They shared a partnership of 116, a record for England against Australia. It was full of fortitude and a refusal to buckle. They both played to their strengths after nervous beginnings. When Collingwood was run out with the last push still to be done and Jones followed soon after, that seemed to be that. Australia might have dared to think so.

But somehow Darren Gough and Ashley Giles, scrambling ones and twos and and defying their accepted sprinting speeds, kept going. Between them they hit only one four, and that from a top-edge over the keeper's head by Giles which he will presumably claim was the result of a decade on the training ground.

Having lost a toss they would unquestionably have preferred to win, Australia had set about demonstrating that it did not matter. Each blazing stroke, initially from Matthew Hayden, but pretty soon also from Adam Gilchrist, seemed designed to make the point that they were world champions and could jolly well do what they liked.

For a while it seemed they were entirely justified in this belief, and 50 from 39 balls brought visions of an astronomical total. Their tactics, against some pretty uninspired bowling, were clear. England were playing as if they were in the warm-up, but maybe they were not as focused as that.

Had the assault gone on for much longer, the world champions may indeed have had things much as they intended. But then the bat twisted in Hayden's hand as he essayed another violent drive and he ended up poking Darren Gough innocuously to mid-off. At other end, Michael Vaughan changed the bowling, taking off Simon Jones and bringing on Flintoff. It was obvious, but that did not make it any less of a masterstroke. He had looked on his charges in the opening period with the air of a headmaster on errant pupils he understood to be filled with latent goodness.

The game truly began to change - irrevocably, it might have appeared at the time - when Harmison joined the attack in the 13th over. Both he and Flintoff were all but irresistible. They were fast, accurate and a constant handful.

This was a Harmison who had not been seen in South Africa in the winter. Perhaps he had stayed at home in Ashington, the city of his dreams, and sent a doppelgänger who knew the rudiments of fast bowling but kept putting the ball in ill-advised places.

With Harmison from the Pavilion end, Flintoff from the Nursery end, they were a sight to lift the hearts of all Englishmen. Flintoff irritated Gilchrist into pulling maladroitly high to midwicket, Harmison had Ricky Ponting caught down the leg side and then bowled venomously at Damien Martyn, who might not have been wholly unhappy to be squared up and edging to the keeper.

From 93 for 5, there could be no long- term recovery even for these Aussies, even with their latest one-day talisman, Andrew Symonds, at the crease. Vaughan took the risk of removing his big two from the attack.

In some quarters this was viewed as a misreading of Australia's plight. Flintoff had bowled six overs for 14 runs, Harmison seven for 12. Vaughan should have gone for broke. Maybe, but maybe not. Australia bat long and Symonds and Michael Hussey were possibly cute enough to try to see them out. Then again, where was the England captain to turn?

In the event he turned to Collingwood, of whom not much more could be asked than dismissing Symonds, and Giles, who played a holding role. True, when Harmison and Flintoff came back they scythed through the tail, but the point is that would not have been possible if they had not been eligible to return.

England looked to be favourites despite the conditions, a status that was quickly rendered foolish. Almost every batsman contributed to their own downfall against some admittedly incisive bowling. None was more culpable than Vaughan, who will say he was playing his natural game in attempting a front-foot pull against McGrath; but England were 19 for 2 at the time and that became 19 for 3 when he dragged on off the bottom edge.

But Lee and McGrath had to be rested, and though the man of the series, Symonds, went for only 23 in his 10, England ticked over. The crowd were right behind England and Ponting, messing with his field, went well over the allotted time.

Thirty-five were needed from five overs and seven from one. Gough was run out scrambling but Giles and Harmison ran two from the last. Lee misfielded. The summer had started.

Lord's scoreboard

England won toss


A C Gilchrist c Pietersen b Flintoff 27

(Skied attempted pull to midwicket; 44 min, 32 balls, 5 fours)

M L Hayden c Giles b Gough 17

(Miscued attempted drive to mid-off; 30 min, 19 balls, 3 fours)

*R T Ponting c G O Jones b Harmison 7

(Played attempted leg-glance too finely; 26 min, 18 balls, 1 six)

D R Martyn c G O Jones b Harmison 11

(Edged to keeper pushing flat-footed at full-length ball; 45 min, 24 balls, 1 four)

A Symonds c Strauss b Collingwood 29

(Taken at extra cover off full-blooded front foot slash; 106 min, 71 balls, 2 fours)

M J Clarke lbw b S P Jones 2

(Beaten and hit on front pad by ball seaming back; 20 min, 19 balls)

M E K Hussey not out 62

(96 min, 81 balls, 6 fours)

G B Hogg c G O Jones b Harmison 16

(Ballooned to leg off glove from brutish lifting delivery; 17 min, 22 balls, 1 four)

B Lee c G O Jones b Flintoff 3

(Edged to keeper off lifting ball outside off; 9 min, 5 balls)

J N Gillespie c G O Jones b Flintoff 0

(Edged to keeper off lifting ball outside off; 1 min, 1 ball)

G D McGrath c Collingwood b Gough 0

(Scooped bizarre shot into covers; 13 min, 4 balls)

Extras (b4 lb5 w7 nb6) 22

Total (208 min, 48.5 overs) 196

Fall: 1-50 (Hayden), 2-54 (Gilchrist), 3-71 (Ponting), 4-90 (Martyn), 5-93 (Clarke), 6-147 (Symonds), 7-169 (Hussey), 8-179 (Lee), 9-179 (Gillespie), 10-196 (McGrath).

Bowling: Gough 6.5-1-36-2 (nb4 w2) (6-1-27-1 0.5-0-9-1), S P Jones 8-2-45-1 (w1) (3-0-29-0 5-2-16-1), Flintoff 8-2-23-3 (nb1 w1) (6-2-14-1 2-0-9-2), Harmison 10-2-27-3 (nb1 w3) (7-2-12-2 3-0-15-1), Collingwood 8-0-26-1, Giles 8-0-30-0 (one spell each).

Progress: 50: 29 min, 39 balls. 15 overs: 78-3. 100: 121 min, 159 balls. 150: 167 min, 238 balls.

Hussey 50: 87 min, 73 balls, 5 fours.


M E Trescothick c Ponting b McGrath 6

(Nurdled lifting ball to second slip low down; 15 min, 16 balls)

A J Strauss b Lee 2

(Late on yorker-length delivery; 20 min, 8 balls)

*M P Vaughan b McGrath 0

(Dragged on shortish ball attempting to pull; 12 min, 7 balls)

K P Pietersen c Gilchrist b Lee 6

(Edged to keeper sparring at good-length seaming delivery; 11 min, 10 balls, 1 four)

A Flintoff c Hayden b McGrath 8

(Edged to first slip forcing good-length seaming delivery; 16 min, 9 balls, 2 fours)

P D Collingwood run out (Symonds-Gilchrist) 53

(Turned back too late after full-blooded drive to extra cover; 156 min, 116 balls, 4 fours)

G O Jones lbw b Hogg 71

(Missed sweep and struck full on pads on leg stump; 150 min, 100 balls, 4 fours, 3 sixes)

A F Giles not out 20

(42 min, 21 balls, 1 four)

S P Jones b Hussey 1

(Yorked by medium-pace delivery; 4 min, 2 balls)

D Gough run out (McGrath) 12

(Well short of ground after playing back to bowler; 26 min, 13 balls)

S J Harmison not out 0

(3 min, 0 balls)

Extras (b2 lb10 w3 nb2) 17

Total (9 wkts, 232 min, 50 overs) 196

Fall: 1-11 (Trescothick), 2-13 (Strauss), 3-19 (Vaughan), 4-19 (Pietersen), 5-33 (Flintoff), 6-149 (Collingwood), 7-161 (G O Jones), 8-162 (S P Jones), 9-194 (Gough).

Bowling: Lee 10-1-36-2 (nb1 w1) (6-1-20-2 2-0-7-0 2-0-9-0), McGrath 10-4-27-3 (nb1) (7-4-9-3 2-0-9-0 1-0-9-0), Gillespie 10-0-42-0 (w1) (6-0-21-0 2-0-10-0 2-0-11-0), Symonds 10-2-23-0 (one spell), Hogg 6-0-25-1 (4-0-16-0 1-0-8-0 1-0-1-1), Hussey 4-0-31-1 (w1) (one spell).

Progress: 15 overs: 41-5. 50: 92 min, 126 balls. 100: 146 min, 207 balls. 150: 191 min, 263 balls.

Collingwood 50: 147 min, 108 balls, 4 fours. G Jones 50: 118 min, 86 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes.

Umpires: B F Bowden (NZ) and D R Shepherd (Eng).

TV replay umpire: J W Lloyds. Match referee: J J Crowe (NZ).

Match tied. Trophy shared.

Man of the Match: G O Jones (Eng). Man of the Series: A Symonds (Aus).